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New Guidance on Group Health Insurance Coverage Informational Reporting


The IRS has issued new guidance to clarify how employers and benefit plan administrators will need to meet Form W2 health benefit cost reporting requirements, including the treatment of FSAs, HRAs, EAPs and wellness programs, and supplemental coverage.

The W2 reporting requirements were created under PPACA and for informational purposes only so that employees are provided with comparable consumer information on the cost of their health care coverage. Notice 2012-9 restates and amends the interim guidance initially provided in Notice 2011-28 and includes the following changes:

  • States that the reporting requirement does not apply to coverage under a health FSA if contributions occur only through employee salary reduction elections (Q&A-19).
  • Clarifies that employers may include the cost of coverage under programs not required to be included under applicable interim relief, such as the cost of coverage under an HRA (Q&A-33).
  • Employers are not required to include the cost of coverage under an employee assistance program, wellness program, or on-site medical clinic in the reportable amount if the employer does not charge a premium with respect to that type of coverage provided under COBRA to a qualifying beneficiary (Q&A-32).
  • Employers do have to include the cost of any supplemental health benefits, such as cancer insurance that they pay for, but they do not have to include the cost of supplemental health benefits that the employees pay for with after-tax dollars (Q&A-38).

The guidance is applicable beginning with 2012 Forms W2 (forms required for the 2012 calendar year that employers are required to give employees by the end of January 2013). In addition, employers may rely on the guidance provided in this notice if they voluntarily choose to report the cost of coverage on 2011 Forms W2, even though this reporting is not required for 2011.

Click here to read Notice 2012-9.

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