BRADENTON – On Tuesday, the White House announced it would delay the Affordable Care Act mandate requiring that employers provide coverage for their workers (or face penalties), until 2015. The move comes amid complaints that the new rules are too complex and would have negative economic effects if enacted too quickly. While it also moves the implementation beyond the 2014 mid-term elections, the delay will likely push the issue to the forefront of the 2016 presidential election, especially if the transition does not go smoothly.
“We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively,” Mark J. Mazur, an assistant Treasury secretary, said in an release. “We recognize that the vast majority of businesses that will need to do this reporting already provide health insurance to their workers, and we want to make sure it is easy for others to do so.”
Under the 2010 law, employerswith more than 50 full-time employees were required to provide them with health insurance starting next year, or else pay fines. Numerous reports had suggested that some companies with payrolls at or just over the magic number had threatened to cut jobs or switch full-time workers to part-time employment in order to escape the requirement.
For many of the more than 40 million Americans without health insurance coverage, it's unclear exactly what impact the decision will have.
The change does not impact other parts of the law. Uninsured Americans who do not qualify for expanded Medicaid care will still have to utilize the health care exchanges. Subsidies are available for lower-income individuals who qualify, which may be difficult to determine without knowing whether that person's employer offers insurance. Enrollment in the exchanges is scheduled to begin on October 1 and take effect on January 1, 2014.