The Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate (i.e., the requirement that most individuals obtain adequate health insurance or pay a penalty) is dead.  A side effect of the ACA mandate’s demise is that states are beginning to step-in and pass their own versions of the individual mandate.  Massachusetts, of course, has long had an individual mandate

Today, the IRS announced (see Notice 2016-70) an extension to the distribution (but not filing) deadline for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting requirements set forth in Sections 6055 and 6056 of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”).  Under Code Section 6055, health coverage providers are required to file with the IRS, and distribute to covered individuals, forms showing the months in which the individuals were covered by “minimum essential coverage.”  Under Code Section 6056, applicable large employers (generally, those with 50 or more full-time employees and equivalents) are required to file with the IRS, and distribute to employees, forms containing detailed information regarding offers of, and enrollment in, health coverage.  In most cases, employers and coverage providers will use Forms 1094-B and 1095-B and/or Forms 1094-C and 1095-C.

Since our last ACA Reporting Update, the extended deadlines to distribute Forms 1095-B and 1095-C to covered individuals and employees and to file the forms with the IRS have passed.  The IRS has stated, however, that late forms can still be submitted via electronic filing and the forms that received an error message should be corrected.  By many accounts, the first ACA reporting season presented numerous challenges.  From collecting large amounts of data to compiling the forms, to working with service providers that faced their own unique challenges, to facing form rejections and error notifications from an inadequate IRS electronic filing system, employers and coverage providers faced obstacles nearly every step of the way.  Nevertheless, most employers and coverage providers were able to get the forms filed and put the 2015 ACA reporting season behind them. 

After months of preparation and multiple iterations of (sometimes conflicting) IRS guidance, health coverage providers and applicable large employers are nearing the end of the 2015 reporting season under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). By way of background, the ACA added new Sections 6055 and 6056 to the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”).  Code Section 6055 requires that health coverage providers file with the IRS, and distribute to covered individuals, forms showing the months in which the individuals were covered by “minimum essential coverage.”  Code Section 6056 requires that applicable large employers (generally, those with 50 or more full-time employees and equivalents) file with the IRS, and distribute to employees, forms containing detailed information regarding offers of, and enrollment in, health coverage.  These reporting requirements are, in most cases, satisfied using Forms 1094-B and 1095-B and/or Forms 1094-C and 1095-C, as applicable.

Today, the IRS released Notice 2016-4, which extended the distribution and filing deadlines for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting requirements set forth in Sections 6055 and 6056 of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”).  Under Code Section 6055, health coverage providers are required to file with the IRS, and distribute to covered individuals, forms showing the months in which the individuals were covered by “minimum essential coverage.”  Under Code Section 6056, applicable large employers (generally, those with 50 or more full-time employees and equivalents) are required to file with the IRS, and distribute to employees, forms containing detailed information regarding offers of, and enrollment in, health coverage.  In most cases, employers and coverage providers will use Forms 1094-B and 1095-B and/or Forms 1094-C and 1095-C.

With the impending deadline early next year, most applicable large employers are (or should be) in the process of gearing up for what is perhaps the biggest Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) compliance challenge this year — the information reporting requirements found in Sections 6055 and 6056 of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”). Many employers are finding that properly programming their systems to track the data necessary to complete the forms is a lengthy, time consuming and complicated process.  As they work with their vendors and internal resources to prepare to meet their obligations, employers should be aware that over the last few months, the stakes have been raised by new legislation and there has been some additional guidance as to completion of the forms.