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Welfare Plans

Welfare plans (group life, medical, and disability arrangements, as well as other employer-sponsored heath and welfare benefits) are actually subject to ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, the same law that governs qualified retirement plans. Although ABP does not act in an insurance broker capacity, our years of ERISA experience allow us to provide the following services to help meet the numerous fiduciary and administrative requirements imposed by the law:

Employer-sponsored welfare plans must comply with ERISA's written plan document and employee SPD distribution requirements. Insurance company booklets, certificates of coverage, and other materials help satisfy many of these requirements. However, ERISA attorneys often recommend that a welfare "wrap" plan document and "wrap" SPD be put in place to provide required document and SPD provisions that are not included in insurer-provided materials.

ABP offers welfare wrap document and SPD preparation services to help employers fully satisfy these ERISA requirements.  These document services can also many times avoid the need to file multiple Forms 5500 for the various coverages under the welfare plan.

Employers who sponsor welfare plans may be required to file a Form 5500 Annual Report each year. The DOL has historically set the threshhold for form preparation at 100 participants.  Plans with welfare coverages that benefit more than 100 participants are required to submit this annual informational return.

ABP has extensive experience preparing annual Form 5500 returns and related Summary Annual Reports that must be distributed to employees. We have also established a process which enables us to electronically file 5500 returns on behalf of our clients to relieve them of having to do so themselves.

Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program Services

Employers who fail to timely file Form 5500 returns are subject to substantial monetary penalties from the IRS and DOL. Fortunately, the DOL has developed a voluntary compliance program that enables employers to fess up and file past due returns. When doing so, the employer must pay a monetary penalty, but that penalty is a fraction of the amount that would be imposed if the DOL detects the violation prior to receiving a Delinquent Filer application.

ABP has extensive experience navigating the DFVC program on behalf of plan sponsors who failed to submit Form 5500 returns when due. In many instances, we can help plan sponsor implement strategies that minimize the cost of preparing both past due and future Form 5500 returns.

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ABP employs a fee for service model.  We use a standard fee schedule and engage all clients with an administrative services agreement that typically identifies a flat dollar fee for each defined service. Time and charges billing applies only to unusual situations where it is not possible to precisely identify the scope of work.

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