No one really knows whether the Obama administration will stick to its current Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) procedural rules, or whether Congress will let the administration stick to them.
If the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) implements the current rules as planned, insurers will have to send 1095-B coverage notice forms for the 2015 plan year in early 2016.
Applicable large employers (ALEs) will have to send 2015 1095-C benefits notice forms in early 2016.
PPACA public exchange managers should have already sent 1095-A exchange coverage notice forms for 2014 to their customers, although reports suggest that some of the forms may still be in glitch limbo.
In theory, individual taxpayers will include copies of the forms with their own income tax returns, and the IRS will use the forms to verify whether the taxpayers have enough coverage to meet the PPACA “shared responsibility” requirements, or whether those taxpayers have to pay penalties.
The IRS could also use the form information to determine whether ALEs may have to pay penalties in connection with the PPACA employer shared responsibility provisions.
See also: H&R Block sees large PPACA liar market
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Obama administration could proceed with implementing PPACA in part because the shared responsibility provisions are taxes, or the equivalent of taxes, and a federal statute prohibits the courts from imposing injunctions blocking taxes before the taxes have taken effect. Once individuals and employers start paying employer mandate penalties, they may have an easier time fighting the penalty system in court.
Now the IRS has given tax policy watchers and tax preparation system companies something to think about by releasing draft versions of the 1095-B and 1095-C forms, and of the 1094-C form, which ALEs are supposed to use to summarize the information given in the 1095-C forms.
For a look at the forms, read on.