Feb. 10—The Obama administration delayed the employer mandate for another year for employers with 50 to 99 workers.

The latest delay in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that all businesses with more than 50 employees provide qualified insurance coverage to nearly all of their workers beginning in 2014 followed last summer’s one-year delay for all companies. The more limited delay gives medium-sized companies until 2016 to provide such coverage or pay large fines.

The new regulations from the Treasury Department also give more flexibility to larger employers. For instance, businesses with more than 100 full-time workers must offer coverage to 70 percent of their full-time employees in 2015, and increase it to 95 percent of workers thereafter.

“While about 96 percent of employers are not subject to the employer responsibility provision, for those employers that are, we will continue to make the compliance process simpler and easier to navigate,” Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark J. Mazur said in a release. “Today’s final regulations phase in the standards to ensure that larger employers either offer quality, affordable coverage or make an employer responsibility payment starting in 2015 to help offset the cost to taxpayers of coverage or subsidies to their employees.”

Among other details of the final regulations exempted from the full-time employee coverage requirement “bona fide volunteers for a government or tax-exempt entity,” such as volunteer firefighters and emergency responders, according to an IRS fact sheet.

The American Hospital Association criticized the previous employer mandate delay in June 2013 as an erosion of the ACA’s coverage goals.

Publication Date: Monday, February 10, 2014