On September 5, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced proposed regulations
that will streamline the requirements applicable to employers and insurance companies regarding the reporting of health coverage information under the Affordable Care Act’s “employer mandate.” The mandate requires that employers with at least 50 full-time employees provide them with basic health insurance coverage or pay a per-employee penalty. The Treasury Department had announced in July that implementation of the mandate would be postponed from January 1, 2014, to January 1, 2015, to allow time for simplified rules to be issued.
The proposed new rules would, among other things, replace mandatory statements to employees describing employers’ coverage offers with a W-2-based reporting system and remove the need to determine whether employees are full-time if all employees are offered sufficient coverage. Other reporting requirements are also being relaxed.
In the Department’s news release, Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark J. Mazur said, “Today’s proposed rules enable us to continue engaging on how best to implement the ACA reporting requirements in a more streamlined and focused manner. We will continue to consider ways, consistent with the law, to simplify the new information reporting process and bring about a smooth implementation of those new rules.” Public comments on the proposed rule are due by November 8, 2013.
Employers are being encouraged to voluntarily follow the reporting rules in 2014. In his blog post in July that announced the implementation delay, Mazur had said, “Real-world testing of reporting systems in 2014 will contribute to a smoother transition to full implementation in 2015.”