Technically, no. However, employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent (FTE) employees will pay a shared-responsibility penalty if a full-time employee opts to purchase coverage through an exchange and receives a premium subsidy. If an employer does not offer coverage to substantially all full-time employees and their dependents, and even one full-time employee receives a premium subsidy, the fee will be $2,000 times the total number of full-time employees, excluding the first 30. If coverage is offered but does not meet affordability or minimum value standards, the employer will pay a fee of $3,000 for each full-time employee who actually purchases coverage through an exchange and receives a subsidy, subject to a cap of $2,000 times the total of full-time employees, less the first 30. The IRS has provided several methods for an employer to use to determine affordability, including rate of pay and W-2 wages. An employer plan provides minimum value if it pays for at least 60 percent of covered benefits.
Update: On Feb. 10, 2014, the federal government announced a delay to the employer shared-responsibility penalty, giving employers time to transition into the new rules. Given this delay, starting in 2015 businesses with 100 or more full-time equivalent employees need to provide affordable, minimum value health care coverage to 70 percent of all full-time employees and their dependents, unless the employer qualifies for 2015 dependent coverage transition relief, or face a penalty.
In 2016, the 70 percent threshold is increased to 95 percent, and the shared responsibility penalties will also apply to employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees.
Dependent coverage transition relief:
There is no penalty for failure to cover dependents during the 2015 plan year if the employer takes steps during 2015 toward satisfying the requirement in the following plan year.
This transition relief applies to employers for the 2015 plan year for plans under which: (1) dependent coverage is not offered; (2) dependent coverage that does not constitute minimum essential coverage is offered; or (3) dependent coverage is offered for some, but not all, dependents. The transition relief is not available to the extent the employer offered dependent coverage during either the 2013 plan year, or the 2014 plan year and subsequently dropped that offer of coverage. The transition relief only applies for dependents who were without an offer of coverage from the employer in both the 2013 and 2014 plan years. In addition, the employer must take steps during the 2014 or 2015 plan year (or both) to extend coverage under the plan to dependents not offered coverage during the 2013 or 2014 plan year (or both).