Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Big Data's Powerful Applications in HR

Big data, along with its three key features of volume, velocity, and variety, is considered the foundation of modern analytical systems. As of 2013, 91% of America’s top executives have been planning big data initiatives. And finance and marketing industries have already acknowledged (and leveraged) the power of machine learning algorithms to identify profitable stocks and customize catering to clients.

As far as HR purposes go, Google (a data-driven company) has developed a model that can predict promotions with 90% accuracy. Other managers, however, have not been able to use the big data/HR equation because people aren’t ready to hand over control to the computer.

So just how is big data affecting HR and how will it in the future? Let’s explore that!

Big Data for HR
If HR teams were to use a statistical model based on big data, that would mean “replacing presumptions with validation, hunches with data, and intuition with success ratio.” Talent scouts often face a significant challenge when structuring large quantities of different data that needs to be evaluated against a unitary scorecard. Big data offers a solution to that by employing methods specially designed for variety.

Potential Benefits
Taking it a few steps further, big data could provide some serious benefits in the HR sector. These benefits include
  • Decreasing the cost of bad hires
    • -Big data can help cut down on bad hires.
    • -Wrongfully chosen employees can cost much more than just their salary and benefits:
      • -Recruitment costs
      • -Training expenditures
      • -Productivity loss
      • -Negative client reviews
    • -A primary challenge of HR analytics is using big data to predict a match between candidate skills and personal beliefs against company needs and values.
  • Increasing retention rates
    • -Big data algorithms nominate individuals by studying employees’ online activity, profile updates, employment history, job performance, and payroll data
    • -Employees that are red-flagged by the algorithm could be given a raise, a more challenging role, or more training in order to prevent resignations
    • -Companies that already do this, including Xerox, Walmart, and Credit Suisse, have seen retention increase as much as 20% with these algorithms.
  • Performance prediction
    • -When you’re hiring, big data HR analytics models can help you find the best candidate profiles based on the job’s requirements and existing top performers.
    • -They do this by using existing records of successful candidates to create high performer profiles which you can use as to create a targeted head-hunting tool to send personalized messages to the right talent.
    • -Predictions are necessary to evaluate future job openings, promotions, and even layoffs, and aligning models to your business strategy can help you use big data to save time and money on recruitment.
  • Improving benefits packages
    • -Using big data similar to insurance companies, employers can gather health related data of their staff and candidates to create more attractive and useful packages.
    • -Keep in mind that you should be transparent about collecting such data, stating your final goals, to avoid legal issues related to discrimination practices.

Legal and Ethical Issues
Although there aren’t any legal statements against using big data for HR analyses and evaluations, ethical concerns are still a factor to consider. Privacy is an important concern and many people are afraid that the numbers could work against them and even encourage discrimination.

Of course, stereotyping and unfair treatment of an individual outlier based on the general performance of a group is not acceptable in the business sector and is an unsolved problem that could result from using big data with HR. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that algorithms do not have intuition and are unable to assess undocumented progress, which is where HR representatives come in.

Just make sure to keep everything as transparent as possible and continue to work within employer/employee laws and guidelines when utilizing big data for HR purposes.

So what do you think? Will you begin using big data to improve your HR department and the reliability and productivity of your employees? Do you use it already? We’d love to hear all about it - just leave us a comment below!

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Why Cloud-Based HR is Set to Make Rapid Gains

Folks, we’re experiencing a trend shift in the way Human Resources are handled. The cross from traditional on-premise HR software to cloud-based alternatives is happening in droves and the Information Services Group (ISG) has the market research to confirm it.

The Switch to Cloud-Based
ISG’s study is based on data collected from over 200 “senior leaders” in the HR management, business operations, and IT fields. Each respondent represented a large company with at least 1000 employees. Because companies of this size tend to play a role in industry trends, researchers were able to gain insight of where the market is headed, especially in terms of new technologies and other wide-reaching changes.

What they found was that HR automation services are the big ticket items on the agenda.

Crunching the Numbers
According to their study, ISG learned that 12% of their participants represent companies that handle HR activities exclusively in the cloud. An additional 10% rely on a combination of on- and off- premise software. Based on information provided about the participants’ technology roadmaps and growth projection, ISG believes this will double to 44% of firms using at least one cloud-based system in 2018 and should reach 54% by 2020.

And we could even see a bigger growth given that the tally increases to more than 75% of organizations when we include those that use internally-developed HR systems hosted on cloud infrastructure and other off-premise deployment models. In other words: cloud-based is on the fast track to becoming the norm for HR departments.

