Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter

BULLETIN
Supplement to
July 11, 2016

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Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of Proposed Revisions to Form 5500 Annual Information Return/Report Forms (PDF)
777 pages. "This document contains proposed changes to the Form 5500 Annual Return/Report forms, including the Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan ... and the Form 5500-SF, Short Form Annual Return/Report of Small Employee Benefit Plan ... The proposed revisions in this Notice reflect efforts of the [DOL], the [IRS], and the [PBGC] ... to improve employee benefit plan reporting for filers, the public, and the Agencies by modernizing financial information filed regarding plans; updating fee and expense information on plan service providers with a focus on harmonizing annual reporting requirements with the [DOL's] final disclosure requirements enhancing mineability of data filed on annual return/reports; requiring reporting by all group health plans covered by Title I of ERISA, including adding a new Schedule J (Group Health Plan Information); and improving compliance under ERISA and the Code through selected new questions regarding plan operations, service provider relationships, and financial management of the plan. These revisions, which are being proposed in conjunction with a recompete of the ERISA Filing and Acceptance System (EFAST2) contract, if adopted, generally would apply for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2019." (Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL], Internal Revenue Service [IRS], and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])  

[Official Guidance]

Text of DOL Proposed Regs: Changes to Annual Reporting and Disclosure Requirements for Employee Benefit Plans
123 pages. "The proposed amendments contained in this document would conform the DOL's reporting regulations to proposed revisions to the Form 5500 Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan and Form 5500-SF Short Form Annual Return/Report of Small Employee Benefit Plan, which are being published concurrently in today's Federal Register in a separate [777-page] Notice of Proposed Forms Revisions (NPFR) ... The revision is necessary because the annual return/report forms have not kept pace with market developments and changes in the laws covering employee benefit plans, presenting problems with outdated and missing information that negatively impact the Agencies' effective and efficient protection of employee retirement and health benefits." (Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL])  

[Guidance Overview]

Text of DOL Fact Sheet: Proposal to Modernize and Improve the Form 5500 Annual Return/Report Filed by Employee Benefit Plans (PDF)
4 pages. "The proposed form revisions and the DOL's implementing regulations together are intended to address changes in applicable law, the employee benefit plan and financial market sectors, as well as corresponding shifts in the data needed for the Agencies' enforcement priorities, policy analysis, rulemaking, compliance assistance, and educational activities.... As Form 5500 information is open to public inspection, not only would expanded data collection assist in the Agencies' research and policymaking objectives, public access to this information would enable interested private sector and other governmental stakeholders to perform data-based research or help plan sponsors, fiduciaries, and participants and beneficiaries better understand their plans and plan investments.

"The proposed revisions fall under the five broad goals to improve employee benefit plan reporting for filers, plan participants and beneficiaries, the public, and the Agencies: [1] Modernize financial reporting.... [2] Provide Greater Information Regarding Group Health Plans.... [3] Enhance Data Mineability.... [4] Improve Service Provider Fee Information.... [5] Enhance Compliance with ERISA and the Code....

"The DOL's proposed regulations would update the requirements for certifications for limited scope audits ... The proposed changes would make the certifications more detailed and informative, and enhance the DOL's ability to review limited scope audits, which cover over $3.4 trillion in plan assets. "

(Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL])  

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Releases Proposal to Improve, Modernize Form 5500 Annual Return/Report Filed by Employee Benefit Plans
DOL press release. "The proposed revisions are intended to: [1] Modernize the financial statements and investment information filed about employee benefit plans. [2] Update the reporting requirements for service provider fee and expense information. [3] Enhance accessibility and usability of data filed on the forms. [4] Require reporting by all group health plans covered by Title I of ERISA. [5] Improve compliance under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code through new questions regarding plan operations, service provider relationships, and financial management of the plan. The proposed regulations also would make improvements to the certification requirements for the limited scope audit requirements ... and allow group health plans to use the Form 5500 to satisfy certain reporting requirements in the [ACA]. The proposed changes to the DOL regulations are also needed to implement the form revisions.... Under the proposal, the form revisions would begin with the Plan Year 2019 Form 5500 series returns/reports." (Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL])  

[Guidance Overview]

Text of DOL Technical Appendix: Documentation of Methodology Used to Calculate the Burden Associated with the Proposed Form 5500 21st Century Initiative (PDF)
14 pages, dated July 21 [sic], 2016. "This technical appendix explains in detail the methodology and the data used to estimate the economic impacts of the proposal to modernize the Form 5500 and its schedules, instructions, and attachments (sometimes being referred to as the Form 5500 21st Century Initiative). It provides a general overview of the estimation process, detailed descriptions of data, basic calculation methods, and outputs. The results of estimated economic impacts are reported at the end of the appendix." (Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL])  

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
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BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9595. Copyright 2016 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. All materials contained in this newsletter are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of BenefitsLink.com, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

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