Upper-level executives, business owners, HR representatives and benefits managers were preparing for the employer mandates of the Affordable Care Act to go in effect on January 1, 2014, but these professional recently received a reprieve from the federal government. The United States Department of the Treasury has announced that the ACA's employer provisions will be delayed for an additional year.
The postponement is meant to achieve two specific objectives: improve reporting procedures and enhance access health coverage. According to the White House's blog, lawmakers plan to meet with business leaders, insurance representatives and industry experts to create a more effective reporting system than the one that's currently in place. The change was necessitated by frequent complaints that the reporting process was overly complicated for some enterprises.
The second goal is to grant employers additional time to comply with the ACA's provisions. Throughout 2014, the federal government will be testing its new reporting system and will not collect ACA payments. The White House's report includes a recommendation that enterprises use this year wisely to improve access to health coverage for employees.
The delay was welcome news to some company leaders and government officials. Randy Johnson, a senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, stated that the postponement will give his agency time to refine the policy.
"The administration has finally recognized the obvious – employers need more time and clarification of the rules of the road before implementing the employer mandate. The Chamber has testified numerous times about the problems with the mandate, and we applaud the administration's step to delay this provision. We will continue to work to alleviate this and other problems with ObamaCare," Johnson said, according to Kaiser Health News.
What the delay means for your business
The recent delay will affect how businesses move forward with compliance strategies. The White House explains that the delay has no impact on employers with 50 or fewer staff members as these enterprises are exempt from the ACA. The administration promised to keep healthcare rates at manageable levels for businesses that are at or over the 50-employee threshold and already offers group health insurance. Finally, organizations that have yet to comply with the ACA are being encouraged to use the additional year wisely by adhering to the federal mandate.
The delay's impact on your business depends on your ACA status, including how many employees are on staff and whether you're already compliant. Review the law and internal practices to ensure that your company is already up to federal standards.