By Dean Spina
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, enacted in 2010, provided that commencing with plan years starting in 2014, employers with an average, in a year, of 50 or more full-time ("FT") and full-time equivalent ("FTE") employees may be required to pay a tax of either $2,000 or $3,000. The taxes are triggered if at least one of the FT employees is certified to receive a premium tax credit or cost sharing reduction in an individual insurance exchange established under the health reform law. Proposed Rules, filed in late 2012, left many unanswered questions with the law expected to go into effect January 1, 2014.
An additional burden on all "large" employers is the burden of tracking employees (and dependents) to have a record of having offered health coverage that was affordable and of minimum value.
In a surprising course change, on July 2, 2013, the administration announced that it was delaying the implementation of the employer shared responsibility provisions until 2015, ostensibly because of the reporting burden and to provide time for the administration to simplify rules to implement the law.
Under the now delayed tax law, a full-time employee is an individual who works 30 or more hours per week. These taxes apply to all employers - private, non-profit and governmental. There are a number of unanswered questions regarding these new taxes on large employers and the delay in implementation may provide the answers that will remove uncertainty in how the taxes apply.
Commentators and critics are evaluating the delayed implementation, with some finding a silver lining for individuals as well as large employers. Others are identifying significant concerns that the delay will have numerous adverse consequences. Some commentators and members of Congress are questioning if the administration has the authority to delay the implementation.
At this time only the employer shared responsibility provisions have been delayed. Since 2010, massive amounts of regulations and guidance have been issued by the agencies charged with implementing the nearly 2,400 page Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Numerous provisions of the Act go into effect later in 2013 and in 2014. The individual mandate to have health coverage or pay a tax and the availability of insurance for individuals and small employers through health insurance exchanges, are not affected by the delayed implementation of the employer shared responsibility law.
Members of the Bradley & Riley PC Health Law Practice Group are keeping abreast of the many facets of implementation of the Affordable Care Act. As new guidance becomes available we will continue to monitor the implementation and provide counsel in our customary way – finding practical solutions to complex problems.
Now is a good time for you to save the date of September 5, 2013, starting at 2 p.m. for our Health Law Seminar. More information will be forthcoming soon. In the interim, we are available to address your health law questions.
If you have any questions regarding this recent delay in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, please contact Dean Spina.
Categories: Health Law