Health Care Reform Updates & Human Resource News Alerts

Health Care Reform News

HR360::Health Care Reform
  • IRS To Continue Processing Tax Returns Without Health Coverage Information

    Posted on March 21, 2017
    Print

    Decision Reverses Previously Announced Policy

    Pursuant to a recent executive order, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will continue to accept for processing tax returns in instances where a taxpayer does not indicate his or her health coverage status.

    Background
    The Affordable Care Act requires individual taxpayers to indicate on their IRS Form 1040 whether they had minimum essential coverage for each month, qualify for an exemption, or must make an individual shared responsibility payment. Previously, the IRS announced its intention to begin rejecting tax returns during processing in instances where the taxpayer did not provide that information on his or her Form 1040.

    Recent Policy Change
    A recent executive order directed federal agencies to exercise all authority and discretion available to them to minimize the economic burden of the ACA. Consistent with that order, the IRS will continue to allow electronic and paper returns to be accepted for processing in instances where a taxpayer does not indicate his or her health coverage status. Though these returns will not be systematically rejected by the IRS at the time of filing, taxpayers remain required to follow the law, and may receive follow-up questions and correspondence from the IRS after the filing process is completed.

    Click here for more information.

    © 2012 - 2013 HR 360, Inc.
  • Electronic Filing Deadline for ACA Information Returns Approaching

    Posted on March 13, 2017
    Print

    Deadline to Electronically File Returns With IRS is March 31, 2017

    Employers subject to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) information reporting requirements are reminded that the deadline to electronically file ACA information returns with the IRS is quickly approaching.  

    The reporting deadlines in 2017 are for the 2016 calendar year, and are as follows:

    • Applicable large employers (ALEs)—generally those with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalents—must electronically file Forms 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS no later than March 31, 2017. The deadline to file paper returns was February 28, 2017.
    • Self-insuring employers that are not considered ALEs, and other parties that provide minimum essential health coverage, must electronically file Forms 1094-B and 1095-B with the IRS no later than March 31, 2017. The deadline to file paper returns was February 28, 2017.

    Note: Employers filing 250 or more Forms 1095-B or 1095-C are required to electronically file them with the IRS.

    Additional information on electronic filing can be found on the IRS's ACA Information Returns (AIR) Program webpage. 

    © 2012 - 2013 HR 360, Inc.
  • HHS Releases Training Materials for ACA Section 1557 Compliance

    Posted on March 08, 2017
    Print

    Materials Answer Key Questions

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released training materials to aid covered entities in complying with the requirements of section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in any health program or activity that receives federal financial assistance. Most private employers are exempt from the requirements of ACA Section 1557.

    Training Materials
    Because HHS strongly encourages covered entities to train their employees on ACA Section 1557 compliance, the agency has released a Presenter’s Guide and accompanying PowerPoint slides to supplement covered entities' trainings on their internal policies and procedures. The HHS training materials include information related to:

    • Who must comply
    • Nondiscrimination requirements, with examples
    • How to obtain assistance from HHS

    Click here to download the training materials.

    © 2012 - 2013 HR 360, Inc.
  • How Summer Help May Affect ALE Status

    Posted on March 08, 2017
    Print

    Employers May Apply a Reasonable, Good Faith Interpretation of the Term 'Seasonal Worker'

    Employers looking to hire seasonal workers this summer are reminded that there is an exception when measuring workforce size to determine whether they are an applicable large employer (ALE) subject to the Affordable Care Act's employer shared responsibility ("pay or play") provisions.

    What Is 'Pay or Play'?
    The pay or play provisions require ALEs—generally those with at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees (FTEs)—to offer affordable health insurance that provides a minimum level of coverage to full-time employees (and their dependents) or pay a penalty tax if any full-time employee is certified to receive a premium tax credit for purchasing individual coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace (Exchange).

    Seasonal Worker Exception
    If an employer's workforce exceeds 50 full-time employees (including FTEs) for 120 days or less (or 4 calendar months) during the preceding calendar year, and the employees in excess of 50 who were employed during that period were seasonal workers, the employer is not considered an ALE for the current calendar year. A seasonal worker for this purpose is an employee who performs labor or services on a seasonal basis (e.g., retail workers employed exclusively during holiday seasons are seasonal workers).

    Seasonal Worker Versus Seasonal Employee
    While the terms "seasonal worker" and "seasonal employee" are both used in the pay or play provisions, only the term "seasonal worker" is relevant for determining whether an employer is considered an ALE. For this purpose, employers may apply a reasonable, good faith interpretation of the term "seasonal worker." For more information on the difference between a seasonal worker and a seasonal employee under pay or play, please refer to IRS Pay or Play Q&A #26.

    © 2012 - 2013 HR 360, Inc.
  • New Expiration Date for Health Insurance Exchange Notices is March 31, 2017

    Posted on March 01, 2017
    Print

    Model Notices Previously Expired on February 28, 2017

    The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has extended the effective date of its model Health Insurance Exchange Notices through March 31, 2017. Previously, these model notices expired on February 28, 2017. No other changes have been made to these notices.

    Click here to access the model notices with the new expiration date. Please note that there are separate notices for employers that do and do not offer a health plan.

    These model notices are the most current versions provided by EBSA. For further guidance regarding these notices, please contact EBSA at 1-866-444-3272.

    © 2012 - 2013 HR 360, Inc.
  • IRS Provides Extension for Qualified Small Employers to Furnish Initial Written HRA Notice

    Posted on February 28, 2017
    Print

    Enforcement of Notice Penalty Also Delayed

    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has extended the period for an employer to furnish an initial written notice to its eligible employees regarding a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement (QSEHRA) and has delayed associated penalties until further guidance is issued

    Background
    The 21st Century Cures Act requires employers funding a QSEHRA for any year to provide a written notice to each eligible employee that includes information related to the employee's permitted benefit under the arrangement for the year and how the arrangement affects advance payment of the premium tax credit and the individual mandate.

    The notice generally must be provided no later than 90 days before the beginning of a year in which the QSEHRA is funded—or, if an employee is not eligible to participate in the arrangement as of the beginning of such year, the date on which the employee is first eligible.

    While the law imposes a penalty for failing to timely furnish eligible employees with the required written QSEHRA notice, it further provides that an eligible employer that provides a QSEHRA for a year beginning in 2017 will not be treated as failing to timely furnish the initial written notice if it is furnished to eligible employees no later than March 13, 2017.

    Transition Relief
    The IRS has announced its intention to issue additional guidance concerning the contents of the written notice in the near future. Until the issuance of such guidance, employers that provide QSEHRAs for years beginning in 2017 are not required to furnish the initial written notice to eligible employees, and no penalties will be imposed for failure to provide the notice. Employers that furnish the QSEHRA notice to eligible employees before further guidance is issued may rely upon a reasonable good faith interpretation of the 21st Century Cures Act to determine the contents of the notice.

    © 2012 - 2013 HR 360, Inc.

    HR News and Alerts

    HR360::Health Care Reform
    • IRS To Continue Processing Tax Returns Without Health Coverage Information

      Posted on March 21, 2017
      Print

      Decision Reverses Previously Announced Policy

      Pursuant to a recent executive order, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will continue to accept for processing tax returns in instances where a taxpayer does not indicate his or her health coverage status.

      Background
      The Affordable Care Act requires individual taxpayers to indicate on their IRS Form 1040 whether they had minimum essential coverage for each month, qualify for an exemption, or must make an individual shared responsibility payment. Previously, the IRS announced its intention to begin rejecting tax returns during processing in instances where the taxpayer did not provide that information on his or her Form 1040.

      Recent Policy Change
      A recent executive order directed federal agencies to exercise all authority and discretion available to them to minimize the economic burden of the ACA. Consistent with that order, the IRS will continue to allow electronic and paper returns to be accepted for processing in instances where a taxpayer does not indicate his or her health coverage status. Though these returns will not be systematically rejected by the IRS at the time of filing, taxpayers remain required to follow the law, and may receive follow-up questions and correspondence from the IRS after the filing process is completed.

      Click here for more information.

      © 2012 - 2013 HR 360, Inc.
    • Electronic Filing Deadline for ACA Information Returns Approaching

      Posted on March 13, 2017
      Print

      Deadline to Electronically File Returns With IRS is March 31, 2017

      Employers subject to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) information reporting requirements are reminded that the deadline to electronically file ACA information returns with the IRS is quickly approaching.  

      The reporting deadlines in 2017 are for the 2016 calendar year, and are as follows:

      • Applicable large employers (ALEs)—generally those with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalents—must electronically file Forms 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS no later than March 31, 2017. The deadline to file paper returns was February 28, 2017.
      • Self-insuring employers that are not considered ALEs, and other parties that provide minimum essential health coverage, must electronically file Forms 1094-B and 1095-B with the IRS no later than March 31, 2017. The deadline to file paper returns was February 28, 2017.

      Note: Employers filing 250 or more Forms 1095-B or 1095-C are required to electronically file them with the IRS.

      Additional information on electronic filing can be found on the IRS's ACA Information Returns (AIR) Program webpage. 

