Now that the super bowl is behind us the mood for sports enthusiasts around this part of the country shifts to college basketball, and before you know it someone will be organizing a bracket pool in your office.
One of my favorite slides to show audiences across the country is a bracket outlining how the Affordable Care Act was the legislative version of a “Cinderella” team.
It made its fair share of last second shots like over-coming a high initial price tag, passing on Christmas eve and using a procedural move called reconciliation to get through the U.S. Senate a second time. The same move now being used to try to unravel it.
Many folks forget the fact that the law did not go through regular order and did not experience the full legislative process. This means it was highly contextual and delegated massive authority to the executive branch to implement the law.
The consequences are becoming real in 2016 and this March the madness will begin for employers required to file the highly complex and cumbersome IRS mandated forms to employees if they have more than 50 FTEs.
Many have tried to internalize this process thinking that this is going to be an easy project. If you are of this mindset, think again, because are you prepared for:
- Keeping track of and documenting to the government the coverage you provide for each and every employee.
- Navigating 13 pages of instructions for a two-page form estimated to take around 15 minutes per employee JUST to fill out. That is if you have the data.
- Providing a month-by-month record to the IRS to show you offered affordable coverage to your full-time employees.
- Handling mid-year eligibility transitions and enrollment changes and having them documented correctly.
- Keeping up with changing ACA requirements.
- Paying twice to have separate vendors track different aspects of the required data.
Some businesses with significant resources have handled this already, and I am sure if you polled them most would say it was an administrative burden.
What is bad is the amount of businesses and municipalities who are unaware of the fact they have to file 1095-C forms.
What’s worse is the penalty of $250 per form and the hieroglyphic coding system everybody’s favorite agency of government, the IRS, came up with.
Here are three suggestions for handling this new challenge presented by ACA regulations.
- Understand your situation
and how the changes from the ACA affect your organization. This is more than compliance with the pay or play mandate and official employer report. It is important to understand how the massive changes in the healthcare and insurance industries will affect your organization.
- Have a strategy for managing the changes. Consider working with someone to streamline the reporting process, and analyze your employee benefit strategy over the next five years.
- Train your internal staff
throughout the next year on how to stay on top of all of these things so this is not a headache next year. Enterprise technology solutions feature ACA modules that can automate this process next year. Or you can outsource it all together to a consultant.
March 31st will be here before we know it. During a recent compliance audit, we found that the omission of one minor detail led to errors on 10 forms. At $250 penalty per form, it is worth having one with a strong understanding of the law review your forms and help you manage the communication soon to come from employees.
E.D. Bellis and our network of consultants can provide assistance with all of the issues identified above and will help your organization streamline and maintain complete compliance with the ACA.
As the penalties begin rolling during the second half of this year any last minute needs can be solved by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation.
Finally, don’t forget to check out our weekly radio show, America’s Healthcare Challenge, where this week we will be talking about these issues and much more.