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The Affordable Care Act's "employer mandate" has been delayed to 2015, giving businesses and insurers time to carefully conform to insurance-reporting standards.
Mark Mazur, the Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy at the Treasury Department, stated in a press release Tuesday that the Obama administration is "engaging in a dialogue with businesses." In response to concerns about implementing the ACA's insurance-reporting mandate in 2014, the deadline will be extended to allow businesses more time to effectively implement the required changes.
While many businesses may be rejoicing at the administration balking at enforcing Obamacare's employer mandate, what does this delay mean for your business?
Not to be confused with the individual mandate requiring individuals to purchase a minimum level of health insurance by 2014, the employer mandate under the ACA has now been pushed back to 2015.
Businesses covered by the mandate are those with at least 50 employees who work at least 30 hours a week ("full-time"). Those businesses must provide a minimum level of health insurance for their full-time employees, or else pay a fee of $2,000 for each full-time uninsured worker (not counting the first 30 workers).
Although the Obama administration has encouraged employers to go ahead and start implementing the mandated changes, Valerie Jarrett, a senior presidential advisor, writes that employers just need "more time to comply with the new rules," reports USA Today.
The only way the mandate would be effective, however, is if the reporting requirement -- the one that requires businesses to send the government proof of minimum required insurance coverage for its employees -- is in effect.
For some employers, another mandate under Obamacare -- the birth control mandate, requiring all health plans to provide contraceptives at no cost -- is a troubling moral dilemma. Some business owners feel they are being forced to balance their religious beliefs and their health care obligations.
Various companies have already successfully petitioned the federal courts to allow them not to implement the ACA's birth control mandate by 2014. But with the employer mandate now delayed to 2015, these companies will have a bit more time to consider their options.
Employees will already be required to have some form of health insurance under the individual mandate, but with the reporting requirement frozen until 2015, and the penalties with it, business owners may continue to dig their heels in.
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