Employers Are Struggling With Changing Compliance Issues! Are You?

Changing benefits compliance issues have some employers irritated and confused!

Laws and regulations that affect the workplace are constantly changing. On top of that, employers have to keep up with industry-specific rules and regulations. The main challenges that employers face currently include keeping up with changing requirements for healthcare benefits and meeting new IT security requirements.

Why Do Regulations Change?

The Affordable Care Act made some major changes to the way employers have to provide benefits to their employees. There are new rules and regulations passed every year to help create a better and safer workplace for employees. The fact that a lot of business activities take place online also creates a need for new regulations, for instance when it comes to safely processing financial information. New regulations are also created in an effort to make consumers safer and to preserve the environment.

 

What Changes Could Employers Face In The Near Future?

The Trump administration is currently working on a new healthcare bill. This new bill will have an impact on the benefits that employers offer and will probably require a lot of business to offer different benefits. It is also possible that changes to immigration laws will affect the way employers hire new people and employers will have to keep up with new regulations regarding the use of technology.

Why Do Employers Struggle With Compliance Issues?

Complying with new laws and regulations is not always easy. Some laws are clear-cut and easy to implement. Others are more difficult to interpret and employers might not have access to clear answers regarding how these new regulations apply to them. Besides, a lot of new laws and regulations that affect the workplace do not receive a lot of media coverage. Unless employers make an effort to keep up with industry-specific news, they might not be aware that a new law is coming into effect.

How Can Employers Adjust To New Regulations?

It is important to have a plan of action to follow whenever new regulations are passed. Having a clear actionable plan will help employers adapt quickly and make the necessary changes. Employers should have some best practices in place to monitor industry-specific news and to keep up with new laws and regulations that are being passed, even if the mainstream media is not providing extensive coverage of these issues. Employers should also rely on audits to assess whether or not they are already complying with the new rules and to determine what needs to change. The next step should be to create a step by step plan that will be implemented to become compliant.

How Can Employers Become Compliant?

This really depends on the type of law or regulation that a business needs to comply with. An employer can become compliant with a new law by changing their benefits package, by providing additional training to employees, by upgrading their equipment or by putting new safety measures in place. Reaching out to legal professionals, cyber security experts and other professionals can be extremely helpful when an employer is not sure about the best course of action they should take to become compliant. Getting help from an audit service is also a good strategy since it can be beneficial to have an industry compliance expert review current business practices.

Why Do Businesses Need To Be Compliant?

Laws are passed in an effort to create a better workplace for employees, to protect consumers, to preserve the environment and to help businesses develop in a safe and sustainable way. Businesses that do not comply might be subject to fines but in most cases, employers will be given some time to make the necessary adjustments if an audit reveals some compliance issues. Keeping up with current laws and regulations is important because a business that is not compliant could face severe legal problems if an employee, a customer or even a business partner were to take legal action, either regarding the compliance issue or regarding another issue that could have been avoided by being compliant.

Keeping up with changing regulations is challenging for a number of businesses. It is important to have a detailed plan of action in place to find out about the latest changes, to assess current business practices and to determine what needs to change for the business to become compliant.


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Compliance Issues: What to Consider When Updating Benefit Plans

Benefits Compliance: What a company should consider when it decides to update its benefit plans?

The government annually checks whether companies and firms remain compliant with the law when it comes to how they implement their insurance policies. Agencies such as the IRS require employees and firms to submit forms that prove compliance with government guidelines. This is done not only to keep standards, but also to ensure that employee benefits are given proper attention and care.

With changes in guidelines every year, it can easily be assumed that your firm should reshape its benefit plan in order to meet those guidelines. Therefore, whether you are going to be designing a new benefit plan for a new plan year, or if you are simply going to be updating an existing plan you have, you need to know the factors that your firm must consider in order to make your benefits compliance easy. The Affordable Care Act includes specific requirements that must be met before the government deems your plan compliant with the law. Here are some of the things you need to keep in mind.

