Employer Shared Responsibility Notices Now Available Upon Request

From the MA Health Connector:

 Do you have questions about whether your business might be subject to a federal IRS penalty under the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance “employer mandate” (for employers with 50 or more workers) because your workers sought subsidized Health Connector coverage? 

In response to employer feedback, the Health Connector is making a new service available for employers who want to understand any potential federal liability. Employers can now sign up to request notices from the Health Connector when a worker accesses “premium tax credits” through the Health Connector.

  • Who might consider requesting these notices?
    • These notices are primarily designed for Applicable Large Employers (ALEs), which are employers with over 50 full-time equivalent employees on average during the prior year, who may be subject to an ACA employer mandate penalty under certain conditions.
  • What limitations should an employer requesting these notices understand about them?
    • If an employer opts to receive notices for premium tax credit utilization of employees, the notice will indicate that an individual who has listed their company/organization name as their employer has received a premium tax credit that subsidizes their coverage through the Health Connector.  Please note that the information these notices are based on is self-reported by the individual enrollee, so there may be data inaccuracies that could result in incomplete notices for the employers, or employers receiving notices for people who do not work for them.  
    • The Health Connector does not have knowledge about whether an employer is an ALE or whether they might meet various safe harbor exemptions. This notice would go to an employer if they had, for example, someone working 10 hours/week who was receiving premium tax credits through the Health Connector, and the notice could go to an employer who doesn’t even meet the size threshold of an ALE.
  • Does receiving this notice mean an employer is being penalized or assessed?
    • No, the Health Connector is not making an assessment against an employer if they receive this notice. This notice is exclusively for informational purposes, subject to the data limitations described above. 
  • Does receiving one of these notices mean an employer will be assessed under the ACA employer mandate?
    • No, an employer receiving one of these notices does not mean that the employer will be penalized by the IRS under the ACA employer mandate. The IRS will determine if the employer is an ALE, whether the employer met any of the conditions required for a liability, and whether it meets various safe harbor exemptions before assessing any penalties.
  • Does receiving these notices mean an employer will receive an EMAC supplement assessment?
    • This notice is NOT a notice for the Massachusetts Employer Medical Assistance Contribution Supplement. Receiving this notice does not mean that an employer will have an EMAC supplement liability.
  • What would an employer do if they ever were assessed by the IRS under the ACA employer mandate?
Those caveats and limitations aside, employers interested in requesting these notices should go to https://www.mahealthconnector.org/forms/employer-shared-responsibility-notice and fill out the ACA Employer Notice request form and submit it to the Health Connector.