As most Americans kicked off a three-day holiday weekend, The New York Times reported late last week that the Obama administration had implemented yet another delay for Obamacare—this time halting a provision that prohibits employers from providing better health benefits to top executives than to other employees.
Obamacare states that employer-sponsored health plans cannot discriminate “in favor of highly compensated individuals” in regards to eligibility or type of benefits offered, requiring that higher-paid workers cannot get better health plans not available to other employees.
The New York Times said tax officials would not enforce the provision this year because the Internal Revenue Service had not issued any guidance for employers on the provision. “Officials at the [IRS] said they were wrestling with complicated questions like how to measure the value of employee health benefits, how to define ‘highly compensated’ and what exactly constitutes discrimination,” Robert Pear wrote.
The latest Obamacare delay—following several others that include halting the employer mandate fine—stops penalties to employers that are set at $100 per day for each employee impacted negatively by benefit discrimination, according to The Hill.
It comes nearly three weeks after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a Fox News reporter that she didn’t expect any more delays for the health law.
A similar health benefit discrimination policy has been in place for decades for employers that self-insure. News reports did not mention when the IRS expected to issue the provision’s regulations.