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August HR News Worth Review

By Higginbotham on August 14 , 2018

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Draft Forms for 2018 ACA Reporting Released

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released draft 2018 forms for reporting under Internal Revenue Code (Code) Sections 6055 and 6056:

  • 2018 draft Forms 1094-C and 1095-C were released July 11, 2018, and will be used by applicable large employers (ALEs) to report under Section 6056, as well as for combined Section 6055 and 6056 reporting by ALEs that sponsor self-insured plans.
  • 2018 draft Forms 1094-B and 1095-B were also released in July 2018, and will be used by entities reporting under Section 6055, including self-insured plan sponsors that are not ALEs.

Draft instructions for these forms have not yet been released. The draft 2018 forms are substantially similar to the final 2017 versions. However, the revised version of Form 1095-C clarifies that the “Plan Start Month” box in Part II will remain optional for 2018. The IRS previously indicated that this box might be mandatory for the 2018 Form 1095-C.

Employer Takeaway
Employers should become familiar with these forms for reporting for the 2018 calendar year. However, these forms are draft versions only and should not be filed with the IRS or relied upon for filing. As a reminder, Individual statements for 2018 must be furnished by Jan. 31, 2019, and IRS returns for 2018 must be filed by Feb. 28, 2019 (April 1, 2019, if filed electronically since March 31 is a Sunday).


Texas Updates Workers' Compensation/Ombudsman Program Notice

Texas employers with workers’ compensation insurance must post a new Ombudsman Program Notice that meets certain size requirements. The posting must now be printed with a title that is at least 15-point bold type and have text that is at least 14-point normal type. Additionally, while the text required to be in the notice by the Texas Administrative Code has not changed, the Office of Injured Employee Counsel (OIEC) has removed some regulatory text from the notice and added social media contact information.

Employer Takeaway
All employers who participate in the Texas workers’ compensation system are required to post a notice of the OIEC’s Ombudsman Program. According to the OIEC, the new notice should be posted in the personnel office—if an employer has such an office—and in the workplace where each employee will see the notice on a regular basis. Employers must post the notice in English, Spanish and any other language common to their employees. A copy of the notice can be found here.


Trump Administration Expands Access to Short-Term Plans That Do Not Meet ACA Requirement

The Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and IRS have jointly finalized regulations that extend the permissible duration of short-term, limited-duration health insurance. This follows President Trump’s executive order directing the agencies to consider regulations or guidance that would allow such insurance to cover longer periods and to be renewed by the consumer. The regulations, which finalize previously proposed rules with some modifications, will be effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Here are highlights:

  • Lengthening of Coverage Period with Renewals and Extensions. In finalizing the regulations, the agencies have interpreted “short term” to mean an initial coverage period of fewer than 12 months and implemented the “limited duration” requirement by allowing renewals or extensions for up to a total of 36 months. The regulations do not preclude the purchase of separate policies that run consecutively, so long as each individual policy is separate and lasts no longer than 36 months. 
  • Notice Changes. Enrollment materials for short-term, limited-duration insurance must include a required notice intended to warn consumers that short-term, limited-duration policies are not required to comply with certain federal health insurance mandates, and they must contain specific language making consumers aware of potential exclusions or limitations of preexisting conditions or of certain benefits (e.g., hospitalization, emergency services, maternity care, preventive care, prescription drugs and mental health and substance use disorder services). New language also indicates that the policy might have lifetime and annual dollar limits on health benefits..

Employer Takeaway
Employers may want to familiarize themselves with these policies, as they could serve as a “stop-gap” for employees transitioning from one job to another who do not wish to pay for COBRA. Additionally, many states have already filed lawsuits to block these policies from being sold. We will continue to update you as these suits progress.

 

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