As we approach the new year, it’s crucial for employers to stay abreast of the compliance requirements surrounding employer-sponsored group health plans. Ensuring compliance not only maintains the integrity of the health plan but also avoids potential penalties and ensures employees receive the benefits they deserve.

 

Understanding Compliance Deadlines

The compliance landscape for employer-sponsored health plans involves various reporting and disclosure requirements, some of which are tied to the plan year. For those operating on a calendar-year basis (January 1 through December 31), the deadlines are straightforward. However, for plans operating on a non-calendar-year basis, adjustments are necessary to align with the specific plan year.

Let’s delve into the key compliance deadlines for 2024 and the corresponding requirements:

January:

Reporting Health Plan Costs on Form W-2: Employers filing 250 or more IRS Forms W-2 for the previous calendar year must include health coverage cost information by January 31, 2024. This reporting, while optional for employers with fewer than 250 Forms W-2, helps provide transparency regarding health plan costs.

February:

Filing Affordable Care Act (ACA) Forms 1094-C and 1095-C: Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) must submit information about their health plan coverage to the IRS by February 28, 2024, through paper filing. Electronic filing is available until April 1, 2024.

Filing ACA Forms 1094-B and 1095-B: Employers not classified as ALEs but with self-insured health plans must also report coverage information to the IRS by February 28, 2024, via paper filing, with electronic filing available until April 1, 2024.

Submitting Medicare Part D Disclosure to CMS: For calendar-year plans, this disclosure must be submitted to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) by February 29, 2024. It informs whether prescription drug coverage is creditable or non-creditable.

March:

Furnishing ACA Forms 1095-C and 1095-B to Employees: ALEs must provide employees with information about their health plan coverage using IRS Forms 1095-C, while non-ALEs with self-insured plans use Forms 1095-B. The deadline for furnishing these forms is March 1, 2024, due to the leap year.

April:

Electronic Filing of ACA Forms 1094-C and 1095-C: ALEs must electronically file these forms by April 1, 2024, to ensure compliance with ACA reporting requirements.

June:

Submitting Prescription Drug Data Collection Report: Employers must submit this report by June 1, 2024, covering data for the previous year, as mandated by transparency laws.

July:

Reporting and Paying PCORI Fee: Employers with self-insured health plans must pay PCORI fees using IRS Form 720 by July 31, 2024, to fund research on patient-centered outcomes.

Filing Form 5500: For ERISA-covered group health plans, the Form 5500 must be filed by July 31, 2024, unless an exemption applies.

September:

Watching for MLR Rebates: Employers with insured health plans should expect any MLR rebates from issuers by September 30, 2024, if applicable.

Providing SAR: Employers must furnish Summary Annual Reports to participants by September 30, 2024, or within two months after filing Form 5500, whichever is later.

October:

Providing Medicare Part D Creditable/Non-Creditable Coverage Notices: Employers must inform Medicare Part D-eligible individuals about the status of their prescription drug coverage by October 14, 2024.

Filing Form 5500 if Filing an Extension: ERISA-covered group health plans that have requested an extension must file Form 5500 by October 15, 2024.

December:

Providing SAR (Extended Deadline): Employers filing Form 5500 with an extension must provide Summary Annual Reports by December 15, 2024.

Submitting Gag Clause Attestation: Health plans and insurance issuers must submit attestations of compliance with gag clause prohibition by December 31, 2024.

Annual Notices:

Apart from these deadlines, employers must ensure timely provision of annual notices such as Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC), Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) notices, CHIP notices, Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs), and more, depending on the specifics of their health plans.

Navigating compliance requirements for employer-sponsored group health plans demands meticulous attention to detail and adherence to deadlines. By staying informed and proactive, employers can ensure the smooth operation of their health plans while fulfilling their obligations to employees.

Still Have Questions?

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Learn more about us and our services, here.

For Applicable Large Employers (ALEs), compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not just a legal obligation but a crucial aspect of business operations. Understanding the nuances of ACA compliance can help your organization avoid penalties and ensure that your employees have access to affordable healthcare.

In this guide, we’ll delve into what it means to be an ALE, the importance of compliance, and key aspects of the ACA that impact your business.

Who is Considered an Applicable Large Employer?

An Applicable Large Employer (ALE) is typically defined as an organization that employs an average of at least 50 full-time employees or full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). It’s important to know how to calculate the number of FTEs to determine if your business falls under the ALE category. Part-time employees are also considered in this calculation, which could influence your ALE status.

Understanding Variable-hour Employees

Variable-hour employees can pose unique challenges for ALEs. These are employees whose work hours can’t be determined as full-time or part-time upfront. The ACA provides specific guidelines for handling such employees, offering a measurement period to assess whether they qualify as full-time and are therefore eligible for benefits.

Key Components of ACA Compliance

Managing ACA compliance involves several critical elements, each designed to ensure that employees have access to affordable health coverage. Let’s explore these components:

The Measurement/Look-back Period

This period is crucial for determining whether a variable-hour employee is considered full-time under the ACA. Employers often use a 12-month Look-back Period aligned with their Open Enrollment to gauge the average hours worked by employees.

