ACA Compliance and Year End

The end of a calendar year means many things: holiday celebrations, time spent with family, and a sense of excitement as we collectively look forward to a new year. For employers, however, the end of the year also means tedious and often time-consuming paperwork and getting benefits in order for the upcoming year.

While these tasks can be less than pleasant, some forethought can make the process exponentially easier, getting you on your way to holly jolly fun more quickly.

ACA Healthcare Compliance

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), employers with 50+ full-time employees must provide ACA-compliant health coverage to employees who work a minimum of 30 hours per week. In order to stay compliant, it’s important to remember two definitions:

  • Minimum Value refers to the plan’s share of total allowed costs, which needs to be at least 60%. It also means the plan provides substantial coverage of physician services and inpatient hospital services.
  • Affordable means the employee’s required contribution (payroll deduction) for self-only coverage, if elected, does not exceed a certain percentage of the employee’s income. The affordability percentage, which changes slightly each year based on the law’s indexing rule, is 9.56% for 2018, increasing to 9.86% for 2019 plan years.

Once you’ve determined that the coverage you’ll offer is compliant with the ACA, you’ll need to do some administrative work, including verifying company information, verifying individual employee information, collecting 1095 forms, ensuring that coverage Year-end for 95% of employees, and more.

Practicing ACA compliance can be tricky, but there are software solutions that can make it very simple. Arete’s ACA management solution allows you to proactively manage your ACA compliance strategies to ensure you’re meeting the minimums of the law and choosing solutions that are right for your company long-term. The ACA Management Solution from Arete also features a closed-loop process with HR/benefits, time and attendance, and payroll. Arete’s system will alert you when employees are approaching eligibility, and can even alert employees when they become eligible for benefits. This system also streamlines year-end IRS filing and provides the correct forms, auto-populated with the information you need.

Benefits Administration

Keeping benefits organized and distributed appropriately can be daunting come year-end. Benefit tasks can include a variety of HR activities, including distributing insurance cards, PTO pay-outs or carryover, finishing employee open enrollment, and analyzing packages for market competitiveness. That’s a lot to wrap up in the final month of the year!

The first step is to take stock: what’s working and what’s not? Are there services and features employees are asking for that aren’t offered? Implementing a self-service benefit system like Workforce Ready’s Self-Serve Benefits Enrollment helps streamline the process. Instead of getting lost in a sea of paperwork, Workforce Ready keeps everything in one place and allows employees to make their benefit decisions through an easy-to-use portal. Employees can compare and select benefits quickly. The program also allows for tracking annual reviews and goals, recording disability, and more.

Next Year, Update Anytime

While annual and quarterly changeovers are most common, it isn’t necessary to wait until the end of the year or quarter. With Arete, mid-quarter changeover isn’t just possible - it’s easy. You don’t need to pay payroll taxes upfront, either. Taxes for pay periods that fall during the transition can be pulled as they are incurred, giving you time to request a refund from your previous provider. The Arete system also brings in quarterly historical data and current-quarter paystubs for reference later, as well as ACA applicable data to ensure year-end accuracy when filing 1095 forms.

The end of the year is the most hectic time for employers. When juggling benefit deadlines, ever-changing rules for ACA compliance, and keeping your coverage options competitive, it can be tricky to keep everything straight. Streamlining your benefits system and keeping your paperwork in line is the best defense against getting overwhelmed as we head into year-end crunch time.

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