The 5 Most Requested Features of PPACA Software Vendors
As the late comers to the PPACA party begin to surge into the marketplace, the first bits of client demand data are beginning to trickle in. We at Benetech have sat through the client meetings, read the blog posts, and listened to the masses of HR professionals explain their top must-have features for any Affordable Care Act software solution. What follows are the 5 most requested features of PPACA software vendors.
1. Automated IRS Report Completion and Electronic Filing
Without a doubt, the biggest headache we've seen and heard in our ACA solution presentations have surrounded the question "How am I going to complete all of these Obamacare Reporting requirements?" Therefore, this feature hits the top of the list. ACA software vendors need to be able to generate all required forms for IRS Code Section 6055/6056 reporting, produce employee 1095-C return forms, and electronically file on behalf of employers.
This would seem like a must-have feature for anyone claiming to provide an end-to-end ACA compliance software. Rather, what we have encountered, predominantly in the legacy enterprise software vendor space, is that many payroll and HRIS solutions are merely developing an export report that provides data specific to ACA reporting, but does not generate employee 1095-C forms or electronically file. Thanks, I guess.
2. Integrations With Current HR Software
In other words, "automate this process for me as much as you possibly can." With the necessary data needed for ACA testing and reporting often siloed in "dis-integrated" software systems and dated paper processes, HR professionals are pleading for solutions that will remove the manual steps of data consolidation and 1095-C completion.
This could be as easy as flipping the switch for employers with HR suites that house all of their benefits enrollment, payroll, and time and labor information under a single integrated umbrella. It grows complex for the majority of organizations that have a collection of best-of-breed software solutions. If there is a small book in your desk with a list of usernames and passwords on it, chances are you fall into the latter bucket and spend a good deal of your day managing systems.
Unlike ever before, with the complexities of the ACA HR pros are looking to discard siloed data systems and transition to efficient single sign-on HR suites. They just can't take another siloed system.
3. Coverage Offer and Waiver Tracking
The IRS hired 6000 new auditors, and the CBO anticipates 25% of ACA revenue to come from ACA penalties. With the multitude of trip-wires that can trigger an IRS/DOL audit, employers in the unfortunate circumstance of an audit must be able to quickly build an audit package, often times requiring data from 2-3 years back.
In order to protect employers from fines and prepare them for successful audit scenarios, an ACA solution must be able to track offerings of coverage, enrollments of employees and dependents, and waivers of coverage. Again, to the extent that this process can be automated through triggered emails and electronic signatures, HR professionals can rest assured that compliance alerts aren't escaping their periphery and a clean audit-trail is in place.
Related Content: 2015 Affordable Care Act Compliance Checklist
4. Healthcare Technicians for Back-end Support
Heads up brokers, this might sting a little. If there is one thing that the ACA has brought to light it's that their are a lot of benefits brokers that have made their living on the golf course rather than by providing technical expertise. The demands of the ACA have raised the stakes for employers needing advice not only on which plans to buy, but what healthcare strategy best fits their business needs and budget. This demands technical expertise in healthcare management, and its shocking to learn how many businesses we've spoken with that have gotten bogus guidance from their incumbant broker about the ACA.
ACA software vendors that have healthcare consultants, along with IT specialists, in the back-end help consumers interpret their healthcare data and advise in developing employee benefits plans that are strategic to the company's budget, talent acquisition, and retention.
5. Shared Liability for Administrative Penalties
The CBO anticipates the bulk of ACA revenue coming from administrative filing penalties (levied for improper form completion or delinquent filing). For TPAs e-filing on behalf of employers, ACA software buyers want protection from these penalties in the event of vendor negligence. While employers understand that they are accountable for the accuracy of their employee data, they increasingly want language built into service agreements that holds vendors accoutable for filing errors due to vendor oversight.
For more information on shopping for an Affordable Care Act software solution, download our latest ACA ebook, or check out our post: 10 Features to Look For in an ACA Software Solution.