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Health Insurance: Play or Pay?
National Summary
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not require employers to provide healthcare insurance for their employees. However, it requires employers to share healthcare responsibility by either providing coverage or paying penalties. Under ACA’s employer mandate (also known as the “play-or-pay” provision), applicable large employers must decide if they want to “play” by providing affordable, adequate coverage to substantially all of their full-time employees—or pay fines assessed under IRC Section 4980H.
The play-or-pay provision was originally supposed to become effective January 1, 2014, but the Obama administration subsequently delayed implementation until 2015. Applicable large employers with 100 or more employees had to contend with penalties under the play-or-pay provision as of 2015. However, applicable large employers with 50 to 99 employees that met certain requirements and provided appropriate certification did not face any penalties under the provision until 2016.
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