The US Department of Treasury (DOT) [official website] announced [DOT blog] on Tuesday that it will delay enforcing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [text; JURIST backgrounder] employer mandate for businesses with 50 or more full-time employees until 2015. The PPACA mandate requiring companies with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health coverage to its employees and to adhere to specific information reporting practices was expected to take effect in 2014. The extensive reporting requirements [Bloomberg report] include items such as the months during which employees and any of their dependents is covered by health insurance. Upon enforcement, employers not in compliance with PPACA coverage requirements will receive monetary penalties from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) [official website] for each employee who remains without employer provided coverage. The DOT also stated that it will publish formal guidance for businesses to help simplify the upcoming transition. Despite the employer mandate delay, the DOT stated that it strongly encourages businesses to voluntarily implement the information reporting in 2014.
The employer mandate delay is one of the latest developments concerning the PPACA. Last week, the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit [official website] ruled that Hobby Lobby [corporate website] may challenge the mandate to provide employees with coverage for contraceptives under the PPACA. The court found [JURIST report] that the company sufficiently established a likelihood of success in showing that their rights are substantially burdened by the contraceptive-coverage requirement and that they have established an irreparable harm. The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled last year that the "individual mandate" provision [text] of the act, which requires every person, with some exceptions for religious and other reasons, to purchase some form of health insurance by January 1, 2014, did not violate the Constitution [JURIST report]. The PPACA was signed into law [JURIST report] by President Barack Obama in March of 2010. It was passed by the US House of Representatives and approved [JURIST reports] by the US Senate months earlier.