ACA Matters: February 2017 Edition
An Interview with
Bassie Gutman and Rivka Leah Karmel of
Q: What are your roles in your company’s ACA process?
A: Bassie: I’m the Director of Payroll, so I’m on top of the process, and Rivka Leah takes care of the actual hands-on work.
Q: What industry is your company in?
A: Health care/nursing homes.
Q: Approximately how many employees do you have and in how many states?
A: About 1200-1300, in 10 facilities, throughout Massachusetts.
Q: Who is your primary Viventium contact for ACA purposes?
A: Susie Smela is our regular CSR, but there were others who assisted us with ACA at year end including Kara, Yonina, and Malka.
Q: Did you process your 2015 ACA forms with Viventium as well?
A: No, we weren’t with Viventium then; we started on January 1, 2016.
Q: Did you feel more prepared for your 2016 ACA processing than your 2015 processing?
A: Definitely, because we had gone through 2015.
Q: When did you start working on tracking your employees with Viventium’s ACA tool?
A: We didn’t start right away; we started to get ready in the summertime.
Q: What inspired you to start your tracking?
A: We knew it had to be done, so once we got settled into our regular payroll routine with your company, we started ACA.
Q: Besides yourselves, how many members were on your ACA implementation team and from which departments?
A: At one point, we had a temp involved to start the whole process and do all the legwork. For the 1095-Cs, a lot of what he had done didn’t work and had to be adjusted because we didn’t realize how it would affect the information on the forms, or because how we were instructed to set things up didn’t work for our particular setup.
Q: How would you describe your ACA experience with Viventium?
A: In general, it was good. In the beginning, when we had questions, the CSRs didn’t necessarily know how to answer our questions, but as year-end got closer they were better educated. When we actually got up to reviewing our 1095s, we were able to see when things had been set up incorrectly and what we needed to adjust in the setup.
Q: Will next year-end be easier?
A: I hope so, and I can’t imagine not. The ACA system in Viventium is definitely very robust.
Q: What ongoing steps will you be taking to maintain your ACA data?
A: ACA information for new hires, status changes, and terminations will be put in as part of the process. We’ll be calculating measurement periods at least monthly, to see who becomes eligible for coverage.
Q: What did you find easiest about the ACA process?
A: It was just a matter of getting to know how to get things accomplished – once we knew what we were doing, the dashboard was a very good tool. It was a long process of going through everything and figuring out the problems.
Q: How did you use the dashboard in this process?
A: The dashboard helped by doing all the work. We just had to calculate and then saw the results. Once we understood how it works it was very beneficial.
Q: What did you find most challenging about the ACA process?
A: It was very tedious – every time we thought we got it done, we then found more mistakes.
Q: If you had any tips for other Viventium ACA users, what would they be?
A: In our industry, we have a lot of employees changing their hourly schedule. We put everyone into a variable benefit category which was very helpful since then they were all measured. In addition, we learned on a Viventium webinar that when new hires are entered into the system, the benefit categories should be put in right away. We found that if you know how the system works, it should be easier at the end of the year.
Q: Any other comments about your ACA experience with Viventium?
A: The webinars are very helpful. We’d also like to make a recommendation that there should be a specific ACA rep assigned to larger clients. Since ACA is so complex, it is a large load for CSRs to manage.
IRS Weakens ACA Enforcement
The IRS has canceled its plans to reject 1040 filings that fail to report on an individual’s health coverage.
The individual income tax return (Form 1040) has a line for individuals to report whether they obtained health insurance coverage for the entire year or pay a “shared responsibility” penalty (unless they are eligible for an exemption). The IRS had planned to start rejecting “silent” returns that did not report on health coverage for the year 2016 but has now canceled that plan, effectively rendering the reporting optional. Although penalties will still be due, enforcement will be more difficult, and possibly more unlikely, without the reporting requirement. This move is a direct response to President Trump’s Executive Order calling on federal agencies to reduce the burdens of ACA.
This weakened enforcement is a step in the direction towards dismantling ACA; however, the individual mandate requiring individuals to have coverage is still in place as well as related penalties for non-compliance. In addition, the employer mandate requiring employers to track their employees, offer coverage, and furnish and file Forms 1095-C is still in effect. Employers should continue to comply with existing laws to furnish the forms by March 2 and to file by March 31.
If you have further questions, please reach out to your Client Services Representative.
Test Your ACA IQ
Hubble Visions Unlimited is a scientific equipment manufacturer with 150 employees. Hubble uses a 90-day initial measurement period. Hubble maintains two health plans:
- Blue Cross Standard, a minimum-value, self-only coverage plan offered to all employees immediately upon employment. Employee contribution is $125.00 per month.
- Blue Cloud, a minimum-value family plan offered to executive scientists only. Employee contribution is $375.00 per month.
In the following scenario, indicate how the employee’s 1095-C would look:
- Galileo Galilei was hired by Hubble on August 16, 2016, as an executive scientist, but the number of hours he would work each week could not be predicted. He could not enroll in insurance until the end of his 90 days waiting period. At that time, he measured as a full-time employee and enrolled in Blue Cloud family coverage.
(Code Series 1)
|Box 15||Box 16
(Code Series 2)
Click to see the correct answer.
Repeal/Replace: What You Need to Know
The Trump administration has consistently stated its intention to repeal “Obamacare”. One of the President’s first initiatives was to sign an Executive Order directing Federal agencies to do everything allowed by law to ease the burden of ACA on the public. At the same time, Congress has commenced its work on repeal/replacement legislation.
Nevertheless, until a legislative change is enacted, all current provisions of the ACA remain in force and employers should continue to comply with existing laws and regulations.
What is the outlook for change?
Political observers are cautious. In a recent interview with Fox News, President Trump lowered expectation for fast ACA change, saying “maybe it’ll take til some time into next year.”
Even Congress’s ability to quickly create the necessary legislation is in doubt. Republicans themselves are split as to how much of Obamacare to repeal, what to replace it with, and when.
What we do know for sure is that ACA is the law, and employers need to continue to track employees, offer affordable care, and be ready to report for 2017…and Viventium is in it with you for all your ACA needs.
Want to understand Form 1095-C better? Be sure to watch:
Even if you’ve completed your 2016 ACA filing season, your ACA work is still not done. ACA tracking is a year-long payroll responsibility. Be sure to watch: