February 27, 2024

If you’re an employer in Massachusetts, you may have heard about the Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure (HIRD) form. This form is essential for complying with state regulations, and understanding it can help you navigate your responsibilities effectively. 

In this article, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions to help you grasp the basics of the HIRD form. 

What is the HIRD form?

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Department of Revenue (DOR) administer the HIRD form through the MassTaxConnect (MTC) web portal. It allows employers to report specific health insurance information about their employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) and employees.

How will it be used?

MassHealth uses the information provided on the HIRD form to identify its members with access to qualifying ESI who may be eligible for subsidized health coverage through the MassHealth Premium Assistance Program.

This typically mitigates the need for you to fill out a separate Premium Assistance application for qualifying employees. However, MassHealth may request additional information from you to verify an individual’s eligibility.

Who has to complete the HIRD form?

All Massachusetts employers with six or more employees in any month during the preceding calendar year must complete the HIRD form. This also applies to:

  • In-state or out-of-state employers who had Massachusetts-based employees in the past 12 months
  • Employers who have six or more employees but do not offer health insurance

You must complete your HIRD filing annually. The form is available for electronic completion starting November 15 and must be completed by December 15 of the reporting year. Failure to file could lead to penalties, so don’t overlook this reporting requirement!

How do I file the HIRD form?

To complete your HIRD filing, visit the MTC web portal (the same used to file your state tax returns, submit forms, and make tax payments). Follow these simple steps: 

  1. Log into your MTC account.
  2. Select the “Withholding tax” account, then click the “File health insurance responsibility disclosure” link.
  3. Complete the form electronically—paper forms will not be accepted!

What information will I need to provide?

You’ll be asked for details like the total number of employees, whether health insurance coverage was offered, and the number of employees who accepted or declined coverage. You may also have to provide information about your health insurance offerings and contributions. 

Work with your HR and/or benefits team to ensure you have the summary of benefits (which contains many of the essential details). You may also need information set by your company policies (e.g., minimum probationary period and hours worked per week to qualify for health insurance). Other information will be included in the agreement between your company and your insurance provider (e.g., Plan Year).

You won’t need to report information about flexible spending accounts (FSAs), health savings accounts (HSAs), or health retirement accounts (HRAs) on your HIRD filing.

What if I use a payroll company or PEO?

If you use a payroll company to file tax information on MTC, they can also file the HIRD form on MTC. Coordinate with your payroll provider to ensure accurate and timely filing.

If you use a professional employer organization (PEO), either you or the PEO may file the HIRD form on MTC. Again, coordinate with your PEO to ensure accurate and timely filing. 

The bottom line is that it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the HIRD form is filed on time, regardless of whether you enlist your payroll company or PEO to submit it!

Could I be penalized based on details reported in the HIRD form?

No, the HIRD form will not be used to impose new fines or penalties related to your ESI offerings (or lack thereof). But if you have questions or concerns about your benefit offerings, we’re happy to help!

Final Thoughts on the HIRD Form

Ensuring accuracy is crucial when completing the HIRD form to avoid potential penalties or compliance issues. Keep track of changes in state regulations regarding health insurance reporting to stay updated on your responsibilities—and find a reliable HR partner who will help you navigate the many employment filings!

The HIRD Form is an important requirement for Massachusetts employers to fulfill their obligations regarding health insurance reporting. By understanding what the form entails and how to complete it accurately and on time, you can ensure compliance with state regulations and contribute to effectively administering healthcare coverage programs.

If you have further questions or need assistance completing the HIRD form, contact BlueLion for guidance today at 603-818-4131 or info@bluelionllc.com! We’ll walk you through this and any other Massachusetts labor law requirements.

The information on this website, including its newsletters, is not, nor is it intended to be legal advice. You should contact an attorney or HR specialist for advice on your individual situation.