Treasury Offers Obamacare Rule to Simplify Employer Reporting

ricardoreitmeyer/Shutterstock.com

A key Treasury Department official joined with the Internal Revenue Service on Thursday to announce a proposed new rule aimed at “simplifying and streamlining” the Affordable Care Act reporting demands on large employers.

The proposal -- released but not yet published in the Federal Register -- was presented as part of an “ongoing dialog” with insurers and companies. Implementation of the reporting requirements for employers with 50 or more workers was postponed in July.

The draft rule comes as the Health and Human Services Department is preparing an advertising campaign for as much as $12 million to promote the controversial health care law. States are preparing to open enrollment for their insurance exchanges on Oct. 1; meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are still trying to defund or repeal the landmark law.

“Today’s proposed rules enable us to continue engaging on how best to implement the ACA reporting requirements in a more streamlined and focused manner,” said Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax Policy Mark Mazur, in a news release. “We will continue to consider ways, consistent with the law, to simplify the new information reporting process and bring about a smooth implementation of those new rules. Doing so will help ensure that the ACA effectively and efficiently delivers its historic tax benefits that promote health security for all Americans.”

Proposed changes include giving insurers and self-insuring employers new options such as allowing use of W-2 forms to report on coverage provided to employees, spouses and dependents; eliminating the need to determine whether particular employees are full-time if adequate coverage is offered to all potentially full-time employees; and allowing employers to report the specific cost to an employee of purchasing employer-sponsored coverage only if the cost is above a specified dollar sum.

The Obama administration’s decision to postpone for a year implementation of the so-called employer mandate was seized on by Republican critics as a sign that the law is bound to fail.

On Thursday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., zeroed in on another provision of the law that is meeting resistance -- tax subsidies for multi-employer health plans such as those currently enjoyed by many unions. Anticipating new regulations under preparation “to appease union critics of the health care law,” Camp joined with Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., in asking the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Taxation Committee for a fresh analysis of the cost to the government of providing premium tax credits to individuals participating in multi-employer health insurance plans. Camp said a Congressional Research Service report argues that individuals enrolled in one of the nation’s estimated 1,800 multi-employer plans are eligible for the health care law’s premium tax credit.

Several unions have pressured the Obama administration to clarify the law’s implications for protecting their existing health benefits.

“In the more than three years since signing Obamacare into law, President Obama has unilaterally granted waivers, special deals and delays to unions and other politically-favored friends,” Camp said in a release. “This special treatment is unfair to the American families and individuals who are burdened with higher health costs and losing the insurance they have and like as a result of this law.”

Added Kline, “Any regulatory scheme that extends taxpayer subsidies to union health plans would blatantly contradict the president’s health care law. Union leaders supported the government takeover of health care, and if they want to protect workers from its destructive consequences they should work with Congress to repeal the law.”

(Image via ricardoreitmeyer/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    View
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    View

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.