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ERISA Plans


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Guest benefitsanalyst

Which employee benefit plans are subject to ERISA if the employer only has 25 employees? LTD? STD? Medical, dental, vision? Life insurance? 401k? Health Care FSAs?

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I'm a retirement actuary. Nothing about my comments is intended or should be construed as investment, tax, legal or accounting advice. Occasionally, but not all the time, it might be reasonable to interpret my comments as actuarial or consulting advice.

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  • 5 years later...
Guest ERISA Pros

EMPLOYER SPONSORED* ERISA BENEFITS

(WHETHER INSURED OR SELF-INSURED)

• Health/Medical Plans

• Group Term Life Insurance Plans

• Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance Plans

• Dental Plans

• Long Term Disability Plans

• Short Term Disability Plans(other than a "payroll practice"**)

• Prescription Drug Plans (separate from Health & Medical plans)

• Vision Plans (separate from Health & Medical Plans)

• Business Travel Accident Plans

• Employee Assistance Plans (EAPs)

• Health/Medical Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)

• Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs)

• Executive Medical Reimbursement Plans

• Wellness Programs (If Medical Care is Offered)

• Long Term Care Plans

• Prepaid Group Legal Plans

• Voluntary Plans Subject to ERISA***

• Retiree Medical Plans

• Severance Pay Plans**

• Unemployment Benefit Plans

• Vacation Plans

• Apprenticeship or other Training Plans

• Daycare Assistance Plans

• Scholarship Plans

• Holiday Plans

• Housing Assistance Plans

• 419A(f)(6) and 419(e) Welfare Benefit Plans

• Split Dollar Life Insurance Plans

• One Employee Plans

* “Employer Sponsored” means: 1) the employer contributes to the cost, 2) participation in the coverage is not voluntary, OR 3) the employer endorses or recommends the plan. Plans that are not Employer Sponsored are generally not ERISA plans. Plans that are not Employer Sponsored are not ERISA Plans.

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

• as a "normal payroll practice,"

• to currently employed individuals (i.e., not retirees, COBRA Participants, or dependants),

• without prefunding or using insurance, and

• entirely from the employer's general assets, AND

• without employee contributions.

*** 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 destroy 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 employer activities do NOT constitute endorsement:

• Permitting insurer to publicize the Plan

• Collecting premiums by payroll deduction

• Remitting premiums to insurer

The following employer activities MAY constitute endorsement:

• Selecting insurer

• Negotiating Plan terms/linking coverage to employee status

• Using employer's name/associating plan with other employee Plans

• Recommending Plan to employees

• Saying ERISA applies

• Doing more than permitted payroll deductions

• Allowing use of employer Cafeteria Plan

• Assisting employee with claims or disputes

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