  • Fair Labor Standards Act overtime rules. The changes in the entitlement to overtime compensation can affect the benefits that an employee can receive. Therefore, as part of your benefits compliance agenda, you must ensure that your firm is ready to keep the staffing costs neutral in consideration of the changes you will make regarding the benefits your employees receive.
  • HIPAA security and electronic transactions. Double check whether you need to make any upgrades on how you safeguard the personal health information of your employees by checking the latest requirements set under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act guidelines. Ensure that the vendors you coordinate with are also following the guidelines imposed by HIPAA and other related government agencies.
  • Mental health. As part of the benefits compliance process, the Department of Labor will also be checking if you comply with the requirements for mental health benefits. Your firm needs to confirm that the plan you offer meets the guidance on substance use disorders and mental health benefit coverage. When you are selecting vendors, ensure that you consider their compliance with the Addiction Equity Act and the Mental Health Parity.
  • Nondiscrimination rules and health benefits. The size of the benefits you provide your workers are monitored by government agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services. Federal agencies continue to issue regulations which will greatly affect how you design your benefit programs. With the ACA in place, you need to make sure that your plan includes all the required health benefits prescribed by the ACA, and that it has nondiscrimination rules in place as well.
  • Strategy and reporting. You also need to double check the design of your health plan and the requirements you impose that your employees will need to comply to. Your firm must check whether the medical coverage and options you provide meet the minimum necessity. You should also check whether the price of your health benefits match standards for affordability. Make the necessary adjustments for your firm to be compliant with the ACA.
  • Wellness programs. To ensure benefits compliance, if your wellness program includes biometric screening, health risk assessment, or collects information from the employee’s spouse, you need to make sure that your program meets the regulations set up by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Your program also needs to be compliant with the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. You should speak to vendors to ensure that your wellness program meets the expectations of the law.

Read more about what benefits are subject to ERISA.

The earlier you start planning your benefit plan, the better it would be. Effective planning is key in passing checks and audits made by government agencies. Compliance will, aside from keeping your firm’s reputation, attract more employees and will generally improve business. Companies that offer good benefit packages are sought after by applicants due to the high costs of insurance policies, medical treatments, and medicines.


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Back To the Basics: Form 5500

Form 5500: The Basics

One of the most important government forms you need to complete to secure your retirement plan is form 5500. If you work for a company that offers either a retirement plan or a 401 (k) plan, you should be annually completing the form since the plan began to be implemented. Every year, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the Department of labor, and the IRS check if your company is still able to protect you, and whether your plan continues to be compliant with the set regulations.

The form is always heavily scrutinized by many individuals and government offices, so knowing what it does, what it contains, and when to file it is of extreme importance.

What is Form 5500?

If you work for a firm that offers a tax qualified retirement plan such as the 401(k) or something similar, during the time you worked for that firm, you should have been filing form 5500 every year since your business started adopting the plan.

The form looks almost the same as other forms issued by the IRS; the only difference being this form is not just held by the IRS, but also by other government bodies such as the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and the Department of labor. Each of these agencies have their own set goals when they look at your form, but ultimately, what they are trying to ensure is that your plan is being operated for your benefit and that it is being correctly processed every year.

  • The IRS uses the information on your form to determine your tax compliance. The IRS is the agency responsible for the regulations that allow tax benefits and retirement plans to be implemented to both workers and employers.
  • The Department of labor uses the information on your form to ensure that the plan your company is using is not breaking any rules. It is also used to make sure that the company keeps your rights protected and secure. The DOL monitors how the company operates the plan.
  • The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation monitors what is written on your form to determine whether the firm you work for is compliant in providing you with the benefits you ought to receive, regardless if the firm has moved on to using a new plan.

In summary, the 5500 form is used not only for law enforcement, but also for analysis. The government checks how many businesses offer retirement plans, whether workers are recipients of any type of benefit, how many large and small plans are available to people at a given time, and what new regulations may be enforced in order to improve the present situation.

What are “small” and “large” plans?

Plans that are assessed in your form are categorized as being either “large” or “small”.

