On July 29, the IRS issued proposed regulations under Section 6055 that seek to clarify a number of issues raised by commenters in response to the original proposed regulations under Section 6055 and Notice 2015-68. Filers may rely on the proposed regulations for calendar years ending after December 31, 2013, making them applicable at the option of filers for all years during which Forms 1095-B and Forms 1095-C were required to be filed. In addition to the clarifications contained in the regulations themselves, the IRS’s comments in the preamble to the regulations provide additional helpful guidance to filers. Ultimately, the proposed regulations are helpful but continue to overlook some areas where further binding guidance in regulations would be helpful. Specific changes are discussed below:
Catastrophic Coverage. Unlike other coverage purchased through an exchange, the proposed regulations implement the change announced in Notice 2015-68, requiring that insurers providing the coverage report it. This change is effective for catastrophic coverage provided in 2017 and required to be reported in 2018. Insurers are not required to report catastrophic coverage provided in 2016 (and otherwise required to be reported in 2017), although they are encouraged to do so on a voluntary basis. A filer who voluntarily reports catastrophic coverage provided in 2016 is not subject to penalties on those returns.
Supplemental or Duplicative Coverage. Consistent with Notice 2015-68, the proposed regulations simplify the rule contained in the final regulations relating to supplemental coverage. Under the proposed regulations, a reporting entity that during a month provides minimum essential coverage under more than one plan that it provides (such as an HRA and a high-deductible health plan) need only report coverage under one plan.
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