Wrangle has been closely monitoring to make sure we bring you what you need to know related to the Form 5500s and Plan Documents. Please see below for the latest high-level synopsis and an update on the transparency for agreements with brokers.
For the Summary Annual Report (SAR) Deadline for Form 5500s:
Under normal circumstances, the SAR is due two months following the Form 5500 deadline. With COVID-19, there is an exception.
President Biden proclaimed that the national emergency due to COVID-19 will continue (in his letter addressed on February 24, 2021). With this in place, the deadlines for the Summary Annual Report (SAR) continue until 60 days after the announcement of the end of the COVID-19 national emergency.
However, the DOL encourages a good faith effort to meet the original due date. They also recommend the use of electronic alternative means of communicating with plan participants and beneficiaries, who the plan fiduciary reasonably believes have effective access to electronic means of communication.
Wrangle will continue to monitor and bring updates to your attention.
There are a couple of recent developments.
EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2021-01
The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) released the EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2021-01, which provided a new outlook on the deadline extension for various notices and disclosures to follow in connection to the Outbreak period. In a nutshell, Plan Administrators need to look at the deadlines on an individual basis for various notices such as the COBRA Notice, special enrollment, etc.
The extension applies to a period for individual actions “required or permitted” from the date the individual action would otherwise have been required or permitted.
As a result, Wrangle’s Plan Document and SPD have the following amended wording:
In accordance with federal guidance, when determining the deadline for any of the following participant actions, the Plan Administrator shall disregard the earlier of 1) one year from the date the deadline would have begun running for an individual; or 2) until 60 days after the announced end of the COVID-19 National Emergency or such other date announced by the Agencies in any future notice (“Outbreak Period”).
Notice 2021-15 extends midyear election changes to group health plans taking pretax contributions. As a result, the POP Plan Document may opt to take any of the following actions for plan years ending in 2021 (for Wrangle, we do list the permissible election changes in the SPD for the Plan Participants):
- Make a new election on a prospective basis, if the employee initially declined to elect employer-sponsored health coverage
- Revoke an existing election and make a new election to enroll in different health coverage sponsored by the same employer on a prospective basis (including single and family coverage)
- Revoke an existing election on a prospective basis, provided that the employee attests in writing that the employee is enrolled, or immediately will enroll, in other health coverage not sponsored by the employer
American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 – COBRA Subsidies
The Act grants eligible individuals and families through September 31, 2021 for COBRA subsidies. Wrangle’s SPD will have the temporary language in place.
Wrangle is currently placing on hold the review and analysis of the transparency rule announced in December 2020. There are two reasons for this decision:
- President Biden halted any regulations finalized in President Trump’s last days to review. We want to wait and see if the Biden Administration plans to roll out the various regulations and see if any changes would be first put into effect.
- ERISA attorneys suspect that litigation may develop as further means to halt this transparency rule coming to light.
These are challenging times for those in the employee benefits world. Wrangle fully recognizes and admires all of those who without hesitation roll up their sleeves to tackle what comes into play each day. Those in the benefits world are truly exceptional people.
These are certainly challenging times to keep up the pace. If you have any questions feel free to contact Ann McAdam with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.