The Stability Period

Post the Measurement Period, the Stability Period is when employers must offer health coverage to all employees deemed full-time, regardless of their working hours during this period. This ensures continuous coverage for eligible employees.

The Administrative Period

This is when employers conduct Open Enrollment, informing employees about their eligibility for health insurance. It’s a vital period for communicating with your workforce and ensuring they understand their benefits.

Planning for Open Enrollment in 2024

As we approach 2024, ALEs must be mindful of changes in the affordability threshold for health plans. The allowable measure of affordability will decrease, impacting how you structure your health benefits and your compliance status.

Strategic Considerations for ALEs

It’s imperative to offer coverage to at least 95% of your eligible employees and to stay informed about changes in employee out-of-pocket expense thresholds. Choosing the right Measurement Period is crucial for streamlined administration and compliance.

Final Notes

Compliance with the ACA is a significant responsibility for ALEs, but with the right knowledge and strategies, it’s entirely manageable. Remember, every organization is unique, so it’s vital to consult with HR professionals or legal advisors to tailor your approach to ACA compliance. By staying informed and proactive, you can ensure that your business not only complies with the law but also supports the well-being of your employees.

Need More Information?

If you have questions or need assistance with ACA compliance, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. At SBMA Benefits, we’re committed to providing you with the resources and support you need to navigate these regulations effectively. Stay tuned for more insights and guidance on maintaining compliance and optimizing your employee benefits strategy.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been in effect for over a decade, but its reporting and compliance requirements continue to evolve. In 2023, businesses and employers will face several ACA reporting deadlines and compliance requirements that they must adhere to in order to avoid penalties and maintain compliance with the law. 

 

These requirements include providing healthcare coverage to employees, filing information returns with the IRS, and furnishing statements to individuals. It is essential for employers to understand these requirements and stay up to date with any changes or updates to ensure that they are meeting their obligations under the ACA.

What Are the ACA Reporting Deadlines at the Beginning of 2023 to Report on the 2022 Calendar Year?

New regulations have been finalized by the IRS, which stipulate that Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) must provide their employees with the Forms 1095-C on or before March 2, 2023. Additionally, ALEs are required to file Form 1094-C and provide copies of Forms 1095-C to the IRS by March 31, 2023 if they choose to file electronically. 

 

Employers who must file fewer than 250 returns are permitted to file on paper, but must do so no later than February 28, 2023. It is important for ALEs to meet these deadlines to ensure compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting requirements and avoid potential penalties.

ACA Reporting: Overview

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates that Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) report whether they provided full-time employees with affordable, minimum essential coverage (MEC) that meets minimum value requirements. For employers with self-insured plans, regardless of their size, reporting must also include months of coverage for all individuals enrolled. 

 

The reporting requirements for ALEs, regardless of their funding arrangement, are fulfilled through IRS Forms 1094-C and 1095-C. This overview highlights the essential elements of ACA reporting for ALEs.

 

ACA Reporting Deadlines for ALEs

The IRS has recently made changes to the ACA reporting deadlines for Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) by finalizing new regulations that make the automatic 30-day extension permanent. This extension, which was previously available to employers who needed extra time to furnish Form 1095-C to individuals, will now be available for all future years of ACA reporting.

 

The ACA reporting deadlines for ALEs will now be as follows:

 

  • Form 1095-C: Deadline to Furnish to Individuals

Standard Due Date: January 31

Automatically Extended Due Date: March 2

(Leap Year Due Date: March 1)

  • Form 1094-C (+Copies of Form 1095-C):

Deadline to File with IRS by Paper

Standard Due Date: February 28

  • Form 1094-C (+Copies of Form 1095-C):

Deadline to File with IRS Electronically (Required for 250 or More Returns)

Standard Due Date: March 31

 

If the due date falls on a weekend or a legal holiday, the deadline is extended to the next business day.  These deadlines apply to all ALEs regardless of their plan year.

 

The IRS has also proposed regulations that would reduce the required electronic filing threshold to employers filing just 10 or more returns.  That reduced 10-return electronic filing threshold has not been finalized and therefore is not currently being enforced.

ACA Reporting: Fully Insured vs. Self-Insured Plans

The ACA reporting requirements for Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) differ based on whether their medical plan is fully insured or self-insured. Level funded plans are considered self-insured for reporting purposes as they are not fully insured. ALEs with fully insured medical plans are not required to report under §6055 in Part III of Form 1095-C. Their only reporting responsibility is under §6056, which covers Parts I and II of Form 1095-C as well as the full Form 1094-C. 

 

In contrast, enrolled employees and their dependents’ coverage information for a fully insured plan is reported by the insurance carrier on Form 1095-B, and the carrier is solely responsible for furnishing and filing the Form 1095-B coverage information and soliciting any missing dependent SSNs. ALEs with self-insured medical plans are subject to §6055 reporting and must complete Part III, in addition to Parts I and II, of Form 1095-C.

 

The following overview addresses ACA reporting obligations by employer size and funding arrangement:

ALE Sponsoring a Self-Insured Medical Plan (Including Level Funded)

IRC §6055 and §6056 Reporting

 

  • Completed via Forms 1094-C and 1095-C.
  • Employer must complete Part III of the Form 1095-C (“Covered Individuals”) for enrolled individuals.
  • If the employer sponsors both self-insured and fully insured medical plan options, the employer completes Part III only for individuals enrolled in the self-insured medical plan.

