Most welfare and health benefits are subject to ERISA reporting requirements. This includes distributing a summary plan description to participants that describe the plan's terms and filing an annual Form 55500 for each benefit.
Employers can combine multiple benefits into a Wrap Plan. This allows them to file one Form 5500 for all benefits, and keep one plan document. You may need to request certain documents from your employer. The best SPD/WRAP document will be provided by the plan administrator.
The plan administrator is legally obligated to provide the SPD to participants. Employers risk employee litigation if they do not have an SPD or have one that is inadequate.
Insurers provide booklets and certificates that do not include the required language to meet the ERISA SPD requirements. They also cannot act as standalone plan documents.
Wrap documents that contain the ERISA-required language can satisfy the SPD requirement and act as a plan document. It will also include the certificates and booklets for each benefit.
Employees should know which documents they can access as part of their retirement plans. It should include the plan's name, IRS-assigned number, and employer's address. The plan administrator's contact information and name must be included.
These documents are vital and can be viewed by pension fund participants by asking in writing or paying a small amount.