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Deadline Driven

Notice to employees regarding wellness programs required as of the first day of the 2017 plan year

On May 16, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a sample notice that employers who offer wellness programs may use to help them comply with notice requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). You can read more about the notice requirement here.  Employers who offer wellness programs must ensure their employees receive a notice describing what information will be collected as part of a wellness program, who will receive it, how it will be used and how it will be protected.

 

Sample Notice

A sample notice is posted here. A question-and-answer document is also available on the EEOC’s website, which explains the notice requirement and how to use the sample notice. You will find that document posted here.

 

Deadline for Complying

Employers must provide the required notice to their employees as of the first day of the plan year that begins on or after January 1, 2017. Please note, the plan year in this case needs to be the plan year that an employer uses to calculate the incentive limit for the wellness program.


6055 and 6056 final forms and instructions for 2016 calendar year filing, individual statements required to be issued by January 31, 2017

In late September, the IRS released final forms and instructions for 6055 and 6056 reporting for the 2016 calendar year. Changes to the e-services system, which is used for electronic filing of these forms, were also announced at that time. 

 

Information of note from the final instructions is summarized in the chart below. Please note, the instructions also make reference to the proposed 6055 regulations, which you can read more about here.

 

ItemHelpful Links Important Information to Note
Final Forms 1094-B; 1095-B; 1094-C; 1095-C; The 1094-C form has changed to remove the qualifying offer method transition relief, which is no longer applicable.
Final Instructions B Instructions
C Instructions

The instructions contain the following information:

  • Clarifications: 
    • Substitute Forms 1095-C provided to individuals may be printed in portrait layout, while forms filed with the IRS must be printed in landscape.  
    • When reporting on Part III of Form 1094-C, employers must use either the monthly or look-back measurement method. No other method may be used.  
    • If a full-time employee works for more than one Applicable Large Employer (ALE) in the controlled group in the same calendar month, only the employer who had received the greatest number of service hours reports for that employee for that month.
    • How to report the month in which an employee terminates. 
    • An ALE is treated as having offered minimum essential coverage to an employee’s dependents for an entire plan year if the dependents had an opportunity to enroll, even if they declined coverage. However, if following an employee’s termination, the ALE does not offer COBRA coverage to dependents that declined enrollment, the ALE will report that it did not offer coverage to dependents for the period following termination.
  • Reminders:
    • Each ALE group member must file independently under their own employer identification number (EIN).
    • An ALE member is required to report complete information for all 12 months of the calendar year for any employee who was full-time for one or more months out of the year.
    • Multi-employer relief is extended for 2016; employers qualifying for this relief do not need to obtain eligibility and offer information for their filing this coming year.
    • Good faith penalty relief will not be available for 2016 calendar year filings.
  • New codes for spousal offerings have been added to reflect conditional offers of coverage to an employee’s spouse. Offering to cover an employee’s spouse only if they cannot obtain coverage through their own employer is an example of a conditional offer.   
  • Updated penalty amounts were added for failure to file a correct information return and failure to provide an individual statement. Penalty for 2016 filing is $260 for each return for which the failure occurs, with the total penalty for a calendar year capped at $3,193,000.
e-services e-services
Pub. 5164
Pub. 5165
The IRS has delayed the previously planned October 24 effective date for changes to the identity authentication process. A new date has not been set at this time. The changes are intended to strengthen protections for e-services accounts by requiring two-factor authentication to use the Secure Access platform. Each time returning users access the e-services system, they will have to provide their username and password, as well as a security code sent in a text message to their mobile phone.

 

Please keep in mind as we enter the end of the year that 6055/6056 statements to individuals must be sent no later than January 31, 2017, for the 2016 calendar year. The individual statement may be a copy of the IRS form that must be completed or an acceptable substitute.

 

Compliance Quarterly is being provided as an informational tool. It is recommended that plans consult with their own experts or counsel to review all applicable federal and state legal requirements that may apply to their group health plan. By providing this publication and any attachments, Meritain Health is not exercising discretionary authority over the plan and is not assuming a plan fiduciary role, nor is Meritain Health providing legal advice.

 

Published November 15, 2016