Employers with 50 to 99 employees will NOT have to comply with Pay or Play in 2015, a delay of an additional year on top of the original delay for all groups that put off compliance until January 1, 2015.  While these groups will be required to report on those who are covered, they do not have to comply with the rules until 2016. In addition, groups of over 100 employees are being given a graduated schedule for compliance – employers will need to offer coverage to 70% of full time employees in 2015 and 95% in 2016 and later years or they will, as is always threatened, be subject to penalties.  There are, of course, conditions:

1)    The employer has on average at least 50 full time employee equivalents but fewer than 100 on business days during 2014

2)    From February 9 to December 31, the employer does not reduce the size of its workforce or overall hours of service in order to avoid complying with the Pay or Play mandate in 2015

3)    Any health care benefits offered by the employer on February 9 must not be eliminated or materially reduced.  The employer must continue to offer coverage during this coverage maintenance period at nearly the same cost sharing levels through the last day of the plan year beginning on or after January 1, 2015

4)    Employers who are eligible for the one year delay will need to complete a form certifying that they meet the transitional relief requirements.  This form will be included with IRC Section 6056 health insurance reporting once they are published

John Boehner responded, of course – “Once again, the president is giving a break to corporations while individuals and families are still stuck under the mandates of his health care law.  And, once again, the president is rewriting law on a whim”  “Another day, another lawless exemption” said the Wall Street Journal.  J. Mark Iwry, deputy assistant Treasury secretary for health policy (now there’s a title), defended the administration and said they have broad authority to grant transition relief under a section of the Internal Revenue Code that directs the Treasury Secretary to prescribe all needful rules and regulations for the enforcement of tax obligations…which has often been used to postpone the application of new laws that would cause unreasonable administrative burdens or costs to taxpayers (oh)