We’re coming at you with another quarterly key compliance deadlines and reminders update, and – gasp! – no cheesy opener in sight? I’m disappointed in myself, truly. I was really reaching for some kind of weather metaphor that could simultaneously illustrate the need to feel that spring sun on our faces AND how excited we all are to put ACA reporting responsibilities for the last calendar year behind us, but it’s just not coming to me…
But hey – let’s give ourselves a pat on the back anyway! We’ve almost made it! Typically, Q2 is a slower period for reporting and disclosure obligations, and that continues to be the case this year (at least for calendar year plans) after we get through the final steps of both federal and state coverage offer and mandate reporting obligations in late March and April.
We’ve continued to separate our reminders into three categories this quarter: federal deadlines, state and local deadlines, and pandemic-related reminders. Within each section, we’ve then followed our typical chronological approach. Deadlines may or may not be applicable to your group depending on the employer and plan characteristics. Here are potential action items for late March and the second calendar quarter of 2022.
Note: Generally, when a filing deadline or notice obligation falls on a Saturday, Sunday or federal holiday, the filing or notice may be filed or distributed on the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday or federal holiday.
STANDARD FEDERAL DEADLINES
March 30 - If filing on paper under a 30-day extension of the Feb. 28 deadline for filing paper Forms 1095-B/C and 1095-B/C - Paper file with the IRS Forms 1095-C and/or 1095-B, with Form 1094-C and/or 1094-B
Employers supplying individuals with a Form 1095-C or 1095-B must transmit copies of these forms to the IRS, with one or more Forms 1094-C or 1094-B transmittal documents.
Employers filing fewer than 100 Forms 1095-C or 1095-B have the option to file on paper. The due date was originally Feb. 28, but an automatic 30-day extension was available through the IRS’ FIRE online transmittal system if Form 8809 was submitted prior to the original due date.
March 31 - If e-filing; employers submitting 100 or more Forms 1095-C or -B must e-file unless a waiver has been granted - E-file with IRS Forms 1095-C and/or 1095-B with Form 1094-C and /or 1094-B
Employers must transmit copies of the Forms 1095-B and -C they prepared to the IRS, with one or more Forms 1094-C or 1094-B transmittal documents.
E-filing is accomplished through the IRS’ AIR (opens a new window) (Affordable Care Act Information Returns) platform. An automatic 30-day extension of time is available by filing Form 8809 on or before March 31, 2022.
April 14 - Distribute reminder to participants regarding availability of HIPAA privacy notice (Recommended action)
This obligation applies to sponsors of ERISA and non-ERISA health plans, where the plan is either self-insured or the sponsor is “hands on” the plan’s protected health information.
This reminder is due every third year. Most plan sponsors with HIPAA privacy and security obligations moot this reminder duty by supplying a HIPAA privacy notice regularly (e.g., as part of initial and open enrollment packets).
This notice may be provided electronically in accordance with specific requirements.
April 30 - File Form 5500 for plan years ending Sept. 30, 2019
ERISA plans must file a Form 5500 at least annually unless the plan is exempted from the filing requirement. Filing is accomplished electronically through the Department of Labor’s (DOL) EFAST portal.
Form 5500 extensions are available by filing a Form 5558 with the DOL on or before the filing’s initial due date. Filing Form 5558 can allow the plan up to an additional 2½ months to complete the filing.
STATE AND LOCAL DEADLINES
March 31 - Submit coverage statements to the New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services
Applies to employers who provided medical coverage to New Jersey residents in 2021. Employers that provided self-insured coverage to New Jersey residents during 2021 must file with the Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services copies of the IRS Forms 1095-C, with respect to such residents, that the employer filed with the IRS for 2021, along with the employer’s Form 1094-C. Although New Jersey will accept the same sort of coverage information on Forms NJ-1095, employers will typically want to simply submit copies of the forms they filed with the IRS.
Employers that provided insured coverage to New Jersey residents during the prior year are not required to file the required coverage information with the Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services as long as the insurer files it.
March 31 - Submit coverage statements (Forms 1099-HC) to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Applies to employers who provided self-insured creditable coverage (under Massachusetts law) in 2021.
Employers that provided self-insured creditable coverage to Massachusetts employees during the prior calendar year must file, with the Department of Revenue, copies of the MA Forms 1099-HC provided to such employees earlier this year (Jan. 31).
For employers that provided insured coverage to Massachusetts employees during 2021, the insurer is required to provide the Forms to employees and make the filing.
March 31 - Submit Forms 1095-C and/or 1095-B, with Form 1094-C or 1094-B, to the California Franchise Tax Board
Applies to employers who provided medical coverage to California residents in 2021.
Employers that provided self-insured coverage must file with the Franchise Tax Board copies of the IRS Forms 1095-C, with respect to such residents, that the employer filed with the IRS for that prior calendar year, along with the employer’s Form 1094-C.
Employers that provided insured coverage to California residents during the prior year are not required to file with the Franchise Tax Board, as long as the insurer files on its behalf.
The Franchise Tax Board also offers an extended due date of May 31 for submitting these forms. Although we recommend submitting to the Franchise Tax Board as soon as administratively possible, historically California has assessed no penalties for filings made on or before the extended due date.