 

Important Note: “Level funded” plans are considered self-insured for these purposes.

ALE Sponsoring a Fully Insured Medical Plan

IRC §6056 Reporting Only

  • Completed via Forms 1094-C and 1095-C.
  • Employer does not complete Part III of the Form 1095-C (“Covered Individuals”).
  • Insurance carrier completes coverage information on separate Form 1095-B.

 

Non-ALE Sponsoring a Self-Insured Medical Plan (Including Level Funded)

IRC §6055 Reporting Only

  • Completed via Forms 1094-B and 1095-B.
  • Employer does not complete Forms 1094-C and 1095-C (because not subject to the employer mandate).
  • Employer information listed in Part III (“Issuer or Other Coverage Provider”) of the 1095-B.
  • Employer does not complete Part II (“Information About Certain Employer-Sponsored Coverage”) of the Form 1095-B.

Important Note: “Level funded” plans are considered self-insured for these purposes.

Non-ALE Sponsoring a Fully Insured Medical Plan

No ACA Reporting!

ACA Reporting: Controlled Groups

For an ALE that falls under the ACA employer mandate and has multiple corporate entities in a controlled group, each subsidiary or related entity in the controlled group must file a separate Form 1094-C. Each entity, also known as an Applicable Large Employer Member (ALEM), must file their own report.

Aggregated ALE Groups have additional ACA reporting obligations:

 

Form 1094-C for each ALEM must contain the following:

  • Part II, Line 21: Each ALEM must answer “Yes” to the question “Is ALE Member a member of an Aggregated ALE Group?”
  • Part III, Column (d): The “Aggregated Group Indicator” box will be checked for each month in which the controlled group existed.
  • Part IV: The “Other ALE Members of Aggregated ALE Group” section will be completed listing the names of the other related entities in the controlled group (the other ALEMs) and their EINs.

 

Forms 1095-C from each ALEM must contain the following:

 

  • The full-time employees of each EIN (i.e., each ALEM) must receive a Form 1095-C with that ALEM’s corporate name and EIN.
  • If an employee works for more than one ALEM in the Aggregated ALE Group in any calendar month, the ALEM for whom the employee worked the most hours of service in that calendar month is responsible for the employee’s Form 1095-C ACA reporting for that month.

 

It is important to note that Aggregated ALE Groups must comply with all ACA reporting requirements and that failure to do so could result in penalties.

ACA Reporting: COBRA Guidelines

Employers with fully insured plans only need to address additional COBRA-related ACA reporting requirements in the event of an employee’s qualifying event being a loss of coverage due to a reduction in hours. The appropriate coding in such a case depends on whether the employee has elected COBRA and whether the employee was in employee-only or family coverage.

 

Apart from the above requirements, self-insured plans (including level funded plans) must report coverage information completed in Part III for all months of active or COBRA coverage.

 

Part II of Form 1095-C for COBRA participants who were a full-time employee for at least one month in the year will be completed similarly for both self-insured and fully insured plans. For individuals who were enrolled in COBRA under a self-insured plan for at least one month in the reporting year but whose active coverage terminated in a previous year, the Part II coding will indicate that the individual was not an employee for any month of the year (Code “1G” in Line 14 for all 12 months).

 

Note: additional rules apply when the spouse or dependent elects COBRA separately from the employee.

Still Have Questions?

The best way for employers to remain compliant with healthcare laws is to consult with a team of professionals. Our team at Innovative HIA understands the ACA and can help you stay up-to-date on any changes to the law. 

 

Employers need to make sure they are compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the employer shared responsibility regulations, also known as “the employer mandate” or ALE. This means that employers must consider many factors when deciding between offering full-time vs part-time benefits, including the costs associated with providing health coverage and other employee benefits.

In this blog we’ll explore the differences between full-time (FT) and part-time (PT) benefits and why it matters for business owners.  

What is the ACA’s Employer Mandate?

The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Employer Mandate is a federal law requiring businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide health insurance coverage to those employees, or face penalties. The ACA requires employers to offer minimum essential coverage that meets certain affordability and value requirements. Employers must also comply with certain reporting requirements so the government can keep track of employer compliance with the law.

The Employer Mandate is one of the most important elements of the ACA, as it helps ensure that more Americans have access to quality health care coverage. The goal of this law is not only to ensure that employers are providing health insurance to their employees, but also to make sure those plans are comprehensive and affordable.

The ACA’s Employer Mandate requires Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) to provide their full-time employees with affordable Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC), meeting Minimum Value (MV) requirements, that covers at least 95% of the workforce.

The Employer Mandate is enforced by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and while penalties can be imposed if an employer fails to comply with the law, there are some exemptions that may apply. For example, employers who offer health coverage but do not meet minimum value requirements may qualify for a “hardship exemption.” Additionally, employers with fewer than 50 full-time employees are not subject to the Employer Mandate.

What is ALE (Applicable Large Employer)? 

Applicable Large Employer status is a designation given to certain employers by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA requires applicable large employers to offer health insurance coverage to their full-time employees or pay a penalty. 

