Sage 100 has a new field this year on the ACA Employee Maintenance screen: 'Plan Start Month'. In the process of helping customers complete their filings, we've noticed that not a single one of them have had a correct value in this field. How can such a seemingly straightforward field be incorrectly filled so frequently? We suspect the problem is that Sage has set the default value to “00”, and those people filling out the field simply move through it assuming that the value is valid. So what should people do instead?
The field is supposed to contain - in the current year you’re working with - whatever the start date is of the heath coverage the employee is enrolled in. The reasoning behind the new field is that, sometimes, employers add a new plan during mid-year. In that case, the field should contain whatever the start date is of that new plan. Confusingly, the date is NOT for when an employee was enrolled, but it's for when the plan was first offered by the employer to any employee. Hence, if a plan was started in 2016 or 2017 (or before, obviously), the first date that the health plan was offered to the employee in the current year would be January, or "01". Another example: If an employer didn't offer coverage to and enroll employees until June, the 'Plan Start Month' for coverage for those newly enrolled folks would be “06”.
We wish that Sage would have just left the the field blank by default, so a data entry person would have to type something into that field and therefore consider what the value means. Alternately, Sage might have set the default to “01”, which is the most common value and would avert most of the errors. But they didn't do either of those things, so take care when dealing with this field!