Regardless of the fact that the Employer Shared Responsibility "play or pay" assessment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) has been delayed until 2015, Massachusetts has dropped its similar penalty provision effective this July 1 in deference to the national health care code.

In Massachusetts the employer penalty for not providing health insurance for its employees is called a Fair Share Responsibility. The assessment comes in at about $250 an employee annually for employers not providing health insurance under the health care reform act of 2006, instituted under Gov. Mitt Romney, which ironically became the model for Obamacare four years later.

Instead of its $250 assessment, Massachusetts is now enacting an annual $50 fee called an Employer Medical Assistance Contribution, which has been modeled after employers' assessments for state unemployment insurance compensation. The federal Employer Shared Responsibility assessment is $2,000 per annum, paid monthly, for every employee over 30 on the workforce if insurance is not offered. A $3,000 penalty becomes effective if insurance is offered but deemed substandard.