Affordable Care Act Compliance Updates

HRS has been serving the employer and employee communities with ongoing updates. With an eye on journalism and fact, inasmuch as we have our opinions, it is our commitment to produce informational content of value to a wide audience. We are listening to a variety of ACA proponents and opponents, including legislators, employers and individuals. We are researching and double-checking statistics and outcomes. Accordingly, HRS has compiled a quick summary of ACA updates to help organize key current points for both employers and employees at this moment in time. 

As of January 2016...


ACA deadlines, delays and covenants remain a moving target, especially in an election year and moving forward. We recommend a subscription to our eNews and/or to directly contact HRS for timely accurate information. In the meantime, delivery of 1095-C forms to affected employees has been pushed back to March 31, 2016, and the filing date has been extended, as well (May 31 for paper filing, June 30 for electronic filing).  The Cadillac Tax has been delayed 2+ years, with taxability changed, through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016. The contraceptive coverage mandate is being debated in the U.S. Supreme Court.


As of January 2015...


In addition to the 2014 and earlier provisions below, employers of 50+ FTEs must newly comply with the Employer Shared Responsibilities effective 2015. Section 4980H of the Internal Revenue Code requires employer tracking, reporting and responsibility to payment as applicable. Employers should have compliant tracking systems in place throughout 2015 in preparation for 2015 filing in early 2016. Internal Revenue Code section 6056 explains reporting requirements by specific IRS form. 1094-C and 1095-C will be standardly required, while 1094-B and 1095-C are applicable to those self-insured. 

Unless or until law changes again, HRS recommends, at a minimum, reliable FTE equivalent and initial look back payroll tracking, dependability of plan minimum value calculations, compliant insurance offer documentations, and compliance experts accessible by January 2015. Employers who miss this deadline are encouraged to respond swiftly, as government agencies will be seeking proof of reasonable care to compliance. The experts at HRS are available to assist. Contact us!


Recap: As of April 2014...


Employer Mandates

Most Act provisions have already been enacted; however, the "pay or play" mandates continue to see change and delay. During the past few weeks, employers have been granted extensions to 2015/2016. As many employer health plans do not follow the calendar year, all annual plans with midyear renewals must ensure compliance prior to January 1 respective deadlines. Planning is affected today, and employers are preparing with talent management, company sizing/structuring, scheduling, benefits and compensation decisions.

 

Individual Mandates

The White House has announced 7.1 million individuals enrolled in Obamacare as of initial deadline March 31, 2014. As healthy individuals have not participated as needed, affordable Health Exchange (HIX) costs are at risk, and the deadline has been extended for individuals who claim to have begun the enrollment process by initial deadline. The current 7-day enrollment extension is under continuous review. With the House recently approving a bill to delay individual "pay or play" and no yet discernable method of validating late enrollment legitimacy, many question if the individual mandate will in fact disappear.

 

What Employers Should Be Doing Now

If not already done, employers need to ensure their plans meet the new "affordable" standards. Employers who have no plans or are considering eliminating plans must evaluate their responsibilities and payments under "pay or play" standards. All employers should be designing timekeeping and HRIS reporting systems that properly flag work-hours in determining full-time status, including counting part-time hours toward FTE averaging. Proper timekeeping is already required for lawful compliance. Employers calling upon independent contractors and freelancers, especially where this group comprises more than 5% of the talent pool, need to research ACA classification laws and penalties. Revisit our 2013 roadmap, and in doing so, adjust for new company size rules and delayed timeframes. Simultaneous to the analysis and action planning, employers need to "depoliticize" the argument. Over the past several years countless employers have endured negative publicity, litigation and fine for creating a politically hostile environment or implying employment repercussion due to political affiliation. Lawful compliance and a factual nonpartisan posture will best facilitate risk management.

            
          

 

For more recap information, please visit our January 2014 update. Additionally, please stay tuned to HRS for ongoing updates. We are available to assist with compliance and learning sessions, including company learning sessions for employees.