IPPA recap: 3 takeaways on the state of ACA reporting

The IPPA Business Excellence Conference is over, and attendees walked away with some new understandings about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), where their clients stand, and some of the best ways to avoid mistakes.

One of our biggest takeaways: There’s still a lack of knowledge surrounding the ACA. The conference helped shed some light on the most common knowledge gaps and organizations’ biggest concerns. Here are three issues that stood out:

· Employers’ dependence on payroll providers: IPPA is a trade association of payroll providers, so it makes sense that there would be talk about payroll software and growing your business. However, many attendees felt that employers relied heavily on their payroll providers for solutions to manage the ACA. While our panel helped clarify some of the big issues, most attendees agreed they need all the data and tools to provide detailed auditable ACA reporting.

· The transition from 2015 to 2016: 2015 served as a practice run for this first “official” reporting season for 2016. Issues for both employers and the IRS were addressed, but in many cases there’s a lack of confidence that last year’s problems—including confusion over e-filing and company data not matching IRS data—have been resolved. Confusion remains high going into 2016 reporting, but with the data and experience we’ve collected from 2015, our solutions make the process a little more doable.

· The use of analytics: One of the concerns attendees expressed was the use of analytics to properly populate the 1095-C forms, leaving the filing based on the judgment of whoever filled out the form. Good, properly applied analytics means more accurate, auditable reporting with less chance of mistakes or misunderstanding. Last year clients used our analytics to properly file more than 1 million forms with proper ACA language, style, and calculations (with 98 percent accuracy), avoiding the human errors that come with manual input. Overall, there’s a lot of work to be done and knowledge to spread before the 2016 reporting deadline rolls around on January 31.

For all who came out to my panel, it was great to see you there. For those who didn’t, we still have plenty of resources available for learning about the Affordable Care Act and reporting season. Don’t delay—that deadline will be here sooner than you think!