Employer Information You'll Need

Compliance issues are very date-driven and revolve around this abstract concept of a "plan." Providing real value to your clients requires specific information:

  • Which benefits types are provided under what plans;
  • The plan year date span for the prior completed plan year, current plan year and next upcoming plan year; 
  • Approximate open enrollment dates associated with each of those plan years; 
  • The benefit types and coverages are provided under that plan; and
  • The original effective date of the plan (not an individual policy or benefit)

Because compliance events arise out of plans, rather than individual policies or benefits, you'll need to know about all benefits provided under a given plan, even benefits that you aren't the broker of record for and benefits that don't typically don't pay commissions like healthcare FSAs, HRAs, HSA contribution vehicles, etc.

Where You Might Find It

You'll want to have these details at your fingertips to make employer on-boarding a smooth process. Here are some common, good-quality sources of this information that you may want to have handy before creating an employer's benefit plan:

  1. Employer biographical information and benefit information screens from your agency management software.
  2. Most recently filed Form 5500, if the employer files one or more 5500s for its various benefits.
  3. Most recent open enrollment guide—that is, the guide that describes the current year's benefits.
  4. The open enrollment guide for last year's benefits—that is, two open enrollments ago.

What is the "Original Effective Date"?

If there is a Form 5500 on file with the US Department of Labor (which you can search here), it will contain the original effective date for the plan. If there's not, then you first need to figure out how many plans there are. (Here's a great article and video about figuring out how many plans there are.) For each plan, the employer will need to supply you with the first—that is, the earliest—date in the history of that company that it offered any of the benefits in that plan, regardless of who brokered the benefit or who the insurance carrier or TPA was.

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