5 Common Misconceptions About the ACA Karen Breitnauer by Karen Breitnauer Karen Breitnauer Senior Compliance Attorney—M3 Insurance Read time: Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, the law has been a hot topic on the minds of lawmakers and citizens alike. In 2017, we experienced several attempts (and failures) to repeal and/or replace the healthcare law. The implementation of the ACA involved a lengthy learning curve for all stakeholders, but especially for those who have to implement the law for their employers. This atmosphere has made the wild news cycle regarding the status of the law even more challenging as decision makers try to identify what the requirements actually are! While we have these challenges, it is important that we continue to be mindful of employer obligations under the law. In our work with employers throughout Wisconsin, there are many misconceptions about the ACA. Here are the Top 5 misconceptions regarding the current status of the ACA The ACA no longer applies. This is misconception #1. The confusion in Washington has created a myth that obligations under the ACA no longer apply. This is false, as the only recent changes to the ACA have been minor administrative tweaks. The IRS isn’t assessing employer penalties. Recently the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proved this misconception wrong. In the month of December, the IRS has been sending Letter 226J to employers whom they believe owe penalties for the 2015 calendar year. Employer Shared Responsibility doesn’t apply to my organization. The ACA has a defined way for employers to determine whether or not they employ 50 or more full-time employees. Employers should continue to ensure they are counting their employees properly and are complying with the law. We don’t have to do 1094/1095 reporting this year. Not only is the reporting required for the 2017 calendar year, the IRS released the updated forms and no delays have been issued. Employers should plan to report in early 2018. The Cadillac Tax has been repealed. While there is bi-partisan support to eliminate the Cadillac Tax in Washington, this ACA provision remains in place. There are currently proposals in Congress to delay the implementation of this provision, but until one is passed, the Cadillac Tax is scheduled to go into effect in 2020. Stay up to date! Tracking every regulatory rumor, proposal or change could literally be a full-time job. We recommend leveraging your existing business partners for keeping you up-to-date with meaningful changes. Your existing insurance carriers, insurance brokers, legal and accounting teams should keep you in the loop in the event of changes that would affect your legal obligations. Here at M3 Insurance, we have spent the last seven years working with public employers such as school districts, assisting their educational efforts to comply with the requirements of the ACA. Our ACA education efforts have focused on helping clients understand their requirements in a timely and jargon-free manner. We do that in written and in-person communication formats. Examples include monthly webinars, regular electronic news bulletins, in-person seminars and even employer roundtable discussions. Our joint presentations with Skyward have been an extension of those efforts, with a focus on school districts. These presentations have been the best of both worlds for districts, as M3 is able to focus on the “what” for the implementation of the law, while the experts at Skyward can focus on “how” you can meet and report your compliance requirements. Within these presentations, M3 Insurance explains how districts can meet their obligations while Skyward demonstrates how to report the federally required information via your Skyward software. These joint presentations are not only packed with valuable information, but have received rave reviews from attendees. It truly has been a valuable partnership! Karen Breitnauer is a Senior Compliance Attorney for M3 Insurance, an insurance broker headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. To learn more about the steps you can take to prepare for the ACA in Skyward, read Prepping for W2s, the ACA, and 1099s. Karen Breitnauer Senior Compliance Attorney—M3 Insurance Share this story: Want tips, tricks, and feature updates delivered to your inbox once a month? Sign up here!