By Gary Skeen
Open Enrollment for Healthcare under the Affordable Care Act is ending on January 31. What you should be aware of if you aren’t already is, the IRS will levy substantial penalties against individuals and families if you aren’t enrolled in a plan.
Unless you qualify for a special enrollment period, you will not be able to enroll for coverage this year after Jan. 31. There is no enrollment period or deadline for group coverage, Medicaid or CHIP (the Children’s Health Insurance Program) so if you are a church still looking for coverage for your staff, you still have time to enroll. But I urge you to begin the process as soon as possible.
Church Benefits has created its own Exchange web portal to get you started, backed by an experienced healthcare call center to answer any questions you might have and help you with the process of comparing plans, features and prices. You can access the Exchange by following this link.
I mentioned penalties earlier. Failure to enroll in coverage – and the deadline is Jan 31 for individuals – will incur a fine levied on your 2016 taxes, which can be substantial based upon the size of your family. It’s the higher amount of either 2.5 percent of your total household income, the maximum equal to the total yearly premium for the average bronze plan sold in the Marketplace, or $695 per adult, $347.50 per child under 18; with a maximum of $2,085.
I know it’s arduous and time-consuming, especially if your “to do” list is as big as mine is following the holidays. But if you haven’t addressed healthcare this year, I urge you to stop today and check out our exchange. Or call us at 1-800-352-8741 and we can talk you through the steps in the process.
Just a few more items:
- The IRS has extended the deadlines for the ACA reporting forms (1095-B and 1095-C) for employer-provided health insurance offer and coverage insurance:
- Deadline for forms provided to employees extended to March 31 (from Feb. 1)
- Deadline for Forms filed with IRS if using a paper form extended to May 31 (from Feb. 29)
- Deadline for electronic forms filed with IRS extended to June 30 (from March 31)
- Finally, we are still receiving phone calls from churches wondering about Healthcare reimbursement policies. As of July 1, 2015, employers should have stopped offering pre-tax reimbursements for staff if they have more than one full time employee. If you have only one full time employee, you can still pay for premiums on a pre-tax basis. The caveat is to make sure the employee is not receiving subsidies from the healthcare marketplace. If they are, then all premium reimbursements will need to be treated as cash salary and taxed accordingly. For additional information on Tax Reimbursements please visit our previous blogs:
If you have any questions or wish to discuss your church’s benefits, please contact me or the staff at CBF’s Church Benefits. You can reach us by emailing us or calling 1-800-352-8741.
Gary Skeen serves as the president of CBF Church Benefits.