Why Cloud-Based Works Better
During the study, representatives provided answers for what they hope to achieve by switching to the cloud, which provided some insight into the increase in its use. 41% of respondents listed cutting costs among their top priority when switching to cloud-based. 30% of respondents utilize cloud-based as a way to make HR staff less dependent on the IT department and to provide a better experience for employees overall. And just over 25% of respondents cited “access to ongoing innovation” as a benefit of cloud-based programs.

To read ISG’s full report, click here. And to learn more about ACAwise, a cloud-based program that helps you with everything health care benefits- and Affordable Care Act compliance-related, sign up for a free demo here!

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

The 3 Best Practices in HR Analytics

Strategic use of the statistics you gather from Human Resources (HR) analytics can make a powerful difference in the success of your business. That’s why forward-thinking businesses have embraced data analysis in the interest of business performance and, ipso facto, higher profit margins.

So what are the three most important practices you should be doing with your HR analytics? We’ll tell ya!

Gathering Data
Believe it or not, companies used to not collect all that much in-depth data on their employees and hardly any on their consumers. If they did collect employee data, it tended to focus on the past - the employee’s history with the company, number of days absent, compliance and retention.

Today, companies collect much more data and not just on their current employees. Data is regularly analyzed on brand image, potential recruits, customer reach and retention, demographics, and hiring patterns. The more data you gather, the more you’re able to interpret. For example, one report found only 30% of the US workforce is actively engaged at work. That’s a pretty low percentage all things considered, right? Not exactly: if you factor in an internal data analysis that revealed 82% of the time candidates are placed in the wrong position, that low percentage of engaged workers makes more sense. And if we get proactive with this information, business owners and HR personnel can work to ensure the right people are in the optimal positions.

Knowing Your Consumers and Your Team
Unilever VP of HR for UK & Ireland Placid Jover said it best:
“It’s key to realize that today we compete based on insight. It doesn’t matter whether it’s soup and soap, fizzy drink or cars, success is based on knowing your consumers, users or shoppers and their habits, and then being able to quickly mobilize your organization to embrace and action the insight.”
There really is no substitute for having a thorough grasp of your employees and your consumers. For the employee side, when you have a team you can rely on to intuitively spring into action, you’re far less likely to lose out to your competition or find yourself and your company at the center of a public relations or legal debacle.

As far as your consumers go, if you can predict what they want before they do, you put yourself on the cutting edge in providing them with the solution they need.

Building a Better Business Strategy
Using HR analytics and data analysis when approaching your business plan can lead to new and innovative approaches to your strategy. In the case of sportswear giant, Adidas, analysis of HR analytics caused an increase in employee engagement levels and revamped how management, communication, and other departments work together. Three driving core pillars - data, metrics, and the employee experience - were able to provide them with insight into “employee behavior, skill-sets, and talent.” Combining a business strategy with a people strategy helped work toward the betterment of the company as a whole.

One way you can gain more insight into your HR analytics is with ACAwise! While our main focus is Affordable Care Act compliance, the employee information you enter to complete ACA e-filing can offer key insights into the healthcare plans you offer as well as employee needs, attendance, and enrollment. Schedule a free demo today to learn more about the analytics reports you can generate through ACAwise as well as how it benefits HR professionals as a whole!

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Have You Heard About DC's New Paid Family Leave?

Earlier this year, Washington D.C.’s Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 came into effect (on April 7, to be exact). Under this act, employees are entitled to 90% of their regular pay while taking covered leave. The money is to come from employer contributions equal to .62% of employees’ wages.

Eligible Individuals
Under the new paid leave act, eligible individuals can request paid leave following certain qualifying events, subject to a one-week waiting period during which time no benefits are payable. Those who qualify as eligible individuals are
  • -Those who have been “covered employees” during some or all of the 52-week period prior to the qualifying event
  • -Self-employed individuals who have opted into the paid leave program who also spent at least 50% of their work time in D.C. during some or all of the 52-week period prior to the qualifying event.

Employee Entitlements
The new paid leave act provides “eligible individuals” up to eight weeks of paid leave each year. This time may be taken intermittently and it may include any combination of
  • 1. Up to eight weeks of parental leave
    • -This must be taken within one year of the birth of a child, the placement of an adopted or foster child, or the assumption of legal guardianship of a child
  • 2. Up to six weeks of family leave
    • -This must be taken within one year of the diagnosis or occurrence of a family member’s serious health condition
  • 3. Up to two weeks of personal medical leave
    • -This must be taken within one year of the diagnosis or occurrence of the employee’s serious health condition
Under the act, “serious health conditions” include physical or mental illnesses, injuries, or impairments that require inpatient care, continuing health care-related treatment, or supervision at home.

