No matter the outcome of this month’s Supreme Court ruling, one thing is certain, the Affordable Care Act remains a challenge to businesses and one that needs addressing. ASA is a part of a pair of groups working to ease this pain and bring more flexibility to our members. Both groups were formed to support bipartisan legislation that has been introduced in the House and Senate.
The E-Flex Coalition was formed to repeal a set of provisions that creates an increased paperwork burden for employers. The ACA created new information reporting provisions under sections 6055 and 6056 that require employers and insurance carriers to gather numerous pieces of data on a monthly basis and report them annually to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The information reporting is intended to verify compliance with the individual and employer mandates, and administer advanced premium tax credits (APTCs) and cost sharing subsidies under the state and federally-facilitated insurance Exchanges. Section 6055 requires employers who offer self-funded plans and insurers to file a return with the IRS and provide a statement to each individual who is covered by plans that constitute minimum essential coverage. Section 6056 requires large employers subject to the ACA’s employer mandate to file a return with the IRS and provide a statement to each full-time employee with information regarding the offer of employer-sponsored health care coverage.
The Commonsense Reporting and Verification Act of 2015 (H.R. 2712) would remedy this burden by creating a voluntary prospective reporting system, permitting employers to voluntarily report to the IRS general information about their health plan for the current plan year which will help increase the accuracy of eligibility determinations for Exchange tax credits; state and federally-facilitated Exchanges will access information securely through the Data Services Hub. It also streamlines the reporting process by easing reporting burdens for employers who use the voluntary prospective reporting system by requiring section 6056 reporting statements only for those employees for whom the employer has received notification that the employee or their dependents received an APTC rather than issuing reporting statements for the entire workforce. Finally, it protects privacy by eliminating the requirement that employers and insurers collect and remit dependents' and spouses' Social Security numbers
Another group recently launched is the PACE Coalition, formed in support of the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees Act. The PACE act was introduced to combat the pending change in the definition of “small employer”. Related to the employer mandate issue, the legislation will maintain the current definition of a small group market as 1-50 employees, rather than increasing it to 51-100, which is scheduled to take place in 2016. This is an important distinction because a number of states, such as New Hampshire have very limited plan offerings because national insurers are not in their market.
This summer, as we await the latest Supreme Court ruling, ASA will be meeting with members of the House and Senate to inform them of these coming changes and how they’ll have a negative impact on small businesses and what the business community needs out of Washington.
To learn more about the Commonsense Reporting and Flexibility Act and E-Flex Coalition, click here.
To learn more about the PACE Act click here and here.