New Annual Reporting Requirements for Employers under the Affordable Care Act

Category: Published Articles
Date: Nov 10, 2015 12:58 PM

The Affordable Care Act ("ACA") will require Applicable Large Employers (i.e. large employers subject to the employer mandate) and employers sponsoring self-insured plans to comply with new annual Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") reporting requirements. The first reporting deadline will be February 28, 2016 as to the data employers collect during the 2015 calendar year. The reporting provides the IRS with information it needs to enforce the Individual Mandate (i.e. individuals are penalized for not having health coverage) and the Employer Mandate (i.e. large employers are penalized for not offering health coverage to full-time employees). The IRS will also require employers who offer self-insured plans to report on covered individuals.

Large employers and coverage providers must also provide a written statement to each employee or responsible individual (i.e. one who enrolls one or more individuals) identifying the reported information. The written statement can be a copy of the Form.

The IRS recently released draft Forms 1094-C and 1095-C and draft Forms 1094-B and 1095-B, along with draft instructions for each form.

Which Forms Do I File?

Employer Description

Applicable Forms

Applicable Large Employer Offering Fully-Insured Coverage

1094-C and 1095-C(except Part III)

Applicable Large Employer Sponsoring Self-Insured Coverage

1094-C and 1095-C(incl. Part III)

Applicable Large Employer Offering Self-Insured Coverage to Non-Employees (e.g. retirees/COBRA qualified beneficiaries)

1094-C and 1095-C(except Part III);

1094-B and 1095-C

Small Employer (non-ALE) Sponsoring Self-Insured Coverage

1094-B and 1095-B

Small Employer Offering Fully Insured Health Plans

Not Applicable

When?

Statements to employees and responsible individuals are due annually by January 31. The first statements are due January 31, 2016.

Forms 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C and 1095-C are due annually by February 28 (or by March 31, if filing electronically). The first filing is due by February 28, 2016 (or March 31, 2016, if filing electronically).

Even though the forms are not due until 2016, the annual reporting will be based on data from the prior year. Employers need to plan ahead now to collect data for 2015. Many employers have adopted the Look Back Measurement Method Safe Harbor ("Safe Harbor") to identify full-time employees under the ACA. The Safe Harbor allows employers to "look back" on the hours of service of its employees during 2014 or another measurement period. There are specific legal restrictions regarding the timing and length of the periods under the Safe Harbor, so employers cannot just pick random dates. Employers also must follow various rules to calculate hours of service under the Safe Harbor. The hours of service during the measurement period (which is likely to include most of 2014) will determine whether a particular employee is full-time under the ACA during the 2015 stability period. The stability period is the time during which the status of the employee, as full-time or non-full-time, is locked in. In 2016, employers must report their employees' full-time status during the calendar year of 2015. Therefore, even though the IRS forms are not due until 2016, an employee's hours of service in 2014 will determine how an employer reports that employee during each month of 2015. Employers who have not adopted the Safe Harbor should consider doing so because it allows an employer to average hours of service over a 12-month period to determine the full-time status of an employee. If an employer does not adopt the Safe Harbor, the IRS will require the employer to make a monthly determination, which is likely to increase an employer's potential exposure to penalties.

What Must the Employer Report?

Form 1095-C

There are three parts to Form 1095-C. An applicable large employer must file one Form 1095-C for each full-time employee. If the applicable large employer sponsors self-insured health plans, it must also file Form 1095-C for any employee who enrolls in coverage regardless of the full-time status of that employee.

Form 1095-C requires the employer to identify the type of health coverage offered to a full-time employee for each calendar month, including whether that coverage offered minimum value and was affordable for that employee. Employers must use a code to identify the type of health coverage offered and applicable transition relief.

Employers that offer self-insured health plans also must report information about each individual enrolled in the self-insured health plan, including any full-time employee, non-full-time employee, employee family members, and others.

Form 1094-C

Applicable large employers use Form 1094-C as a transmittal to report employer summary information and transmit its Forms 1095-C to the IRS. Form 1094-C requires employers to enter the name and contact information of the employer and the total number of Forms 1095-C it submits. It also requires information about whether the employer offered minimum essential coverage under an eligible employer-sponsored plan to at least 95% of its full-time employees and their dependents for the entire calendar year, the number of full-time employees for each month, and the total number of employees (full-time or non-full-time) for each month.

Form 1095-B

Employers offering self-insured coverage use Form 1095-B to report information to the IRS about individuals who are covered by minimum essential coverage and therefore are not liable for the individual shared responsibility payment. These employers must file a Form 1095-B for each individual who was covered for any part of the calendar year. The employer must make reasonable efforts to collect social security numbers for covered individuals.

Form 1094-B

Employers who file Form 1095-B will use Form 1094-B as a transmittal form. It asks for the name of the employer, the employer's EIN, and the name, telephone number, and address of the employer's contact person.

Failure to Report – What Happens?

The IRS will impose penalties for failure to timely provide correct written statements to employees. The IRS will also impose penalties for failure to timely file a correct return. For the 2016 reporting on 2015 data, the IRS will not impose a penalty for good faith compliance. However, the IRS specified that good faith compliance requires that employers provide the statements and file the returns.

More Information

Liebert Cassidy Whitmore hosted a webinar on the ACA reporting requirements. For more information, please visit http://www.lcwlegal.com/december-aca-webinar. You may also find additional information on the ACA at http://www.lcwlegal.com/ACA.

Heather DeBlanc, attorney in the Los Angeles office of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, practices employment, education, construction and business law. She has also developed an expertise advising employers on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as other related healthcare laws. Heather can be reached at hdeblanc@lcwlegal.com

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