In the past few months there have been several final regulations published that change and clarify the rules of Employer Shared Responsibility (§4980H) under the ACA.

As outlined in our February 11, 2014 ACA update, the IRS issued the following transition relief:

  • In general, large employers with non-calendar year plans do not become subject to §4980H until the first day of their plan year in 2015.
  • Employers with 50-99 full-time equivalent employees in 2014, that do not reduce workforce to meet this condition and do not eliminate or materially reduce benefits after 2/9/2014, are not subject to §4980H until 2016, but are still subject to reporting requirements for 2015.
  • Employers with 100 or more full-time equivalent employees in 2014 are subject to §4980H in 2015 but coverage must be offered to at least 70% of full-time employees in order to avoid the larger §4980H(a) penalty. The smaller §4980H(b) may be assessed for each full-time employee receiving a premium tax credit, if coverage is either not offered, not minimum value, or not affordable.

Starting with the 2016 plan year, employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees must offer coverage to at least 95% of full-time employees in order to avoid the larger §4980H(a) penalty. The smaller §4980H(b) may be assessed for each full-time employee receiving a premium tax credit, if coverage is either not offered, not minimum value, or not affordable.

Keller will be hosting a webinar in the near term to review the transition relief and other clarifications included in the final regulations. This will include information on how to count employees, which employers are subject to Employer Shared Responsibility, which employees must be offered coverage to avoid penalties, when coverage must be offered to avoid penalties, what the penalties are, and regulations recently issued for employer reporting responsibilities under §4980H. Details will be forthcoming.