White House Delays Obamacare Mandate Again

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

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 2010 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.

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.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

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

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

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