Will ACA be around next year?
This is a question that gets asked often these days, especially as we get close to filing time. While there is some degree of uncertainty, most experts agree that ACA reporting will remain a requirement for the 2018 filing season. Below is a brief summary of the Law as we look into 2019:
The Individual Mandate As you may have noticed, the Individual Mandate has been eliminated effective for 2019 as part of the tax plan that passed in congress. The impact of this change will likely drive lower participation of healthy individuals in the Exchanges, resulting in increased premiums across all states. This will also have an impact on off-exchange individuals plans that appear to be tied to the same risk pool. Nonetheless the elimination of this mandate will not abolish ACA reporting.
The Employer Mandate Because the Employer Mandate, which is central to your reporting requirements remains in place, ACA reporting survives. In terms of the forms, the Employer Mandate is addressed in part II of the 1095-C form as well as the 1094 C. Part II (Shown below) let’s the IRS know the employer is offering affordable coverage to employees. It also informs the IRS if the employee has declined coverage if the plan is not affordable which plays into subsidy eligibility. All of this reporting is still required going forward.
State and Federal Developments Several states are exploring the possibility of adopting their own individual mandates as an approach to control costs. Legislation to replace the individual mandate is being considered in Maryland, New Jersey, California, Washington, Rhode Island, Vermont and DC according to the Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile efforts to loosen plan requirements and open up new markets are being pursued by the Trump administration. For example a new Farm Bill will look to establish an association health plan. We are also seeing this play out at the state level as states are exploring alternate plan options.