The Treasury Department announced that it was loosening aspects of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate, which fines companies with 50 or more full-time employees that do not offer health insurance.
Enactment of the provision was previously delayed from 2014 to 2015.
The current easing is not a full-scale delay. Businesses with 50 to 99 full-time employees will no longer be required to offer qualifying health insurance for their employees on Jan. 1, 2015, the deadline set last summer. That date has been pushed back to 2016.
For the purposes of the health care law, popularly known as Obamacare, full-time is defined as working 30 hours or more. According to the Urban Institute Health Penalty Center, some 96 percent of businesses with 50 or more full-time employees already offer health care coverage.
Businesses with 100 full-time employees or more will still be required to provide health care in 2015 or face fines. However, under the new rules, those employers need to insure only 70 percent of their workers in 2015 and 95 percent in 2016 and beyond.
Companies with 50 employees or less—96 percent of all employers—are not required to provide coverage under the Affordable Care Act, though some qualify for tax abatements if they do.
For more information on the new provisions, see the Treasury Department’s fact sheet.
For more information on the law in general, see last year’s JCK articles: Everything Jewelers Need to Know About How Obamacare Will Affect Their Businesses as well as JCK 5: How Jewelers Can Best Prepare for Health Insurance Reform.