recommended reading

White House Delays Obamacare Mandate Again

Adam Parent/Shutterstock.com

The Obama administration announced further delays Monday in Obamacare's employer mandate—which has already been pushed back a full year.

Administration officials said the latest delays are designed to give businesses more flexibility and a longer transition period to begin offering health insurance to their workers.

The Affordable Care Act requires large employers—those with more than 50 full-time employees—to either provide health insurance to their workers or pay a penalty. The mandate was scheduled to take effect this year, but the Treasury Department previously delayed the deadline until 2015.

Now it's delaying the coverage requirement even further.

Businesses with 50 to 99 full-time workers—people working at least 30 hours per week—don't have to comply with the mandate until 2016, under final regulations the Treasury Department released Monday.

Larger employers aren't getting an outright delay but will have more time to fully comply with the mandate. Employers with more than 100 full-time workers must offer coverage to 70 percent of their full-time employees this year, and 95 percent after that, to avoid paying a penalty.

The administration noted that only about 4 percent of employers are eligible for one of the breaks announced Monday, although those businesses employ about 72 percent of all private-sector workers.

The vast majority of large employers already provide health benefits to their full-time workers. Monday's changes are unlikely to make a significant difference in how many people the Affordable Care Act ultimately covers.

Monday's regulations also clarify that volunteers—for example, volunteer firefighters—aren't counted as full-time employees, and they give employers more flexibility when counting workers' hours. Those steps were designed to "kind of mitigate the way the 30-hour definition works," a Treasury official said.

Officials said businesses will have to attest that they're not cutting employees just to qualify for the additional delay but noted that businesses are still free to cut their workforces for economic reasons.

Asked where Treasury found the legal authority to phase in the employer mandate, officials said the department has "broad authority" to implement tax laws in a way that will ease the administration of those laws.

"We think a phase-in approach really is a way to administer the law better," a senior Treasury official said.

This article appears in the February 11, 2014, edition of NJ Daily.

(Image via Adam Parent/Shutterstock.com)

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.