What do recent rulings mean for ACA?
Last month President Donald J. Trump suggested he may be deferring his push for a healthcare plan to replace the Affordable Care Act until 2020.
His announcement came only days after the Justice Department filed a letter in federal court. That letter was in support of a judge in Texas who ruled the ACA unconstitutional.
All of these actions created quite the stir in the media. They have no current effect, however, on the employer responsibilities for ACA. In fact, it’s business as usual according to the IRS’ Questions and Answers on for Shared Responsibility Provisions under the ACA.
An update on the IRS website as recently as March 26, 2019 included the increase of the affordability threshold amount from 9.56 percent in 2018 to 9.86 percent in 2019.
Simply put, ACA life for employers goes on, hence:
- ALEs must still either offer health coverage that is “affordable” and provides “minimum value” to their full-time employees (and offer coverage to the full-time employees’ dependents), or potentially make an employer shared responsibility payment to the IRS;
- ALEs must still track part-time and variable-hour workers to properly identify all full-time and full-time equivalent (FTE) employees; and
- ALEs must still report to the IRS in a timely manner or be at risk for penalties. The current penalty for failure to file an information return is $270 for each return for which such failure occurs. The total penalty imposed for all failures during a calendar year cannot exceed $3,275,500. Special rules apply that increase the per-statement and total penalties if there is an intentional disregard of the requirement to furnish a payee statement.
So when can employers expect any changes to the ACA based on the legal decisions?
According to all resources and estimates, it will probably be a long time. The appeals process could take us into 2020. If the case goes to the Supreme Court or becomes an election year issue, it could be even longer.
In the meantime, the Affordable Care Act for 2019 is still the Law of the Land and employers still should follow the law.