An applicable large employer is any business that has at least 50 full-time employees, or a combination of full-time and part-time employees that are equivalent to at least 50 full-time employees.

What Qualifies an Employee as Full-Time?

Generally, an employee is considered full-time if they work an average of 30 or more hours per week. Certain government agencies may have specific definitions to define full-time employees, such as those that qualify for unemployment benefits. Depending on the situation, an employee may also be considered full-time if they are classified as a salaried or exempt employee, meaning they would receive a set salary regardless of the number of hours worked. 

 

Overall, being aware of an employer’s definition of full-time employment can be beneficial for both employers and employees. Knowing what qualifies as full-time can ensure that employees receive the correct benefits and employers are in compliance with any applicable regulations.

What Benefits are Generally Offered to Full-Time Employees?

Full-time employees typically receive benefits such as health insurance, vacation time, 401(k) plans, and other company-sponsored retirement plans. Some employers may also offer tuition reimbursement programs, life and disability insurance, flexible spending accounts (FSAs), and employee discounts. The specific benefits offered to full-time employees vary greatly depending on the employer and the industry. 

Additionally, many organizations are now offering mental health support, remote working options and other perks that may benefit employees in these uncertain times. 

Full-time employees must be offered benefits if the employer is subject to ALE, while part-time employees are not eligible for coverage until they meet certain hours thresholds. Employers should carefully consider how their benefits packages will affect the ACA and ALE compliance in order to avoid penalties or fines that could arise from noncompliance.

What Qualifies as Part-Time Employment and Benefits?

Part-time employment typically refers to a worker who is employed for fewer hours per week than a full-time worker. Some employers may offer part-time employees the same benefits as their full-time counterparts, including health insurance, paid time off, and retirement savings plans. However, there can be differences in the amount of benefits offered depending on the employer. For example, some employers may offer reduced health care plans or no retirement savings plan to part-time employees. In addition, some employers may cap the amount of paid time off for part-time workers. It is important for potential and existing part-time employees to know their rights under the applicable labor laws. 

Additionally, employers need to be aware of the different rules for eligibility for full-time and part-time employees. For example, if an employer offers a health plan that is limited to full-time employees but also has part-time employees who work more than 30 hours per week, they may not be eligible to receive coverage under this plan. This means that employers must be very careful when establishing eligibility criteria for their benefits plans and make sure that they are compliant with the ACA and ALE regulations.

How PT vs FT Employee Benefits Impact Retention

Employers should also consider how their employee benefit packages affect their employee retention strategies. Offering attractive benefits to full-time employees can help retain them, while providing minimal or no benefits to part-time employees may lead to high turnover rates. Employers need to assess their workforce needs and determine if it is necessary to offer benefits to part-time employees in order to maintain a healthy and productive workforce.

Things to Consider

Overall, employers must take into account the costs of providing employee benefits, as well as the compliance requirements of the ACA and ALE when deciding between offering full-time vs part-time benefits. Employers should also consider their employee retention strategies and make sure they are providing adequate benefits to ensure long-term loyalty from both full-time and part-time employees.  With proper planning, employers can create an effective benefits package that meets the needs of their workforce while remaining compliant with all applicable regulations.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires employers to calculate the number of employees that qualify as full-time and full-time equivalent for each month in order to determine if they are an Applicable Large Employer (ALE). This calculation involves taking the total number of full-time designated employees, plus all non-full-time designated employees’ hours for the month and dividing by 120. The resulting number is then added to the full-time employee count to determine ALE status. 

To ensure accurate calculations, employers can outsource their ACA compliance process to a service provider who will measure workers’ hours of service and calculate FTEs and ALE status on their behalf. Accurately calculating ALE status is essential for employers to minimize potential penalty exposure from the IRS.

To Sum It Up

The decision to provide full-time or part-time benefits to employees is a complex one that requires careful consideration of various factors such as cost, compliance with ACA and employer shared responsibility regulations. Employers should look into their options and evaluate which option is best for them in order to ensure they are providing their employees with quality benefits. Ultimately, offering the right benefits to employees can help businesses attract and retain talent.

If you’re a business owner that needs help navigating FT/PT employee benefits, reach out to us today!

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has a number of different mandates and regulations, which can carry hefty penalties if you don’t comply. If you receive an ACA penalty, it’s important to understand what to do in order to minimize the impact of this financial burden. In this blog post, we will discuss the types of ACA penalties that you may face, as well as how to navigate the process of dealing with them. We will also provide tips on how to avoid ACA penalties in the future. 

 

If you are a business owner trying to remain compliant, this blog post will help you take the necessary steps to stay up-to-date with your obligations under the ACA and avoid costly penalties in the future.

What are Some Reasons Why a Business Owner Could Receive an ACA Penalty?

There are a few reasons why a business owner may receive an ACA penalty:

  1. Not Offering Qualified Health Insurance Coverage – The employer mandate requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees provide qualified health insurance coverage to at least 95% of their full-time employees. If a business fails to offer this coverage, they may be subject to an ACA penalty.

 

  1. Not Providing Affordable Coverage – Employers must also provide affordable coverage to at least 95% of their full-time employees. If the employer fails to meet this requirement, they may be subject to an ACA penalty.