Recommendations for Employers
It’s been recommended that D.C. area employers should continue to monitor developments related to the act over the coming months and years. While the act and its regulations were enacted this year, employees will not be able to claim benefits under the act until July 1, 2020. Employers should also review their leave policies to ensure compliance with new regulations as they’re published.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

9 Easy Ways Your Small Business Can Save Money

When you own a small business, the phrase “a penny saved is a penny earned” takes on a whole new meaning. That’s your bread-and-butter, after all, and why it’s important to save on everything you can. So here are nine easy ways you can save even more to put right back into your small business’s growth!

1. Ask for a Discount
Tons of large retailers offer small business discounts, although they may not advertise it. That’s why it never hurts to ask! This approach typically works better on larger items, like home office equipment. But you never know: you may even get a few cents off Post-It notes if you ask.

2. Check Out Executive Suites
If your growing small business is still home-based, it may be time to look into getting some office space. Executive suites and shared office spaces can help you to improve your business’s prestige as well as offer more services. Some spaces even come with receptionist services, private mailboxes, and part time office hours so do your research!

3. Chill on the Meetings
It can be tempting to have long meetings with your staff to discuss the direction and growth of your small business, but there are better ways for everyone to spend their time. Try to evaluate the true cost of your meetings because where you can save time, you can save money.

4. In the Beginning, Make Outsourcing a Priority
If you’re just starting out, employees may seem helpful but they can be costly. To keep your budget in order while you’re growing, look to outsource workers you may need. Independent contractors can get the job done without the salary, office space, and benefits costs you’d need to provide employees.

5. Join an Association
Business and trade associations offer more than just networking through membership. By joining an association, you could save quite a bit on business-related expenses like insurance, car rentals, and phone services.

6. Keep Track of Petty Cash Down to the Penny
It should go without saying, but you need to keep a record of all your business-related expenses. Petty cash drawers should be accounted for just as carefully as your checking accounts.

7. Showcase Your Expertise
This tip may cost a little time but can save you a lot of money on marketing: look for opportunities to attract the attention of your target market by showcasing your expertise. You can do this by teaching a class, writing an article, or addressing your community directly.

8. Skip the Delivery Fee
You can save a few extra bucks on pizza by picking it up instead of getting it delivered and the same goes for certain office supplies. Look into being your own delivery driver for orders of reams of paper and other smaller bulk office supplies to help cut costs.

9. Utilize The Cloud
Instead of allocating part of your budget toward hardware that may be outdated before you even make it through your first year, look into cloud-based tools for accounting, project management, marketing automation, customer relationships, and more.

And speaking of cloud-based software: as a small business owner, you face specific requirements for Affordable Care Act compliance. ACAwise is a cloud-based software that can help you keep track of these requirements all year long! Schedule a free demo today to learn more about keeping your business compliant with the ACA!

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Do New Laws Enacted to Ban Salary Inquiries Affect You?

Did you know that a growing number of states are enacting laws that address pay equity by prohibiting employers from asking job applicants how much they earned in previous jobs? Delaware and Oregon are the most recent states to enact measures, but first: a brief history!

Recent Laws & Bans
The basic idea behind salary history laws is that pay inequality can follow employees from job to job. If a worker experiences pay discrimination over the course of his or her career, disclosing past salary details could put them at a disadvantage when negotiating subsequent salaries or compensation packages. This has the potential to reduce a person’s earning power across his or her entire career.

Enter laws enacting bans on salary history inquiries. Massachusetts, New York City, Philadelphia, and Puerto Rico have already passed restrictions like this. San Francisco is set to pass similar measures after approval from the city’s Board of Supervisors June 27.

The Delaware measure, known as House Bill 1, was signed by Governor John Carney (D) on June 14 this year. Essentially, House Bill 1
  • -bars employers from seeking pay histories of applicants before they’ve made employment offers,
  • -prohibits salary-based job applicant screening where prior compensation must satisfy certain minimum or maximum criteria, and
  • -allows the confirmation of salary history information after an employment offer has been made and compensation terms have been spelled out.
Delaware’s law will take effect this coming December.