If the plan had less than one hundred members on its first day of implementation, the plan is considered to be a “small” plan. Those that exceed that number are called “large” plans. It is those firms that have large plans that need to file the 5500 every year, while firms with small plans only have to complete a simpler form called the form 5500-SF.

A plan can continue to be considered small if the number of participants does not exceed 120 at the start of the new plan year. Every participant regardless of whether they are active or not are considered in the head count.

When should it be filed?

The form 5500 should be filed after the end of the plan year, on the last day of the seventh month. If you need more time, you need to file form 5558, which can extend the deadline for another two and a half months.

The form is never the same every year, and there are always changes introduced in order to ensure that it matches the needs of firms and workers today. Every year, the IRS imposes new changes to the form, and the IRS simply sends instructions to firms on what has been updated on the form.


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Healthcare Reform To Make America Great Again

Any reform effort should start with Congress. Since Obamacare became law, conservative Republicans have been using reforms that can be provided individually or as part of more thorough reform efforts. In the staying sections of this policy paper, several reforms will be used that need to be thought about by Congress so that on the first day of the Trump Administration, we can start the process of bring back faith in government and economic liberty to individuals.

It is not adequate to merely reverse this dreadful legislation. We will deal with Congress to make sure we have a series of reforms all set for implementation that follow totally free market concepts which will bring back economic flexibility and certainty to everybody in this nation. By following free enterprise concepts and working together to develop sound public policy that will widen healthcare access, make healthcare more budget-friendly and enhance the quality of the care available to all Americans.

However none of these positive reforms can be achieved without Obamacare repeal. On the first day of the Trump Administration, we will ask Congress to immediately provide a full repeal of Obamacare.

healthcare reform and compliance benefitsGiven that March of 2010, the American individuals have actually had to suffer under the unbelievable economic concern of the Affordable Care Act— Obamacare. As it appears Obamacare is particular to collapse of its own weight, the damage done by the Democrats and President Obama, and abetted by the Supreme Court, will be difficult to repair unless the next President and a Republican congress lead the effort to bring much-needed totally free market reforms to the health care market.

Congress must act. Our chosen representatives in the House and Senate should:

We require to reform our psychological health programs and organizations in this country. Families, without the ability to obtain the info had to help those who are ailing, are frequently not provided the tools to assist their enjoyed ones. There are guaranteeing reforms being established in Congress that needs to receive bi-partisan support.

To reduce the number of people needing access to programs like Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program we will have to set up programs that grow the economy and bring capital and tasks back to America. The best social program has constantly been a task– and looking after our economy will go a long way to decreasing our reliance on public health programs.

To reform healthcare in America, we need a President who has the leadership abilities, will and courage to engage the American people and encourage Congress to do what is best for the nation. These straightforward reforms, together with many others I have actually proposed throughout my project, will make sure that together we will Make America Great Again.

Entirely repeal Obamacare. Our elected agents must remove the specific mandate. No person must be needed to purchase insurance coverage unless she or he wishes to.
Modify existing law that hinders the sale of medical insurance across state lines. As long as the strategy bought adhere to state requirements, any supplier should be able to offer insurance in any state. By enabling full competitors in this market, insurance expenses will decrease and consumer complete satisfaction will increase.
Businesses are allowed to take these deductions so why wouldn’t Congress permit individuals the same exemptions? We should examine fundamental choices for Medicaid and work with states to make sure that those who desire healthcare coverage can have it.

Enable people to use Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Contributions into HSAs must be tax-free and ought to be enabled to collect. These accounts would end up being part of the estate of the individual and might be handed down to beneficiaries without fear of any capital punishment. These plans should be especially attractive to young individuals who are healthy and can manage high-deductible insurance strategies. These funds can be used by any member of a household without penalty. The versatility and security offered by HSAs will be of great benefit to all who participate.

Require rate transparency from all doctor, especially medical professionals and healthcare companies like centers and healthcare facilities. People should be able to shop to find the finest rates for procedures, tests or any other medical-related procedure.

