One of the more controversial aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the employer mandate, which applies to “large” employers with 50 or more full-time employees. The impact that the employer mandate will have on employer-sponsored health insurance plans, many of which are governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), will remain unknown for some time — predominantly due to the delay in its implementation. But whatever effect the employer mandate will have, it will likely arise out of its penalty provisions.
The employer mandate was originally scheduled to go into effect this year, but in 2013, the Obama administration announced a one-year delay to 2015. More recently, the Treasury Department announced a further delay to 2016 (at least for the imposition of penalties) for smaller businesses with 50 to 99 employees.