The Oregon measure, House Bill 2005, signed June 1 by Governor Kate Brown (D) enacts similar restrictions as Delaware’s House Bill 1. The Oregon law, however, goes further:
  • 1. It expands existing equal pay provisions to prohibit pay discrimination based on race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, marital or veteran status, disability, and age in addition to gender-based bias.
  • 2. It allows pay disparities to be permitted if they exist because of seniority or merit systems, earnings tied to quantity or quality, workplace locations, travel, education, training, experience, or any combination of these factors.
  • 3. It allows employers to avoid compensatory and punitive damages if they’ve conducted an audit and taken steps to eliminate current pay inequalities.
Oregon’s law takes effect in September, however, employers can’t be sued for violating these pay history provisions until January 1, 2019. They also won’t face penalties in the form of compensatory or punitive damages until 2024.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Schedule a FREE Demo Today for Better ACA Compliance

Are you curious about ACAwise? Always wondered how it worked but wasn’t sure if it was for you? Well guess what: you can request a free demo with one of our expert support team members to get all of your questions answered!

How to Request a Demo
To request your very own free demo, just go to our homepage,

Next, find this Request DEMO link in the upper right-hand corner of your screen:

And you'll come to the demo request screen! Then, all you need to do is fill out the following information:

For business type, you’ll choose between Applicable Large Employer (ALE) or Third Party Administrator, but other than that everything here should be pretty straightforward. Once you fill everything out and hit “Send,” you’ll get an automated email from us that we received your request (check your Spam folder if you don’t see it at first).

Then - usually the same day - you’ll hear from one of our friendly support team members to confirm your demo request. They’ll also send you a bit more information about logging into the demo when the time comes!

What You’ll Cover
In your demo, you’ll learn all the basics of starting and maintaining your ACAwise account. Your ACAwise representative will ask a few questions about your company to figure out how you’ll be using the program in order to create the perfect, personalized account for you.

You’ll then go through a user-friendly, standard walkthrough of an ACAwise account. Our support team member will explain how to use your dashboard, including how to upload information, what reports you can generate, and how to interpret your compliance data. We’ll also answer any questions you have before, during, or after your demo.

If you’ve been on the fence about whether or not to sign up with ACAwise, scheduling a demo is the perfect way to learn more about us. And all it’ll cost is about 30 minutes of your time! Click here to schedule your free demo now!

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

5 Tips for Getting Payroll Right Every Time

A recent American Payroll Association survey - “Getting Paid in America” - revealed that 92% of American employees are confident in the accuracy of their paychecks each pay period. But are you as confident in your payroll process?

It’s no secret that mistakes in payroll, even innocuous ones, can lead to complicated issues that end up being costly. Ensuring consistent, accurate pay is one of the most essential components to building employee trust and loyalty.

So here are five tips to make sure your payroll process is always efficient:

Accurately Document New Staff
Be sure you’re starting everything off on the right foot. There’s a lot of data to document when a new employee comes on board and compiling it all accurately is vital. Make sure you’ve got a reliable checks and balance system in place when adding new employees to make the onboarding process simpler.

Constantly Audit Your Process
When you’re running a business, the only constant thing is change. This applies to your payroll process as well. As your company grows and you expand your workforce, it’s important to constantly audit how you do payroll. What worked for 5 employees won’t necessarily work for 20. Auditing your payroll process helps you know everything’s working and also allows you to verify employee data, generate accurate reports, and update employee benefits.

Keep Track of Time & Attendance
Whether you’re paying employees by salary or on an hourly basis, it’s important to collect accurate time and attendance of all your employees. It’s perhaps more important now than ever as this past December the Department of Labor made changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act regarding overtime pay. Now, anyone making less than $47,477 annually is required to receive time and a half pay for overtime. So be sure to clock those hours!

Stay Up-to-Date on Payroll Laws
It’s important to keep in mind that not only do payroll tax laws vary from state to state, but they’re also changed and updated fairly regularly. Avoid unnecessary noncompliance fees by staying informed of the latest payroll rules and regulations as they apply to your industry.

Utilize ACAwise!
While not strictly a payroll software, ACAwise can help you immensely in staying compliant with your payroll policies, especially with regards to the Affordable Care Act rules and regulations. Year-round tracking and accurate, real-time reports that you can access right from your account help give you an extra advantage when it comes to payroll and ACA compliance.

You can learn more about ACAwise by scheduling a free demo with one of our expert support team members. Or feel free to contact us anytime with questions you may have by phone, live chat, or email!

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

3 Ways HR Professionals Can Benefit from ACAwise

As a human resources professional, you’ve had to deal with a unique set of record-keeping and IRS reporting challenges since the passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). That’s why we designed ACAwise with people like you in mind! Here are three of the main ways ACAwise helps make ACA compliance simple and convenient for you!

Cross Walk Feature for Easy Coding
In order to complete Forms 1095-C for your ACA return, you’re required to enter in specific codes on lines 14 and 16. These codes provide the IRS with more information about the individual listed on that 1095-C Form, like their employment status and the health care offer and coverage provided to them.

