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As ACA Debate Continues, Employer Reporting Requirements Remain

Guest Blogger 12/27/2016
Guest Blogger

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Nearly seven years after it was passed in Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010, the discussion and debate on Obamacare is poised to continue for the foreseeable future. The results of the Presidential election on November 8 have further complicated an already complex health care landscape. President-elect Donald Trump is promising big changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including possibly repealing it entirely. Until that happens, however, consumers and employers alike still need to meet current ACA deadlines. To avoid significant financial penalties, consumers need to adhere to the deadline for open enrollment on January 31, 2017, and employers must comply with an array of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reporting requirements.

With that in mind, here are the key points and filing deadlines employers should prepare for in the New Year:

  • Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 6056 requires each Applicable Large Employer (ALE) subject to the Employer Mandate to file information returns with the IRS and provide statements to their full-time employees about the employer-sponsored health coverage offered. This reporting assists the IRS with enforcing the Employer Mandate and administering premium tax credits.
  • ALEs sponsoring self-insured group health plans are also required to report under IRC section 6055 on everyone enrolled in their self-insured plans. This reporting will assist the IRS with enforcing the Individual Mandate. Carriers are responsible for the section 6055 reporting for fully-insured plans.
  • The IRS issued Notice 2016-70 on November 18, 2016, extending the deadline for furnishing Form 1095-C to employees and extending good-faith transition relief to the 2016 reporting year. The new deadline for providing statements to employees is March 2, 2017.
  • The deadline for filing information returns with the IRS has not been extended. These deadlines remain February 28, 2017, if not filing electronically, or March 31, 2017, if filing electronically.
  • Penalties for missing these deadlines are assessed by the IRS per return or per statement, and the combined penalties for an employer could reach a maximum of $6,386,000.

blog_aca_writingKeenan has summarized these requirements in further detail in a recent Briefing.

When it comes to health care reform, there will undoubtedly be changes ahead for both consumers and employers. However, regardless of what happens with the ACA in early 2017, the employer reporting requirements for 2016 will still be in place.  Employers must keep one eye on these near-term deadlines, while keeping the other one on the ongoing debate about the future of Obamacare.

 

 

blog_hortonAbout Regina Horton
Regina Horton is Legal Counsel at Keenan and actually spends much of the year working on the Affordable Care Act. In addition to presenting webinars and speaking at industry conferences, Regina authors many of our technical Briefings relating to the ACA and other employee benefit regulations.