In a startling development, the federal government appears ready to delay by one year the effective date of one of the central provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—the shared responsibility provisions (more commonly called the “employer mandate” or “pay or play”). This will give employers additional time to engage in strategic workforce planning in advance of the new effective date.

Late yesterday afternoon, a representative from the U.S. Department of the Treasury stated in a blog post that the effective date of the mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements under the ACA would be delayed until January 1, 2015. As a result, the Treasury Department will also push back the date that payments under the shared responsibility provisions would begin from January 1, 2014, to January 1, 2015.

This effectively means that there will be a one-year delay (or transitional period) in the employer mandate. Employers with more than 50 full-time or full-time equivalent employees will not be required to pay a penalty if they do not offer full-time employees and their dependents the opportunity to enroll in meaningful, affordable coverage under an employer-sponsored plan until 2015. According to the Treasury Department blog post, the agency will issue more formal guidance on this subject later this summer.

As the federal health care reform effort gained steam, Ballard Spahr attorneys established the Health Care Reform Initiative to monitor and analyze legislative developments. With federal health care reform now a reality, our attorneys are assisting health care entities and employers in understanding the relevant changes and planning for the future. They also have launched the Health Care Reform Dashboard, an online resource center for news and analysis on developments under the Affordable Care Act.

If you have questions about the delays in effective dates, contact Jonathan M. Calpas at 215.864.8385 or, Edward I. Leeds at 215.864.8419 or, Brian M. Pinheiro at 215.864.8511 or, or Diane A. Thompson at 424.204.4334 or