ACAwise comes with a Cross Walk feature that allows our program to interpret your employee data as you have it and automatically generate the codes you need to complete Form 1095-C. With this feature, you won’t have to interpret IRS regulations or codes so your ACA reporting gets done faster.

Full-Service Compliance Reporting
A fair amount of confusion surrounding the ACA stems from having to learn the new rules and regulations in order to stay compliant with the IRS. With ACAwise, you don’t have to worry about that! That’s because we stay up-to-date on all the IRS’s business rules for ACA compliance to help ensure your information is in line with IRS and ACA policy.

From your Dashboard, you can even generate reports for the most recent interpretation of your data and whether you need to make any adjustments to remain ACA compliant.

Simplified, Streamlined E-filing
Since ACAwise securely tracks your data all year to ensure ACA compliance, it’s perfectly set up to handle your ACA return e-filing each year. As you probably know, you’re required to complete either a Form 1095-B or 1095-C for each person/employee to whom you offered health insurance coverage throughout the year. ACAwise does this for you: it automatically generates the forms for your return for you to review. You can then e-file the return directly with the IRS and even have us mail your recipient copies for you as well.

Of course, the best way to find out all the ways you and your business can benefit from ACAwise is to schedule a free demo with a member of our support team! They’re also available to answer any questions you have about the program in English or Spanish by phone (704-954-8420), live chat, and email at

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Miss the Second Quarter Form 941 Deadline? Here's What to Do

July 31, 2017, was the deadline to have 941 Forms reporting second quarter information sent to the IRS. The quarterly business tax form reports the federal income tax, social security tax, and Medicare tax employers are required to withhold from employee wages. It’s also used to calculate and transmit the employer’s portion of Medicare and social security tax. And if you missed the deadline to file it yesterday, you’ve got some work to do!

First: Know What You’re Up Against
The penalties for filing Form 941 and any associated taxes late are no joke, but they’re unfortunately unavoidable at this point. But no need to wallow: just take this as a learning opportunity to file on time next time! Here are the penalties you’ll need to watch out for:
  • -Failure to file on time penalty: 5% of the total tax amount due
    • -Plus an additional 5% each month the return is late, up to 5 months
  • -Late payment penalty: .5% of the unpaid tax amount, charged each month following the payment due date
    • -Increases to 1% of the tax amount after 10 days, following a notice from the IRS
    • -Caps at 25% of the total tax due
  • -Late deposit penalty: 
    • -1-5 days late: 2% of the unpaid tax
    • -6-15 days late: 5% of the unpaid tax
    • -16+ days late: 10% of the unpaid tax
    • -After IRS notification: 15% of the unpaid tax, to be paid immediately

Second: E-file & Pay Any Taxes Owed ASAP
As you can see, your penalties will only get worse the longer you wait to file and pay, so it’s important to get that done as soon as possible. Luckily, you can quickly and easily e-file Form 941 - even after the deadline - with ACAwise’s sister product, ExpressTaxFilings! Built by the same people who’ve brought you the ACA compliance and e-filing you trust, ExpressTaxFilings breaks down Form 941 into an interview-style format, helping you get it done faster and with fewer errors.You can even make any tax payments you need while you’re completing your e-filing!

Optional: Apply for a Signature PIN for Faster E-filing
Something you can do to help get your 941 Form e-filing done faster next time is use an Online Signature PIN to e-sign your quarterly return. Instead of having to fill out Form 8453-EMP, all you’ll have to do is enter the IRS-issued 10-digit PIN and e-file your return. It usually takes about 40 days for the entire PIN process to be complete, but you can apply for one as easily as you e-file over at ExpressTaxFilings! Go ahead and apply for one today so you’ll have it in time for the 3rd quarter deadline in October.

So if you haven’t filed your second quarter 941 Form, head on over to ExpressTaxFilings NOW to get it done! They’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have over there and even help you get started. Just give them a call at (704) 684-4751 or send them a live chat or email to!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

So what are you waiting for? Get started now!

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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!

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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!

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Happy Independence Day from ACAwise!

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


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

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!

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

3 Compliance Reports You Can Generate Now with ACAwise

Well, folks, with June coming to a close, we’re almost half-way through the year and still with no repeal or replacement for the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare). Despite the House and Senate both scrambling to introduce replacement healthcare bills, Washington has yet to agree on one, which means the rest of us in the USA remain under the law of the ACA. And that’s why ACAwise is still here, doing more than ever to help you stay compliant with the current laws.