March 31 - Submit coverage statements to the Rhode Island Department of Revenue, Division of Taxation
Applies to employers who provided medical coverage to Rhode Island residents in 2021.
Employers that provided self-insured coverage to Rhode Island residents during 2021 must file with the Department of Revenue, Division of Taxation, copies of the IRS Forms 1095-C with respect to such residents that the employer filed with the IRS for 2021, along with the employer’s Form 1094-C. Although Rhode Island will accept the same sort of coverage information on an equivalent statement, employers will typically want to simply submit copies of the forms they filed with the IRS.
Employers that provided insured coverage to Rhode Island residents during the prior year are not required to file the required coverage information with the Department of Revenue, Division of Taxation as long as the insurer files it.
April 30 - Submit Forms 1095-C and/or 1095-B, with Form 1094-C or 1094-B, to Washington D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue
Applies to employers who provided medical coverage to District of Columbia residents in 2021.
Employers that provided medical coverage to at least 50 full-time employees, including at least one District resident, during the prior calendar year must file with the Office of Tax and Revenue copies of the Forms 1094-C and 1095-C, or Forms 1094-B and 1095-B, that the employer filed with the IRS with respect to any employee for whom the employer withholds D.C. taxes, and to any employee who has a mailing address in D.C., whether or not the employer withholds and reports D.C. taxes.
April 30 - Make San Francisco HCSO contributions for prior calendar quarter
For employers subject to the San Francisco Healthcare Security Ordinance.
Quarterly contributions, if due for the quarter ending March 31, are due by April 30. Self-funded employers have the option of utilizing an annual true-up method in lieu of quarterly filings.
April 30 - File San Francisco HCSO reporting form for the prior calendar year
Applies to employers subject to the San Francisco Healthcare Security Ordinance.
Note that San Francisco recently ruled that employers may have an HCSO contribution requirement for employees working remotely inside San Francisco County, and to employees working remotely outside of San Francisco County if the employees normally worked within the county prior to the pandemic.
PANDEMIC-RELATED REMINDERS – OUTBREAK PERIOD REQUIREMENTS
In April 2020, and again in February 2021, federal authorities issued guidance under which welfare benefit plans are required to suspend the running of certain action periods related to COBRA elections and premium payments, HIPAA special enrollment requests, and submission of claims, appeals and requests for third-party review of denied medical claims. Generally, any given action period (e.g., the 60 days a COBRA qualified beneficiary has to elect COBRA after the plan sends the COBRA election packet) is suspended until the earlier of:
The date that is 12 months after the date the suspension began (although it is unclear whether, with respect to COBRA premium payment due dates for example, each monthly due date is extended for a year after the extension applicable to the month before), or
The date that is 60 days after the president rescinds the presidential national emergency declaration related to COVID-19. That declaration is still in effect, as of the date this publication was prepared.
The following disclosures related to this outbreak period guidance.
As soon as practicable, if required - Reissue or supplement notices or disclosures regarding certain COBRA deadlines, HIPAA special enrollment request deadlines, and claims/appeals submission deadlines
Federal “outbreak period” guidance indicates that plan disclosures issued prior to or during the pandemic may need to be reissued or amended if such disclosures failed to provide accurate information regarding the time in which participants and beneficiaries are required to take action, specifically if the prior disclosures did not adequately describe the effect of federal “outbreak period” guidance on COBRA, HIPAA special enrollment, and claims/appeals action periods and deadlines.
As soon as practicable, if required - Alert individuals to the impending loss of protections, benefits or rights under a plan due to expiration of “outbreak period” protections, and provide notice of other healthcare coverage options, such as ACA marketplaces
Federal “outbreak period” guidance recommends where plan fiduciaries know, or should reasonably know, that the end of the relief provided under the guidance may cause a participant or beneficiary to lose protections, benefits or rights under the plan, the administrator or other fiduciary should consider affirmatively sending a notice regarding the end of the individual’s relief period and reminding the individual of the availability of healthcare coverage in an ACA marketplace. Including with such notice the standard federal marketplace notice, which typically is provided within 14 days of new hire, should be adequate for this latter purpose.
Various times - Adjust COBRA election and premium payment, HIPAA special enrollment request, and plan claim, appeal and request for third-party review due dates
To accommodate and comply with the federal “outbreak period” guidance, plan administrators will need to adjust the running of relevant action periods and deadlines with respect to affect participants and beneficiaries. See our original alert (opens a new window)from April 2020, and our updated alert (opens a new window) from March 2021, for more information.
Various times - Provide ERISA-related notices and disclosures
Federal “outbreak period” guidance gave plan administrators leeway, where that leeway is necessary, to provide ERISA-related notices and disclosures (e.g., COBRA election packets) to plan participants and beneficiaries later than would otherwise be required, as long as the administrator provides the notices and disclosures as soon as practicable. Administrators are also granted wider latitude to provide these notices and disclosures via email or a continuously available website. See our alert (opens a new window) for more information. It seems unlikely, this late into the pandemic, that tardy notices and disclosures will be acceptable to federal regulators.
Not legal advice: Nothing in this alert should be construed as legal advice. Lockton may not be considered your legal counsel, and communications with Lockton's Compliance Services group are not privileged under the attorney-client privilege.