Blog

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Health Care Showdown: What's Next for Obamacare


Well, guys, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t get the votes for a straight repeal of the Affordable Care Act again. So it looks like you’re stuck with us for at least a little while longer!

Wait...What Happened?
If you’ve been following along with us and/or have not been living under a rock this summer, you may remember that the Senate has been working to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Most recently, Senate Republicans have been focusing on repealing the ACA without a complete replacement act in place, known as a “skinny repeal.” Yesterday, however, the repeal-only measure for Obamacare was rejected.

A Timeline of This Week’s Events
Tuesday, July 25-
  • -The Senate voted 51-50 to begin debating the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The tie-breaking vote to proceed with a repeal debate was cast by Vice President Pence.
  • -Some senators brought the House repeal bill to the floor to debate it further. For now, that is the bill senators are trying to reshape.
  • -Other senators, including majority leader Senator Mitch McConnell (KY-R), brought to the floor the most complete version of their plan to repeal and replace the ACA.
  • -Because this measure had not been assessed by the Congressional Budget Office, it needed 60 votes to pass, but only received 43.

Wednesday, July 26-
  • -After some debate, the Senate rejected the “clean repeal” bill presented by Senate Republicans to repeal major parts of the ACA without replacement, voting 45-55.
  • -Debating will continue for no more than 20 hours (due to special budget rules) as Senate Republicans try to push through a repeal bill a majority can agree on.
  • -Democrat minority leader, Chuck Schumer (NY-D), announced after the 20-hour debate moves to a vote-a-rama, Democrats will not offer any amendments unless McConnell has revealed the final bill he wants the Senate to consider.

Thursday, July 27-
  • -The 20 hour limit on the bill’s debate is expected to be exhausted.
  • Following that, the Senate will move into a vote-a-rama, which is a marathon series of votes on amendments presented. It’s expected the vote-a-rama will begin late in the day today (Thursday) and could last throughout the night.

So What’s Next?
We’ll keep a close eye on the Senate debate and be sure to keep you up-to-date on any major health care changes! According to the “New York Times,” it seems increasingly likely that Senate Republicans will try to pass a “slimmed-down bill that would repeal only a small number of the existing health law’s provisions” in an effort to keep the option of repeal alive. If successful, it’s likely they’ll try to negotiate a broader compromise bill with the House of Representatives.

Read More »

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

7 Most Frequently Asked Questions About ACA Compliance



Not to brag, but we at ACAwise are some of the best at what we do - and what we do is make Affordable Care Act compliance and e-filing simple for you! Because of that, we get lots of calls daily with questions about ACAwise, ACA compliance, ACA e-filing, and more. And to help those who may not be able to call in, we’ve compiled a list of our seven most frequently asked questions about ACAwise and ACA compliance:

How Does Compliance with ACAwise Work?
First things first: the basics! When you create your ACAwise account, you’ll have the option to go for just e-filing or to include year-round ACA compliance monitoring and tracking. If you opt for our compliance features, all you’ll need to do is enter your employee and insurance plan information and ACAwise takes care of the rest! The program monitors your data throughout the year to make sure you’re making the right offers of coverage to the right people to stay compliant with the Affordable Care Act.

From the Dashboard of your account, you can view the status of each employee/recipient, as well as various compliance reports to make sure everything’s on track!

Does ACAwise Handle Family & Medical Leave (FMLA)?
Yes. When we built ACAwise, we incorporated all of the IRS’s business rules for ACA compliance and we make sure to keep everything up-to-date with any changes. This ensures every health insurance situation is accounted for in your ACAwise account.

What About COBRA Covered Employees?

Yes. When inputting your employees to your ACAwise account, you’ll have the option to indicate that the employee is covered by COBRA continuation coverage.

And the Rule of Parity?
As the Rule of Parity is part of the IRS’s business rules for ACA compliance, we’ve included it in ACAwise as well. Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) may indicate an employee is eligible for the Rule of Parity if that employee worked for fewer than 13 weeks (26 weeks for educational organizations) prior to their termination. They can also use this rule to treat re-hired employees as new employees if their break in service was longer than their initial period of service.

