November 8, 2018
ACTION MAY BE REQUIRED
On Friday afternoon, October 26th, Massachusetts employers received an automated notice from the MassTaxConnect system with updated information about the new Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure (HIRD) requirement. On October 24th, Massachusetts also released FAQs regarding the HIRD. The new HIRD form was made available on November 1 and is due by November 30.
What is the Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure?
This reporting requirement is designed to collect information about employers and the health coverage they offer, and will assist MassHealth in identifying whether individuals with access to employer-sponsored coverage may be eligible for a premium assistance program. More information on MassHealth premium assistance is available here.
Some employers may remember the HIRD requirement put into place in 2006 (and later repealed in 2014), but the new HIRD form is very different from the prior version. While the prior requirement included an employer form and an employee form, the updated HIRD form is only a single employer form, required to be completed once per year. In most instances, the HIRD form will eliminate the need for employers to complete a separate Premium Assistance application for the employee. In other instances, MassHealth may request additional information from the employer in order to confirm an individual’s eligibility for Premium Assistance. Detailed FAQs on the HIRD reporting requirement are available here.
Which employers are subject to HIRD?
HIRD reporting must be completed annually by every employer in Massachusetts with six or more employees in any month during the past 12 months preceding the due date of the form (November 30th). An individual is considered to be an employee if the employer included the individual on a quarterly wage report to the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) during the past 12 months. Note that the HIRD form must be completed even if an employer does not offer health coverage.
How do employers submit the HIRD reporting?
The HIRD form is administered through the MassTaxConnect web portal, used by employers to file tax returns and make tax payments. This is the same system used to upload the electronic report of the Massachusetts Form 1099-HC provided to Massachusetts employees. The HIRD form can be completed through the portal by the employer or their payroll vendor, but the employer is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the form is completed in a timely manner. If an employer works with a payroll vendor, they should coordinate on the reporting. For example, the employer may need to provide information about their health coverage options to the payroll vendor to complete the reporting.
Employers must report a separate HIRD form for each FEIN. MassTaxConnect login credentials are tied to FEIN, so employers must log into each FEIN MassTaxConnect account they have and complete a HIRD form for each account.
HIRD reporting is required annually beginning in 2018; the filing is due on November 30th.
The HIRD Form
The online form itself is divided into two sections, “Company’s Profile” and “Company’s Insurance Profile.” The first section asks for basic employer information: FEIN, company name (including legal and any DBAs and trade names), and contact information.
The second section asks the following questions about the employer’s offer of health coverage to employees:
- Whether the employer offers health coverage
- The minimum hours required for eligibility for coverage
- The waiting period (in months) for eligibility
- Annual enrollment start and end dates
- Plan year start and end dates
Note that the form specifies that the value for the waiting period section must be greater than or equal to one (1). It is unclear how an employer with no waiting period or a waiting period of less than one month should complete this section.
The form also asks whether eligibility and/or benefits differ for different groups of employment-based categories and lists 14 employment-based categories for an employer to choose from, plus an “other” category:
1. Regular full-time
2. Regular part-time
5. Temporary full-time
6. Temporary part-time
If the employer chooses “other,” the Form requires a description of the category or categories on which the employer varies eligibility or benefits.
Finally, the Form asks whether the employer employs union members who receive group health coverage through the union rather than the employer and provides a space to list the applicable unions.
Where can employers get more information about HIRD?
Employers with questions regarding the HIRD reporting requirement may contact the Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s customer service center at 617-466-3940 and choose the option to speak with a HIRD representative.
EMPLOYER CALL TO ACTION
If you are an employer subject to the HIRD requirement, swift action is necessary. Action was not possible prior to the publication of the new form on November 1. Employers have only until November 30 to submit the reporting.
First, confirm access to the MassTaxConnect web portal. If you have previously filed or paid taxes in Massachusetts, you should be able to use the same credentials to access MassTaxConnect to submit the HIRD reporting. If you have not previously registered with MassTaxConnect, you will need to register as a new taxpayer to obtain the credentials necessary to access MassTaxConnect. The registration page is available here. Register as soon as possible to ensure access to the MassTaxConnect web portal is obtained in advance of the submission deadline.
Next, ensure you have access to the information necessary to complete the HIRD form, described above. Then, access the HIRD form through the MassTaxConnect web portal.
To file your HIRD form, login to your MassTaxConnect account and select the “File health insurance responsibility disclosure” hyperlink under the account alerts. Remember, if you have employees in Massachusetts employed by different FEINs, a separate HIRD form is required for each FEIN. If you need assistance filing the form or have technical difficulties accessing the MassTaxConnect web portal, contact the Massachusetts’ Department of Revenue’s customer service center at 617-466-3940 and choose the option to speak with a HIRD representative.
HCW will continue to keep you updated through our Compliance Alerts. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the HIRD reporting requirement, please contact your consultant or client manager.