Almost every state currently offers advantages beyond what is required in the present Medicaid structure. The state federal governments know their individuals best and can handle the administration of Medicaid far much better without federal overhead.

Remove barriers to entry into complimentary markets for drug service providers that offer safe, reputable and cheaper items. Congress will require the courage to step away from the special interests and do exactly what is right for America.

The reforms detailed above will reduce healthcare expenses for all Americans. They are just a place to begin. There are other reforms that may be considered if they serve to reduce expenses, remove uncertainty and offer financial security for all Americans. And we must also do something about it in other policy locations to lower health care expenses and concerns. Implementing immigration laws, getting rid of scams and waste and stimulating our economy will ease the economic pressures felt by every American. It is the moral obligation of a country’s government to do exactly what is best for the individuals and exactly what is in the interest of protecting the future of the nation.

Offering health care to prohibited immigrants costs us some $11 billion every year. We could eliminate healthcare expense pressures on state and regional governments if we were to merely impose the present immigration laws and limit the unchecked giving of visas to this nation.

Benefits Compliance Consultants is a leader in healthcare compliance for your large or small business.

With our exclusive ERISAlliance Network, Benefits Compliance Consultants, Inc. has established relationships with leading ERISA and employee benefits experts so that you can have complete confidence that all of your ERISA compliance needs will be taken care of accurately and cost effectively while giving you unsurpassed personal service and attention as your benefits consultant.

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Your Need for Business Compliance Services Grows.

compliance-consulting-2017Recently and without excitement, the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) released an upgraded variation of its Staff member Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS). The brand-new EPCRS is stated in Earnings Treatment 2016-51 (Rev. Proc. 2016-51) and works January 1, 2017. The present EPCRS, which was released in 2013, was a bit “long in the tooth” due to the fact that it consisted of out-of-date recommendations (e.g., it recommendations the Social Security letter forwarding program, which was gotten rid of in 2014) and had actually been customized numerous times through subsequent assistance. Now, the Internal Revenue Service has actually upgraded the EPCRS and covered up all of these modifications in a brand-new plan.

Amongst the more significant modifications, Rev. Proc. 2016-15

  • integrates Profits Treatment 2015-27, which typically clarified the correction of over-payments and allowed strategies to not require payment from individuals and recipients in all circumstances;
  • includes Profits Treatment 2015-28, which resolved failures with respect to automated contribution functions and motivated the early correction of worker optional deferment failures;
  • clarifies that any correction technique set out in the income treatment can be utilized to fix a failure, so long as the strategy and the strategy sponsor are qualified for the correction utilized; gets rid of referrals to using the Social Security letter forwarding program for finding missing out on recipients and individuals;
  • customizes or eliminates recommendations to decision letter requirements due to the curtailment of the decision letter program for separately developed strategies;
  • eliminates the user charge schedule from EPCRS, and describes that the Internal Revenue Service will supply the EPCRS user costs, consisting of Voluntary Correction Program (VCP) user costs, as part of a yearly released list;
  • clarifies that Audit Closing Contract Program sanctions will be based upon scenarios and truths however usually not be less than the VCP user charge; clarifies that the Internal Revenue Service reserves the right to enforce sanctions for VCP submissions in excess of the VCP user charge for “outright” failures;
  • removes the 50% refund of the user cost that was formerly offered when it comes to a confidential submission that cannot reach resolution;
  • clarifies that compliance declarations and closing arrangements (released after a VCP or Audit CAP, respectively) do not make up decisions that a strategy is certified in file or operation, however just that the strategy has actually been prompt embraced or that the particular functional failure has actually been remedied; and
  • removes the “Appendix C” design kind for a VCP submission; starting January 1, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service will just supply design VCP kinds (such as the design VCP compliance declaration on Type 14568, the schedules on Types 14568-A through 14568-I, and the Internal Revenue Service recognition of the submission on Type 5265) through its site.

