Tribal Consultation on the ACA Employer Shared Responsibility Mandate


Tribal Consultation on the ACA Employer Shared Responsibility Mandate

April 21, 2016

The Department of the Treasury will hold a conference call on Friday, May 13 at 3:00 p.m. EDT to engage tribal leaders and their representatives in government-to-government consultation on the employer shared responsibility mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to tribal employers.

This call comes as a follow-up to the consultation in December where tribal governments uniformly suggested that the Administration exempt tribes from the employer shared responsibility and, at a minimum, grant an extension of transition relief to January of 2017. An extension will allow tribes time to clarify the applicability of the shared responsibility mandate of the ACA. NAFOA strongly encourages tribal governments to attend the call.

NAFOA hosted a session on new developments in the ACA this week at the 34th Annual Conference. Panelists reviewed the recently released IRS Notice 2015-87, which modifies several aspects of "Pay or Play", including penalties, the affordability calculations, and the responsibility of the information reporting forms. Audience members expressed concerns and shared the significant costs of implementing the information reporting. 

Areas of Concern:


Tribes who have employees with access to Indian Health Service have not historically provided insurance to their employees. These tribes commented that they were not aware they must purchase insurance for tribal member employees, who are otherwise exempt from the individual mandate.


There has been confusion on the determination of "collective full-time employees" (§ 4980H), which may or may not include all entities under the umbrella of the tribe (ex: police departments, head start programs, I.H.S. facilities, housing authorities, enterprises, etc.)


Many payroll software companies have not implemented programs to comply with the ACA in a timely matter, although penalties are the responsibility of the tribal government and not the payroll software company.


It is unclear when to provide coverage for employees that move jobs between tribal entities or seasonal to full-time


The employer shared responsibility mandate creates an administrative hardship, especially for small tribes that employ less than 50 employees but have enterprises with significantly more employees.


Considerable planning and execution across tribal departments will be required to complete the tax information returns, which requires reporting on a month-by-month basis of whom the coverage was offered to (employee, spouse, dependent), and employee share of lowest cost monthly minimum essential coverage option.

For questions or comments, please contact Jennifer Parisien at or (202) 558-8040. 

Conference Call Information:

Date and Time: 05/13/16 at 3:00 p.m. EST

Conference Call: (888) 390-0682 x 6432

This call is for tribal consultation.  It is off the record and not for press purposes.  


34th Annual Conference Presentation on New Developments in the ACA

IRS Notice 2015-87 

Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions for Employers