Businesses with between 50 and 99 employees will now have an extra year, to 2016, to provide health insurance coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to regulations issued February 10 by the US Department of the Treasury. Businesses with 100 employees or more will still have to provide coverage for employees working more than 30 hours per week in January 2015. These larger employers will have to offer coverage to at least 70 percent of their full-time workers in 2015 and 95 percent in 2016 and beyond to avoid the $2,000-per-person penalty. Employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from the employer mandate.
This is the second time the so-called employer mandate has been delayed. Originally, all businesses with 50 or more employees or “full-time equivalents” had to provide health benefits or pay a $2,000-per-person penalty by 2014. The Obama Administration delayed that deadline until 2015 to give businesses more time to comply with all of the ACA’s requirements. Under the latest announcement, businesses with 50-99 employees will not have to provide coverage until 2016 but will be subject to reporting requirements in 2015.