One of the biggest ways we’re helping you stay compliant is offering real-time reports that you can generate right from the Dashboard of your ACAwise account. Once you sign on with our ACAwise compliance features, you can generate any of the following reports to help make sure you’re staying compliant with the most up-to-date IRS and healthcare laws!

Determining Eligibility & Affordability
After you enter your employee details, how can you be sure which ones are eligible for a health coverage offer? And how can you be sure that their premium costs are affordable as required by the ACA? Why, with an ACAwise report, of course! When you generate a report to determine eligibility and affordability, ACAwise interprets the data you’ve entered to see which employees work enough hours to qualify as full-time employees (or full-time equivalents). It also interprets your health insurance data to ensure it’s affordable as outlined by the ACA. With the information in this report, you get a simple and direct way to determine which employees qualify for which health insurance coverage offers you’re required to make.

Monitoring & Forecasting Compliance
Every time you add or change information in your account, ACAwise gets to working monitoring your data to ensure it’s compliant with ACA regulations. Thanks to this real-time monitoring feature, you can generate a Monitoring & Forecasting Compliance report from the Dashboard of your account. With this report, you can get a summary of your year-in-compliance thus far, as well as a forecast of what’s required of you and your company to remain compliant with the ACA for the rest of the year.

Penalty Calculations
Not sure if everything you’ve entered completely follows the compliance regulations set out by the IRS? Generate a Penalty Calculations report! This report is entirely internal, so it doesn’t report anything to the IRS - it just takes the information you’ve entered, compares it to the rules and regulations of the IRS and ACA, and calculates any penalties you may incur if things don’t match up. With this report, you can get an idea of how to proceed the rest of the year to maintain ACA compliance with the IRS.

We’re working every day to make ACA compliance and e-filing easier for you! Sign up today for an exclusive, free demo of ACAwise to get access to the #1 ACA compliance software in the industry!

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

AMA Speaks Out: GOP Healthcare Bill Violates 'No Harm' Rule

Last week, we reported on some key facts surrounding the then-not-yet-released Senate GOP healthcare bill. The bill has since been made available for public consumption (and criticism).

The Senate’s Bill
The new bill, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA), aims to roll back and repeal much of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including many of the various tax provisions present in the Obamacare legislation. In addition to the bill’s original changes, Senate Republicans released an updated version this past Monday (the 26th) to include a provision meant to replace the individual mandate (instead of a fine, those whose insurance lapses will be locked out of coverage for six months) and close a loophole that could’ve hurt the health insurance market. You can find a breakdown of these changes, as well as the other key provisions of the BCRA, over at Business Insider.

To say this bill has been met with controversy is putting it lightly. Democrats and many other supporters of the ACA are staunchly set against the BCRA because of the conservative direction in which it’ll take our country’s healthcare. Additionally, a number of Republican representatives are against the bill because they don’t find it conservative enough.

What the AMA Has to Say
In a somewhat surprising twist, the American Medical Association also had something to say about the BCRA this past Monday. After researching and taking the bill into consideration, the AMA, one of the largest healthcare lobbying groups in the US, announced its opposition to the BCRA in an open letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY).

AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James Madara, MD had this to say about the new bill:
"Medicine has long operated under the precept of Primum non nocere, or ‘first, do no harm.’ The draft legislation violates that standard on many levels.”

The new bill affects Medicaid funding as well as downsizes subsidies individuals can apply for to purchase health insurance. The bill plans to end the ACA’s Medicaid expansion by 2024 as well as put a cap on how much the federal government spends on the program overall. About this, Madara wrote:
“It seems highly likely [that the changes] will expose low and middle income patients to higher costs and greater difficulty in affording care…[This change would] limit states’ ability to address the healthcare needs of their most vulnerable citizens. It would be a serious mistake to lock into place another arbitrary and unsustainable formula that will be extremely difficult and costly to fix.”

The BCRA also contains language that would block Medicaid reimbursements to defund Planned Parenthood for one year. On blocking funding for the women’s health provider, Madara had this to say:
“We also continue to oppose Congressionally-mandated restrictions on where lower income women (and men) may receive otherwise covered health care services - in this case the prohibition on individuals using their Medicaid coverage at clinics operated by Planned Parenthood.”

You can read the AMA’s full letter to the US Senate here, but ultimately, the message it’s meant to deliver is this:
“These provisions violate longstanding AMA policy on patients’ freedom to choose their providers and physicians’ freedom to practice in the setting of their choice.”