 

  1. Failing To Offer Dependent Coverage – The ACA requires employers to offer dependent coverage up to the age of 26. If an employer fails to provide this coverage, they may be subject to a penalty.

 

  1. Not Adequately Reporting ACA Information – Employers are responsible for accurately reporting employee health insurance information on their taxes and other forms. Failure to do so can result in an ACA penalty.

 

  1. Offering Coverage to Employees Who Are Not Eligible – Employers must also make sure that all of their employees who are eligible for coverage are offered coverage, or else they may be liable for an ACA penalty.

 

  1. Failing To Comply With State Regulations – Some states have their own requirements when it comes to providing employee health insurance. If a business fails to comply with these regulations, they may be subject to an ACA penalty.

 

No matter what the reason, it is important for employers to understand their obligations under the ACA so that they can avoid penalties. By understanding the law and taking steps to ensure compliance, employers can avoid costly ACA penalties.

By following the guidelines set forth by the ACA, employers can ensure that they are compliant and avoid having to pay unnecessary penalties. It is important for businesses to stay up-to-date on all of their responsibilities under the law in order to remain compliant and avoid costly fines or penalties. Employers should consult with an experienced attorney or tax specialist to ensure that they are in compliance with the ACA.

The consequences of not complying with the ACA are serious. Business owners should make sure that they understand their responsibilities and take steps to ensure compliance in order to avoid costly penalties or fines. An experienced attorney or tax specialist can help business owners stay up-to-date on all of their obligations under the law.

Additionally. . . 

There are many other reasons why a business owner may receive an ACA penalty, and it is important to understand them in order to avoid them. Consulting with an experienced attorney or tax specialist can help employers understand the law and ensure that they remain compliant. By doing so, businesses can avoid costly penalties while providing quality healthcare coverage for their employees.

The Affordable Care Act is a complicated law and understanding it can be difficult. However, by taking steps to make sure that they are compliant with all of the provisions, employers can avoid costly penalties and fines. By consulting with an experienced attorney or tax specialist, employers can make sure that they remain compliant while providing quality health care coverage to their employees.

By understanding their obligations under the ACA, businesses can ensure that they remain in compliance and avoid any unnecessary penalties or fines. With the help of an experienced attorney or tax specialist, businesses can make sure that they are up-to-date on all of their responsibilities under the law and remain compliant with the ACA.

What to Do if You Receive a Penalty

If you’re a business owner and have received an ACA Penalty from the IRS, take the following steps:

  1. Contact your tax advisor. Your tax advisor should be able to provide advice about how to proceed with this penalty and whether it can be appealed or reduced in any way.

 

  1. Review your employee records. The penalty could be the result of incorrect or incomplete information about your employees, so make sure all records are up-to-date and accurate.

 

  1. Determine how you’ll pay the penalty. You may have to pay the penalty in a lump sum or over several payments, depending on how much is owed.

 

  1. Contact the IRS to discuss payment options. The IRS may be able to assist you in setting up a payment plan for paying the penalty, or they may be willing to work out an alternative arrangement.

 

  1. Establish a compliance program going forward. Once the penalty is paid and any necessary documents are filed, it’s important to ensure your business is compliant with the ACA going forward. Work with your tax advisor or another specialist to set up a compliance program that will help you avoid penalties in the future.

 

  1. Appeal if necessary. If you feel the penalty was issued incorrectly or unfairly, you can appeal it by filing an application for reconsideration with the IRS. Your tax advisor can help you determine if appealing is a viable option for your situation. 

 

By following these steps, you can ensure that your business is compliant with the ACA and any penalties are handled appropriately.

In Summary

The key to avoiding future ACA Penalties is understanding how the law applies to your business and making sure all of your employee records are accurate and up-to-date. Additionally, establishing a compliance program and regularly reviewing your employee records is essential to avoiding future penalties. Finally, be sure to contact the IRS if you receive a penalty and consider appealing it if necessary. With these steps in place, you can help ensure that your business remains compliant with the ACA going forward.

By taking steps to make sure that their business is complying with all of the provisions of the law, employers can avoid costly penalties and fines. The best way for employers to make sure that they remain compliant is to consult with a professional like our team at Innovative HIA, who understands the ACA and can help them stay up-to-date on any changes to the law.

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was one of the biggest healthcare overhauls in recent history. It aimed to provide affordable health insurance coverage for all Americans. After several failed attempts to repeal the act, it seems that ACA is here to stay. 

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at what this means for American taxpayers and businesses.

What Is the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?

The Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 and since then it has been under constant threat of repeal. The law required all Americans to have health insurance coverage or face a tax penalty. It also expanded Medicaid coverage and provided subsidies to help people afford private health insurance plans.

 

In 2017, Republican lawmakers attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act but were unsuccessful. This led to a lot of uncertainty about the future of the law. However, it now seems that ACA is here to stay, at least for the time being.

What Does this Mean for American Taxpayers?

For starters, it means that the tax credits and subsidies that help people afford their health insurance coverage are still in place. It also means that the Medicaid expansion, which has provided coverage for millions of low-income Americans, is still in effect.

 

Taxpayers will continue to be responsible for funding the ACA. This includes the subsidies that help people pay for health insurance and the Medicaid expansion. The good news is that, because the ACA is no longer being repealed, there will be no need for major changes to the tax code.

