Health and Welfare Plans
There are many types of health and welfare plans that can be sponsored by either a single employer or are established through collective bargaining agreements (commonly referred to as Taft-Hartley Plans) or multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAS).
The most common benefits that ERISA plans provide include:
- Medical Dental, and Vision
- Life Insurance, Accidental Death and Disbursement
- Disability Benefits
- Apprenticeship Benefits, and in certain circumstances,
- Severance and Vacation Benefits
Because ERISA imposes complex responsibilities and restrictions on Fiduciaries of employee benefit plans, it is important that you seek a professional expert in this area. If you are a Plan Sponsor or a Trustee of a Health and Welfare Plan you have a fiduciary responsibility to the participants, and you can be held personally for not keeping in compliance with all ERISA and all regulations of the governing bodies. In the case of health plans fiduciaries need to ensure that plans are in compliance with COBRA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Whether a Plan Sponsor or Plan Trustees are voluntarily seeking professional advice on their Plan or a Plan Sponsor or Plan Trustee is instructed to do so by a government agency this is when a consultant with expertise in this area is hired. If you are a Plan Sponsor or a Trustee of an ERISA covered Plan it would be in your best interests to engage an ERISA consultant for Fiduciary Audits and Compliance Reviews in order to prevent violations of the Health & Welfare Plan before they occur. Violations in these Plans can be extremely costly to the Plan Sponsor and/or Trustees of the Plan. ERISA Compliance Consultant Specialists can be engaged and retained for the following type of services:
- Review Operating Agreements and Administrative Contracts of Service Providers and make recommendations regarding fees and operation efficiencies;
- Determination of administrative expense policies for reimbursement of trustee expenses
- Review Plan Expense Policies designed for the Operation of Taft-Hartley Apprenticeship Plans
- Review Administrative Agreements for Third-Party Administration Services
- Review commission structures that a MEWA pays to Insurance Agents
- Act as an Independent Third Party between the Plan Sponsor, Plan Trustees, and the DOL when violations occur.
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