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February 11, 2014
Large employer health insurance mandate delayed again
Federal government creates different rules based on number of employees
 
FARGO, N.D. — Enforcement of the large employer mandate in the federal Affordable Care Act has been delayed for employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees, giving large North Dakota employers more time to comply with the requirement to offer employer-sponsored health insurance.
 
"For the last few years we have been educating North Dakota businesses about the impact of the employer mandate," said Judd Wagner, vice president of Marketing and chief marketing officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota. "With this latest change we will reach out again to ensure our member groups are in compliance and are prepared for how this latest change will impact them. Employers who have questions are encouraged to contact their Blue Cross Blue Shield account executive."
 
For the first time, new federal guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department creates different rules for employers with 50-99 employees, and those with 100 or more employees. Companies with between 50 and 99 full-time equivalent employees will now have until 2016 to offer qualifying health insurance coverage to all employees who work 30 or more hours per week.
 
Employers with 100 or more full-time equivalent workers will now have until the insurance plan year beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2015, to offer qualifying health insurance coverage to at least 70 percent of its full-time employees. The requirement to offer qualifying coverage increases to at least 95 percent of full-time employees in 2016.
 
North Dakota companies with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees are exempt from the requirement. Companies with 50 or more full-time workers that do not comply will face government tax penalties if at least one employee receives a premium tax credit and purchases health insurance on the marketplace.
 
The large employer mandate was originally scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2014, but was delayed last summer for a year until 2015 by the Obama Administration. Monday's announcement of the latest delay gives employers with between 50 and 99 full-time equivalent employees another year to meet the requirement, and allows larger employers with 100 or more full-time employees an extra year to phase in the percentage of employees offered qualifying coverage. The regulations released this week also included additional steps some employers may need to take advantage of the delay, and many other details.
 
About Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota
BCBSND is a member-owned, not-for-profit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. As North Dakota's largest provider of health care coverage, BCBSND is taking BOLD steps to collaborate with doctors, hospitals, clinics and members to ensure affordable access to quality health care in the state. To learn more about BCBSND, visit www.BCBSND.com.
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