Keeping up with the various legal and regulatory requirements imposed on employee benefit plans is a daunting task for any employer. Maintaining required plan documents and benefit notices is no exception. For example:
Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). ERISA is the federal law that regulates most private-sector employee benefit plans. Among other things, ERISA obligates plan administrators (i.e., employers) to maintain a written plan document and to maintain and distribute a Summary Plan Description (SPD) for their benefit plans. Because booklets and certificates of coverage issued by insurance carriers or third-party administrators are designed to comply with state insurance law (and not federal law), they generally do not satisfy ERISA’s requirements for plan documents/SPDs. Thus, to comply with ERISA, employee benefit plans should have a “wrap” plan document/SPD, in addition to the carrier’s booklet or certificate.
Section 125. Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code requires an employer to maintain a written plan document in order to allow employees to contribute toward the cost of benefits on a pre-tax basis. This document is sometimes referred to as a Premium-Only Plan (POP), a premium conversion plan or a pre-tax premium plan.
Benefit Notices. A number of federal laws, including the Accountable Care Act (ACA), Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA), Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act (NMHPA), and several others require employers to provide certain notices and disclosures to benefit plan participants and beneficiaries, at various times or upon the occurrence of specified events.
Developing and maintaining these documents and notices can be expensive, but the cost – in terms of audit penalties, litigation expenses, etc. – of not having them could be exponentially more.
Cowden has an easy, cost-effective solution to assist our clients in preparing ERISA wrap documents, Section 125 POP documents and benefit notices, to keep your company’s health and welfare plan in compliance. Our team of benefit professionals will guide and assist your benefits team through the process of developing and maintaining the required plan documents. With Cowden’s document preparation and compliance services, you can rest easy knowing you have the documents you need, when you need them.