Rev. Proc. 2016-15 easily combines all EPCRS assistance into a single source and makes a variety of smaller sized clarifying updates however does not substantially alter EPCRS’s substantive arrangements.

Copyright © 2016 by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. All Rights Reserved.


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How do I Find A Benefits Compliance Consulting Company? You Found One!

The promoters of a company planning to set up business need to be aware of the local compliance rules. So, there are certain things which need to be adhered to before commencing operations. Expatriates moving into a region might not be aware of the standard practices which need to be followed when starting a company. The best of the way of going forward is hiring the services of locally based consulting firms that can guide you through and make things easy. They are well aware of the rules and standard procedures which need to be followed before starting off work.

Hiring consultants providing compliance services is going to be of great help to you. There are several compliance consulting firms, and each of them has specific laws in place which govern the procedures for a new business that is being setup. Things also depend on the nature of the business and specific industry in which it will fall into. Compliance consulting firms analyze the same beforehand and discuss it with the business promoters. They will be conducting a detailed study and then suggest a resolution for it.

Benefits compliance consulting agencies handhold companies till they have got necessary certifications in place and are legally compliant as per the set parameters by local government bodies. In some countries there are certain free as well as non-free trade zones for an onshore or offshore organization. Such zones provide certain privileges to companies who setup offices in those areas. It is hence very much important to clearly define the correct scope of the services.

It is the dire need of all businesses to stay compliant (to some degree) is what makes compliance consulting services so very important. But, in case if any one doesn’t opt to stay compliant then it can primarily lead to two after affects. One is that the business concerned could be open doors for investigation or legal action from third parties such as compliance regulatory bodies. The other is that someone could potentially be seriously affected that is physical, financially or emotionally by the actions of a non-complaint business. So, both of these reasons are very grave and clearly indicate the desperate need for a global compliance services.

Normally, businesses that are busy and affluent frequently outsource work to contractors. This makes sense and can be rewarding by rendering positive results for a variety of organizations. However for a contract is to be successful and fruitful, contractual obligations must be fulfilled and expectations and guidelines put in place. Since contractor management can be a complex territory so therefore contractor compliance can often be best managed by an external agency.

compliance-consulting-service

What sorts of businesses are affected by it?

Fundamentally, global compliance services are crucial for and relevant to a variety of organizations. Any business which would avail the services of contractors will benefit from the development, implementation and monitoring of the compliance strategies and procedures. For example, government departments and agencies that use contractors to meet service needs benefit from contractor compliance arrangements.

What are some of the advantages of these procedures?

Contractor management and compliance strategies and processes can not only support businesses and contractors to understand their expectations and obligations, but they can also help businesses to determine the costs and expenses of particular contracts. When a contractor’s cost inflation is too high and has a negative impact on an organization’s profitability, the organization will usually seek someone else. When cost inflation is closely monitored, a business can avoid procuring services and products from contractors whose costs increase dramatically from year to year.

Instances of situations where contractor compliance makes all the difference…

It is an unfortunate and a disappointing reality that some businesses endeavor to make more from their contracts by cutting corners on labor costs. Global compliance service strategies can help in ensuring that contracted employees are treated fairly and lawfully, and also that the contractors that deliver services have the genuine insurances and qualifications.

Above all, global compliance services is a stamp of assurance that the work that is carried out is completely in line with what is expected and what has been promised. But, more than this, it also provides businesses with the peace of mind that the contractors they appoint possess the necessary and appropriate qualifications and attributes to carry out the work safely, legally and effectively. With a plethora of businesses pushed to the limit in carrying out their day to day activities, it indeed makes sense to avail global compliance services, use a contractor management and contractor compliance service to oversee the appropriateness of the business.

We are a professional benefits compliance company that can take care of your business compliance needs.

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Why Smaller Companies Should Consider Self-Funding

Currently, self funding has become accessible to small groups of employers. Previously, it was only limited to large firms. With the affordable act, landscape of health insurance is changing. In fact, the options which were not suitable and risky for small businesses are now considered as viable options. Apart from the benefits highlighted, the following are some other reasons why an individual should consider self funding:

#1. The community rating 

The term self employer, can be classified as employers who are 100 in number or less. For those who are in the category of 51 to 99 employer market, the change rates are very dramatic.

