February 10, 2014 – The Obama administration announced another delay Monday in the requirement on businesses to provide health coverage to workers, giving some employers a reprieve next year while phasing in the mandate for others.
The administration had already delayed the implementation of the so-called employer mandate by a year, presumably pushing the requirements off until 2015. In a bow to business, though, Treasury Department officials announced Monday that the administration would not enforce the rules across the board next year.
Instead, the administration will let employers with 50 to 99 employees off the hook in 2015. They’ll be required to report on how many workers are covered but will have until 2016 before being required to cover full-time staff or pay a penalty.
Employers with 100 or more workers will be required to provide health insurance to full-time staff next year. However, the new rules will only require them to cover 70 percent of workers at first; and then 95 percent the following year and beyond.
As before, companies with fewer than 50 employees will not be required to provide health coverage.
The latest announcement comes after the administration heard from businesses about their concerns with the looming ObamaCare rules. However, the change is sure to raise more questions about the health and implementation of the law. Fewer workers getting insurance through their employers could mean more individuals on the ObamaCare exchanges seeking subsidized coverage, increasing the cost to taxpayers.
On the other side of the argument, some lawmakers have claimed that the mere threat of the employer mandate is causing companies to shed full-time workers in the hope of keeping their staff size below 50 and avoiding the requirement.
Administration officials dispute that this is happening on any large scale. Further, Treasury officials said Monday that businesses will be told to “certify” that they are not shedding full-time workers simply to avoid the mandate. Officials said employers will be told to sign a “self-attestation” on their tax forms affirming this, under penalty of perjury.