Welfare and Pension Reports: What you need to know

What do employers need to consider regarding welfare and pension reports? The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) provides extensive reporting and disclosure and other administrative requirements for employee benefit plans. The law and regulations also provide for numerous exemptions from the various requirements.
Additional disclosure requirements apply to health plans. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) added many additional reporting, disclosure, and notice requirements for health plans and insurers, including additional internal and external appeal requirements for health insurers and group health plans.
There are other laws that concern employers. They must also consider the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage provisions that impose reporting and disclosure requirements on health plans that cover Medicare-eligible individuals. Additionally, the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) added new reporting and notice requirements.
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ERISA has extensive reporting and disclosure requirements for pension, profit-sharing, stock bonus plans, and most “welfare plans” (i.e., health care, life insurance, prepaid legal services, disability insurance). Forms and documents may have to be filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of Labor (DOL), and the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC). Others go directly to plan participants.
In general, ERISA “preempts” (i.e., overrides) state law. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. ERISA does not supersede state insurance laws, so group health and life insurance plans are subject to state insurance mandates. Self-insured plans are exempt from state regulation.
The DOL is authorized to grant partial and complete exemptions from ERISA's reporting and disclosure requirements. For example, welfare plans with fewer than 100 participants that are unfunded (paid out of general company funds and not a separate trust fund) or paid through insurance contracts are exempted from most filing and reporting requirements (but not the summary plan description (SPD) requirement) (

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