It might be too early to say, but given the tumultuous conditions under which the BCRA has come to light, it’s unlikely the bill will pass. Which means we still live in the land of the ACA and may remain here for longer than some Congress members (and citizens) may like. So while we’re still here, know that ACAwise is here too for you! We’ve got year-round compliance tracking to keep your ACA data in order for the next filing season and we’ve got some of the friendliest folks ever on our US-based customer support team to help you through everything!

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Monday, June 19, 2017

5 Facts We Know About the Senate GOP Healthcare Bill

Last month, the House of Representatives voted to pass a GOP healthcare bill meant to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. As is required with new legislation, the bill was then sent to the Senate to be put to a vote there. And while it’s not completely atypical, rather than vote on the House bill, Senate Republicans began drafting their own healthcare bill. What is atypical about the whole process, however, is how secretive the Senate has been regarding exactly what this new bill contains.

In an age of translucency reaching near transparency, it’s difficult for citizens to accept a bill they know nothing about, even though it’s being voted on by officials elected by those citizens. More troubling still, however, is that many of those elected officials are being left in the dark as well. Recently, Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky, told NBC News about the bill, “I think it’s being written by someone somewhere but I’m not sure of who or where...If you get a copy of it, will you send me a copy?”

All this is not exactly reassuring, especially considering how divisive a topic healthcare has been since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, as well as how big of an issue it was in the most recent presidential election (and since). Now, insurance companies and individual states find themselves in a sort of limbo regarding what the future of healthcare holds. In some states, the delay in new legislation is driving insurers to raise ACA premiums. And Iowa, where 2 of the 3 top insurers intend to stop selling ACA plans in 2018, is even seeking to rewrite current ACA laws to create financial buffers to cover customers with high medical expenses.

So, with all that in mind, just what do we know about the Senate’s healthcare bill?

It Might Not Have Any Democratic Support
But it might not need it. Senate Republicans are aiming to make their new healthcare bill be budget neutral, which means they can use a process called budget reconciliation to pass it with a simple majority vote. Then, so long as 50 of the 52 Republican senators vote in favor of the bill, it could be passed in the Senate.

About The Writers
Here’s what we know about the writers: there are 13, they’re all Republican, and they’re all men. Among these writers are two of the Senate’s most conservative lawmakers: Sens. Ted Cruz (TX) and Mike Lee (UT). Two of the five female senators currently in office - Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (WV) and Jodi Ernst (IA) - were invited to join at least one meeting but are not contributing writers. Despite this, the bill is expected to include provisions that affect women more than men.

Regarding Pre-Existing Conditions
One of the biggest issues with the AHCA was that it removed legislation enacted by the ACA that prevented insurers from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. The Senate bill reportedly does not allow insurers to do this, however, it does allow states to choose whether to require insurers to cover essential health benefits, including emergency room and maternity care, hospitalization, and prescription medicines.

It May Be The Nicer Version of the AHCA
There was a lot of excitement in Washington, D.C. after the House passed the AHCA, however, President Trump wasn’t entirely sold on the bill, even going so far as to call it “mean” during a closed-door meeting with GOP lawmakers according to the Associated Press. This could come from pressure placed on the GOP by the House Freedom Caucus, which stated the AHCA would hit poor and elderly Americans the hardest. In response, Trump has reportedly asked senators to make a “more generous” version.

The Secrecy Tactic is Working But the Bill May Still Fail
While it’s frustrating Democratic lawmakers and citizens alike, keeping the bill a secret seems to be keeping activists from generating any serious resistance. According to Vox, progressive activists are struggling to build enthusiasm against a bill no one - with the exception of certain senators - has read. Despite this, making the bill “more generous,” per Trump’s request, means excluding some of the provisions conservative lawmakers are pushing for the most. This means there's a fair chance the bill may not pass at all, despite the lower simple-majority threshold.

So if this new healthcare bill doesn’t pass, well, that means we’re still stuck with the ACA. Luckily, you’ve got ACAwise here with all the info you need about healthcare legislation, new and old. And while we’re still living under ACA law, we’re here providing year-round compliance tracking and monitoring so when/if it comes time to e-file those ACA Forms again, you’ll be ready!

To learn more about ACA compliance tracking and e-filing with ACAwise, give us a call! We’ll set up a one-on-one demo just for you and get you all set up to remain compliant under the current ACA laws!

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Monday, June 12, 2017

ACA Compliance Tracking is Here!

If you’ve been with us since the beginning, you may remember ACAwise being introduced as the number one, all-inclusive online software for everything ACA. Not only would you be able to e-file your Affordable Care Act Forms 1094 and 1095 with one of the leaders in the IRS-authorized e-filing, but you’d also have a secure, reliable way to track your ACA compliance throughout the year.

