Final IRS rules on the Affordable Care Act’s play-or-pay reporting let employers begin planning to collect the 2015 health coverage and employee data needed for the first reports due in 2016. Two sets of rules detail how to report individuals enrolled in minimum essential coverage and full-time employees offered employer coverage. For both purposes, employers will use combined IRS forms to prepare individual statements and transmit them to IRS. Recent remarks from IRS staff suggest the forms and related instructions may be available at the end of this summer.
At a recent US Chamber of Commerce panel discussion, congressional staff, employers, and public policy experts discussed the need for improved price and quality transparency in health care. Panelists addressed current efforts to improve transparency, believed essential by plan sponsors to achieving better value.
This week in Washington, business groups and representatives from Mercer’s Washington Resource Group will prepare for meetings with regulators on issues including employer reporting requirements during mergers and acquisitions and the interplay of the ACA and the Service Contract Act. In the Senate, a bill to fund the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services – which also would fund part of the ACA in 2015 – will now not be considered on a stand-alone basis after Republicans indicated they would force a series of votes on changes to the law. The measure is expected to be combined with other bills in a large catch-all spending package for consideration in the fall.