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Although the future of ACA is uncertain, employers have reporting responsibilities in 2017

Posted by Joe Cole on January 26, 2017

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Welcome to 2017… The Affordable Care act is still law but possibly not for long.  As the Repulicans in Congress try to figure out whether to replace the law immediately or over the next several years, as an employer you will still have reporting responsibilities. Currently if you are an Employer with 50 or more employees, you have more responsibilities including ensuring your health plan meets the minimum essential coverage standards and you must also meet affordability requirements under ACA.

According to Jessica Campbell of Employee Benefit News “Considerable attention and demands were placed on the human resources industry as HR professionals around the U.S. took on these strenuous, stressful duties.shutterstock_149356178.jpg-.jpg

However, as with any new process, regulation or activity, new technology is created in order to automate and enhance the human capability and efficiency. A floodgate opened with several online “do-it-yourself” reporting platforms, downloadable applications, and even outsourcing vendors who claimed to provide complete ACA reporting, and yet, employers experienced frustration and revenue-loss as a result of using these new solutions.”

A New Year is a time to look to the future but also a time of past reflection, and despite the uncertainty that remains with the state of the healthcare insurance industry, ACA compliance and reporting is still mandatory for the plan year 2016 — meaning that 1095-C forms are due to employees by March 2, 2017 (recently extended by the IRS); and 1094-C forms and the corresponding 1095-C forms must be filed with the IRS by February 28, 2017, if filing by paper, and March 31, 2017, if filing electronically.

As the IRS gets smarter and is able to penalize employers for not offering minimum essential coverage, for not offering affordable coverage, for not accurately reporting their offer of coverage, and many other scenarios, it becomes even more critical that employers implement a permanent ACA compliance and reporting solution within their IT infrastructure.

Human resources information systems and an integrated benefits administration systems not only incorporates ACA compliance, reporting and variable hours tracking, but also many other benefits and HR administration functionalities. Because ACA reporting regards employee benefits, eligibility and payroll data, a flexible, robust benefits administration solution is the ideal location to house all of this data.

Without an integrated, comprehensive benefits administration solution, HR is forced to access multiple systems, manually populate spreadsheets, and attempt to populate each individual employee’s 1095-C form with the correct code combination that reflects their offer of coverage and enrollment data for every month of the year.

As Software As A Service (SAAS) continues and health insurance options that do not require you to serve as the plan sponsor emerge …. you need to consider an approach that removes the administrative & reporting burden, eliminates the plan sponsor compliance liability as to protect the individual and the company from severe negative consequences.

This new year you should pursue a new approach and implement a comprehensive integrated solution which enhances HR’s role and productivity.

Joe Cole, Executive VP Business Strategy, SequentAbout the Author: Joe Cole, Executive VP Business Strategy, Sequent

Joe has been part of Sequent’s senior management team since 2002 and brings over 25 years of experience in business and entrepreneurial ventures. In his leadership role with Sequent’s business development team, and as a regional director, Joe’s extensive knowledge of the Professional Employer Services (PES) industry and the complex facets of the HR outsourcing industry serve him well in developing relationships and serving as a strategic business partner with clients.

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Topics: Health Care Reform

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