Delays, shifting deadlines, and even the elimination of certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are providing employers and group health plans additional time to comply with certain key requirements that have not yet taken effect.
In addition, on January 20, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order calling upon federal agencies to minimize the economic burden of the ACA, pending repeal of the law. Among other things, the executive order granted federal agencies authority and discretion to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any ACA provision or requirement that would impose a fiscal or regulatory burden on states, individuals, health care providers, health insurers, and medical device and product producers. Until further guidance is issued or legislation is signed, however, existing ACA requirements (other than those listed below) remain in effect, including penalties for noncompliance. For 2017, the following eliminations, delays, and extensions apply.
Please Note: This information is for general reference purposes only and is not all-inclusive. Requirements and compliance deadlines are subject to change. Additionally, your company or group health plan may be exempt from certain requirements described below. Employers with questions are advised to contact a knowledgeable employment law attorney or benefits advisor to obtain specific guidance.
ELIMINATED: Automatic Enrollment Provisions
Provisions of the ACA which generally would have required an employer with more than 200 full-time employees to automatically enroll new full-time employees in one of the employer’s health plans, and to continue the enrollment of current employees, were repealed on November 2, 2015.
ELIMINATED: Annual Deductible Limits
The ACA’s annual limitation on deductibles for non-grandfathered plans in the small group market has been eliminated, effective retroactively to 2010. However, the annual limitation on out-of-pocket expenses for non-grandfathered group plans was not eliminated and remains in effect.
DELAYED UNTIL 2020: Cadillac Tax
Implementation of the so-called “Cadillac Tax,” an excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health coverage, has been delayed until taxable years beginning after December 31, 2019.
DELAYED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE: Nondiscrimination Rules For Fully-Insured Plans
Non-grandfathered fully-insured group health plans are not required to comply with certain rules prohibiting discrimination in favor of highly compensated individuals that are currently applicable to self-insured plans, until after regulations or other administrative guidance is issued. However, health benefits offered as part of a cafeteria plan (a plan which meets specific requirements to allow employees to receive certain benefits on a pre-tax basis) generally remain subject to the nondiscrimination requirements of Internal Revenue Code section 125.
DELAYED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE: Form W-2 Reporting For Small Employers
The IRS has granted employers filing fewer than 250 Forms W-2 for the preceding calendar year transition relief from reporting the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan on each employee’s Form W-2 until the agency publishes additional guidance.
EXTENSION: Transitional Policy For Existing Small Business Coverage
A previously extended transitional policy which allows health insurance issuers, at their option, to continue small business group coverage that would otherwise be terminated or cancelled has been extended further—to policy years beginning on or before October 1, 2018, provided that all policies end by December 31, 2018. Health insurance issuers that renew coverage under the extended policy are required to provide standard notices to affected small businesses for each policy year. Policies subject to the transitional relief will not be considered to be out of compliance with some of the ACA’s key provisions, including:
- The requirement to cover essential health benefits;
- The requirement that any variations in premiums be limited with regard to a particular plan or coverage to age and tobacco use, family size, and geography; and
- The requirements regarding guaranteed availability and renewability of coverage for employers.
EXTENSION: Deadlines for Furnishing Forms 1095-B and 1095-C
The due dates for furnishing calendar year 2016 Forms 1095-B and 1095-C to covered individuals and full-time employees, respectively, was extended from January 31, 2017 to March 2, 2017. The deadline to file 2016 Forms 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C, and 1095-C with the IRS remained February 28, 2017 (or March 31, 2017, if filed electronically). Good faith penalty relief for reporting entities who can show they made good faith efforts to comply with the calendar year 2016 information reporting requirements was also extended.
Note: The information and materials herein are provided for general information purposes only and have been taken from sources believed to be reliable, but there is no guarantee as to its accuracy. © 2017 HR 360, Inc.
Last Updated: April 25, 2017