Skip to main content

Employer Mandate Penalties Delayed Until 2015

The Obama Administration has postponed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) employer mandate penalties for one year, until 2015. The Department of the Treasury announced the delay on July 2, 2013, along with a similar delay for information reporting by employers, health insurance issuers and self-funded plan sponsors.



The delay does not affect any other provision of the ACA, including individuals’ access to premium tax credits for coverage through an Exchange. The Treasury plans to issue more formal information about the delay within a week.



ONE-YEAR IMPLEMENTATION DELAY

The employer mandate provisions of the ACA are also known as the employer shared responsibility or pay or play rules. These rules impose penalties on large employers that do not offer affordable, minimum value coverage to their full-time employees and dependents. They were set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2014.



According to the Treasury, the delay of the employer mandate was required because of issues related to the reporting requirement. With the reporting rules delayed, it would be nearly impossible to determine which employers owed penalties under the shared responsibility provisions. Therefore, these payments will not apply for 2014.



The now-delayed reporting requirements are found in Internal Revenue Code sections 6055 and 6056. These rules apply to insurers, self-insuring employers and other parties that provide health coverage, along with certain employers with respect to health coverage offered to their full-time employees. The Administration’s decision is based on concerns voiced by businesses about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively.



EFFECTS OF THE DELAY

The additional year will give employers time to understand the employer mandate rules, to make decisions about providing health coverage and to adapt their reporting systems, without worrying about potentially significant penalties. It is unclear how the new deadline will impact guidance that has already been issued, such as the transition relief for non-calendar year plans and the optional safe harbor for determining full-time status.



FUTURE GUIDANCE

The administration plans to use the additional implementation time to consider ways to simplify the new reporting requirements consistent with ACA. The Treasury also plans to discuss the rules with stakeholders, including employers that currently provide health coverage to employees, and then publish proposed rules implementing these provisions later this summer. It is the Treasury’s intention to minimize the reporting requirements.



The pay or play regulations issued earlier this year left many unanswered questions for employers. The IRS had highlighted several areas where it would be issuing more guidance. Presumably, the additional time will give the IRS and Treasury the opportunity to provide more comprehensive guidance on implementing these requirements.



HANYS Benefit Services will continue to monitor developments and will keep you informed of the latest updates.

Popular posts from this blog

What are Alternative Investments? 4-Part Introduction

The market has seen a lot of uncertainty in recent years. Because of this, many organizations are looking for new ways to diversify their investment portfolios. Our best-kept “not-so-secret” secret: alternative investments. In this blog, we'll explore alternative investments with a focus on how they can potentially shield your portfolios from downside market volatility. In addition, we'll break down its benefits and risks and whether it could be a good fit for you. Part 1: What are alternative investments? Alternative investments may help diversify your investment portfolios through non-traditional investment strategies. Non-traditional investment options have varying liquidity ranges depending on the strategy and fund structure. Alternative investments are sometimes referred to as alternative assets. According to the Harvard Business School , the seven types of alternative investments are: private equity; private debt; hedge funds; real estate; commodities; collectibles; and s

Section 125 – Cafeteria Plans Overview

A Section 125 plan, or cafeteria plan , allows employees to pay for certain benefits on a pre-tax basis. Employers use these plans to provide their employees with a choice between cash and certain qualified benefits without adverse tax consequences. Paying for benefits on a pre-tax basis reduces the employee’s taxable income and, therefore, reduces both the employee’s and the employer’s tax liability. To receive these tax advantages, a cafeteria plan must comply with the rules of Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code and related IRS regulations. Under these rules, a Section 125 plan must have a written plan document and can only offer certain qualified benefits on a tax-favored basis. Once an employee makes a Section 125 plan election, they may not change that election until the next plan year, unless the employee experiences a permitted election change event. Also, for highly compensated employees to receive the tax advantages associated with a Section 125 plan, the plan must pass

5 Top reasons to offer employee mental health benefits

In fast-paced and demanding work environments, the importance of employee mental health benefits cannot be overstated. Employees who are mentally well are more productive, engaged and satisfied with their jobs. Mental health treatment, including therapy, medication and self-care, can help people who are experiencing mental illness. However, taking that first step toward recovery or seeking help can be challenging. The National Alliance on Mental Illness’ Mental Health By the Numbers finds that the average delay between the onset of mental health symptoms and treatment is 11 years. Factors such as cost, access and stigma can hold workers back from receiving the mental health support and treatment they need. However, there are employer solutions that can help employees overcome these barriers, understand available treatment options and start their recovery journey. This article explores barriers to mental healthcare and ways employers can help break them down to support employees holist