Reporting the cost of employer-sponsored healthcare plans on the W-2 form will be optional in 2011, the Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires employers to report the cost of employer-sponsored healthcare plans on Form W-2. The new reporting requirement is designed to be merely informational, meaning that the amounts reported will not be taxed, according to the IRS. But in order to give employers time to make changes to payroll systems and procedures, the IRS will defer the requirement for 2011.

The healthcare reform law has created an employer insurance mandate that requires companies to provide health insurance to employees. In 2014, employers with at least 50 full-time employees will have to meet requirements for offering health benefits, or pay fines. Those with more than 200 employees offering coverage must automatically enroll employees in a plan. Such requirements could have an impact on long-term care providers.

Both the Treasury Department and the IRS plan to issue guidance for the new reporting requirement by the end of the year. The official IRS notice can be viewed online.