On July 9, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2013-45 to provide formal guidance on the delay of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) large employer “pay or play” rules and related information reporting requirements. The provisions affected by the delay are:
- § 4980H employer shared responsibility provisions;
- § 6055 information reporting requirements for insurers, self-insuring employers and certain other providers of minimum essential coverage; and
- § 6056 information reporting requirements for applicable large employers.
*For 2014, compliance with the information reporting rules is completely optional and the IRS will not assess penalties under the pay or play rules. Both the information reporting and the employer pay or play requirements will be fully effective for 2015.
One-year Implementation Delay
According to the IRS, the delay of the reporting requirements provides additional time for input from employers and other reporting entities in an effort to simplify these requirements, consistent with effective implementation of the ACA. This delay is also intended to provide employers, insurers and other providers of minimum essential coverage time to adapt their health coverage and reporting systems.
The delay of the employer mandate penalties was required because of issues related to the reporting requirements. Because the reporting rules were delayed, the Treasury believed it would be nearly impossible to determine which employers owed penalties under the shared responsibility provisions.
The pay or play regulations issued earlier this year left many unanswered questions for employers. The IRS highlighted several areas where it would be issuing more guidance. Presumably, the additional time will give the IRS and Treasury the opportunity to provide more comprehensive guidance on implementing these requirements.
Effect on Other ACA Provisions
The delay does not affect any other provision of the ACA, including individuals’ access to premium tax credits for coverage through an Exchange and the individual mandate.
Individuals will continue to be eligible for the premium tax credit to purchase coverage through an Exchange as long as they meet the eligibility requirements (for example, their household income is within a specified range and they are not eligible for other minimum essential coverage).
Click here for a chart illustrating the provisions that will and will not be affected by the employer mandate delay.