Benefits Law

ACA odds and ends

June 30, 2016

Releases from the IRS, Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor clarify some finer points under the Affordable Care Act.
As if you didn’t have enough to worry about with withholding and reporting taxes, federal appellate courts have recently chimed in on whether and how ERISA, the federal benefits law, applies to severance pay policies.
If you’re a government contractor that pays the higher minimum wage to nonexempt employees who work on federal contracts, proposed regulations would also have you on the hook to provide seven days of paid sick leave to the same nonexempt employees, and to your exempt employees, too.
If your health plan is affordable and provides minimum value, employees who buy individual health insurance on the exchanges can’t qualify for the premium tax credit, and you’re off the hook for a free-rider penalty.
California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington are on the front line of facilitating retirement plans for small employers. Although each state takes a different approach, all have been hemmed in by the possibility that ERISA, the federal benefits law, will pre-empt their efforts.
The Affordable Care Act is finally in full swing for all large employers. Let’s get caught up to date.
Employers with more than 50, but fewer than 100, full-time employees during 2014 didn’t have to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s play-or-pay provisions this year, although they must still file Forms 1095-C and 1094-C. This transition relief ends Dec. 31, 2015. Beginning with the 2016 plan year (next month for calendar year plans), these employers are fully covered under the law. Ensure that these critical actions have been taken before the end of the month. If you’re missing an action item, do it now.
Employers on the bubble of employing 50 full-time employees, and thus being subject to the play-or-pay requirements, may be looking for a strategy to ensure that they’re ACA compliant. One strategy that’s popped up on the Internet is forcing employees into the plan.
Beginning next year, you must provide all full-time employees with Form 1095-C to report offers of health insurance. The IRS reiterates that all large employers (i.e., those with at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees) must provide full-time employees with forms, even employees who turn down offers of coverage, and file those forms by the W-2 deadlines. To help you jump-start your Form 1095-C reporting, the IRS has released draft versions of Forms 1095-C and 1094-C.

Before you approve or reject an employee’s FMLA request, the law allows you to request a medical certification from the employee. That certification must have some specific things.