What Does this Mean for Businesses?

The Affordable Care Act requires businesses with 50 or more employees to provide health insurance coverage for their workers. This requirement is still in place, so businesses will need to continue to comply with it.

 

There may be some changes to the way this is done in the future. For example, the government may provide more subsidies to help businesses cover the cost of health insurance. 

 

Overall, the news that ACA is here to stay is good news for American taxpayers and businesses. It provides stability and certainty in an uncertain time.

Final Thoughts

The Affordable Care Act has provided many benefits, including increased access to healthcare, lower costs for prescription drugs, and free preventive care services. These benefits are worth billions of dollars each year and help to improve the lives of millions of Americans.

 

There is still some uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act, but for now, it seems that the law is here to stay. This is good news for American taxpayers and businesses who have benefited from the law’s many provisions.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about the ACA, read these articles published by SBMA: the advantages of the ACA and  what business owners should know about ACA benefits



While all organizations are susceptible to receiving IRS penalties, some industries are particularly vulnerable. These industries include home healthcare, staffing, restaurant, and construction industries.

Why are these industries under fire from the IRS? Let’s take a look.

These Industries Typically Have a High Number of Hourly Workers

Home healthcare, staffing, restaurant, and construction industries have a high percentage of hourly workers with varying schedules. This can make it difficult for employers to determine which employees are ACA full-time and require an offer of health coverage.

HR is often a non-centralized function, making it challenging to gather the data necessary for compliance.

High Staff Turnover Rates

These industries are often associated with a high employee turnover rate. This can make it difficult for employers to track employees as their benefits.

Workforces that Disproportionately Decline Health Coverage

Home healthcare, staffing, restaurant, and construction industries generally employ workforces that are more likely to decline offers of health coverage benefits. Employers may struggle to track declinations and face ACA penalties from the IRS.

How Can Organizations Ensure They Are Complying with ACA Requirements?

Employers can ensure they are ACA compliant by determining the accurate full-time and part-time status of employees under ACA. Employers may experience significant ramifications for misclassifying employees. 

Additionally, employers should familiarize themselves with their requirements under the ACA’s Employer Mandate. For example, employers with 50 or more full-time employees, or ALEs, must:

  • “Offer Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) to at least 95% of their full-time employees (and their dependents) whereby such coverage meets Minimum Value (MV); and 
  • Ensure that the coverage for the full-time employee is affordable based on one of the IRS-approved methods for calculating affordability.”

Infographic for "Article Review Which Industries are Most Susceptible to ACA Penalties from the IRS?"

For more information, read on for the full article from the ACA Times.

These Industries are Most at Risk for ACA Penalties From the IRS

The home healthcare, staffing, restaurant, and construction industries are under fire from the IRS for failing to comply with the ACA. Organizations within these industries have been shocked to receive ACA penalty notices from the IRS that are in the millions of dollars.

Of course, all types of organizations – hospitality, manufacturing municipal governments, non-profits, and other industries – are receiving IRS penalty notices too. However, the four industries mentioned above seem to be getting more than their fair share.

Here’s why these industries are so susceptible to receiving ACA penalties:

  • HR is often a non-centralized function, making it challenging to gather the data necessary for compliance
  • They have a high percentage of hourly workers with varying schedules, making it difficult to determine who is ACA full-time and requires an offer of health coverage
  • They employ workforces that disproportionately decline offers of health coverage benefits, creating a heavier employer burden in tracking declinations
  • Employees come and go during the year with high staff turnover rates, increasing the employer’s burden to track all such employees
  • Per diem piece work and multiple rates of pay complicate the determination of pay rates and affordability
  • Reliance on payroll systems (or other software programs) that collate data and submit Forms 1094-C and 1095-C often result in a failure to let you know when the data used is inaccurate, which will trigger ACA penalties

Determining the accurate full-time and part-time status of employees under the ACA is arguably the first, and most important, step for ACA compliance. There are real ramifications for inaccurately classifying employees. 

Under the ACA’s Employer Mandate, ALEs, or employers with 50 or more full-time employees and full-time equivalent employees to:

  • Offer Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) to at least 95% of their full-time employees (and their dependents) whereby such coverage meets Minimum Value (MV); and 
  • Ensure that the coverage for the full-time employee is affordable based on one of the IRS-approved methods for calculating affordability

ALEs that fail to comply with these requirements can be subject to Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 4980H penalties.

For example, let’s look at an employer that improperly classifies an employee as not full-time and does not make an offer of insurance. That employee goes to a government marketplace exchange to purchase health insurance and receives a Premium Tax Credit (PTC) that helps subsidize the cost of the health insurance purchased on the exchange. This can trigger the issuance of an IRS Letter 226J penalty notice under IRC 4980H. 

The penalty assessment will be applied to every full-time employee working for that employer during the course of the tax year, not just the employee obtaining the PTC. For the 2022 tax year, that penalty could be as high as $275,000 for every 100 employees.

The first step in the full-time status evaluation is determining which measurement method is best for your organization.

For organizations made up primarily of variable-hour employees, you will want to implement the Look-Back Measurement Method. If your workforce has mostly full-time employees and non-varying schedules, the Monthly Measurement Method will be best.

