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Key Benefits of Using ACA Reporting Software

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ensuring ACA compliance through innovative and intuitive ACA solutions 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was signed in 2010, not only shifted the marketplace for healthcare, but also introduced new regulations and reporting standards for individuals and employers. The ACA maintains specific reporting requirements, forms, and a general minimum essential coverage standard for Americans. 

Even though the ACA has been around for several years, there are many complexities associated with the act that businesses are continuing to learn about and implement. Because of these complexities, it is necessary for employers to be aware of the required employee data that needs to be captured and the steps to maintain compliance with ACA regulations, most specifically for filing and reporting mandates.

What is ACA reporting? 

ACA reporting is a requirement of individuals and employers every year. The purpose is to demonstrate compliance with health plan coverage as well as a review of coverage information provided to employees. Human resources (HR) teams who typically take on benefits administration are responsible for overseeing health insurance enrollment, tracking paperwork during open enrollment, and providing reporting to the necessary entities on the behalf of the employees. This also requires a particular knowledge base regarding which forms are required to be completed and submitted for ACA compliance. 

ACA reporting impacts larger employers, often referred to as Applicable Large Employers (ALE), the most. Generally, ALEs have at least 50 full-time employees (FTE) who work at least 30 hours per week. Businesses that meet ALE status must offer affordable health insurance coverage to at least 95% of their full-time employees. 

When it comes to tax reporting, ALE companies submit the 1095-C form (Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage). Form 1095-C is filed and furnished to any employee of an ALE who is a full-time employee for one or more months of the calendar year. ALE members must report that information for all twelve months of the calendar year for each employee.

Additionally, employees who work for ALEs are provided with a 1095-B form that outlines their individual statements of health coverage over a particular measurement period (usually annually). Form 1095-B is used to report certain information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about individuals who are covered by minimum essential coverage. All forms submitted to the IRS can be done via e-filing.

For smaller companies, reporting is still important to track and monitor. You are required to report certain information about employees to the IRS regardless of whether you’re offering insurance. Furthermore, employers must provide employees with a standard Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) form. The purpose of an SBC is to help employees understand their health insurance options. This is very important. In fact, your company could face a penalty for non-compliance if this is not done. 

A software solution that is able to ensure compliance and cut down on stress is essential for companies seeking to maintain good standing with the IRS. ACA compliance includes a lot of details that ACA compliance software can help with. 

There are many benefits with using ACA reporting software, including assisting with regular reporting and the monitoring of compliance issues. Let’s look at some others next.

What are the benefits of using ACA reporting software?

  • ACA reporting made easy. With ACA reporting software, the technology solution is able to automate the filing out of forms at the time they are due. For example, with submitting 1094 or 1095 forms to the IRS, e-filing can be set up so that your team can streamline reporting requirements. You can trust that the right forms will automatically be sent to where they need to go, easing the responsibility of time-consuming manual submission and ensuring that you maintain a high level of compliance. Plus, the software enables multiple EIN reporting so that all of the forms from your employees can be submitted at once. Lastly, you can typically set up notifications when reports are due so that you are always on target for reporting.
  • The most up-to-date 1094 and 1095 forms. Because the federal government can edit, change, or update 1094 and 1095 forms at any time, it is important that these changes are tracked internally and real time so you are provided the correct forms when reporting. With ACA reporting software, forms are regularly updated at your convenience. Instead of losing time checking out the most up-to-date forms, you will have access to them immediately.
  • Personalized employee profiles. ACA reporting software can often integrate with other established HR software options. When integration takes place, employee data can be shared in real-time and be done securely so that you can be comfortable knowing that sensitive information is protected. Employee data that is tied to employee profiles includes the hours worked over the course of a given period, past and present health insurance information (including their current coverage package), as well as other miscellaneous information needed for 1095-C forms.
  • Easy eligibility determination. Automated software provides the key function of determining what employees are eligible for regarding certain types of healthcare packages and offerings. Many employers experience stress during open enrollment when employees are selecting their plans and considering the wide array of offerings they will pay into. The software streamlines eligibility requirements and can quickly calculate the cost for both the employer and employees, depending on the health care coverage selection.
  • Saves you time and money. Users of ACA reporting software have shared that the time spent on ACA compliance and reporting can be cut in half by using ACA reporting software. Once you report the required data (employee identification number (EIN), taxpayer identification number (TIN), address information, and more), the ACA reporting system will retain this information for future reporting. This way, your team doesn’t need to spend unnecessary time gathering this information again; it is stored permanently and can be updated and submitted on future reporting deadlines. 

Next steps

Without question, ACA compliance is one of the more complicated aspects of your HR team in regards to managing onboarding and ongoing enrollment periods for employees. ACA regulations require extensive guidelines regarding what data to submit and on what forms. Automation with ACA reporting software solutions streamline your ACA filing process, thereby eliminating the need for manual input and manual data collection for every reporting period. 

The benefits listed in this article show that investing in an ACA reporting tool can optimize the tasks associated with ACA reporting, ultimately saving your company time and money. Without automation or a software solution that can address the various regulations with ACA, your company runs the risk of not maintaining compliance and therefore possibly having issues with the IRS.

Are you ready to eliminate the stress of ACA filing and have peace of mind in maintaining compliance? Are you ready to integrate a tool that can track all the necessary employee data and filing requirements for the ACA?

Heartland is ready to help.

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