Click to read Ceridian's article on ACA compliance changes coming in 2017.Join Ceridian Washington insider Jim O’Connell as he investigates potential changes to ACA in 2017. Uncover tips for effective compliance tracking and reporting.  

 

 

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ACA Insight: Change is Coming!

 

Since its passage in 2010, the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been the source of nearly nonstop speculation. With the upcoming 2016 Presidential election, the ACA is once again in the political spotlight. Many employers and elected officials seem to favor changes to the law. The question is: Will the ACA changes be for the better?

“It’s not a matter of if the ACA will be changed in 2017, but how. The current law places a significant compliance burden on employers, and many organizations are struggling with the requirements. It is vital that modifications to the health care law strengthen, not jeopardize, employer-sponsored health coverage,” said Jim O’Connell, Ceridian executive consultant and Washington insider.

In order to effectively look at the future of the ACA, we must first examine the provisions that most impact employer compliance.

It's time to prepare for changes to the ACA.

Reviewing ACA provisions concerning employers

With the passage of the ACA, the government introduced a number of new health insurance requirements. Compliance for employers meant focusing on three main ACA provisions:

  1. Employer Shared Responsibility: Requires “applicable large employers,” i.e., those with 50 or more full-time employees, to offer full-time workers (individuals who average 30 or more hours per week) health care coverage that is both “affordable” and of “minimum value.”
  2. Health coverage reporting: Employers must annually furnish health coverage information to employees and file information returns with the IRS. Employers reported coverage under the ACA for the first time in 2016.
  3. The “Cadillac Tax:” Scheduled to become effective in January 2020, the so-called “Cadillac Tax” will impose a 40 percent excise tax on health plans whose value is more than $10,200 for individual coverage and $27,500 for family coverage.

For an in-depth look at each of these employer-focused ACA provisions, read our article ACA Snapshot: 3 Focus Areas for 2016.

Maintaining compliance with the ACA

Given the complexities of the ACA, precise tracking and reporting are a must for compliance success. Consequently, most organizations rely on HCM technologies, like Dayforce HCM, to help them manage health law requirements.

During a recent webinar, Foodtown USA co-president Noah Katz provided an insider’s look into his company’s compliance processes. Specifically, he highlighted the HCM features that are vital to Foodtown’s ACA management:

  • Integrated time tracking automates the process of categorizing employee service hours in payroll and benefit applications.
  • Customized data tracking makes determining employees’ full-time status under the ACA easy by allowing you to create customized measurement periods.
  • Robust employee filters minimize the manual work required to complete Form 1095-C by enabling you to quickly classify employees by employment status or pay class.
  • Online benefits enrollment creates an audit trail of who has been offered benefits and when.
  • Real-time integration between time and attendance, payroll, and benefits simplifies the process of determining health care coverage affordability.

Getting ready for change

Looking ahead to 2017, business and political pundits are anticipating ACA changes. Ceridian’s recent webinar also featured insights from Jim O’Connell, who highlighted two potential changes.

Repeal of the “Cadillac Tax”

With waning support for the “Cadillac Tax” on Capitol Hill, O’Connell believes that a repeal of the provision is highly likely. The challenge for Congress will be to replace the $90 billion in potential revenue lost if the tax is eliminated. One possible alternative would be to cap the present tax exclusion for employer-provided coverage, which would limit how much an employee may exclude from income taxes. Another option would be to enact an insurance tax credit that could be the same for everyone, regardless of whether they have employer-provided coverage.

Simplifying the Employer Mandate

The Employer Shared Responsibility provision places a tremendous amount of responsibility on employers. Many observers are concerned that the ACA employer mandate may prompt some employers to begin scaling back health insurance coverage, which would be the opposite of what the mandate intended. According to O’Connell, there are several options for easing the requirements of the “Play or Pay” provision:

  • Redefining “applicable large employer” to a figure higher than employing 50 or more full-time employees;
  • Redefining “full-time employee” to something higher than an average of 30 or more hours per week – e.g., 40 hours.
  • Depending on IRS experience with the 2016 Forms 1094 and 1095 filing, simplifying the reporting requirements for 2017 and beyond.

Learn more about the future of the ACA, along with FAQ questions about the regulation, read our blog post Affordable Care Act Webcast: Your Questions, Our Answers.

Affordable Care Act Webcast Your Questions: Our Answers - See more at: http://www.ceridian.com/resources/blogs/human-resources-legislation-blog/affordable-care-act-webcast-your-questions-our-answers.html#sthash.ep7TlBgC.dpuf
Affordable Care Act Webcast Your Questions: Our Answers - See more at: http://www.ceridian.com/resources/blogs/human-resources-legislation-blog/affordable-care-act-webcast-your-questions-our-answers.html#sthash.ep7TlBgC.dpuf

Preparing Today for Tomorrow’s ACA Changes

While the government estimates that 20 million additional Americans now have health insurance thanks to the ACA, it’s widely acknowledged the law is far from perfect and will be changed. How exactly elected officials will modify ACA in 2017 is unknown. But by implementing the right processes today, employers can be ready for the compliance requirements of tomorrow.

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