Upcoming ACA Reporting Deadlines
Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting for the 2019 calendar year is due in early 2020. Specifically, reporting entities must:
- File returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by Feb. 28, 2020 (or March 31, 2020, if filing electronically); and
- Furnish statements to individuals by March 2, 2020.
Originally, individual statements were due by Jan. 31, 2020. However, on Dec. 2, 2019, the IRS issued Notice 2019-63 to extend the furnishing deadline by 31 days. Notice 2019-63 doesn't extend the due date for filing forms with the IRS for 2019. Notice 2019-63 also provides additional penalty relief related to furnishing 2019 forms to individuals under Section 6055 for smaller, self-funded employers. Specifically, the IRS will not assess a penalty against reporting entities for failing to furnish a Form 1095-B to responsible individuals in cases where the following two conditions are met:
- The reporting entity prominently posts a notice on its website stating that individuals may receive a copy of their 2019 Form 1095-B upon request, accompanied by an email address and a physical address to which a request may be sent, as well as a telephone number that responsible individuals can use to contact the reporting entity with any questions; and
- The reporting entity furnishes a 2019 Form 1095-B to any individual upon request within 30 days of the date the request is received.
Despite the delay, the IRS is encouraging reporting entities to furnish statements as soon as they are able. No request or other documentation is required to take advantage of the extended deadline.
Medicare Part D Disclosures Due by Feb. 29, 2020 for Calendar Year Plans
Group health plan sponsors are required to complete an online disclosure form with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on an annual basis and at other select times that indicates whether the plan's prescription drug coverage is creditable or non-creditable. This disclosure requirement applies when an employer-sponsored group health plan provides prescription drug coverage to individuals who are eligible for coverage under Medicare Part D, including spouses enrolled in the plan. The plan sponsor must complete the online disclosure within 60 days after the beginning of the plan year. For calendar year health plans, the deadline for the annual online disclosure is normally March 1. However, since 2020 is a leap year, the deadline is Feb. 29, 2020.
To determine if the CMS reporting requirement applies, employers should verify whether their group health plans cover any Medicare-eligible individuals (including active employees, disabled employees, COBRA participants, retirees and their covered spouses and dependents) at the start of each plan year.
Employers that are required to report to CMS should work with their advisors to determine whether their prescription drug coverage is creditable or non-creditable. They should also visit the CMS creditable coverage website, which includes links to the online disclosure form and related instructions.
Employers Must Begin Using New Form I-9 by May 1, 2020
On Jan. 31, 2020, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a new version of Form I-9: Employment Eligibility Verification. The previous version of this form expired Aug. 31, 2019, but USCIS advised employers to continue using the expired form until a new form was made available.
The paper version of the new form has not changed, but the electronic form shows a few minor changes. Specifically, the new form:
- Lists additional countries (Eswatini and Macedonia) in the country of issuance field;
- Clarifies who can act as an authorized employer representative;
- Updates the USCIS website address;
- Clarifies the list of acceptable documents;
- Updates the process for requesting paper versions of the form; and
- Updates the privacy notice from the Department of Homeland Security.
With the new form, USCIS has clarified that employers have the option of initially using either the expired or the new Form I-9. However, employers must begin using the new form exclusively by May 1, 2020. The new Form I-9 has a new expiration date of Oct. 31, 2022
HHS Issues Proposed Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2021
On Jan. 31, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published its proposed Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2021. This proposed rule describes benefit and payment parameters under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that would be applicable for the 2021 benefit year. Proposed standards that would affect employers include annual limitations on cost-sharing.
Specifically, the ACA requires non-grandfathered plans to comply with an overall annual limit—or an out-of-pocket maximum—on essential health benefits (EHB). The ACA requires the out-of-pocket maximum to be updated annually based on the percent increase in average premiums per person for health insurance coverage. Under the proposed rule, the out-of-pocket maximum would increase for 2021 to $8,550 for self-only coverage and $17,100 for family coverage.
If finalized, the provisions included in this proposed rule would generally apply for the 2021 benefit year. Employers may not rely on these proposals and should keep in mind that they may change before being finalized.
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