Employer Mandate Delayed Until 2015

Last month the federal government announced a one-year delay in the employer mandate provision in the Affordable Care Act until 2015. The employer mandate requires companies that employ more than 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance coverage to employees who work 30 or more hours per week or pay fines. The one-year delay means enforcement of the employer mandate will now begin on January 1, 2015.

Employers with less than 50 full-time equivalent employees are not required to offer health insurance to full-time employees (defined by the law as those who work 30 or more hours per week). Despite the delay in the employer mandate, the individual mandate requiring all Americans to have health insurance will still take effect as scheduled on January 1, 2014.

An Urban Institute study found that without the Affordable Care Act, 19 percent of Americans would be uninsured, compared with 10 percent with the law in effect. As the above graphic shows, removing the employer mandate from the law has little impact on the total number of uninsured.

As a result of the one-year delay in enforcement of the employer mandate, an estimated 500,000 fewer Americans are expected to be insured in 2014. This may seem like a lot, but the one year delay of the employer mandate is only expected to lead to a 0.1 percent increase in the total number of uninsured (see above graphic). The employer mandate delay is being viewed as good news for businesses, as it gives employers another year to prepare and become compliant.

Here are some answers to common questions about how the employer mandate delay will impact workers and companies.

Does your employer offer health insurance? Will the delay in the employer mandate impact you?

Ryan Schuster is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.