A surprise announcement out of Washington concerning a major provision of Obamacare led into the 4th of July holiday and served as fireworks of sorts to large employers and those in the industry. Late on Tuesday July 2nd, the Administration announced that the Employer Mandate, a central piece of the Affordable Care Act, was delayed until 2015.

Under the Employer Mandate an employer with 50 or more employees must offer full time employees “minimum essential group health coverage” that is “affordable” or pay penalties. Employers who elect not to offer coverage would be subject to a $2,000 per employee penalty. Those employers offering coverage that doesn’t meet ACA’s minimal coverage and/or affordability standards  would be subject to a $3,000 per employee fine for any employees that obtain subsidized coverage through the insurance exchanges.

In making the announcement, officials pointed to complications related to data collection, complex employer reporting requirements and other administration issues as the reasons for the delay.

So far, this delay does not affect the January 1, 2014 Individual Mandate or any of the new requirements that will impact the small group market (firms with less than 50 employees) such as the essential health benefit requirements and the rating reforms.

More information and coverage can be found at Kaiser Health News, Summaries of News Coverage,  Delay In Major Health Law Provision Raises Doubts At Critical Stage Of Rollout, http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Daily-Reports/2013/July/02/employer-mandate.aspx