Workspan Daily |

Benefits Deadlines to Keep an Eye on in Q3

As a tumultuous second quarter winds down, there are various benefit plan deadlines on the horizon that organizations need to be aware of.


The most pressing filing deadline occurs on July 15 for Form 5500 for plans with original or extended Form 5500 deadlines falling between April 1 and July 15. The deadline was extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The deadline to provide the associated “Summary Annual Report” was extended to Sept. 15.

On July 31, employers with insured and self-funded plans must submit Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) tax. The calculation is $2.45 per covered life for plan years that ended Jan. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2019, and $2.54 per covered life for plan years that ended Oct. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2019. The payment for all plan years ending in 2019 is due July 31, 2020.

The fee does not apply to most “excepted benefits,” or to health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), where the HRA and associated medical plan are self-insured and have the same plan year. The PCORI tax and filing responsibility was extended for an additional 10 years as part of year-end legislation in Dec. 2019.

“The PCORI tax may not be paid with ERISA plan assets, in most cases (there is an exception for certain multiemployer plans); it is the responsibility of the employer or plan sponsor,” writes Ethan McWilliams, senior compliance analyst at Lockton Companies. “The tax is submitted with and reported on IRS Form 720, under Part II.”

Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plans with a calendar year plan ending Dec. 31, 2019 must file Form 5500 by July 31, unless the plan sponsor obtains an extension. This applies to all calendar-year ERISA plans, unless otherwise exempted. Filing is completed electronically through the Department of Labor’s (DOL) EFAST2 portal. More information on how to file electronically can be found here.

Welfare plans (other than MEWAs) that are fully insured, unfunded or a combination of both, are excused from filing if they have fewer than 100 participants covered on the first day of the ERISA plan year. Form 5500 extensions are available by filing a Form 5558 with the DOL on or before the filing’s initial due date. Filing Form 5558 can allow the plan up to an additional two and a half months to complete the filing.

On Sept. 30, a summary of the plan’s financial performance for the previous year must be distributed to participating employees, former employees, COBRA beneficiaries and Qualified Medical Child Support Order (QMCSO) recipients within nine months of the close of that plan year. The Summary Annual Report (SAR) requirement does not apply to self-funded plans that pay benefits exclusively from employer’s general assets, even if those assets include employee contributions, as long as the contributions are made through a Section 125 cafeteria plan.

“SAR language is rather standard, and the disclosures may be made according to DOL’s requirements for electronic disclosure, if desired,” wrote McWilliams.

Lastly, self-funded MEWAs must make fee payments by Sept. 30 via electronic transfer. MEWAs with $25 million or less in net written premiums for a “data year” will not owe any annual fee for the “fee year” that follows.

About the Author

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Brett Christie is the managing editor of Workspan Daily.

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