Essential ERISA Compliance Checklist for Employers

ERISA compliance checklist

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) sets standards for retirement and health benefit plans offered by employers in the private sector. Compliance with ERISA regulations is crucial to protect both employers and employees and to ensure the smooth operation of benefit programs. Below we call out a few of the topics contained in our BASIC ERISA compliance checklist for employers to help navigate the complexities of benefits administration effectively. Link to full list will follow.

ERISA Compliance Checklist for Employers

1. Plan Documentation

Maintain written plan documents for all employee benefit plans subject to ERISA. Ensure plan documents contain essential information, such as plan eligibility criteria, benefits provided, funding mechanisms, and claims procedures.

2. Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs):

Provide SPDs to plan participants, summarizing key plan terms and conditions in an understandable manner. Distribute SPDs to eligible employees within 90 days of enrollment in the plan and to new employees within 90 days of their eligibility to participate.

3. Fiduciary Responsibilities:

Identify and appoint fiduciaries responsible for managing and overseeing benefit plans. Prudently select and monitor service providers, such as plan administrators and investment managers, to ensure they act in the best interest of plan participants.

4. Reporting and Disclosure Requirements:

File Form 5500 annually with the Department of Labor (DOL) for each ERISA-covered plan. Provide participants with certain disclosures, including annual funding notices, summary annual reports, and notices of material modifications.

5. Participant Rights:

Communicate participants’ rights under the plan, including the right to receive benefits, file claims and appeals, and access plan information. Establish procedures for handling claims and appeals in a timely and fair manner, consistent with ERISA guidelines.

6. COBRA Compliance:

Comply with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requirements for offering continuation coverage to qualified beneficiaries upon certain qualifying events. Provide timely and accurate COBRA notices to eligible individuals, informing them of their rights to continue health coverage.

7. HIPAA Privacy and Security:

Protect the privacy and security of protected health information (PHI) in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Implement safeguards to prevent unauthorized access to PHI and maintain confidentiality in accordance with HIPAA regulations.

As you can see, even this simple overview of employer responsibilities regarding ERISA is quite complex. Have you filled out BASIC’s official ERISA checklist to determine if you’re in compliance?

BASIC ERISA Essentials

For any employers required to comply with ERISA, BASIC is here to make life easier. We offer peace of mind in the form of compliance with all rules and regulations, as well as relieving the tremendous time and stress burden on HR departments stemming from complying with ERISA. To protect your organization and remain compliant with the law, check out BASIC ERISA Essentials which can ensure you satisfy your ERISA obligations. Request a proposal today!