The Obama administration announced last week that it is delaying the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer responsibility provision.   Now employers won’t have to worry about compliance with the provision, commonly referred to as the “play or pay” provision, until 2015.

Under this particular part of the ACA, employers with fifty (50) or more employees face penalties if they don’t offer health insurance coverage or if the coverage they offer is insufficient.

According to the government, the delay in implementing the play or pay provision is mainly due to the administration’s decision to postpone implementation of the new employer and insurer reporting requirements. The administration states that the transition relief would make it “impractical to determine which employers owe shared responsibility payments…for 2014.”

The announcement noted that the administration has been engaging in a dialogue with businesses and has heard a lot of concerns about the complexity of the mandatory employer and insurance reporting requirements and the need for more time for proper implementation. Additionally, the administration revealed that the delay in the reporting requirements is designed to:

  • Allow the administration to consider ways to simplify the new reporting requirements consistent with the law; and
  • Provide “time to adapt health coverage and reporting systems while employers are moving toward making health coverage affordable and accessible for their employees.”

The administration is expected to publish formal guidance describing the transition relief for these provisions within the next week.