A recent bill has been introduced in the House and Senate that simplifies reporting requirements under the ACA. The Commonsense Reporting Act of 2017 (H.R. 3919 and S. 1908) attempts to ease the reporting requirements of employers in three areas: reporting information before open enrollment, minimize administrative reporting at year end, and reduce the submission of unnecessary information. In addition to bi-partisan support, both bills are getting support from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). SHRM’s vice president for government affairs, Mike Aiken, has said “H.R. 3919 and S. 1908 is a first step to minimize the challenges associated with the law’s reporting requirements”.

Current reporting requirements of the ACA require employers to collect and report information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and their employees annually. Information required ranges from health insurance plan coverage, individual and beneficiary information (including social security numbers), enrollments, premium amounts, etc. The required information is intended to verify compliance with the ACA for employers and individuals, and help validate subsidies provided to individuals.

Taken directly from the Commonsense Reporting Act Fact Sheet, specific changes to the reporting requirements are:

·         Create a voluntary prospective reporting system: Permits employers to voluntarily report general information to the IRS prospectively about their health plan for the current plan year to help increase the accuracy of eligibility determinations for Exchange tax credits; state and federally-facilitated Exchanges will access information securely through the Data Services Hub.

·         Streamline the reporting process: Eases reporting burdens for employers who use the voluntary prospective reporting system by requiring 6056 reporting statements only for those employees for whom the employer has received notification that the employee or their dependents purchased coverage through an Exchange rather than issuing reporting statements for the entire workforce.

·         Protect privacy: Provides clarification that the IRS can accept full names and dates of birth in lieu of dependents’ and spouses’ Social Security numbers and requires the Social Security Administration assist in the data-matching process.

·         Modernize transmission of information to individuals: Allows for electronic transmission of employee and enrollee statements rather than requiring this information be provided only by paper statement sent through the mail.

·         Establish oversight of reporting verification:  Requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the functionality of the prospective reporting system, including the accuracy of information collected, the number of employers electing to report under such system, and any changes that have arisen.


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