This is very similar to the employer groups with 50 or even fewer employees who have moved to the rating methodology.

The insurers are supposed to use the adjusted community rating as they are setting premiums for both small group plans and individuals. The plans are sold on the private market and exchanges. In order to determine the premiums, the insurers cannot consider the health history. On the other hand, the carriers may be looking at demographic regions and age. Nevertheless, the demographic regions offer coverage to small employers.

#2. The self funding 

A self insured plan will greatly assist an employer who wants to set aside funds for covering the health claims. This is another alternative apart from paying the set per employee premiums for the insurance carrier. The plans are not subjected to the community rating’s requirements of ACA.

It is evident that the insurers are now starting to offer the self funded plans for small enterprises that have less than 10 employees. As a result, a small group of self funding products will predict a substantial growth over the coming years. On the contrary, the insurers who have a small’s group self funding products usually predict a substantial growth for the next years. This is suitable for healthier and young employees.

#3. The level funding 

Level funding is the most popular product which is being utilized in the small group market. In the middle of the insurance scale, a self funding product is the right solution for you. The product is also considered to be a hybrid which is between the self funding and fully insured. Hence, it will allow the employees to have a self funded plan. Also, all the benefits will be reaped without risk. This is specifically applicable when the product is purchased from an integrated carrier. Moreover, it is a conservative approach which is safeguarded so as to make it act and appear like a fully insured plan.

Another benefit of level funding is that an employer group will pay the situated monthly premium to the carrier of the insurance. The insurance’s career plan will be in a position of handling the administration. The surplus will be fully refunded to the employers if the group has a medical loss ratio which is favorable. Alternatively, it will split between the employer and the carrier at the end of the year.

Additional reasons why the companies are exploring the self funded benefits: 

· Elimination of career risk charges and profit margins

· Avoidance of fees mandated by the ACA and taxes

· Shunning from compliance with the benefits mandated by the ACA

· Management and reduction costs of utilization of transparent data, customization of wellness programs and education of employees

In conclusion, self funding is a viable option for a person who has more than 50 employees.


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What Benefits Are Subject To ERISA?

You might be surprised to find out what employer sponsored benefits are subject to ERISA. ERISA generally applies to the following benefit plans and fringe benefits, whether they are fully insured or self-insured:

  • Medical, Surgical, Hospital, or HMO Group Insurance Plans
  • Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs)
  • Health FSAs (Flexible Spending Accounts)
  • Group Dental Insurance Plans
  • Group Vision Insurance Plans
  • Prescription Drug Plans
  • Group Sickness, Accident, and Disability Insurance Plans
  • Group Life and AD&D Insurance Plans
  • Group Long Term Care Insurance Plans
  • Medical Reimbursement Plans
  • Wellness Programs (if medical care is offered)
  • Voluntary Insurance Plans*
  • Retiree Medical Plans
  • Employee Assistance Plans (EAPs) (if providing counseling, not just referrals)
  • Help Lines and Tele-Health Services
  • Dependency Counseling
  • Severance Plans
  • Group Business Travel Accident Insurance Plans
  • Prepaid Legal Services
  • Unemployment Benefit Plans
  • Vacation Plans
  • Business Travel Accident Benefits
  • Employer Provided Daycare
  • Apprenticeship or other Training Plans
  • Scholarship Plans
  • Holiday Plans
  • Housing Assistance Plans
  • 419A(f)(6) and 419(e) welfare benefit plans
  • Split Dollar Life Insurance Plans
  • Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans (if ongoing scheme to determine eligibility/benefits)
  • One employee plans

Certain self-insured or uninsured plans, such as sick pay, short term disability, paid time off, overtime, jury duty, and vacation pay, may be exempt if benefits are paid:

  • as a “normal payroll practice,”
  • to currently employed individuals (i.e., not retirees, COBRA participants, or dependents),
  • without prefunding or using insurance,
  • entirely from the employer’s general assets, AND without employee contributions.

