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Compliance Update: U.S. DOL Investigates ERISA and Welfare Benefit Plans

Compliance Update: U.S. DOL Investigates ERISA and Welfare Benefit Plans

The U.S. Department of Labor has begun requesting a broad range of information when investigating employers’ ERISA Health (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) and Welfare benefit plans. Department of Labor Regional offices have been requesting to examine Plan Documents and Summary Plan Descriptions Form 5500, with supporting information, to check for compliance with:

  • Part 6 and 7 of ERISA
  • Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996
  • Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act
  • Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act
  • Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act
  • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act
  • Affordable Care Act

If your client receives such a request, they’ll have 10 days from the date of receipt in order to provide supporting documentation and descriptive data. Although short extensions have been granted, 10 days is not a lot of time to produce this documentation, so we recommend keeping the required documents up-to-date, in advance of such a request.
The intention for ERISA is to protect employees, and to set standards for benefits. The federal law sets forth reporting and disclosure requirements for employers, as well as penalties and enforcement actions for failure to comply.
Does ERISA apply to you? Probably. The law governs all private-sector corporations, as well as partnerships, sole proprietorships and nonprofit organizations.
If the benefit plan in question has been existence since at least Jan. 1, 2010, in order to be prepared for a Department of Labor audit, you should have the following information up-to-date and at-the-ready:

Section 125 Cafeteria Plans

  • Plan Document and Summary Plan Description
  • Non-Discrimination Testing

Health Reimbursement Arrangements

  • Plan Document and Summary Plan Description
  • Non-Discrimination Testing
  • Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC)

Self-Insured Group Health Plans
Non-Discrimination Testing
Form 5500
Wrap Documents
For more detailed information from the Department of Labor about what to expect in an ERISA audit, or for help preparing potentially requested documentation in advance of an audit, click here to learn more, or contact The Harrison Group President, Rich Miller at 610-853-9075 or


PHONE: 610-853-9075
TOLL FREE: 855-222-5727
FAX: 610-853-9079

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