Most Employers Slow to Address Reporting Requirements Under ACA, Survey Shows

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By Michael Trimarchi

Most employers are moving slowly to comply with Affordable Care Act reporting requirements that take effect in 2016, according to survey results released April 27.

Ten percent of the 480 employers that responded to the survey, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Equifax Workforce Solutions, said they had implemented an in-house or outsourced solution to meet the reporting requirements, and 16 percent said they had not considered what to do.

In addition to reporting the cost of health-care coverage to individual workers on Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, employers and health-care plan providers must file other information reports with the Internal Revenue Service and with the covered employees starting in early 2016.

Searching for Data in Multiple Departments

The aggregation of data that may be located in multiple departments and often with third parties presents a reporting challenge, the survey said. With this challenge in mind, employers should choose how they are to collect the data and create a process for future reporting, PwC said.

Many companies have put human resources departments in charge of determining whether an employee is an independent contractor, the survey said. Sixty-two percent of companies said that the determination is being made by the human resources department, and 14 percent said it is being made by legal departments, PwC said.

Not only do human resources departments have the lead on employee-status decisions, 82 percent of employers said that their human resources or benefits departments also are in charge of ACA reporting.

Forty-six percent of employers were unsure how they plan to submit the necessary forms to the IRS or employees, the survey said. Thirty percent said they plan to use a vendor, and 24 percent said they plan to distribute the forms in house, it said. The PwC survey is in line with other reports on employer responsibilities.

A poll of more than 3,000 executives found that more than 80 percent of those surveyed were not ready to implement the ACA, Ernst & Young LLP said. Forty-three percent said they still were developing a process to address the technology requirement for employee reporting, and 46 percent said they were unsure of how the requirement would be addressed, it said. Five percent of the executives said their companies were ready to meet all of the law's implementation requirements, it said.

A Jan. 15 report by Automatic Data Processing Inc.'s research unit said 46 percent of midsize employers having 50 to 999 employees were not ready for annual reporting and 36 percent were not prepared for ACA penalty management. Fifty-one percent of large employers having at least 1,000 employees were not ready for annual health-care reporting and 40 percent were not ready for penalty management.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Trimarchi in Washington at mtrimarchi@bna.com.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christine Pulfrey at cpulfrey@bna.com.