 

ERISA compliance consulting group*Voluntary individual or group insurance plans, in which the employees pay all of the cost, and the employer’s role is limited to withholding premiums through payroll deduction and remitting them to an insurer, may be exempt from ERISA depending on the extent of employer involvement. However, even minimal “sponsorship or endorsement” (e.g., a company’s name on the brochures) by the employer may endanger this exemption. A voluntary individual or group insurance plan qualifies under the Voluntary Plan Safe Harbor if:

  • it is funded by group or group-type insurance,
  • it is completely voluntary,
  • there are no employer contributions, AND the employer does not endorse the plan.

The following does NOT constitute endorsement:

  • Permitting the insurer to publicize the plan
  • Collecting premiums by payroll deduction
  • Remitting premiums to the insurer

The following MAY result in loss of Voluntary Plan Safe Harbor status:

  • Selecting the insurer
  • Negotiating plan terms/linking coverage to employee status
  • Using the employer’s name/associating the plan with other employee plans
  • Recommending the plan to employees
  • Saying ERISA applies
  • Doing more than permitted payroll deductions
  • Allowing use of the employer’s cafeteria plan
  • Assisting employees with claims or disputes

ERISA generally does not apply to:

  • Cafeteria plans, §125 Plans, POPs (Premium Only Plans), Premium Conversion Plans, Pre-tax Premium Plans (However, the benefits funded by them are often subject to ERISA. NOTE: These plans must be referenced in the plan document and SPD if they are funding an ERISA Plan)
  • Dependent Care Assistance Plans (DCAPs, or Dependent Care FSAs)
  • Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) (if employer involvement is limited)
  • Paid Time Off Plans (PTO)
  • Adoption Assistance Plans
  • State mandated benefits, e.g., STD (if not enhanced beyond mandated benefits)
  • Educational Assistance or Tuition Reimbursement Plans
  • On-site Medical Clinics (if providing First Aid only—not treatment, e.g., flu shots)

Don’t be caught by surprise and subject yourself to DOL fines and potential audit… For a thorough explanation and examination of your benefits plan status, call or email the ERISA Experts at Benefits Compliance Consultants Inc. at 515-244-2424 or contact BC2 today through our email form!

ERISA FORM 5500 Compliance Questions Answered In Simple Terms.

The Form 5500 is an important necessity in ERISA compliance.

With the rampant cases of the misappropriation of employees’ retirement benefits, ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) Form 5500 is what you should be thinking of in 2016 so as to safeguard your retirement. The Form 5500 is in a series that was jointly developed by three U.S. government agencies; Department of Labor (DOL), Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The main aim of Form 5500 is to collect information about employees’ benefits plans and most importantly, safeguard their retirement benefits.

Who is to File Form 5500?

The ERISA Form 5500 is to be filled by the main sponsor/contributor of any plan(s) that is subject to ERISA. Such plans may include; medical, life and severance insurance plans, money purchase, 401(k), profit sharing, annuity plans, retirement arrangements and pension plans.

For plans that have only 100 or less members, only Form 5500-SF (short form) is filed. Also, plans maintained outside the United States, only form 5500-EZ is to be filed for such members. The completed Form 5500 must be submitted together with the necessary schedules and attachments. You can get the Form 5500 on the U.S. Department of Labor Form 5500 Series Website.

Where and how is Form 5500 Filed?

All forms are filed electronically using the U.S. Department of Labor’s EFAST system. This is exclusively online.

What Information is Necessary to Complete Form 5500?

Form 5500 was developed as a database where the government can access all information regarding employees’ benefits plans. Some of the fields that are to be filled on the form include; Financial – Assets and liabilities, Insurance – Insurance plans, Service provider – employees’ service providers, Retirement plan – pension benefit plans, Financial transactions – loans, fixed income obligations, leases in default, or uncollectible/nonexempt transactions, etc. 

