Guess what? It’s the first of the month and it’s time to for a little employer compliance shopping therapy. Grab your shopping list and let’s go! So, you add the following to your online cart: FMLA – check, ACA – check, Cobra – check, Employee Manual – check, Benefits Compliance – question mark. Hmmm... Maybe this Benefits Compliance is something I can put off until next quarter? Have you stopped to look at what you are putting at risk? Have you asked yourself why this is so crucial to have as an employer? Do you really know what Benefits Compliance is? So, let’s take a step back and research what Benefits Compliance is and how important it is to your business.
You ever have that “thing”... you know, that thing that has been looming in the back of your mind as a possibility? Whether it’s a good “thing” or a bad “thing” it’s still a “thing” that creates stress or anticipatory anxiety that keeps your mind going so much that you can’t get to sleep at night. Well, for so many businesses that thing has been healthcare reform and all these penalties everyone keeps talking about. And the time has come, because that “thing” is finally here. The 2015 reports that everyone filed (or were supposed to file), have created the first wave of IRS penalty letters which are now on their way to businesses across the country, telling them they have large penalties to pay and are out of compliance with the Affordable Care Act.
It’s common that employers aren’t sure whether their benefit plans are complying with all the applicable laws. “It’s not necessarily the plan design, deductible or what’s covered that’s the issue,” says Cheryl Cooper Perez, president of Benefit Innovations Group. “Rather, companies tend to fall out of compliance with the Affordable Care Act’s required compliance benefit notices and summary plan descriptions, all of which are documents the Department of Labor mandates and employers must deliver to employees.”
There are various notices employers are required to provide to employees on an annual basis, some at specific times, such as when a new hire is brought on board, or if there are changes to a plan design or an employer’s contribution to the plan. Missing any one of them can result in significant fines.
Smart Business spoke with Perez about managing benefit compliance to avoid costly penalties.