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ACA Update: Healthcare Exchanges Delayed for Small Businesses

The Obama Administration announced last Tuesday that the implementation of the employer health insurance mandate, a key piece of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, will be delayed until 2015.

The employer healthcare mandate was set to take effect on January 1, 2014. This part of the 2010 legislation requires all employers with more than 50 full-time workers to provide health insurance or pay high penalties.  It also mandates a new insurance marketplace specifically for small businesses that is designed to allow these companies to provide employees with a choice of health plans.  This mandate is now due to be implemented January 1, 2015. 

When announcing the delay, the Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax Policy, Mark Mazur, indicated that businesses had voiced “concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively.”  This delay is intended to provide extra time to help companies work out the details of reporting their compliance with this mandate to the IRS.  Information that will need to be reported includes the type of coverage offered, as well as the cost.

Several states that are running their own exchanges – such as California and Connecticut – have announced that they plan to offer an employee choice option next year, even though it is not required by the federal government until 2015. 

The announcement did not include the individual health care mandate, which as of now, is still set to begin on January 1st, 2014 and will open up federally-subsidized coverage options to uninsured individuals. Stay tuned to future blog posts, as we will keep you informed of any further tax-related legislative changes.

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