Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Prepare for Upcoming ACA Reporting Deadlines in 2022


Update: IRS Offers Extension for Delivering Employee Forms

The IRS, after initially saying there would be no automatic deadline extension for delivering Affordable Care Act (ACA) 1095 reporting forms to employees at the start of 2022, has now proposed a permanent, automatic 30-day extension, until March 2, for furnishing employee forms. The proposal says employers and insurers may take advantage of the extension for 2021 reporting forms before the rule is finalized.

The proposal does not change the due dates for filing these forms with the IRS. 

Employers should ensure that they and their service providers are prepared to furnish health care reporting forms to employees and file these forms with the IRS in this first quarter of 2022 as required under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as the IRS will no longer grant penalty relief upon showing good-faith efforts to comply.

The ACA requires applicable large employers (ALEs)—employers that during the prior year had 50 or more full-time employees or the equivalent when part-time employees' hours are combined—to submit reporting forms to the IRS and to distribute these forms to employees by the following deadlines:

ACA RequirementDeadline
1095 forms delivered to employeesJan. 31, 2022
(proposed automatic extension to March 2)
Paper filing with IRS*Feb. 28, 2022
Electronic filing with IRS
March 31, 2022

*Employers that file 250 or more information returns with the IRS must file the returns electronically.

Source: IRS.

Biden Administration’s Vaccine Policy for Health Care Workers Blocked Nationwide

 On Nov. 30, a federal district court in Louisiana ruled that the directive for health care workers is temporarily blocked nationwide, following a decision on Nov. 29 from a federal district court in Missouri that blocked the Biden administration's vaccine directive for health care workers in 10 states. 

However, also on Nov. 29, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer denied a request from workers for a Massachusetts hospital system to suspend the system's COVID-19 vaccine requirement. We've gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other outlets.

States Argued the Directive Would Lead to Staffing Shortages

U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Schelp in Missouri appeared persuaded by the 10 states' argument that the mandate would lead to staffing shortages. "The scale falls clearly in favor of health care facilities operating with some unvaccinated employees, staff, trainees, students, volunteers and contractors, rather than the swift, irremediable impact of requiring health care facilities to choose between two undesirable choices—providing substandard care or providing no health care at all," Schelp wrote in a 32-page order.

(The Hill)

Federal Government Overreach?

In a lawsuit filed Nov. 10 against the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), 10 states—Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming—claimed that the federal government has overreached its authority to dictate what happens in their states. "This case illustrates why the police power over compulsory vaccination has always been the province of—and still properly belongs to—the states," they said in the lawsuit. 

(The New York Times

Judge: Congressional Approval Needed to Require Vaccinations

The CMS did not get approval from Congress to require vaccinations for health care workers, Schelp wrote. He asserted this was necessary given the directive's "vast economic and political significance." He also noted the rules were issued without a standard period for public comment. 

"CMS seeks to overtake an area of traditional state authority by imposing an unprecedented demand to federally dictate the private medical decisions of millions of Americans," the judge wrote. "Such action challenges traditional notions of federalism."

(Springfield News-Leader)

Health Care Providers Preparing for Staff Shortages

Some hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers are preparing to operate without up to one-third of their staff at the start of next year if those workers don't comply with the federal vaccine directive.

(The Wall Street Journal)

Louisiana District Court Judge's Opinion

"There is no question that mandating a vaccine to 10.3 million health care workers is something that should be done by Congress, not a government agency," Judge Terry Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana wrote. He added, "It is not clear that even an act of Congress mandating a vaccine would be constitutional."

(The New York Times)

By Allen Smith, J.D.

November 30, 2021