Skip to main content

Benefits Buzz - January 2023

 

Benefits Buzz header

IRS finalizes deadline extension for furnishing ACA statements

On Dec. 12, the Internal Revenue Service released a final rule that extends the annual statement furnishing deadlines for reporting under the Affordable Care Act’s Sections 6055 and 6056. This rule finalizes guidance that was proposed by the IRS in December 2021, with minor clarifications. Specifically, the rule:

  • finalizes the 30-day automatic extension to the due date for furnishing statements to individuals under Sections 6055 and 6056; and
  • confirms the availability of an alternate method for furnishing statements to individuals under Section 6055 for every year in which the individual mandate penalty is zero.

The due date for filing forms with the IRS under Sections 6055 and 6056 remains unchanged. This means that forms must generally be filed with the IRS each year by Feb. 28 (or March 31, if filing electronically). Due to the 30-day automatic extension, employers have until March 2 (or March 1 in a leap year) to furnish ACA statements. The deadline for furnishing statements for the 2022 calendar year is March 2, 2023.

Also, because the individual mandate penalty is zero, employers with self-insured plans that are subject to reporting under Section 6055 may use the alternate method of furnishing statements to individuals. With this method, an employer must post a clear and conspicuous notice on its website stating that responsible individuals may receive a copy of their statement upon request. Employers must furnish statements within 30 days of a request. For 2022 statements, this website notice must be posted by March 2, 2023, and must generally remain posted through Oct. 17, 2023.

New for 2023: Health plans must provide price comparison tool

Beginning this year, group health plans and health insurance issuers must make an internet-based price comparison tool available to participants. The purpose of this tool is to provide consumers with real-time estimates of their cost-sharing liability from different providers for covered items and services, including prescription drugs, so they can shop and compare prices before receiving care. Upon request, plans and issuers must also provide this information in paper form or over the telephone.

  • For plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2023, plans and issuers must make price comparison information available for 500 shoppable items, services and drugs.
  • For plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2024, price comparison information must be available for all covered items, services and drugs.

Most employers will rely on their issuers or third-party administrators to provide this tool and provide related disclosures. Employers should confirm that their issuers and TPAs will comply with the price comparison tool requirements beginning with the 2023 plan year and ensure this compliance responsibility is reflected in a written agreement. In addition, self-insured employers should monitor their TPAs’ compliance with this requirement, as the legal responsibility stays with the employer.

The information in this newsletter is intended for informational use only and should not be construed as professional advice. © 2023 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Popular posts from this blog

What are Alternative Investments? 4-Part Introduction

The market has seen a lot of uncertainty in recent years. Because of this, many organizations are looking for new ways to diversify their investment portfolios. Our best-kept “not-so-secret” secret: alternative investments. In this blog, we'll explore alternative investments with a focus on how they can potentially shield your portfolios from downside market volatility. In addition, we'll break down its benefits and risks and whether it could be a good fit for you. Part 1: What are alternative investments? Alternative investments may help diversify your investment portfolios through non-traditional investment strategies. Non-traditional investment options have varying liquidity ranges depending on the strategy and fund structure. Alternative investments are sometimes referred to as alternative assets. According to the Harvard Business School , the seven types of alternative investments are: private equity; private debt; hedge funds; real estate; commodities; collectibles; and s

Section 125 – Cafeteria Plans Overview

A Section 125 plan, or cafeteria plan , allows employees to pay for certain benefits on a pre-tax basis. Employers use these plans to provide their employees with a choice between cash and certain qualified benefits without adverse tax consequences. Paying for benefits on a pre-tax basis reduces the employee’s taxable income and, therefore, reduces both the employee’s and the employer’s tax liability. To receive these tax advantages, a cafeteria plan must comply with the rules of Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code and related IRS regulations. Under these rules, a Section 125 plan must have a written plan document and can only offer certain qualified benefits on a tax-favored basis. Once an employee makes a Section 125 plan election, they may not change that election until the next plan year, unless the employee experiences a permitted election change event. Also, for highly compensated employees to receive the tax advantages associated with a Section 125 plan, the plan must pass

5 Top reasons to offer employee mental health benefits

In fast-paced and demanding work environments, the importance of employee mental health benefits cannot be overstated. Employees who are mentally well are more productive, engaged and satisfied with their jobs. Mental health treatment, including therapy, medication and self-care, can help people who are experiencing mental illness. However, taking that first step toward recovery or seeking help can be challenging. The National Alliance on Mental Illness’ Mental Health By the Numbers finds that the average delay between the onset of mental health symptoms and treatment is 11 years. Factors such as cost, access and stigma can hold workers back from receiving the mental health support and treatment they need. However, there are employer solutions that can help employees overcome these barriers, understand available treatment options and start their recovery journey. This article explores barriers to mental healthcare and ways employers can help break them down to support employees holist