When does the employer mandate go into effect?

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Question:

I know the employer mandate has been delayed from 2014 to 2015. Who has to comply starting in 2015 -- and have there been further postponements? 

Answer:

You're right: The employer mandate (also called "play or pay") included in the Affordable Care Act has been postponed twice. Beginning in 2014, all employers with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees were supposed to provide health insurance benefits to employees who work at least 30 hours a week or pay a penalty. However, as 2014 drew near, the Obama administration postponed this requirement to 2015. 

In February of 2014, the mandate was delayed again. As of this writing, here are the requirements:

- Employers that have at least 50 but no more than 100 employees will have more time to provide coverage. For these employers, the mandate will now kick in at the beginning of 2016.
- Bigger employers -- those that have at least 100 employees -- won’t have to cover everyone right away. For 2015, these employers will have to offer coverage to only 70% of their full-time employees (Remember, “full-time” under the law means employees who work at least 30 hours a week.) For 2016, 95% of full-time employees will have to be offered coverage.

Will there be further postponements? No one can say for sure, of course. For a while, it appeared as if the Supreme Court might also play a role in determining the exact effective date of the mandate. However, the Court decided not to hear an appeal challenging the employer mandate in its entirety. The Court is, however, set to offer an opinion in a case challenging the law's requirement that employer coverage include certain types of contraception. 

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