While the GOP has made several recent attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the law remains intact. But, healthcare reform will continue. Many employers remain uncertain as to who to turn to during these complex times of change.
Prior to the 2016 election, the government estimated employer penalties under the ACA could reach $228 billion over 10 years. Compliance and affordability penalties for employers who made a good faith effort to comply were not enforced for 2015 and 2016 calendar years. The IRS has indicated they will be enforcing ACA reporting requirements this year, and will fine employers who do not file. This means employers should consider the potential for penalties and mitigate risks.
Two types of compliance solutions hit the market when the ACA was enacted. One type is an all-inclusive solution, a benefit administrator or payroll solution that has added ACA reporting capabilities as an afterthought. The second type is a stand-alone solution that focuses solely on the ACA and supports active management of compliance year-round. So how do you choose the right solution for your organization?
That depends on your team’s HR business and compliance goals. Of course, all organizations are different and require different things from their compliance solutions. However, it is important to acknowledge that there are significant benefits to a stand-alone solution that you can’t get from an all-inclusive one.
Top 5 Reasons to Choose a Stand-Alone Solution:
- While all-inclusive solutions claim their ACA services are “free,” they can actually end up costing employers more
All-inclusive HCM vendors are not all that different from all-inclusive resorts that offer “free” meals. It’s common knowledge that the meal is not actually free, and the quality of the food is generally marginal. Unlike all-inclusive vacations that may only put your well-being at risk, employers choosing all-inclusive vendors may be blindsided by ACA eligibility, affordability and reporting penalties that can significantly impact an organization’s bottom line.
- With ongoing changes to state, federal and city laws, you need real ACA experts
With continuous legislative and regulatory change at the federal, state and city level, deep ACA expertise and focus is critical. Stand-alone partners like Health e(fx) attract and retain top talent with ACA expertise. These experts ensure clients are compliant with their ACA employer mandate obligations even as they change. They are focused on compliance throughout the entire year and offer services well beyond meeting end-of-year reporting requirements. Expertise in all-inclusive companies may be diluted across multiple competencies.
- All-inclusive ACA services may not support monthly auditing of data
Having a transparent view into compliance results and the data that becomes your organization’s audit trail in real-time is critical to actively comply with changing laws. Monthly access and ability to watch your 1095s build month-to-month in real-time also helps prevent the end-of-year mad rush when reporting season arrives. Most all-inclusive solutions are limited in providing point-in-time data to support IRS audits or appeals.
- Stand-alone solutions typically offer improved capabilities and more accurate coding
Regardless of how stable your workforce is, life events happen and need to be reflected in monthly coding and accounted for during each employees’ measurement. Stand-alone solutions often have stronger capabilities and offer flexibility to accommodate employer-specific coding and unique organizational structure, rather than simply relying on default coding that may not be accurate.
- Stand-alone providers may be better prepared to handle tight timelines and employer-specific requests
Since stand-alone solutions are focused year-round on ACA, they may be more prepared to handle tight time constraints and more flexible to address employer-specific needs. For example, stand-alone solutions may be more accommodating of tight implementation timelines for things like implementations, employer-specific requests, or corrections management. They may also be able to provide more flexibility to support mergers and acquisitions or complicated measurement procedures.
Health e(fx) technology is built to easily combine, verify and transform employer data to maintain compliance with an easy-to-use solution that quickly adapts to market changes and relieves stress on HR teams. With our system, employers can view their workforce in new ways that provide valuable insights that allow them to make cost-effective decisions about their benefits offerings while minimizing risk. Though all-inclusive solutions can claim their ACA offerings are free, Health e(fx) is the market leader in ACA compliance, which means we are better prepared to get it right the first time and every time, helping to ensure our clients avoid potentially millions of dollars in penalties. With the ACA, peace of mind is priceless.