Bipartisan, bicameral legislation (S 2366, HR 4070) in Congress would simplify employer shared-responsibility (ESR) and minimum essential coverage (MEC) reporting duties under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The bills would create a voluntary, prospective reporting system and include other changes, such as making it easier for employers to send employees electronic coverage statements (e.g., Form 1095-C).
Under the ACA, employers subject to the ESR provisions and other MEC providers must send coverage statements to employees and file IRS reports at the end of the tax year detailing information about any health coverage offered and the specific months when individuals had employer health coverage.
These “retrospective reporting requirements create a heavy back-end burden for employers and can lead to reporting discrepancies that end up subjecting employers to IRS tax penalties as well as additional compliance costs and burdens,” noted press releases from Senate bill sponsors Rob Portman, R-OH, and Mark Warner, D-VA. Companion House legislation has been introduced by Reps. Mike Thompson, D-CA, and Adrian Smith, R-NE. Portman and Warner offered substantially similar legislation in the last Congress.
The Commonsense Reporting Act of 2019 would make several changes to current requirements:
The legislation, substantially similar to bills offered in the prior Congress, is backed by many business groups that will try to move it forward. How far the measure might advance this year or next is unclear, as the partisan fight over healthcare policy and the ACA intensifies ahead of the 2020 election.