The most expedient step for employers is to get your ACA Vitals score. This will help determine your risk of receiving IRS penalties by analyzing your unique workforce composition.

Such a review can reap dividends by helping employers avoid significant ACA penalties from the IRS, particularly if those organizations have not been filing ACA-required information annually with the IRS. These organizations should file this information as soon as possible to avoid receiving an IRS penalty notice and to minimize potential penalties. 

The IRS is currently issuing warning notices to employers identified as having failed to file and furnish Forms 1094-C and 1095-C for the 2019 tax year via Letter 5699. If you have received one, contact us to have the penalty reduced or eliminated. We’ve helped our clients prevent over $1 billion in ACA penalty assessments.

If you are part of the home healthcare, personnel staffing, restaurant and construction industries, or any industry that relies on a significant mix of full-time and part-time employees, you are at serious risk of being penalized for not complying with the ACA.

We see daily how the IRS is enhancing its methods for identifying employers that are not complying with the ACA and sending them penalty notices. 

We regularly see the surprise and shock expressed by organizations that receive these penalty notices, many of them containing significant penalty assessments. 

We also see how these organizations could have avoided these penalty assessments by receiving help from experts that understand ACA and IRS regulatory requirements and know how to successfully meet those regulatory requirements.

All applicable large employers (ALEs) must comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which requires employers to offer minimum essential coverage to all employees.

If an employer does not comply with this employee coverage requirement could lead to penalties for the employer and potentially an IRS audit.

Below is a breakdown of ACA penalties A and B, and how they could affect your company.

Who is Considered a Large Employer?

First, who is considered a large employer?

Any company or organization that has an average of at least 50 full-time employees or “full-time equivalents (FTEs) is considered an applicable large employer.

*For the purposes of the ACA, a full-time employee is someone who works a minimum of 30 hours a week.

What Are ACA Benefits?

The ACA was created in 2010 to offer more affordable health benefits to a wider range of people. Any ACA-compliant benefit plan must cover these 10 health benefits:

  • “Ambulatory services
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care (before and after birth)
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  • Laboratory services 
  • Preventative and wellness services and chronic disease management 
  • Pediatric services”

Additionally, ACA benefits cover birth control and breastfeeding support. 

The Employer Mandate (Penalty A)

Employers must offer at least Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) to any benefit-eligible employee. Non-compliance will generally result in a penalty of $2,500,000 PER eligible employee.

The Employer Mandate (Penalty B)

Employers must offer a minimum value plan that meets 60% actuarial value including hospitalization services.

The MV plan must be offered at a maximum contribution of 9.86% of the employee’s income – YOU pay the difference.

For example, take a California minimum wage employee: A $10.00/hour employee working a minimum of 30 hours per week has a maximum employee contribution of $128.18 per month.

If the plan cost is $300, YOU pay the difference of $171.82 per month. 

Non-compliance will generally result in a $3,750.00 penalty PER employee who enrolls in coverage through the state exchange AND receives a premium subsidy.

The Individual Mandate

The individual mandate went away starting January 1st, 2019 for the majority of Americans.

Those individuals living in the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, or New Jersey will continue to be penalized for the individual mandate.

Infographic of ACA Penalty A and B Breakdown

These penalties can add up to a lot of expenses for your business. At Innovative HIA, we want to help you avoid any potential penalties for lack of proper insurance. Contact our team at Innovative HIA for more information regarding your employer benefit needs.

Although you’ve likely heard of Obamacare, you may not know that Obamacare is synonymous with the Affordable Care Act. This healthcare law that passed in 2010 goes by a few different names. You may also see this law referenced as PPACA or ACA (the acronym for Affordable Care Act).

Below, let’s discuss what Obamacare or the ACA covers, its goals, when you can enroll, and more.

What Do Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Cover?

The Affordable Care Act was designed with three primary goals. To:

  • Make affordable health insurance available to more people…
  • Expand the Medicaid program to cover all adults with income below 138% of the FPL
  • Support innovative medical care delivery methods designed to lower the costs of health care generally.”

Additionally, there are sections of the ACA designed to help patients have access to affordable benefits. These sections include:

  • Quality, Affordable Healthcare for All Americans
  • The Role of Public Programs
  • Improving the Quality and Efficiency of Healthcare
  • Prevention of Chronic Disease and Improving Public Health
  • The Difference Between the ACA and Obamacare
  • Healthcare Workforce
  • Transparency and Program Integrity
  • Improving Access to Innovative Medical Therapies
  • Community Living and Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS Act)
  • Revenue Provisions
  • Reauthorization of the Indian Healthcare Improvement Act

From these sections came the 10 essential benefits that are included in minimum essential coverage (Minor Medical), which is defined as “any insurance plan that meets the Affordable Care Act requirement for having health coverage.”

These 10 benefits include:

  • Prescription drug coverage
  • Pediatric services
  • Preventative, wellness services, and chronic disease management
  • Emergency services
  • Hospital-stay coverage
  • Mental health and addiction services
  • Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care
  • Ambulance patient services
  • Laboratory services
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices

Why Was This Healthcare Law Created?