Does ACAwise Account for Plans for Tobacco Users?
Yes. Since it’s required to have separate insurance plans for tobacco users, we’ve built ACAwise so that these plans are displayed for each employee who uses tobacco.

Does ACAwise Validate a Break of Service for Educational & Non-Educational Institutions?
Yes. ACAwise allows you to validate breaks in service for educational and non-educational institutions alike. Since ACAwise also accounts for the Rule of Parity, the specific circumstances you enter regarding each employee’s break in service will determine if they’re classified as a re-hire or new hire when they return.

How Can I Get Started with ACAwise?
Just head on over to our Sign Up page! You can also give us a call or schedule a free demo to learn more about creating and using your ACAwise account.

Read More »

Friday, July 21, 2017

Will Obamacare Be Repealed Without a Replacement?



A campaign promise made by Trump to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) day one of his presidency turned into an assurance that it would be repealed and replaced within his first 100 days. Well now we’re far past the first 100 days and still without a repeal or replacement for Obamacare, and it’s safe to say tensions are running high.

The Pressure Is On
After the Senate failed to get the votes needed to pass its replacement plan, President Trump met with Republican senators to discuss the stalled healthcare push. Going so far as to discourage them from leaving Washington before reaching a solution, he called into question whether the already-delayed August recess should be scrapped altogether.

Additionally, Vice President Pence, Health & Human Services Secretary Tom Price, and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma were scheduled to meet Wednesday evening with Republican senators who haven’t fully committed to the Senate bill.

Following the meeting with Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) seemed to have heeded the president’s words by announcing, “Next week, we’ll be voting on the motion to proceed, and I have every expectation that we’ll be able to get on the bill.” He didn’t clarify if this meant a straight repeal of the ACA or if a repeal-and-replace bill would be implemented.

But Will It Help?
Following Wednesday’s discussions in Washington, and Trump’s own words earlier this week - he tweeted “Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!” - it’s possible we could see the Senate vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement plan in the wings.

So far this year, we’ve been introduced to a few versions of repeal/replace legislation:

While both options have been met with opposition from both parties, the BCRA and ORRA are the most likely to be considered by the Senate next. McConnell is making attempts to persuade reluctant Republican senators, saying the Senate just needs to begin debating on each bill to make amendments so one might pass. To which NPR points out: if Republicans had held hearings on either bill, a lot of debating could have already occurred.

Unfortunately, even bringing the bills to the floor to debate won’t guarantee they’ll pass or that they’ll even ultimately turn out like they started. In such a vote-a-rama, any senator could offer amendments, making it easy for lawmakers to be pressured into voting for a bill, unlike anything they’ve considered so far. And CNBC even goes so far as to say that no matter what the GOP came up with to repeal and/or replace, it was destined to fail “because the ACA was already a compromise, politically viable in part because it was based on blueprints from…[Republican governor] Mitt Romney.”

So Where Do We Go From Here?
The Senate is hoping to move forward with voting for one of the pieces of legislation it introduced this month (the BCRA or ORRA) sometime in the next week. Whether or not they’ll have the votes for either measure, we’ll have to wait and see.

In the meantime, you can still count on ACAwise to be here to help you with everything ACA-related! We’ve got ACA e-filing, compliance, and all the ACA-related news to keep you in the loop and in line with the current IRS regulations.

Read More »

Thursday, July 13, 2017

How to E-file Forms 1094 & 1095 with ACAwise



While 2017 ACA filing may still be a few months away, it never hurts to be prepared. That’s why today we’re going to prepare you with some knowledge about how easy it is to e-file Forms 1094 and 1095 with ACAwise!

Create Your Account
First things first, you’ll need to create your very own ACAwise account. You can schedule a demo with one of our friendly ACAwise team members who will explain everything about the ins and outs of the program. Or you can jump right in and create an account as an applicable large employer (ALE) or third-party administrator (TPA).

When you create your account, you’ll indicate what you’re here for: just e-filing, e-filing with Cross Walk (to input employee data more easily), or full-service e-filing and compliance monitoring. Which option you choose will determine how your ACA Forms are completed!

