Employer ACA Reporting May Be Outsourcing Expense

The new ACA reporting requirements are presenting challenges to employers, and most are considering or implementing an outsourced solution.

The first employer reporting to demonstrate compliance with the employer mandate and individual coverage requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is due to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and employees beginning in January 2016, and the required IRS forms must contain data for employees and their dependents for every month in 2015.

According to a survey of 480 employers in 36 different industries by PwC and Equifax Workforce Solutions, only 10% of employers reported having already implemented an in-house or outsourced solution. Sixteen percent of survey participants reported that they have not yet even considered a solution, or do not know what solutions they should consider.

Twenty-six percent of small employers (less than 1,000 employees) are still undecided regarding whether they will implement a solution in-house or an outsourced solution to facilitate reporting, while 37% of large employers (5,000 or more employees) reported that they are in discussions with outsourced vendors currently, and 12% have not yet considered any solutions or do not know. Twenty-seven percent of mid-sized employers (1,000 to 5,000 employees) reported that they are planning to implement an in-house solution and the same percentage reported that they are considering an outsourced solution, while 15% have not yet considered any solutions or do not know.

Two-thirds (65%) of survey respondents indicated that data quality is a concern. For many employers, multiple systems house the necessary data (including payroll, Human Resources Information System (HRIS), benefits administration and leave of absence systems), and some of the data may be held by third parties.

Nearly half (48%) of smaller employers plan to use their payroll vendor, and 5% of large employers plan to use a dedicated ACA compliance vendor. Eighteen percent of mid-sized employers are still in the process of determining their outsourcer. Of the survey respondents that have more than 30% variable hour/part-time employees, 44% intend to use a dedicated ACA compliance vendor for their ACA information reporting requirements.

Many employers are undecided about how they are going to deliver the necessary forms to employees and the IRS (46%). Thirty percent plan to perform this in-house.

Eighty-two percent of survey respondents indicated that the human resources/benefits department is leading the ACA reporting compliance effort; however, 5% indicated that the department leading the effort is still undecided.

More findings from the survey are available here.