You now have until 2015 to prepare for what is arguably one of most challenging (and confusing) Obamacare rules in the entire law.
That’s because the IRS announced that healthcare reform law’s employer and insurer reporting requirements – which were slated to kick in on Jan. 1, 2014 – will be delayed until 2015.
Without these reporting requirements in place, the feds won’t be able to enforce the rule requiring firms to provide full-time workers with affordable healthcare coverage.
That means the health reform law’s “play-or-pay” rule has been effectively delayed until 2015, as well.
Even though the feds delayed the employer-reporting requirement, they said they’ll still enforce the individual mandate – a reg requiring most people to carry health insurance or pay a penalty – beginning on Jan. 1, 2014.
They also assured individuals that tax credits designed to help the uninsured afford coverage will still be available.
A stack of follow-up guidance
The feds followed up its surprising announcement with a barrage of official guidance.
In all, the HHS issued 606-pages of regs on the most recent health reform developments.
But if you don’t have time to sift through the feds guidance, there is one key issue to be aware of:
1. Zero coverage verification
First, the Obama administration reiterated that individuals would still have to have to comply with “individual mandate” requirement.
But it offered some additional details on the process now that the employer reporting requirement has been delayed.
Essentially, the feds said that the health insurance exchanges won’t have to verify individuals’ claims that they’re not being offered health insurance or “affordable” health insurance from their employer until at least 2015.
For employers, this is further assurance that they won’t have to worry about whether or not they affordable healthcare coverage – at least for another year.
No time to waste
While this delay may seem like a blessing, employers can’t afford to get too comfortable. After all, a year goes by very quickly.
This gives firms some much-needed extra time to catch up on all of prep work they may have fallen behind on. So CFOs should make it a point to huddle up with HR and their benefits broker to talk about how best to handle the delay.
And in the meantime, there are plenty of health reform regs that haven’t been delayed. Here are just a few examples:
- Providing employees with written notices about the exchanges (Oct. 1, 2013)
- A 90-day limit for healthcare eligibility (Jan. 1, 2014), and
- The ban on annual dollar limits for essential health benefits (2014).
If you’re looking for a detailed breakdown on everything that’s been delayed and everything that’s still in play after the feds latest move, check out this guide.