As reported by AHCA/NCAL:
Is ACA (Obamacare) compliance still necessary?
With all the discussion in Washington about the “repeal and replacement” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), some members have asked whether they need to continue to be compliant with the ACA in 2017. At this time, the simple answer is yes. Members should continue to comply with the law. Congress is considering legislation to repeal and replace the ACA, but its outcome is still uncertain.
What efforts are currently underway to repeal the ACA?
In mid-January, the House and Senate passed a 2017 budget resolution, which began the process of repealing the ACA through budget reconciliation. This allows for expedited consideration of tax, spending, and debt limit legislation. The reconciliation process does not allow for the full repeal of the ACA, but it does allow legislators to address the ACA provisions that relate to the budget (e.g., the employer mandate). Additional “repeal and replace” proposals are expected.
On January 20, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order (EO), Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal, making his Administration’s intent to repeal the ACA clear. Prior to that repeal, the EO directs all federal agencies (e.g., Treasury, Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, etc.) to take consistent action to waive, defer, or delay the implementation of any ACA provision or requirement that would impose a financial (e.g., fee, tax, penalty) or regulatory burden on states, individuals, providers, insurers, and makers of medical devices, products, or medications. In essence, the EO directs the agencies – where possible – to cut back on ACA enforcement until the new Administration, working with Congress, could possibly repeal the ACA. The EO also encourages the development of a “free and open” health care marketplace.
The Trump Administration would like to repeal the ACA but has not identified the exact ACA provisions it intends to eliminate. Further, even though President Trump has asked agencies to “cut back” on ACA enforcement, this directive will likely see slow implementation until Congress approves the new agency-heads responsible for ACA enforcement. The ACA requirements can only be replaced or deleted through the notice-and-comment rulemaking process (e.g., Administrative Procedure Act). Until that occurs, nothing really changes with the requirements governing employer and individual mandates.
Will the ACA be repealed?
On Thursday, January 26, 2017, President Trump, along with other congressional leaders, reported to the media that they plan to push through ACA repeal in the next six months. It could be sooner or later. The ACA is a big law, and the Trump Administration – like any new Administration – will take some time to get up and running. AHCA/NCAL is closely monitoring “repeal and replace” efforts and will keep members apprised of any developments that affect operations.
What should employers do now?
For now, continue to comply with the ACA requirements as you have in the past. Most immediately, this means that employers with 50 or more full-time employees should plan on submitting the mandatory employer reporting forms to the IRS for the 2016 tax year (see below). In addition, if an employer is currently renewing its employee health benefit plan, they should choose a plan that is ACA compliant.
What is the deadline to complete and file the 2016 Mandatory IRS Forms?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has set the deadlines for mandatory forms that must be completed by an applicable large employer – employers with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalents. For calendar year 2016, Forms 1094-C and 1095-C are required to be filed with the IRS by February 28, 2017 or March 31, 2017 (if filing electronically).
An applicable large employer also must furnish the Form 1095-C to each full-time employee on or before March 2, 2017. This due date reflects a 30-day extension from the general due date (January 31 of the year immediately following the calendar year to which the information relates). This extension was provided by the IRS in Notice 2016-70 on November 18, 2016.
These reporting requirements apply regardless of whether health coverage was offered to employees. As a refresher, the two IRS forms that are used for ACA reporting are:
- Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Return: Used to report to the IRS summary information for each employer and to transmit Forms 1095-C to the IRS
- Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage: Used to report required information to your employees and to report information about each employee to the IRS
The IRS has a Frequently Asked Questions document about these two mandatory forms. Visit Reporting of Offers of Health Insurance Coverage by Employers on IRS.gov/aca for more information about these reporting requirements.
How do I keep current on ACA developments?
AHCA/NCAL has created a special web page containing the latest news related to the ACA and will send communications to members about important ACA developments as they occur.