What does the tax bill mean for your ACA responsibilities?

Posted January 23, 2018

By Michael Henckel, associate editor, J. J. Keller & Associates

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1), signed into law on December 22, 2017, essentially eliminates the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate, which requires most Americans to get health coverage or pay a tax penalty.

Under the tax law, beginning in 2019, individuals will no longer be penalized for not having health coverage. The new tax law does not, however, change the employer responsibilities under the ACA. Employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees must continue offering those employees health care coverage. Reporting requirements will also continue.

The effects of this change remain to be seen, but employers may see fewer employees actually enrolling in employer-offered health coverage. With the penalty no longer looming, healthier employees may choose not to enroll, which could cause a spike in employer premiums.

Employer mandate on the way out?

Some experts anticipate that without the individual mandate in place, the employer responsibilities will also be changed, if not completely eliminated. Congress was unable to pass legislation in 2017 to revise or repeal the ACA, but Congressional leaders have not closed the door on making changes to the ACA in the future.

In the meantime, the ACA remains intact and employers must remain diligent in fulfilling their obligations under the law.

About the author:

Michael Henckel

Michael Henckel is an associate editor at J. J. Keller & Associates, a nationally recognized compliance resource company that offers products and services to address the range of responsibilities held by human resources and corporate professionals. Henckel specializes in topics such as the Fair Labor Standards Act, employee classification, and compensation. He is the author of J. J. Keller’s FSLA Essentials guidance manual. For more information, visit www.jjkeller.com/hr and www.jjkellerlibrary.com.