Posts Tagged ‘Form 5500’

Form 5500 Revisions Impact Both Small And Large Employers

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

The post below is a guest blog from Rob Krieg who serves as Principal, Health & Welfare Consultant for CAI’s employee benefits partner Hill, Chesson & Woody.

hcw5500revisionsblogThe Department of Labor (DOL), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) recently proposed significant changes to the form 5500 which has implications for both large employers and small employers. Targeting an effective date of 2019 plan year filings, the recent DOL Factsheet explains that many changes are on the horizon in an attempt to modernize and improve the Form 5500 annual return/report filed by employee benefit plans.  They identify the driving forces behind the changes include a desire to 1) modernize financial reporting, 2) provide greater information regarding group health plans, 3) enhance data mine-ability, 4 ) improve service provider fee information, and 5) enhance compliance with ERISA and the code.

The most notable proposed changes include:

  • Removing the small group exemption where previously many employers with less than 100 enrolled participants were exempt from filing;
  • Adding a new comprehensive schedule J (Group Health Plan Information) requirement;
  • New Schedule C requirement for each service provider;
  • And an expanded schedule H for funded plans.

Regardless of a group’s size, benefit plans should pay special attention to the new Schedule J requirements. Plans will now be asked to complete information on the types of benefits offered and the funding methods, including if benefits are HDHP, health FSA or HRA.  There will also be questions on participant contributions and employer contributions as well as enrollment information, including participants and dependents.  There appears to be requirements for claims data (including claims submitted, denied, appealed, paid, and where claims are paid from – insurer, trust or employer general assets.  And last but not least, there will be a focus on plan compliance with questions around COBRA, grandfathered status, MLR rebates, HIPAA, GINA, MHP SBC requirements, and SPD requirements.

As traditionally occurs, the DOL has asked for comments to the proposed regulations and these comments are due by October 4, 2016.  It is clear that the agencies are working together to significantly increase Form 5500 reporting obligations for many employers with group health plans. As explained in the fact sheet, the agencies are looking to update the filing requirement to gather data sufficient to support their enforcement efforts. Therefore, employers should take note and make sure to tighten up their benefit plan compliance over the next year.  The silver lining is that the agencies have provided plenty of lead time for employer’s to get into compliance.

If you have questions about these new regulations, or about your health benefit plan’s compliance with some of the regulations mentioned in the proposed regulations, contact your HCW consultant.

Form 5500? Huh?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

The post below is a guest blog from Zach Nichols who serves as the Triad Regional Manager for CAI’s employee benefits partner Hill, Chesson & Woody.

Are you tired and ready for the holidays?  Almost 65% of you have recently completed your benefit renewals and hope to move forward in 2012 with a few less gray hairs.  Once things get going in the first quarter, who’s in charge of filing your Form 5500s?  “Form 5500 what?” you might ask.  “I heard you say something about 5500. Is that a new Holiday bonus I’m getting this year?”

Well, for those of you who are compliant, this isn’t a big deal. You already know what it is and who is responsible for filing it.  Shockingly, according to the Department of Labor, almost 47% of employers in the United States are non-compliant when it comes to filing their 5500s.  Since almost half of employers have never heard of Form 5500 or don’t understand its importance, here’s a quick rundown of what it is and how it pertains to your organization.

Plan sponsors who maintain qualified employee benefit programs such as pension plans, 401k plans or Health & Welfare plans generally must file an annual report with the Employee Benefits Security Administration/Department of Labor. This annual report, known as a Form 5500, is due within seven (7) months after the end of a plan year. 

The Form 5500 Series is part of ERISA’s overall reporting and disclosure framework, which is intended to assure that employee benefit plans are operated and managed in accordance with set standards. It also assures that participants and beneficiaries, as well as regulators, are provided or have access to sufficient information to protect the rights and benefits of participants and beneficiaries under employee benefit plans.

“Okay, you got me. I need to be filing this but my broker never told me!  How do I become compliant?”

The Department of Labor (DOL) has eased the penalties for late or missing Forms 5500 substantially by implementing the Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program (DFVCP). Under this program, sponsors will face a penalty of $10 per day up to a maximum of $750 for small plans and $2,000 for large plans (if a plan’s 5500 filing has been missed for multiple years, the penalty cap is $1,500 for small plans and $4,000 for large plans, regardless of the number of late filings submitted).  Given the statutory ability of the DOL to assess up to $1,100 per day in civil penalties, this provides a significant incentive to correct past failures to file. If the DOL determines that the Form 5500 reporting requirement was willfully avoided, fines can reach $100,000 per plan so the $2,000 DFVCP is a no brainer!

So, no, the 5500 you heard about isn’t that new Holiday bonus you were hoping for. But, it’ll ensure the DOL isn’t getting an extra holiday bonus courtesy of your organization.