Unfortunately, in the midst of the “will they/won’t they” confusion surrounding overturning the ACA earlier this year - and during ACA filing season, no less - our compliance-tracking features took a back seat to helping get your e-filing done. But now, ACA compliance with ACAwise is back, and that means year-round compliance tracking to ensure you’re offering the right health insurance coverage offers to the right employees!

You’ll need to contact our customer support team to set up compliance tracking for your account, but once you have it’s simple, smooth sailing from there. All you have to do is upload your employee information, as well as your health insurance plan(s) details, into your ACAwise account. From there, our program will automatically begin analyzing and tracking your information each day to make sure your full-time employees (and full-time equivalent employees) are receiving the coverage the ACA requires.

From your dashboard, you’ll be able to see this compliance tracking in the form of real-time reports, like Determining Eligibility & Affordability, Monitoring & Forecasting Compliance, and even Penalty Calculations. That’s right: we’ve even included a report that assesses your data to see if you’re at risk of incurring an ACA compliance or reporting penalty.

Another perk worth noting if you go with the ACA compliance tracking option is that ACAwise can use that data it’s monitored all year to complete your return for your ACA reporting each year! Instead of filling out forms or uploading new information, all you’ll have to do is approve that everything looks correct on your forms, then securely e-file them with the IRS.

Seems simple enough, right?

If you’re interested in adding compliance tracking to your ACA profile (or signing up for an ACAwise account!), just give us a call! We’ll talk you through all the details and get you set up with the best online ACA compliance tracking tool in the biz!

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Monday, June 5, 2017

What Do 'We the People' Think of the ACA?

It’s a tumultuous time for health care in our country. At least, for health care coverage and plans, that is. The Affordable Care Act was enacted over seven years ago amidst controversy and, while the nation’s views on the subject have become less clear-cut with regard to party lines, it’s safe to say the discussion surrounding the ACA is still a divisive one.

To remedy the controversy, our newest presidential administration did introduce the American Health Care Act (AHCA) as a replacement for the ACA, but the nuances of the bill couldn’t be agreed upon and the matter was temporarily deferred to focus on other issues. So while we’re stuck in political limbo as far as our health care laws are concerned, just how do the American people view the Affordable Care Act, as it stands? Since an official replacement hasn’t been enacted, it is still the law of the land, which means we’re all still subject to its rules and regulations. But how do we feel about it?

The Kaiser Family Foundation has been running a poll over the past several years asking Americans just that: “As you may know, a health reform bill was signed into law in 2010. Given what you know about the health reform law, do you have a generally favorable or generally unfavorable opinion of it?”

As you can see, since 2010, the percentage of those in favor of the ACA and those against it, overall, are almost equal. Only when the percentage of those who aren't sure of their stance spikes to just over 20% in early 2013 do we see a significant gap between those who are for and those who are against the ACA. But what happens if we break this down further? Say, by how those who were polled identify politically?

Talk about divisive! The only ratings consistently higher than the Democrats' approval of the ACA are the Republicans' disapproval. But really, that's not all too surprising. What if we take something else into account like, say, income?

What’s interesting about this breakdown is that, with the exception of those who make $90,000 or more during the year, those polled generally went from an unfavorable opinion of the ACA to a favorable one. This could be a result of confusion over the ACA’s regulations when it was first introduced being cleared up in the time since those regulations were officially enacted. Still, one has to wonder if it has to do with the fact that the newer legislation introduced as a replacement for the ACA tends to be more beneficial to those with higher incomes.

According to the charts, when broken down by age, the only group now more unfavorable of the ACA than in favor of it are those between the ages of 50 and 64. And while half of both men and women seem to feel more favorable to the ACA, there’s a much more significant gap between women in favor than those against the act.

Keeping in mind that the results based on subgroups may have a higher sampling of error margin than plus or minus 3 percentage points, it’s also worthy to note the difference in opinions among races. Here’s that breakdown, as of May 2017:
  • -White pollers
    • -43% favorable opinion of the ACA
    • -50% unfavorable opinion of the ACA
    • -7% don’t know
  • -Black pollers
    • -73% favorable opinion of the ACA
    • -19% unfavorable opinion of the ACA
    • -8% don’t know
  • -Hispanic pollers
    • -61% favorable opinion of the ACA
    • -22% unfavorable opinion of the ACA
    • -18% don’t know

To see the breakdown of opinions yourself, you can check out the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll’s interactive chart here. And for more information on the ACA, AHCA, and everything in between, stay tuned with ACAwise!

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