Hey, ACA, What’s New? Employer Updates for 2018

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This is a recap of a recent webinar with Danielle Capilla, Director of Compliance, Employee Benefits at Alera Group.

ACA reporting for 2018 will be here before you know it – are you ready for this year’s filing? Stay up to date with the latest ACA updates with this webinar recap. We’ve got three specific changes that should be on your radar for the upcoming year.

Be sure to view the full webinar recording for even more ACA news and updates.

1.) Association Health Plans

A newer concept for offering employee benefits, association health plans allow small employers to purchase health insurance through an association or group of several employers in an arrangement called an ‘Association Health Plan’. The goal of this arrangement is to enable small organizations to unite and pool their employees as a group, thus allowing the group to take advantage of reduced administrative expenses and increased accessibility across the board. You can learn more about Association Health Plans here.



health care stethoscope

Thanks to recent legislation, companies wishing to offer Association Health Plans can begin offering fully insured coverage on Sept. 1, 2018. The new legislation essentially broadens the definition of ‘employer’ in previous mandates, thus allowing more employers to band together to form groups.

So, what does this mean for ACA? Well, new association health plans would not be subject to the same rules and regulations as traditional health plans as defined by the ACA. What should you do? Nothing – for now. This new legislation is hot off the press and will likely evolve over time. Wait and see how states will regulate the new plans before making any changes to your company health plan.

2.) The Future of Form 5500

A few minor changes are pending for everyone’s favorite filing form – 5500. This important reporting requirement is used to file employee benefits plans to the Department of Labor.

In July of 2016, a proposed rule requiring all employers subject to ERIS to file annual 5500 reports was issued. If finalized, small employers will need to be ready to comply.


Expanded Mandatory Electronic Filing

Currently, employers with fewer than 250 information returns are permitted to file manually, and each type of return is considered separately. For example, an organization with 150 employees would be able to file manually, because each form separately would return less than 250 forms.

However, the proposed new rule would combine all returns in the 250 thresholds, requiring many more small employers to find an electronic filing solution.


stamp of approval on health care bill

3.) HSA Updates

Another new proposal that includes several updates, the HR 5138 – Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act of 2018 aims to ease many wrinkles and roles that currently exist to maintain eligibility. A few of the proposed changes include allowing for pre-deductible coverage of health services at on-site health clinics, allowing for pre-deductible coverage of health services and medications that manage chronic conditions, and clarification that employers can offer telemedicine benefits and second opinion services. You can read more about the bill details and proposed changes here.

The Future of the ACA

Despite some recent activity to make changes to the ACA, it is likely not going away anytime soon. The Health Care Freedom Act effectively maintained the employer ACA mandate until 2025, so employers have several more years of reporting ahead. Furthermore, any ACA alternatives are likely to still require reporting elements. Of course, solutions do exist to make your life easier. You can learn more about the PlanSource ACA reporting solutions here.


These are just a few ACA updates for 2018, be sure to view the full webinar recording for more information.

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