White House delays penalties against employers that don’t provide health insurance

Posted July 02, 2013, at 6:12 p.m.

Businesses won’t be penalized next year if they don’t provide workers health insurance after the Obama administration decided to delay a key requirement under its health-care law, two administration officials said.

The decision will come in regulatory guidance to be issued later this week. It addresses vehement complaints from employer groups about the administrative burden of reporting requirements, though it may also affect coverage provided to some workers.

The two officials, who asked not to be identified to discuss the move ahead of its announcement, said the administration decided to wait until 2015 before enforcing the employer mandate in order to simplify reporting requirements and give businesses more time to adapt their health-care coverage.

The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as Obamacare, includes financial penalties on businesses with more than 50 employees that fail to provide health insurance that meets minimum standards and tests for affordability. The mandate is set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

Maine business owners have been struggling to understand how the law will affect their business and health insurance costs.

The White House had been in discussions with business groups over complaints about the reporting requirements, and senior officials believe they can simplify the process, the officials said. President Barack Obama’s administration plans to invite employer groups to discuss ways of simplifying administrative burdens created by the mandate, they said.

Most large employers already provide coverage that meets the law’s requirements, the officials said.

 

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