Some larger businesses may be letting out a collective sigh of relief now that they have more time to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provision that requires them to provide health care coverage to their employees.
The White House said Tuesday that it is extending the compliance deadline for employers with 50 or more employees from 2014 to 2015 so that they can test the new reporting systems and make any necessary adaptations to their health benefits.
“This delay will give all of us enough time to work through the many issues and provisions that will be in effect for 2014 and beyond,” said Sherry Campbell, benefits consultant and chief operating officer for CU Benefits Alliance, a Salem, Ore.-based CUSO owned by 18 credit unions. “This delay will give us some relief in efforts to meet all the timelines of the legislation.”
Prior to the announcement of the extension, businesses with more than 50 workers that did not provide health care coverage faced paying fines of $2,000 per employee starting next year.
Campbell said the federal government has realized the complexity of this particular provision and the reporting involved for compliance.
“So many times lawmakers do not understand the unintended consequences of passing new laws,” Campbell said
“And, they heard from so many mid-size and large groups that benefits are made available to most of their employees now, why place this requirement in front of them in 2014, when employers in this market already see the value of providing a robust benefit package,” she questioned.
Indeed, the White House acknowledged hearing concerns from small businesses about new data collection systems and coordination for health insurance enrollment under PPACA, popularly known as Obamacare.
“Some of this detailed reporting may be unnecessary for businesses that more than meet the minimum standards in the law. We will convene employers, insurers, and experts to propose a smarter system and, in the interim, suspend reporting for 2014,” the White House said in its statement.