Understanding the ACA

Last Updated on May 21, 2020 by bigfish-admin

There is a lot of confusion about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and all that it entails. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll discovered that 52% of respondents did not know PPACA was a law. In case you’re not inclined to read all 974 pages, we are here to help give you better information and resources.

When it all began

The health care reform law was passed in two stages. On March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was enacted. Seven days later, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (HCERA) was passed, making signifi cant changes to PPACA. Jointly, the laws are referred to as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and present a majority of health care changes in 2014.

The Intent

The law’s intent is for all Americans to have health insurance either through an employer plan, purchase and maintain government-approved health insurance or pay a penalty to the IRS. The Act states that its goal is to “increase the number of Americans covered by health insurance and decrease the cost of health care.”

The new ACA Information Center for Applicable Large Employers page on IRS.gov features information and resources for employers of all sizes on how the health care law may affect them if they fit the definition of an applicable large employer.

The web page includes the following sections:

  • What’s Trending for ALEs,
  • How to Determine if You are an ALE,
  • Resources for Applicable Large Employers, and
  • Outreach Materials.

Visitors to the new page will find links to:

  • Detailed information about tax provisions including information reporting requirements for employers,
  • Questions and answers, and
  • Forms, instructions, publications, health care tax tips, flyers and videos.

Although the vast majority of employers will not be affected, you should determine if you are an applicable large employer. If you averaged at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees, during 2014, you are most likely an ALE for 2015. If you have fewer than 50 full-time employees, you may be considered an applicable large employer if you share a common ownership with other employers. As an applicable large employer, you should be taking steps now to prepare for the coming filing season.

In 2016, applicable large employers must file an annual information return – and provide a statement to each full-time employee – reporting whether they offered health insurance, and if so, what insurance they offered their employees.

If you will file 250 or more information returns for 2015, you must file the returns electronically through the ACA Information Reports system. You should review draft Publication 5165, Guide for Electronically Filing Affordable Care Act (ACA) Information Returns, now for information on the communication procedures, transmission formats, business rules and validation procedures for returns that you must transmit in 2016.

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