CPI-HR Syracuse offers tips to find ACA reporting solutions

Health care compliance involves a lot of moving parts: Insurance companies, the IRS, HR, benefits brokers, software compliance companies, employers themselves…. The list can seem endless.

Even within those categories, there are sub categories—those that deal with enormous corporations, those that deal with smaller businesses, and those that specialize in particular industries. One such company that specializes in specific industries is CPI-HR Syracuse, a benefits and consulting company that works with schools and municipalities lacking the HR personnel to handle Affordable Care Act (ACA) filing.

For CPI-HR Syracuse, the ACA reporting requirements were complex enough that finding a solution to handle its tracking and reporting needs was a necessity. Figuring out which one to choose, however, took some thought. Reporting was no simple matter, and a botched job could mean huge fines for its clients. We talked to CPI-HR Syracuse Vice Presidents Kirsten Tudman and Michael Ginnell to learn three of their top considerations when choosing a software provider for health care compliance.

  1. It covers all aspects of reporting

Most important to CPI-HR Syracuse was a company that handled the most basic components of reporting: hourly tracking, managing the various codes for some of the more difficult form lines, and filing with the IRS.

When ACA reporting first kicked in, CPI-HR Syracuse was tracking its clients’ hours manually, a task that took an unmanageable number of hours. Hand-tracking also made it difficult to assess how many hours an employee had remaining in the year to still qualify as part-time. Automation would streamline and simplify the process, and help employers better gauge where they stood in terms of insurance offers.

While CPI-HR Syracuse originally attempted hourly tracking on its own, one piece it knew it couldn’t handle was the translation of certain hours and offers of health coverage into the various codes needed to fulfill lines 14 and 16 of the 1095-C. These codes and safe harbors are confusing to manage, and properly interpreting them is important in keeping clear of fines.

Finally, the actual filing with the IRS was another component that CPI-HR Syracuse considered among the basic prerequisites for an ACA solution. Because there could be hundreds of documents to be filed, the process can be unwieldy without a solution to handle the IRS filing system.

A solution that could perform all three of these functions, rather than just one or two across separate systems, ultimately helped narrow down CPI-HR Syracuse’s choices.

  1. It’s flexible in a changing world of health care

CPI-HR Syracuse’s main offering wasn’t originally consultancy—until the ACA came around. Since then, it’s built an entire business just on ACA consultancy, specifically within its group of school districts and municipalities without a lot of in-house HR employees. Health care laws have grown and changed since the company’s founding, with the ACA bringing the largest of those changes. However, as the ACA continues to roll out, or possibly gets repealed and replaced (though this looks unlikely), health care laws—and CPI-HR Syracuse’s role within them—will only continue to change.

Therefore, a partner with flexibility is important for success. It’s unlikely that the ACA will go away anytime soon, and any replacement that came to life would almost certainly contain some form of reporting anyway. Because of this, the ability to adapt to changes within the current and future health laws is important.

  1. It can grow with the company’s needs

CPI-HR Syracuse has a more specific set of needs than many companies. Working with mostly municipalities and school districts means it comes in frequent contact with unions, which have different procedures for their health care requirements than a standard employer.

As the ACA was still relatively new, most solutions covered only the standard reporting options. The key was finding a provider that would be willing to grow to meet the needs of its users. This meant that when CPI-HR Syracuse pointed out the need for specialization around unions within the system, it wanted to work with a company that would accept these criticisms and adapt to the needs of its partners to become even better. SyncStream was open to incorporating this feedback, which made CPI-HR Syracuse more comfortable in committing to its system.

This kind of cooperation between partners is valuable, particularly due to the nuances of the law when it comes to unusual matters like unions and educational institutions. Be sure to assess what your potential partner offers in the way of growth and user feedback.

The right solution to a difficult problem

With the health care debate continuing to come and go in waves, it’s important to find a partner that can handle the stresses of the ACA as it is, and adjust to the ACA as it may evolve. CPI-HR Syracuse found SyncStream to be that match, and now its manual processes are long gone, it’s better able to support unions and schools, and it’s ready for whatever turns the ACA might take next.

This is the second post in SyncStream’s blog series looking at how benefits administrators, agents, brokers, HR professionals and payroll providers leverage technology to simplify ACA and EEOC reporting and enhance client relationships.