      © 2012 - 2013 HR 360, Inc.
    • HHS Releases Training Materials for ACA Section 1557 Compliance

      Posted on March 08, 2017
      Print

      Materials Answer Key Questions

      The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released training materials to aid covered entities in complying with the requirements of section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in any health program or activity that receives federal financial assistance. Most private employers are exempt from the requirements of ACA Section 1557.

      Training Materials
      Because HHS strongly encourages covered entities to train their employees on ACA Section 1557 compliance, the agency has released a Presenter’s Guide and accompanying PowerPoint slides to supplement covered entities' trainings on their internal policies and procedures. The HHS training materials include information related to:

      • Who must comply
      • Nondiscrimination requirements, with examples
      • How to obtain assistance from HHS

      Click here to download the training materials.

      © 2012 - 2013 HR 360, Inc.
    • How Summer Help May Affect ALE Status

      Posted on March 08, 2017
      Print

      Employers May Apply a Reasonable, Good Faith Interpretation of the Term 'Seasonal Worker'

      Employers looking to hire seasonal workers this summer are reminded that there is an exception when measuring workforce size to determine whether they are an applicable large employer (ALE) subject to the Affordable Care Act's employer shared responsibility ("pay or play") provisions.

      What Is 'Pay or Play'?
      The pay or play provisions require ALEs—generally those with at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees (FTEs)—to offer affordable health insurance that provides a minimum level of coverage to full-time employees (and their dependents) or pay a penalty tax if any full-time employee is certified to receive a premium tax credit for purchasing individual coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace (Exchange).

      Seasonal Worker Exception
      If an employer's workforce exceeds 50 full-time employees (including FTEs) for 120 days or less (or 4 calendar months) during the preceding calendar year, and the employees in excess of 50 who were employed during that period were seasonal workers, the employer is not considered an ALE for the current calendar year. A seasonal worker for this purpose is an employee who performs labor or services on a seasonal basis (e.g., retail workers employed exclusively during holiday seasons are seasonal workers).

      Seasonal Worker Versus Seasonal Employee
      While the terms "seasonal worker" and "seasonal employee" are both used in the pay or play provisions, only the term "seasonal worker" is relevant for determining whether an employer is considered an ALE. For this purpose, employers may apply a reasonable, good faith interpretation of the term "seasonal worker." For more information on the difference between a seasonal worker and a seasonal employee under pay or play, please refer to IRS Pay or Play Q&A #26.

      © 2012 - 2013 HR 360, Inc.
    • New Expiration Date for Health Insurance Exchange Notices is March 31, 2017

      Posted on March 01, 2017
      Print

      Model Notices Previously Expired on February 28, 2017

      The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has extended the effective date of its model Health Insurance Exchange Notices through March 31, 2017. Previously, these model notices expired on February 28, 2017. No other changes have been made to these notices.

      Click here to access the model notices with the new expiration date. Please note that there are separate notices for employers that do and do not offer a health plan.

      These model notices are the most current versions provided by EBSA. For further guidance regarding these notices, please contact EBSA at 1-866-444-3272.

      © 2012 - 2013 HR 360, Inc.
    • IRS Provides Extension for Qualified Small Employers to Furnish Initial Written HRA Notice

      Posted on February 28, 2017
      Print

      Enforcement of Notice Penalty Also Delayed

      The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has extended the period for an employer to furnish an initial written notice to its eligible employees regarding a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement (QSEHRA) and has delayed associated penalties until further guidance is issued

      Background
      The 21st Century Cures Act requires employers funding a QSEHRA for any year to provide a written notice to each eligible employee that includes information related to the employee's permitted benefit under the arrangement for the year and how the arrangement affects advance payment of the premium tax credit and the individual mandate.

      The notice generally must be provided no later than 90 days before the beginning of a year in which the QSEHRA is funded—or, if an employee is not eligible to participate in the arrangement as of the beginning of such year, the date on which the employee is first eligible.

      While the law imposes a penalty for failing to timely furnish eligible employees with the required written QSEHRA notice, it further provides that an eligible employer that provides a QSEHRA for a year beginning in 2017 will not be treated as failing to timely furnish the initial written notice if it is furnished to eligible employees no later than March 13, 2017.

      Transition Relief
      The IRS has announced its intention to issue additional guidance concerning the contents of the written notice in the near future. Until the issuance of such guidance, employers that provide QSEHRAs for years beginning in 2017 are not required to furnish the initial written notice to eligible employees, and no penalties will be imposed for failure to provide the notice. Employers that furnish the QSEHRA notice to eligible employees before further guidance is issued may rely upon a reasonable good faith interpretation of the 21st Century Cures Act to determine the contents of the notice.

      © 2012 - 2013 HR 360, Inc.