Arthur Tacchino wants to remind everyone that, as of today, the Affordable Care Act employer coverage reporting rules are still in effect.
U.S. employers with 50 or more full-time employees, or the equivalent, are still paying payroll companies, benefit plan administrators, accounting firms and other advisors to help them track hours, track coverage and send out Form 1095-B and Form 1095-C ACA coverage reporting forms.
Employers are also seeking help with understanding the ACA employer shared responsibility coverage offer requirements, and preparing for the possibility that the government might send them penalty bills.
The ACA shared responsibility and information requirements have already kicked in, and, so far, nothing has changed them, Tacchino said in an email interview.
“So, that will continue to be the law until the American Health Care Act or some other legislation winds its way through a complicated legislative process and becomes the new law of the land,” Tacchino said.
Tacchino is the chief innovation officer at SyncStream Solutions, a Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based benefits compliance firm.
For 2016, all employers with 50 full-time employees, or full-time equivalents, were supposed to file coverage reports with the Internal Revenue Service by March 31.
Most employers with 50 or more full-time employees were supposed to offer full-time employees affordable major medical coverage, or else face the possibility of having to pay penalties if some employees end up qualifying for ACA exchange plan premium subsidies.
Members of the House passed an Affordable Care Act change bill, the American Health Care Act, by a 217-213 vote May 4. The Senate is now considering the legislation and may draft an alternative. The House bill does not appear to include any provisions that would affect the current ACA employer coverage reporting requirements.
Out in the field, Tacchino has not noticed any significant changes in how the Internal Revenue Services is approaching ACA compliance efforts aimed at employers.
“When [we're] speaking with the IRS regarding employer reporting and electronic filing, they still are maintaining that ACA is the law and that they are going to continue to support it until a new law takes effect, if at all,” Tacchino said.
Tacchino said he does believe the IRS will probably go easy on enforcing compliance with the ACA individual shared responsibility provision, which requires many individuals to own what the government classifies as solid coverage, or minimum essential coverage, or else pay a penalty.
“A couple of months ago, the IRS said that they would accept tax file returns for individuals and families without health care information,” Tacchino said. “This would be critical information for the IRS to enforce and impose penalties under the ACA’s individual mandate. So, clearly, they will not be putting an emphasis on enforcing that.”
In addition to helping employer clients with ACA compliance, SyncStream has also been helping clients with another, less-publicized new information reporting requirement: the Employer Information Report EEO-1.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission developed the EEO-1 Survey to gather basic information about employers that it can use in compliance activities. The EEOC is requiring most private employers with 100 or more employees, and smaller employers that are members of corporate groups with 100 or more employees, to file an EEO-1 report.
The employers subject to the EEO-1 survey participation requirement have to give the EEOC information their workforce demographics, including pay ranges and hours worked, broken down by job category, worker ethnicity and worker gender, Tacchino said.
— Read After Two Mega Deals Blocked, Health Insurers Plot Next Moves on ThinkAdvisor.