The Internal Revenue Service has released proposed rules aimed at reducing or removing some of the Affordable Care Act’s requirements for reporting health coverage offered to group health plan participants. In response to employer feedback that the reporting was duplicative and burdensome, the IRS issued proposed rules on Internal Revenue Code section 6055 (click here), covering insurers, self-funded plans and others that provide health coverage, and the other on IRC section 6056 (click here), covering large employers subject to the employer mandate.
The proposed rules would eliminate the need for reporting information that is available elsewhere or is not helpful in determining minimum essential coverage (MEC). Self-insured plans would not have to report the employer portion of the premium since it is not necessary to determine MEC. Large employers would only need to report the employee’s share of the lowest-cost monthly premium for self-only coverage since that is used in determining eligibility for premium tax credits.
With the proposed rules came IRS Notice 2013-45 announcing that the filing of annual reports under section 6055 or 6056 has been delayed by one year. The filings would have been done in February or March of 2015 for the 2014 calendar year. Now that 2014 reporting has been made voluntary, the first required filing would be in February or March of 2016 for the 2015 calendar year.
The IRS is requesting comments by November 8, 2013 on the proposal rules and on other simplifications, such as:
- allowing status of offers of MEC to employees to appear on the W-2;
- eliminating the need to determine whether certain employees are full-time if adequate coverage is offered to all potentially full-time employees;
- allowing large self-insured group health plans to furnish a single statement under both section 6055 and 6056; and
- allowing insurers, employers, and other reporting entities to report months of coverage rather than specific dates of coverage.
A public hearing is set for November 19, 2013. MSEC will update the Health Care Reform Learning Zone provisions affected once the rules are finalized.