When is the ERISA Form 5500 Filed?

Just like most filings, ERISA Form 5500 deadline is real. This form needs to be filed annually and before the 31st of July, or the next working day if it isn’t. However, there is room for extension if you don’t beat the stipulated deadline. With extensions however, you will have to file Form 5558. If you submit an incomplete Form 5558 before the current deadline, you also get a 2.5 months extension.

Why File ERISA Form 5500?

By now, you should be asking, why file the ERISA Form 5500? This form is convenient to both the employer and employee. To ensure your benefits are fully honored by your employers and your retirement and pension funds are safeguarded, you need to make sure you are on this platform. Employers must make sure that all their employees are registered on the Form 5500. This makes the work of the human resources easier as well as safeguard and ensure accountability of the worker’s benefits.

Since its inception, the ERISA Form 5500 has proved to be a great resource in making sure that employees’ benefits are safeguarded. Gone are the days when employees suffered in the hands of errant employers and insurance firms or their funds misappropriated by retirement benefits agencies. The for also serves to satisfy the annual report requirements of ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code (I.R.C.). With ERISA Form 5500, everything is on record, so you don’t need to worry. It is surely a convenient way through which employers and employees demonstrate accountability!

Does your company need Form 5500 Preparation? We are ERISA experts.

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Compliance Consulting Services Help Grow Your Business.

Compliance consulting services are a fact of life in the running of a business. Our benefit consultants group is prepared to assist you with all your compliance consulting needs. We hope you enjoy our post on how we can help grow your business.

In the market today there are many requirements that are a “must meet” so as to operate effectively, with the efficiency desired and according to law. This is also a way through which the state protects consumers from exploitation and harmful products that may otherwise find their way into stores for purchase. These laws and regulations are to be adhered to by the participants in that specific industry. This is known as compliance. Various industries have different requirements. For example, the construction industry has different requirements than the health and education industries. Failure to comply with the set regulations attracts fines and penalties or even expulsion from the industry. 

WHY A COMPANY MAY NEED COMPLIANCE CONSULTING SERVICES.

1. Get professional guidance.

Consulting firms have workers that are informed and knowledgeable on a wide variety of issues. Some of these issues may be new and complicated to digest. Matters that deal with taxes for example might be a challenge though the government requires compliance. A consulting firm will step in to give professional guidance and can help in compliance issue. Through this action, a firm is able to avoid penalties and avoid tax evasion with proper guidance.

2. Get a totally new and fresh view of adherence.

A company might have executives who know how to do what is required. On the other hand, regulations are dynamic over time. A consultant is always up-to-date with the changes and will help assist in compliance. Consulting firms can also help executives approach compliance in a more efficient way considering the nature of the industry they operate in.

3. Utilize the knowledge of ERISA lawyers.

Knowledge is power. Many consulting firms have resourceful lawyers who are deep in these matters. Since you may not have time or cannot get time to go back and learn like them, it is wise to take advantage of the knowledge they have available. The knowledge obtained will be of great importance in making tough decisions for your company.

4. Save time.

Time is an important factor in any serious organization. Time is the only resource that does not pile, once it is gone it is gone forever. Taking advantage of a consulting firm on matters of compliance is promoting specialization of labor. This way the firm can channel time use in research to carry on to more productive and profitable activities. 

5. Favorable for startup companies.

Once a company starts operation, it is naive on what or if to comply or not. Advice and guidance is needed in bounds for a start-up. Compliance consulting services can be brought on board to save the young company time and money that can be channeled to grow the company outwards and upwards.

6. Save financial resources.

Money is one of the key reasons for the opening and running of any for profit business. Compliance services will help pay for the main and most crucial areas and save money on the rest. The money saved can be utilized to boost the growth of the company.

One thing is certain, compliance is mandatory in any industry. This makes it a must do activity for your business. It can be tedious, expensive and time consuming though the results are the best kept secret in business. The services offered by a compliance consulting service group helps in this area giving adequate professional assistance and education to facilitate the process. 

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