Employers May Continue to File ACA Information Returns (Forms 1094 & 1095)

While the deadline to electronically file Affordable Care Act (ACA) information returns with the IRS passed on June 30, 2016, the ACA Information Returns (AIR) system used to electronically file those returns, as well as the ability to complete required system testing,
remains up and running.

Rejected, 'Accepted with Errors,' and Late Filings
Employers whose filings were rejected by the AIR system have 60 days from the date of rejection to submit a replacement and have the rejected filing treated as timely filed. In addition, employers whose filings received an "Accepted with Errors" message may continue to submit corrections after June 30, 2016.     

Employers unable to submit all required ACA information returns by June 30, 2016 should still file their returns after the deadline. Filers that missed the June 30, 2016 deadline will generally not be assessed late filing penalties if the reporting entity has made legitimate efforts to register with the AIR system and to file its information returns, and it continues to make such efforts and completes the process as soon as possible. In addition, consistent with existing information reporting rules, filers that are assessed penalties may still meet the criteria for a reasonable cause waiver.  
 
Check out our section on Information Reporting for more on the ACA employer information reporting requirements.

New Federal Minimum Wage and Employee Polygraph Workplace Posters Must Be Posted

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently updated its Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) posters. The new versions are now available for download.

New Posters 
Every employer of employees subject to the FLSA's minimum wage provisions must post (and keep posted) a notice explaining the law in a conspicuous place in all of its establishments so as to permit employees to readily read it. An approved copy of the minimum wage poster is available for employers to post.

Additionally, an employer subject to the EPPA must post (and keep posted) on its premises a notice explaining the law. The notice must be posted in a prominent and conspicuous place in every establishment of the employer where it can readily be observed by employees and applicants.

As of August 1, 2016, employers subject to these provisions must post the new versions of the FLSA and EPPA posters.

More information on federal posting requirements and links to downloadable posters are featured in our Federal Poster Requirements section.
Transitional Reinsurance Program Contribution Rate and Deadlines Announced 
 
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the 2016 benefit year contribution rate and deadlines for the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) Transitional Reinsurance Program. 

Transitional Reinsurance Program Explained
The Transitional Reinsurance Program is a three-year program established by the ACA that requires employers sponsoring certain self-insured plans ("contributing entities") to make contributions to support payments to individual market issuers that cover high-cost individuals.

2016 Contribution Rate and Deadlines
The 2016 Reinsurance Contribution Rate is $27.00 per covered life. For the 2016 benefit year, CMS will offer contributing entities the option to pay:
  • The entire 2016 benefit year contribution in one lump sum payment, no later than January 17, 2017, reflecting $27.00 per covered life; or
  • In two separate payments for the 2016 benefit year, with the first remittance due by January 17, 2017 reflecting $21.60 per covered life, and the second remittance due by November 15, 2017 reflecting $5.40 per covered life.
The annual enrollment count submission deadline for the 2016 benefit year is November 15, 2016. While not yet available, the 2016 ACA Transitional Reinsurance Program Annual Enrollment and Contributions form is expected to be available on www.pay.gov in time for the submission deadline.

More information on the reinsurance contribution process can be found in our section on the Transitional Reinsurance Program.

IRS Releases 2016 Draft Forms 1094-C and 1095-C and Instructions

The IRS has released draft versions of the Forms 1094-C and 1095-C and instructions that employers will use in early 2017 to report on health coverage offered in the 2016 calendar year. 

Who is Required to Report 
Under the Affordable Care Act, applicable large employers ("ALEs")-- generally those with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees--use Forms 1094-C and 1095-C to report information to the IRS and to their employees about their compliance with the employer shared responsibility provisions ("pay or play") and the health care coverage they have offered.

2016 Draft Forms and Instructions 
The following draft forms are now available for 2016:
The 2016 Draft Instructions for Forms 1094-C and 1095-C are also now available. Among other items, the draft instructions clarify:
  • The reporting rules which require employers who are Members of an "Aggregated ALE Group"--a group of ALE Members treated as a single employer under the Internal Revenue Code--to file Forms 1094-C and 1095-C, even if the ALE Member has fewer than 50 full-time employees of its own;
  • The indicator codes that should be used to report offers of COBRA continuation coverage on lines 14 and 16 of Form 1095-C; and
  • The definitions of "full-time employee" and "Employee Required Contribution" for purposes of Forms 1094-C and 1095-C reporting.
Visit our  Information Reporting section for more on these requirements.

Medicare Part D Notice Must Be Provided Prior to October 15th
Written Disclosure Notice (to Medicare-eligible employees)

 

In preparation for the Medicare fall open enrollment period, employers sponsoring group health plans that include prescription drug coverage are required to notify all Medicare-eligible individuals whether such coverage is creditable. Creditable coverage means that the coverage is expected to pay, on average, as much as the standard Medicare prescription drug coverage.

 

This written disclosure notice must be provided annually prior to October 15th, and at various other times as required under the law, to the following individuals:

  • Medicare-eligible active working individuals and their dependents (including a Medicare-eligible individual when he or she joins the plan);
  • Medicare-eligible COBRA individuals and their dependents;
  • Medicare-eligible disabled individuals covered under an employer's prescription drug plan; and
  • Any retirees and their dependents.

Model notices are available from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Additionally, employers are required to complete an online disclosure to CMS to report the creditable coverage status of their prescription drug plans. This disclosure is also required annually, no later than 60 days from the beginning of a plan year, and at certain other times.

EaseCentral Employer Training 
 
Employer Training
EaseCentral now hosts an Employer Training Webinar on the first Thursday of every month at 10am PDT. The webinar will provide detailed instructions and training for employers who will be using EaseCentral. Topics include adding new hires and terminations, entering work status changes, and accessing valuable reports. The next webinar will be held Thursday, October 6, 2016, at 10am PDT.
 
Additional employer resources:
  • Employers can access a number of resources and videos about how to best use EaseCentral in the Employer Help Desk.
  • Employers can view the pre-recorded Employer Training at any time.