Last week the federal government issued final regulations under the Affordable Care Act. What you may not know is that this “reprieve” is only for a certain segment of employers, and includes with it record keeping and reporting responsibilities, even for those graced with another year of preparation.
Located within the preamble are special rules that include a temporary delay of the shared responsibility for “not quite large” employers until 2016. On its face, this delay will provide an additional year for employers with 50 to 99 full-time workers to comply with employer shared-responsibility provisions before they must pay the IRS for failing to offer affordable health care.
Beginning January 1, 2015, only employers with 100 or more full-time employees and/or full-time equivalents must comply with the final rules (T.D. 9655) issued February 10, 2014. The rules won’t apply to businesses with 50 to 99 full-time workers until January 1, 2016, though these employers will still face related reporting requirements in 2015.
DEVIL IN THE DETAIL
To be eligible for an exclusion from the shared cost provisions for 2015, an employer must meet several conditions in addition to the size of the workforce. These include maintenance or manipulation of workforce size and maintenance of health coverage. In addition, a crucial condition for receiving the transition relief is that employers must certify that they have not laid off employees to drop under the 100-employee threshold.
Anti-abuse provisions are included in the preamble and employers need to fully understand the regulations and special rules and how they will apply to their individual situations.
Final employer and insurer reporting rules from the Treasury are needed to fully implement the final employer shared responsibility rules, and that guidance will be critical for employers to begin the process of configuring their systems to comply with the law. Waiting to understand and manage the workforce and record keeping is not advisable for employers.
WHO TO TRUST?
There is an additional layer of complexity that this latest guidance from the government stacks on to the existing mountain of compliance and it is a powerful reminder to employers. They should expect a minimum acceptable standard of sophistication, knowledge, and expertise from their professional advisement team to help them successfully navigate their organizations through the Affordable Care Act.
In my next blog, we will explore what those expectations should include.
For more information, contact the VAST team at 906.228.7500 or email Pam Stewart firstname.lastname@example.org.