Healthcare Act Employee Mandate Delayed to 2015 - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Healthcare Act Employee Mandate Delayed to 2015

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A key provision to president Obama's healthcare reform act is being delayed, giving businesses with 50 or more employees another year before they are required to provide health insurance for their staff.

Affected businesses have been preparing for the January 2014 deadline for more than a year; but now, it's not taking effect until 2015.

Most businesses are relieved at the extra time, according to the Bay County Chamber of Commerce.

"These changes really happened fast, even though it seems like they didn't, it really did and it just gives them more time to prepare for what's next," Vice President of Communications, Brittany Cole.

The mandate requires companies with 50 plus employees to either provide health insurance, or pay the IRS two thousand dollars per full time employee who does not get health coverage.

Numbers from the Bay County Chamber shows the mandate will affect roughly 16 percent, or 147, of more than 900 Chamber businesses.

"It gives them a short window to sit back and draw another breath, realign their dollars and make it a little easier," said Walton County Democratic Party Chair, Frank Day.

Panhandle Democratic Party leadership says the move was a smart one for businesses who may not have yet understood what all went in to the mandate.

"The administration wants employers to fully understand the calculations so it's an effective implementation," said employee benefits attorney, Mark Lipton.

Other key parts of the healthcare law, including individual tax credits to buy health coverage, will stay on track for a 2014.

Bay County Democrat Brenda Miracle said it's welcome news for her son with a preexisting medical condition.

"People who are able to go out and get the individual insurance, that will still be available, the plans are still going to be on track," said Miracle.

In a post to their website late Tuesday, the Department of Treasury defended the move saying:

"We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively...we have listened to your feedback and we are taking action."

Again, the new implementation date is January 1st, 2015.