ACA Reporting Draft Forms Now Available

The IRS released draft 2018 forms for Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting under Internal Revenue Code (Code) Sections 6055 and 6056. Draft instructions for 2018 have not yet been released.

The 2018 draft forms are substantially similar to the final 2017 versions. However, the revised version of the Form 1095-C clarifies that the “Plan Start Month” box in Part II will remain optional for 2018. The IRS previously indicated that this box may have been mandatory for the 2018 Form 1095-C.

Keep in mind that the 2018 draft instructions for these forms may include additional changes or clarifications, once released. Also, the IRS may make additional changes to these forms before releasing final 2018 versions.

Eligibility

Employers should become familiar with these forms for reporting for the 2018 calendar year. However, these forms are draft versions only, and should not be filed with the IRS or relied upon for filing.

  • 2018 draft Forms 1094-C and 1095-C were released July 11, 2018, and will be used by applicable large employers (ALEs) to report under Section 6056, as well as for combined Section 6055 and 6056 reporting by ALEs who sponsor self-insured plans.
  • 2018 draft Forms 1094-B and 1095-B were also released in July 2018, and will be used by entities reporting under Section 6055, including self-insured plan sponsors that are not ALEs.

Speak with Arista Consulting Group for more information.

Two HSA Bills Passed by the House

The House of Representatives passed two bills that have the potential to transform how health savings accounts (HSAs) are used. Despite passing in the House, the two bills need to be passed by the Senate in order for them to become laws.

What do the two bills propose?

H.R. 6199 (Restoring Access to Medication and Modernizing Health Savings Accounts Act), in addition to other changes, would reverse the ACA’s prohibition on using HSAs on over-the-counter health expenses.

H.R. 6311 (Increasing Access to Lower Premium Plans and Expanding Health Savings Accounts Act), in addition to other changes, would allow certain individuals to use the ACA’s tax credit when buying low-premium Marketplace plans.

Please contact us for more information.

HBP Guidelines Have Changed: Do You Know Your Risk?

Click Here to Access ARISTA’s September Wellness Calendar

The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology redefined what is considered high blood pressure (HBP) in November 2017, based on new evidence supporting a lower threshold. Stage 1 high blood pressure, also known as hypertension 1, is consistently measured at 130 over 80 or greater. The previous threshold was 140 over 90.

HBP is a serious condition that, if left untreated, can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure and other health problems.

The New Guidelines & You

Under these new guidelines, nearly 46 percent of American adults are considered to have high blood pressure. Over one-third of Americans would be recommended for high blood pressure medication.

Your Next Steps

HBP is referred to as the “silent killer” because those who have it don’t typically experience symptoms. The best way to find out if you have HBP is to get your blood pressure checked every two years and speak with your doctor.

In some cases, HBP can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle that includes exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet low in salt, fat and alcohol, avoiding smoking and managing stress.

For more information, speak with your doctor.

Fruits and Veggies: How Much is Enough?

If you’re like the majority of Americans, you’re most likely not eating enough fruits and vegetables. Fruits & Veggies – More Matters, a national health observance that occurs every September, wants to change that.

Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and other naturally occurring substances that may help prevent chronic diseases.

How much is enough?

According to MyPlate, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s symbol for healthy eating, the recommended adult daily serving for fruits and vegetables are:

  • Fruits
    • Women: 2 cups (ages 19-30), 1 ½ cups (ages 31+)
    • Men: 2 cups (ages 19+)
  • Vegetables
    • Women: 2 ½ cups (ages 19-50), 2 cups (ages 51+)
    • Men: 3 cups (ages 19-50), 2 ½ cups (ages 51+)

Healthy Recipe of the Month: Beets, Beans and Greens

¼ cup lemon juice

1 garlic clove (finely chopped)

2 tsp. mustard

2 tsp. vegetable oil

2 cups beets (cooked, sliced)

1 head of lettuce (washed, torn into pieces)

2 cups beans (cooked, rinsed)

Salt and pepper (to taste)

Preparations

Combine lemon juice, garlic, mustard, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl to make a dressing.

Place sliced beets in a separate bowl. Toss 1 Tbsp. of dressing with beets to coat.

Toss the lettuce pieces and beans with the remaining dressing in the large bowl.

Plate dressed salad and beans. Add dressed beets on top.

Makes: 6 servings

HR Q&A: What is an HSA?

Question: What is a Health Savings Account?

An HSA is a tax-advantaged trust or custodial account that eligible individuals can use to pay for (or reimburse themselves for) qualifying medical expenses. Unlike health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and health flexible spending accounts (FSAs), HSAs must be paired with high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). Also different from HRAs and health FSAs, the employee is the owner of the HSA, not the employer.

To be eligible to contribute to an HSA, an individual must be covered by a qualifying HDHP. In addition, the individual cannot be covered by any other health coverage (with some narrow exceptions), enrolled in Medicare or claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return.

Both employers and employees are able to make HSA contributions; this is in contrast to an HRA where only employers can make contributions. An individual who contributes to his or her own HSA (separate from an employer) may take an above-the-line deduction for the contributions. Employers can also take a tax deduction for HSA contributions. If an employer sponsors a Section 125 plan (cafeteria plan), employee HSA contributions may be made on a pre-tax basis through the cafeteria plan.

HSAs are subject to maximum annual contribution amounts. The amounts vary depending on whether the individual has self-only or family HDHP coverage, and they are indexed annually by the IRS. Employees who receive employer contributions to their HSA must take this contribution amount into account when determining their own contribution, so as to not go over the IRS limit.

Individuals may use their HSAs to pay for (or reimburse themselves for) the qualified medical expenses of themselves, as well as their spouses’ and dependents’ qualifying medical expenses. Qualifying medical expenses are unreimbursed medical care expenses (as defined under Section 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code) that are incurred after the HSA is established. HSAs are different from HRAs and health FSAs because they can be used to pay for non-medical expenses.

Howver, if HSA funds are used for purposes other than qualifying medical expenses, the amount used for those expenses is included in the owner’s income and is generally subject to an additional tax of 20 percent.

Also, as part of the health care reform law, over-the-counter medicine expenses (except insulin) cannot be reimbursed from an HSA unless they are prescribed.

At the end of the year, unused HSA funds roll over to the next year, which is not true for health FSAs.

HSAs are portable, meaning employees can maintain their HSA account and funds when they leave their jobs, and they do not forfeit any amounts upon retirement or termination of employment.

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