Last week we hosted a webcast on the ACA reporting requirements, our second on this topic. We focused on the most recent guidance and the simplified reporting methods. At several points during the session, we polled our audience about how they are handling — or not handling — the reporting requirements. Nearly 1,000 participants responded, and I thought you would find the data interesting.
The majority of employers are just getting started on a plan for how they will report. We asked employers how far along they were with their plans for establishing processes for complying with the requirements in 2016 (using 2015 data). Only 2% said they at, or near, completion, and only 19% say they are well underway. The majority were just getting started (55%) or had not started yet (24%). So if you are in these last two categories, you are not alone.
Still not clear who will do the reporting. Almost half (45%) were not sure who would handle the reporting. A third are planning to use an outside vendor — a payroll vendor, benefit administration vendor, or other third party. The remaining 21% are planning to handle reporting in-house. Interestingly, this number has been steadily decreasing since we first starting including this question in our surveys. Based on recent meetings and conversations with clients, we expect this number will continue to decrease.
Qualifying for simplified reporting is not so simple. In an earlier Mercer survey on health care reform, 87% of employers thought they would qualify for the simplified reporting using the 98% offer method. During the webcast, we reviewed the simplified reporting methods and provided examples to illustrate how each method would work. Immediately following that part of the session, we asked the audience which method they thought they would use. Now only 34% said they would qualify for the 98% offer method. About 20% said they would qualify for one of the other qualifying methods (or a combination), and 10% believe they will be working under the full reporting requirements. Not surprising, over a third (37%) said they don’t know yet.
Yes, it’s complicated! Not sure where to start? Check out my prior post — ACA Reporting: What Every Employer Should Do Now.