On July 2, the US Department of the Treasury announced on their website that employers who are required to provide health insurance to their workers have been given an extra year to comply. In Continuing to Implement ACA in a Careful, Thoughtful Manner, written by Mark Mazur, he highlights the reasoning for the Obama Administration in reaching this decision.
Under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, employers with 50 or more full time employees are required to offer affordable health insurance or pay fines. Implementation of this provision was set to take place on January 1, 2014. Citing business owner concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to assure an effective transition, the decision was made to postpone this requirement for one year.
While the announcement came as a surprise to many, most will not see any significant changes, at least in the near term, since 85% of Americans are already insured. In Massachusetts, where 98% of the population is insured, the impact will be even less.
With Massachusetts the exception, it is important to note that the availability for Americans to seek health insurance in state exchanges is still set for October 1, 2013 for enrollments effective on January 1, 2014. Massachusetts residents who are unable to obtain insurance through their employer have been able to do so through the Massachusetts connector program since health care reform was passed in 2006.