ACA compliance is made easier with HR information systems

One of the more challenging components of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the complexity of the reporting and tracking requirements with which companies must comply. Already, the legislation has introduced myriad challenges into the day-to-day operations of businesses, requiring that they pay strict attention to administrative details. Employers can expect ongoing changes through the year 2018.

As part of ACA compliance, employers this year will be required to report each employee’s monthly health insurance coverage status and hours as well as the cost of coverage and a benefits summary. Companies must ensure they can handle the necessary reporting, which is nearly impossible to track with pen and paper.

One way to cope with the heavy compliance burden is with a human resource information system. This data entry and tracking software has applications that will allow even the smallest HR departments to keep up with ongoing reporting requirements. The alternative to accurate reporting is heavy fines and penalties that could severely harm a company.

Smart Business spoke with Brian Donovan, Managing Director of IntegreatHR Technologies, to learn more about these systems and how they can help companies stay compliant.

What are HR information systems?

An HR information system helps HR staff manage data related to payroll and benefits. On the payroll side, it makes it easier to evaluate hours and full- or part-time status, data that is necessary for ACA compliance.

On the benefits side, these systems make it easier to determine whether plans meet the legal affordability and minimum coverage standards.

Most systems provide look-back reporting to help you track employee hours, minimize overtime and optimize schedules. These systems offer ease of use for employers to see across all relevant information sets, instead of looking through filing cabinets and pulling multiple reports.

How can these systems help improve a company’s reporting?

Systems today offer the ability to dive into all available data and customize information presentations into dashboards that sync-up with ACA or other reporting requirements, allowing staff the most accurate account of employee status.

Having a consolidated HR benefits platform puts all the data HR staff need in one place.

Most system providers are offering cloud-based solutions, which allow HR professionals to stay on top of changes that are occurring with regulations that affect compliance requirements, and access critical data remotely.

This makes it easy for employers to implement rule changes in their reporting and know when they apply. HR staff no longer need to dig as deep to understand what can be very complicated legal requirements because these systems can compile the most essential information.

There is also support available for these platforms, which offers an added layer of assistance to get questions answered about system features that can make reporting more efficient.

Who can benefit from the implementation of an HR information system?

Many HR staff have trouble keeping up with all the aspects of compliance. This is especially true in smaller and mid-market companies, which typically don’t have the amount of HR employees, or the top level systems in their department to keep up with industry changes, law changes, and changes in federal, state and municipal tax codes.

Some companies are trying to spread out the management of the many HR reporting functions with forward-thinking technology. They’ve moved to an employee self-service model in which individual employees handle their benefits enrollment, changes to personal information, reporting needs and hour tracking.

On the other end, HR staff have access to the data analytics that are needed for reporting. This allows a company to dedicate more resources to its core competencies rather than being bogged down by administrative burdens.

The toughest challenge with the ACA is that it’s constantly changing. Once you think you understand the implications for your business, it changes again. HR information software can help HR staff stay on top of the law and avoid costly penalties.

Insights HR Consulting is brought to you by IntegreatHR Technologies