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Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Fee

The Affordable Care Act imposes a fee on issuers of specified health insurance policies and plan sponsors of applicable self-insured health plans to help fund the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. The fee, required to be reported only once a year on the second quarter Form 720 and paid by its due date, July 31, is based on the average number of lives covered under the policy or plan.

The fee applies to policy or plan years ending on or after Oct. 1, 2012, and before Oct. 1, 2019. The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute fee is filed using Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return. Although Form 720 is a quarterly return, for PCORI, Form 720 is filed annually only, by July 31.

Specified Health Insurance Policies and Applicable Self-Insured Health Plans


The fee is imposed on an issuer of a specified health insurance policy and a plan sponsor of an applicable self-insured health plan. For more information on whether a type of insurance coverage or arrangement is subject to the fee, see this chart.

Calculating the Fee


Specified Health Insurance Policies

For issuers of specified health insurance policies, the fee for a policy year ending before Oct. 1, 2013, is $1, multiplied by the average number of lives covered under the policy for that policy year. Generally, issuers of specified health insurance policies must use one of the following four alternative methods to determine the average number of lives covered under a policy for the policy year.

  1. Actual Count Method: For policy years that end on or after Oct. 1, 2012, issuers using the actual count method may begin counting lives covered under a policy as May 14, 2012, rather than the first day of the policy year, and divide by the appropriate number of days remaining in the policy year.
  2. Snapshot Method: For policy years that end on or after Oct. 1, 2013, but began before May 14, 2012, issuers using the snapshot method may use counts from the quarters beginning on or after May 14, 2012, to determine the average number of lives covered under the policy.
  3. Member Months Method and 4. State Form Method: The member months data and the data reported on state forms are based on the calendar year. To adjust for 2012, issuers will use a pro rata approach for calculating the average number of lives covered using the member months method or the state form method for 2012. For example, the issuers using the member months number for 2012 will divide the member months number by 12 and multiply the resulting number by one quarter to arrive at the average number of lives covered for October through December 2012.

For more information on these methods to determine the average number of lives covered under a policy for the policy year, please see the final regulations (PDF).

Applicable Self-Insured Health Plans

For plan sponsors of applicable self-insured health plans, the fee for a plan year ending before Oct. 1, 2013, is $1, multiplied by the average number of lives covered under the plan for that plan year. Generally, plan sponsors of applicable self-insured health plans must use one of the following three alternative methods to determine the average number of lives covered under a plan for the plan year.

  1. Actual Count Method: A plan sponsor may determine the average number of lives covered under a plan for a plan year by adding the totals of lives covered for each day of the play year and dividing that total by the total number of days in the plan year.
  2. Snapshot Method: A plan sponsor may determine the average number of lives covered under an applicable self-insured health plan for a plan year based on the total number of lives covered on one date (or more dates if an equal number of dates is used in each quarter) during the first, second or third month of each quarter, and dividing that total by the number of dates on which a count was made.
  3. Form 5500 Method: An eligible plan sponsor may determine the average number of lives covered under a plan for a plan year based on the number of participants reported on the Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, or the Form 5500-SF, Short Form Annual Return/Report of Small Employee Benefit Plan.

However, for plan years beginning before July 11, 2012, and ending on or after Oct. 1, 2012, plan sponsors may determine the average number of lives covered under the plan for the plan year using any reasonable method.

For more information on these methods to determine the average number of lives covered under applicable self-insured health plans for the plan year, please see the final regulations (PDF).

Reporting and Paying the Fee


File the second quarter Form 720 annually to report and pay the fee no later than July 31 of the calendar year immediately following the last day of the policy year or plan year to which the fee applies. Issuers and plan sponsors who are required to pay the fee but are not required to report any other liabilities on a Form 720 will be required to file a Form 720 only once a year. They will not be required to file a Form 720 for the first, third or fourth quarters of the year. Deposits are not required for this fee, so issuers and plans sponsors are not required to pay the fee using EFTPS.

Please see the instructions for Form 720 on how to fill out the form and calculate the fee. If for any reason you need to make corrections after filing your annual Form 720 for PCORI, write “Amended PCORI” at the top of the second filing.

The payment, if paid through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, should be applied to the second quarter (in EFTPS, select Q2 for the Quarter under Tax Period on the "Business Tax Payment" page).

Related Items:

  • The IRS and the Treasury Department have issued final regulations on this fee.
  • For information on the fee, see our questions and answers and chart summary
  • Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return, was revised to provide for the reporting and payment of the patient-centered outcomes research fee.

 

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 01-Apr-2014