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Obamacare mandate delayed again for some businesses

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Businesses that hire between 50 and 99 employees will now have until 2016 to provide health insurance coverage for their workers, the U.S. Treasury Department announced yesterday, Feb. 10. While these businesses must still report employees’ coverage in 2015, the employer shared responsibility payments, a penalty of $2,000 per employee for businesses that fail to provide health insurance, will not be assessed until 2016.

Originally, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) required that all businesses with 50 or more full-time employees provide health insurance benefits by 2014. This mandate was pushed back to 2015 when many businesses claimed they needed more time to comply with reporting requirements.

The Treasury Department estimates this ruling will affect approximately 2 percent of the nation’s employers.

Employees of these companies are still required, under the ACA, to have insurance coverage. Families and individuals who do not have employer-sponsored health insurance may purchase a health plan through their state’s Health Insurance Marketplace. To avoid a penalty, individuals must have coverage beginning April 1, 2014.

For 2014, the penalty for not having health insurance is $95 or 1 percent of adjusted gross income, whichever is greater. Penalties will be collected by the Internal Revenue Service during the 2015 tax season.

Households with incomes less than 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level may be eligible for tax credits and subsidies to offset health insurance premium costs. Insurance must be purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace to access subsidies.