Completing your ACA Forms
Just E-filing
If you’re a simple business-person, just here for the e-filing, ACAwise does everything possible to make completing and transmitting your 1094 and 1095 Forms as easy as possible. Once you’re in your account, you’ll select to create a new return then enter your employee/recipient and health insurance information (including codes). You can do this by entering the data individually or through our bulk upload options.

Using the data you enter, ACAwise creates your 1094 and 1095 Forms for you to review. Once you’ve confirmed everything looks okay, just securely transmit it directly to the IRS!

E-filing with Cross Walk
When you sign up for e-filing with Cross Walk, you get an extra feature designed to make your 1095-C Form filing even easier! You see, 1095-C Forms need ACA Indicator Codes entered on lines 14 and 16 of each form to indicate specific information about the health insurance offered to employees. With Cross Walk, you just enter your basic employee and health insurance information, and our system interprets that data to generate the codes needed to complete the entire form.

So once you’ve entered your data, reviewed the codes and your 1094-C and 1095-C Forms, you can transmit your ACA return directly to the IRS.

Full-Service Compliance & E-filing
Your motto is “Go big or go home!” and that’s why you’ve chosen to go the distance and sign up for a full-service ACAwise account. With this option, we get to have ACA fun all year long; just from entering your employee and health insurance data, ACAwise can track your information all year long to make sure you’re staying compliant with the ACA and IRS. You can view everything in real-time through your Dashboard, generate reports to learn more, and have everything squared away when it’s time to start e-filing.

Since ACAwise tracks your data throughout the year, it uses this to automatically generate your 1094 and 1095 Forms when it’s time to file. Then, all you have to do is review the return and transmit it securely to the IRS!

Create an Account Today!
If you need help getting started - or at any point in your ACA e-filing - don’t hesitate to give us a call! Our US-based support team is here to help and is available by phone (704-954-8420) and live chat Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST. We also provide 24/7 email assistance through support@ACAwise.com.

So what are you waiting for? Get started now!

Read More »

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

How Are You Filing Form 941 Later This Month?



As a business owner, you’ve got to keep track of a lot of tax forms. Not only are you still on the hook for Affordable Care Act Forms that report health insurance information, you also have that pesky quarterly business tax form that keeps popping up every few months.

So while you’ve still got a few more months before you need to start getting things together to e-file your 1095 Forms, one of those deadlines for Form 941 is coming up at the end of this month.

Second Quarter Taxes are Due
That’s right: it’s time once again to file Form 941, the Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return. This time around, we’re filing for the second quarter of 2017, which includes tax information from April, May, and June of this year. To complete your second quarter Form 941, you’ll need to make sure you have your federal tax withholding and employee salary information from that time.

Paper Filing vs. E-filing
Now, there are two ways to file your Form 941: on paper or electronically. When you paper file, you’ll need to make sure you’ve gotten an IRS-approved 941 Form and fill out everything by hand. Then, it’s time to head down to the post office with your completed 941 Form and a check for your tax payment and mail them off to the IRS.

E-filing, on the other hand, cuts out all those extra steps. All you have to do is complete a 941 Form online (with an IRS-authorized e-file provider, of course) and transmit the form directly to the IRS. If needed, you can even pay any taxes due through an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) while you e-file.

Basically, while there are two ways to file Form 941, e-filing is a more secure method that leaves less room for error, so we recommend e-filing.

Where to E-file Form 941
And we wouldn’t recommend e-filing Form 941 anywhere other than with our sister product, ExpressTaxFilings! Built by the team that brought you ACAwise - so you know you can trust it - ExpressTaxFilings simplifies the Form 941 filing process even further by breaking down the form into a simple Q & A style interview. Once you’ve finished filling in your information, all you need to do is review your form, set up how you’re going to pay any taxes due (through EFT or other means), and transmit your form directly to the IRS!

Keep in mind that when you e-file Form 941, you’ll need to e-sign the form, which you can do with an Online Signature PIN or by completing Form 8453-EMP. With ExpressTaxFilings, you can easily complete and file this separate form along with your 941 Form or you can use your IRS-issued Online Signature PIN or apply for one directly from your account!


