House Appropriations Subcommittee Introduces Bill with Potential to Affect ACA Reporting

July 19, 2017 Kevin Diffily

A House Appropriations subcommittee has introduced H.R. 3280 – a draft of which was released during the July 4th Recess. This appropriations bill provides funding for government and financial services – including the IRS – for the upcoming fiscal year. As part of the IRS funding, it includes a provision that could impact the reporting obligations of insurers and self-insured employers that are not Applicable Large Employers (ALEs).

The relevant provision in this appropriations bill would prevent the IRS from using any of the funds therein to implement or enforce Internal Revenue Code § 5000A (the Individual Mandate) as well as § 6055 – the basis of the reporting requirement for insurers and non-ALE self-insured employers. While the House and Senate “Repeal and Replace” bills simply nullified the marketplace/mandate penalties for failing to maintain, offer, or provide insurance, this bill takes a different approach by conditioning IRS funding on its halting enforcement of these sections of the Code.

This appears to be an effort by the House to launch a “Plan B” in the event the Senate cannot revive its ACA replacement bill. If successful, it would affect employers’ obligations to file Forms 1094-B (Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns) and 1095-B (Health Coverage Information) to report provision of minimum essential coverage to individuals.

Notably, the bill does not affect the reporting requirements of Applicable Large Employers, which arise under IRC § 6056. These employers would still be required to report offers of coverage to full-time employees on Forms 1094-C (Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns) and 1095-C (Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage).

This measure is still in the very early stages of the legislative process. It will now undergo committee and subcommittee markup, after which the committee would report it out and enter it on the House calendar. If or when it is taken up by the House, it will be subject to debate and amendments before being put to a final vote. If passed by the House, it will then go to conference committee to be reconciled with the Senate appropriations bill before being enrolled to the President. Put simply, this measure will likely undergo a number of modifications before being finalized. This fiscal year ends on September 30th, and the House will move forward based on that timetable. We will continue to provide updates regarding the progression of this bill through Congress.

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