As you probably already know, many types of group benefit plans are subject to the Employee Retirement Security Income Act (ERISA). This means that as an employer, you must take care to comply with certain regulations set forth by the law. Yes, this creates more work for you, but solutions do exist that can simplify the process.
First, who is subject to ERISA? Almost all organizations that provide certain types of group benefit plans are subject to the law. Churches and government employers are exempt, but almost everyone else must comply with ERISA regulations.
Which types of group benefit plans are subject to ERISA? ERISA regulation applys to group healthcare plans, vision plans, dental plans, health savings accounts, flexible spending accounts, and health reimbursement arrangements. Certain other types of group benefit plans are not subject to the law, however. Those include cafeteria plans, premium-only plans, section 125 plans, premium conversion plans, pre-tax premium plans, and some others. Talk to your business planning attorney or your group benefits plan administrator to determine whether you are required to comply with ERISA regulations.
And, any plan that would normally be exempt from ERISA rules will become subject to them if your company appears to endorse it in any way (such as putting your company name or logo on brochures distributed to employees).
Now, what does ERISA require you to do? You must provide each participant your group benefits plan with a Summary Plan Description. This document outlines each participant’s rights and obligations, as well as a description of plan benefits. You must provide the SPD to each participant within 90 days of their eligibility to participate.
An ERISA Wrap simplifies this process. As you might imagine, providing the correct legal disclosures for each benefits plan can be time-consuming and complicated. An ERISA Wrap consists of one document which outlines all plans, rights, and required disclosures, providing you with one simple document that you can easily distribute to every employee.
Essentially, an ERISA Wrap helps you to meet legal requirements in a more convenient way. Contact our group benefits professionals for more information on an ERISA Wrap, and we can help you with a document that meets your needs.