50+ Employee Health Groups Penalty Extension

"Pay or Play" Requirements Delayed Until 2015

The U.S. Treasury Department has announced that it will delay enforcement of the "pay or play" requirements for one year. As a result, any penalties (also known as employer shared responsibility payments) will not apply until 2015.

The "pay or play" provisions require large employers--generally those with at least 50 full-time employees and full-time equivalents--to offer affordable health insurance that provides a minimum level of coverage to full-time employees (and their dependents) or pay a penalty tax if a full-time employee receives a premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction for purchasing coverage on an Exchange. The requirements were originally to become effective on January 1, 2014.

According to the announcement, transition relief is being provided with respect to certain employer and insurer reporting requirements under the law, which will make it impractical to determine which employers owe shared responsibility payments for 2014. Consequently, the transition relief is being extended to the "pay or play" penalties and any such penalties will not apply for 2014. Instead, employer shared responsibility payments will not apply until 2015. The agency encourages employers to maintain or expand their health coverage during the 2014 transition period.