For more information on e-filing Form 941 or about your quarterly tax return, you can give ExpressTaxFilings a call and you’ll experience the same friendly, expert customer support you’re used to with ACAwise! They’re available by phone (704-684-4751), live chat, and email at support@ExpressTaxExempt.com!

Read More »

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Why the Congressional Recess May Kill GOP Healthcare Bill


We’re back!

The Senate, however, is not…and that may be a bad thing for the GOP’s Affordable Care Act (aka ACA aka ObamaCare) replacement bill.

A Vote Delay for a Holiday
Earlier this week, a lot of us got a quick, mid-week holiday for the Fourth of July. For Congress, who has a week-long recess (July 3rd-7th) in honor of Independence Day, that holiday is still going on. And happening with it is waning support for the Senate GOP healthcare bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA).

Last week, Senate Republican leaders announced they’d postpone voting on BCRA until after the July 4th recess. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a strong supporter of BCRA, tried to be optimistic about this announcement, insinuating more time to make changes to the bill may sway reluctant GOP senators to vote in its favor.

Well the Recess Isn’t Helping
We’ve mentioned before that the BCRA doesn’t need any Democratic support to pass, so long as 50 of the 52 Republican senators vote in favor of it. But McConnell is having a hard time during the recess convincing the now 12 Republican senators who have issues with the bill to vote yea. In fact, within hours of the postponement announcement, 3 Senate GOP members came out as “no” votes.

The Senate Republicans, back home for the holiday, are getting an earful of opposition for the bill from the people they represent. Public opposition is making it very difficult for senators against the bill, as well as those on the fence, to be convinced to vote yes.

But Senate Republicans Sure Are Trying
McConnell, along with Senate leadership, is taking the recess to engage rank-and-file members about potential changes that could be made to the bill. There have also been discussions with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on changes that can be made quickly to improve the score of a revised Senate bill (initial analysis found 22 million more people would be uninsured by 2026).

Of course, fixing things and making changes might be a little easier for McConnell if senator opposition didn’t have such a wide range. On the one hand, Texas, Utah, Kentucky, and Wisconsin senators say the new legislation doesn’t go far enough in repealing ACA regulations. Meanwhile, representatives of Nevada, West Virginia, Ohio, and other states have serious reservations about the proposed cuts to Medicaid funding, as well as opioid addiction treatment funding.

So What Will They Do?
Senate Majority Leader McConnell is trying to hold a vote on the new legislature - including any changes that may happen over the next few days - as soon as possible after the July 4th recess ends.

So be sure to stay tuned with ACAwise as we help you keep track of and up-to-date on the changing healthcare laws! While we’re at it, we’ll even help you stay ACA compliant, since it is still technically the law and all. And if you have any questions regarding ACA compliance and e-filing, don’t hesitate to reach out to us - we’re always happy to help!

Read More »

Monday, July 3, 2017

Happy Independence Day from ACAwise!



This ACAwise post is coming to you a day early this week to say:

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!


As you may have heard, 241 years ago tomorrow, the founding fathers signed off on a little thing we now know as the Declaration of Independence and established the United States as the country we kind of know today (we have added a few more states since then).

Since the fourth falls on a Tuesday, some of you may be celebrating with a four-day weekend! And, if you are, we appreciate you stopping by to read our little post!

Because we’re a little busy here at the ACAwise office - Form 2290 filing started this month, and certain 941 Forms and 990 Forms are due this month - we’re at work today, July 3rd, and we’re here to answer any questions you may have about Affordable Care Act compliance and e-filing! If the mood strikes and you’d like to try a demo of ACAwise, or if you have any questions about your ACA e-filing, you can give us a call at (704) 954-8420, send us a live chat, or email us at support@ACAwise.com.

But be sure to get those questions in today if you have them because we will be celebrating the holiday away from the office tomorrow. You can still send us an email, but we won’t be around to answer any calls or live chats. We will, however, be back in the office, bright and early Wednesday, July 5th, to help with anything ACA-related you may need!

So go out and have fun over the holiday - grill out, light some fireworks, and enjoy a much-needed leisurely July Fourth with friends and family! We’ll see you on the fifth!

Read More »