How to prepare for earlier reporting in 2017

How to prepare for earlier reporting deadlinesLast December, most employers were relieved when the IRS provided extensions of employee notifications and filing deadlines for Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting. Unfortunately, this may have set up those same employers for failure as it will seem like these deadlines are coming 2 months earlier in 2017. To prevent this from happening, here are 4 ways to prepare for earlier reporting in 2017.

1. Give yourself plenty of cushion to submit required filings on time.

This year employers must provide 1095-Cs to employees by the end of January, indicating month-by-month coverage provided through the end of the previous December.

ACA Reporting Deadlines_with citationThese forms are required of most employers;

  • Employers of any size that sponsored a self-insured health plan providing minimum essential coverage must distribute to enrolled employees and file with the IRS Form 1095-B, showing a health plan enrollment.
  • Applicable large employers with 50 or more full-time employees or equivalents must distribute to enrolled employees and file with the IRS Form 1095-C, showing compliance with employer shared responsibility/minimum essential coverage requirements.

2. It’s now 95%, not 70%.

Unfortunately, last years extended reporting deadlines may not be the only things that trips up employers this year. Starting in 2016, all organizations with 50 or more full-time employees or equivalents must insure 95 percent of their full-time employees to avoid liability under the ACA’s shared responsibility provisions, and the resulting penalties.

The thing is, some employers may not understand that it’s not a 95% average for the year, it’s 95% for each month. If an employer had a month where they fell below 95%, then the employer is exposed. The employer could be facing penalties for the months when they were below the threshold.

The IRS will ask for payroll and benefits data, this will help them determine whether the indicator codes used on Form 1095-C are accurate. With last year’s 70% threshold, employers had a lot more leeway.

3. Exchange notices have been arriving.

Employers also need to be on the lookout for exchange subsidy notices. Notices pertaining to 2015 coverage, are now being sent from the ACA’s Health Insurance Marketplace. These notices allege that a full-time employee received subsidized coverage on an exchange because the employer failed to provide qualifying coverage.

4. Determining eligibility is an on-going effort.

The coverage provided to each full-time employee needs to be tracked and recorded every month. This needs to be an ongoing process for employers to get ready for the next year’s annual reporting. Employers can find relief by working with companies who offer tracking services that work in conjunction with payroll companies as part of their coverage. FreedomCare is one of the only options that provides this integration.

Employers that were close to the 50 or more full-time employee threshold last year need to make sure they stay on top of their eligibility. They need to run the numbers each month to make sure they aren’t on the hook. It would be terrible to find out too late and be liable for penalties for the whole year.

Reach out to FreedomCare, we can help you calculate and determine whether or not an employer needs to offer coverage. Trust us, it’s much less expensive than paying the penalties.

How MEC plans are a great benefit to employees and employers

How preventative and wellness benefits employee and employerEach year, preventable chronic diseases are responsible for millions of premature deaths among Americans. Because health problems impact productivity, they are a major drain on the U.S. economy, resulting in 69 million workers reporting missed days due to illness each year. This loss of productivity reduces economic output by $260 billion per year.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the overarching goal of the National Prevention Strategy is to increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life. Nationally, Americans use preventative services at about half the recommended rate. Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, are responsible for 7 of every 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for 75% of the nation’s health spending. These chronic diseases can be controlled with preventative and wellness care and detected earlier with appropriate screenings.

Businesses can greatly benefit by allowing their employee’s access to preventative and wellness programs because a healthier workforce reduces long term health care costs, and increases stability and productivity. With better health, adults are more productive and show up for work more often. Preventing disease increases productivity – asthma, high blood pressure, smoking and obesity each reduce annual productivity by $200-$440 per person.

Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) plans regulated by the ACA include a wealth of preventative and wellness benefits including but not limited to:

  • Diabetes Screening
  • Immunizations
  • Depression Screening
  • STI Counseling
  • Contraception
  • Heart Disease Prevention
  • Colon Cancer Screening
  • Skin Cancer Counseling
  • Breastfeeding Counseling
  • Breast Cancer Screening
  • Autism Screening
  • Dental Cavities Prevention
  • Iron Supplementation
  • Blood Pressure Screening
  • Tobacco Use Interventions

The right preventative care at every stage of life helps all Americans stay healthy, avoid or delay the onset of disease, lead productive lives, and reduce costs. The FreedomCare MEC plan includes all of these benefits and more. Give us a call today.