Posted on January 31st, 2018

We hope that 2018 is off to a positive start for you. Our team is working hard on various services, including existing and new compliance updates and options for the year. Below is a quick update of significant developments in the past two months.

What a difference a year makes. On this date in 2017, repeal or significant modification of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) seemed almost a certainty. After a wild year of events in Washington, the ACA remains the law of the land and appears that it will stay that way at least for the short-term future. Employers should continue to follow the terms of the law, including Play-or-Pay, as well as the ACA reporting requirements for 2017 that are due beginning in February.

In Case You Missed It:  A quick summary of relevant developments in December and January:

  • The IRS delayed the deadline for employers to provide employees with copies of 2017 Form 1095-C (or 1095-B, as applicable). The extended deadline is Friday, March 2 (previously January 31). The deadline for the IRS submittal (Form 1094-C or 1094-B) was not extended. That deadline is February 28 for hardcopy filings and April 2 for electronic filings.
  • The new federal tax law has a relatively minor impact on employee benefits. The primary change is that the law effectively ends the ACA’s individual coverage mandate penalty beginning in 2019. To confirm, the individual mandate continues to apply for 2017 tax filing as well as 2018, and there is no change with regard to Play-or-Pay requirements for employers. Other proposed changes – including repeal of the Dependent Care FSA – did not materialize.
  • IRS enforcement efforts continue for Play-or-Pay compliance in 2015, as employers continue to receive and deal with IRS Letter 226J. Significant penalties are being assessed for employers under the two Play-or-Pay penalties. Further information is available upon request, including a sample Letter 226J. Enforcement for 2016 is expected to follow this year as the next step in the process.
  • In response to the Presidential Executive Order issued in October, the Department of Labor has issued guidance expanding the options for small employers to participate in association health plans. Despite the new guidance, there are many unresolved issues, and prospective benefits for employers are not yet clear.
  • As part of the new federal spending extension bill, Congress has granted delays for three ACA provisions – the Cadillac Tax (until 2022), the Health Insurers Tax, and the Medical Device Tax. The Health Insurers Tax (provider fee) is suspended for one year in 2019. That fee was suspended in 2017 but applies for 2018. There is a two-year suspension of the Medical Device Tax for 2018 and 2019.

2018 Benefits Compliance Checklist Available

We have recently made available a new 2018 Benefits Compliance Checklist for employers of all sizes. We handed this out at the Roadshow, but a downloadable version can be found here.

Roadshow Compliance CE Review

During my presentations last week at the Roadshow, I addressed the following topics. If you would like a copy of the slides, you may contact your Sales Representative.

  • Update on the status of the ACA, current developments, & hot topics;
  • Discussion of the 2018 Benefits Compliance Checklist; and
  • Discussion of what the “High Performing Agency” is doing for its employer clients regarding compliance support.

Best wishes to you, your team, and clients for a great 2018.

Jason M. Cogdill, Attorney at Law, The Cason Group Compliance Partner