Lessons Learned from the 2018 Filing Season

By Jennifer Pawlak

Well, we made it through the 2018 ACA filing season with smiles on our faces! As we reflect on another successful year, we wanted to share a few lessons we learned.

Lesson One

Be timely. A good life lesson, generally. But in the ACA context, it means to check for data changes MONTHLY. You may be thinking to yourself, “But we only need to do the annual 1095 filings. What’s this talk about monthly reporting?” Contrary to popular belief, true ACA compliance happens all day, every day. If you’re not checking for changes monthly, you may miss offering coverage to an employee who needs it, thus falling out of compliance. It’s always harder to make corrections after the fact, so be timely. If your forms are wrong when they’re filed, you are opening yourself up to higher penalties, and no one wants that.

Lesson Two

Don’t forget EINs of acquired companies. Did you acquire a company during the year (or month; see lesson #1 above)? Did your organization have some sort of corporate structure change? Make sure you’re in tune with the business so you receive those corporate updates and act accordingly.

Lesson Three

Don’t forget about the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). This is only applicable to those of you who are self-insured. You need to report on employees who have elected COBRA coverage.

Lesson Four

SSN Verification. Not as much a lesson as it is a tip. Did you know that the Social Security Administration offers free SSN verification for employers? “This free online service allows registered users to verify that the names and Social Security numbers of hired employees match Social Security’s records.” Check out their website and verification services here. And if someone changes their name, be sure to update ALL your systems at once, especially if they don’t all talk to each other.

Lesson Five

Ask questions. If you are new to the ACA world, please reach out. We are here to answer your questions! If we can clear things up early, we can eliminate extra work for everyone during the busy filing season. If your team has a new person who is not familiar with ACA or if you would like a refresher, visit our website to view an overview presentation.

We hope these tips have been helpful. Good luck in the 2019 filing season!

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