Obamacare was designed to provide basic and affordable coverage for all Americans. Before Obamacare, those with pre-existing conditions could be refused coverage or charged more for their plan.

Obamacare ensures that insurance companies allow those with pre-existing conditions to receive the same care as those without. 

Now, minimum essential coverage plans exist that provide the services required by the ACA while simultaneously being affordable for employers and employees. 

These plans help both parties stay healthy while also avoiding the fines and penalties that come along with not having health insurance (especially for Americans living in states with individual mandates).

After all, minimum essential coverage isn’t a one size fits all service. There are different options and levels to choose from to create a plan best suited for your specific needs.

Learn more by reading our article, “What is Minor Medical and What Does It Cover?

When Can I Enroll in Obamacare?

Open enrollment is the one time of the year when employees can sign up for health insurance or change their health insurance plans.

If you choose not to enroll during the open enrollment period, your options to purchase coverage become limited. Why? You cannot purchase ACA-compliant coverage unless a qualifying event occurs.

Qualifying events include:

  • Loss of a job
  • Move to a new coverage area
  • Birth of a child
  • Loss of existing coverage
  • Family event (i.e. marriage, divorce, or death)

Depending on state requirements, employees can take advantage of open enrollment for the following year starting November 1 until approximately January 15th. Again, open enrollment varies on a state-by-state basis. States like California, for example, extend their open enrollment dates to January 31.

Read on to learn what happens if your employee misses open enrollment.

How does the Individual Mandate Affect Obamacare?

When Obamacare was first implemented, it contained a clause that required Americans to have health insurance. Those who didn’t have health insurance were required to pay a tax penalty. This tax penalty was repealed in 2017. 

However, the individual mandate is still in effect for some states in the U.S. 

Residents living in the following states have implemented individual mandates.

  • California
  • The District of Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey 
  • Vermont
  • Rhode Island

This means that people living in the states mentioned above must have health insurance or face state-mandated tax penalties. Read on to learn more about ACA employer penalties.

At Innovative HIA, our goal is to provide affordable ACA-compliant benefits to our clients. For more information about the plans that we offer or to enroll, get in touch with one of our brokers today.

The California Individual Mandate, originally signed into law in 2019, was a response to the federal individual mandate being struck down by the Trump administration.

 

This state law requires all California residents to obtain Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) for a minimum of nine months, or they may face a tax penalty unless exempt.

 

Let’s discuss the individual mandate and what employers need to know, starting with a shorthand list of exemptions.

MEC Exemptions

According to the State of California Franchise Tax Board, some exemptions include:

 

  • An individual’sincome is below the state tax filing threshold
  • A coverage gap consists of three consecutive months or less
  • Coverage is not affordable based on the income reporting in your state income tax return
  • If the cost of the lowest plan, whether marketplace or employer-sponsored, is more than 8.09% of income on an individual’s tax return
  • The cost of the lowest employer-sponsored family plan, including dependents, is more than 8.09% of the household income
  • Non-citizens who are not lawfully present in the state
  • Those who are living abroad or are residents of another state
  • Members of a health care sharing ministry
  • Enrolled in limited or restricted-scope Medi-Cal or other similar coverage
  • Those in federally recognized tribes are eligible for services through an Indian health care provider or the Indian Health Service
  • Those in jail, except for incarceration, pending the disposition of charges

 

These exemptions typically must be claimed on your state income tax return.

 

While the individual mandate went into effect “to reduce the number of uninsured individuals and families,” it also has implications for employers in California. Moreover, the law requires additional reporting from specific organizations.

Employer Reporting Required by the Individual Mandate

Employers must report insurance information to the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) of California by March 31. The data reported includes the enrollment participation of employees and their dependents.

 

Employers with an insurance provider who reports to the FTB are not required to report in addition to their provider.

What are the Penalties for Not Reporting Insurance Information to the FTB?

Employers who do not meet the filing deadlines of the FTB are subject to a $50 penalty for every employee receiving coverage.

 

Individually, there is a flat penalty per household member or 2.5% of the gross household income, whichever is higher. If an individual does not obtain coverage for the entire year, they would be subject to a minimum fine of $800. 

Why Are There ACA Reporting Requirements for Employers?

For applicable large employers (ALE), the FTB introduced these reporting requirements to help enforce the state’s healthcare mandate.

 

Employers who offer self-insured or employer-sponsored plans must report individual enrollment through Form 3895C unless their insurer reports via Form 1095-B. 

 

These reports allow the FTB to verify an individual’s coverage and identify who must pay an individual shared responsibility provision (ISRP).

 

This sounds like a lot, but don’t worry. At SBMA, we take care of all ACA reporting required for the ALEs we work with. We submit Forms 1095-B and 1095-C to ensure you comply with ACA requirements.

Individual Mandates in Other States

Individual mandates are becoming a more common practice in states other than California. The current states who have individual healthcare mandates include:

 

  • California
  • The District of Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • Rhode Island, and
  • Vermont

 

Read this article “What are the Advantages of the Affordable Care Act?” to learn more.

A Final Word

As an employer, it is essential to understand the individual mandate to ensure you remain compliant with reporting requirements and avoid hefty fines.

The best way to stay on top of these requirements is to partner with an insurance provider who handles your reporting. Learn more about benefit plans, here.