Health care reform
On February 10, the Obama administration announced both another delay in the health care reform rollout and a change in requirements for some employers.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) originally required all large employers (those with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees) to offer qualified health plans to their employees beginning January 2014 or pay a penalty. In July 2013, the administration announced a one-year delay in that requirement.
The newest announcement from the U.S. Department of Treasury now exempts employers with 50 to 99 full-time-equivalent employees (FTEs) from this requirement until 2016.1 In addition, employers with 100 or more FTEs will avoid the penalty if they provide coverage to at least 70% of their full-time employees in 2015 — a change from the previous requirement of 95%.2 (The 95% level was, in turn, a change from the original requirement that all full-time employees be offered coverage.)
Beginning in January 2016, the employer mandate should be fully in effect for all large employers. By that date, all employers with 50 or more FTEs will need to offer coverage to at least 95% of their full-time employees or face a penalty.
Employers with 50 to 99 FTEs get a 12-month reprieve if they are not currently offering qualified medical benefits. Requirements for employers with 100 or more employees have been eased: these employers need to ensure that at least 70% of their full-time employees are offered affordable coverage.
Employees at companies with 50 to 99 employees may see their employers delay introduction of medical coverage for another 12 months.