Employers have been struggling to understand the parameters of the employer mandate for health care coverage that was scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2014. In an attempt to avoid political fallout from the business community in advance of the 2014 mid-term elections, the administration has announced a one year delay in implementation. This means employers with more than 50 full-time employees won’t be subject to the penalty for failing to provide health care insurance, at least until January 2015.
The full impact of this decision won’t be known until the Treasury Department releases revised regulations this Friday. It is unclear whether the period for measuring the size of the workforce, and whether an employee is full-time or part-time, will also be delayed or modified. With the state health care exchanges and the individual mandate still scheduled to become operational this January, there will undoubtedly be many complications for employers to navigate in the coming year.
While the immediate reaction for many business owners will be a sigh of relief, this temporary reprieve should not side track your company’s strategic planning in the health care arena.