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)