ACA4States© is a one-stop solution that enables users to provide their federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) data in XML format to BenefitScape and the ACA4States software will reconfigures the data to the required format and files it electronically to the appropriate State. Currently California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia have Individual Mandates that require reporting of health coverage. Rhode Island and Vermont also have mandates. However, Rhode Island has not yet provided detailed reporting guidance and Vermont has no reporting for Tax Year 2020. In addition, more states are expected to create mandates and reporting requirements. Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington are considering mandates. More information on mandates can be found at: https://www.benefitscape.com/Services/StateMandateeFiling/tabid/514/Default.aspx
NATICK, Mass., Oct. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- With ACA4States software Federal ACA reporting XML data can now be automatically reused for State e-Filing
Since the 2015 implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) most HCM software, Payroll and Employee Benefit systems have developed the capacity to produce the ACA required XML file that is sent to the IRS to support their ACA e-filing requirements. Now, in connection with the State mandates this same data needs to be sent to each State in the unique format required by the state. ACA4States simplifies this task by enabling complete reuse of the federal XML. Users have no adjustments, no reformatting, no coding; they simply upload the file.
"Our mission is to facilitate our clients' ability to leverage their significant investments in their Human Capital Management (HCM), Benefit Administration and payroll systems." according to Andy Ferguson BenefitScape's VP of Client Services, "And facilitating the reuse of data prepared for federal filings is a game changer for employee benefits and HRIS staff and in this Covid period a necessity."
How the process works
Users can simply upload their federal XML file in a secure manner to a BenefitScape cloud location using credentials they have been provided. From here the process is totally automated. Those records that need to be sent to California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia are formatted and filed electronically. The user receives a notification that these processes are complete, and they can download the package of transmission receipts and a file of the records processed. Should any corrections be required the user can resubmit any XML sent to the IRS. This correction process will be repeated as often as necessary.
About the State Mandates
Effective January 1, 2019, Congress repealed the federal ACA financial penalties for individuals not having health insurance, but the requirement to have health insurance is still in place. Simply, the requirement remains, but the penalty is zero. Since then, some states have turned to state individual mandates to keep their healthcare marketplaces stable and generate additional revenue.
In connection with these state mandates, each state has also created unique reporting requirements. The purpose of the reporting is to help the state enforce these individual mandates and levy any penalties. So essentially employers and other health coverage providers need to provide the state with verification that an employee and their dependents did or did not have coverage during the calendar tax year.
Other supported uses of the Federal XML Data
BenefitScape has always offered full-service ACA compliance, including data validation, calculation of IRS codes, printing and distributing forms and IRS e-filing. With the addition of the ACA4States module they can now provide these same services to state filers.
Many organizations have sent BenefitScape their federal XML. By using their Veritrac© software, BenefitScape is are able to determine if there any IRS coding corrections that could cause inadvertent penalties.
"We don't just stop at data validation and reuse, we add to the usability of the data to help employees understand how this will affect their state tax filings." notes Kim Phillips, BenefitScape's President and CEO, " Each 1095 report sent to an employee contains personalized information about the mandate and how to obtain additional information concerning the impact on the employee's individual tax return." Kim continues, "These mandates are new and because they can involve significant financial penalties for employees, communications is important, especially in this Covid period."