The Obama administration had already delayed the mandate, which applies to businesses with more than 50 employees, from 2014 to 2015, but provided few specifics about how the mandate would be applied in future years. The new rules announced Monday delivered more details.
Larger employers, those with more than 100 employees, must cover 70 percent of their employees in 2015 to avoid a penalty. The requirement jumps to 95 percent in 2016.
For employers with 51 to 99 employees, they will report to the Treasury Department in 2015 on the health coverage they offer to employees, but they won't be subjected to penalties until 2016.
The department reiterated that businesses with fewer than 50 employees, which are not subject to the mandate, make up 96 percent of U.S. businesses. Those with 51 to 99 employees account for 2 percent. Those with more than 100 make up the other 2 percent.