Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements

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Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements. That’s a mouthful. Here are the rules.

Overview

Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs) are established for the purpose of offering health coverage and other benefits to the employees of two or more employers (including self-employed individuals). MEWAs are typically marketed to small employers as a low-cost alternative to traditional forms of health insurance. MEWAs do not include plans determined by the Secretary of Labor to be collectively bargained.

Although MEWAs that are properly operated can provide an option for small employers seeking affordable employee health coverage, many have deployed abusive and fraudulent practices and become financially unstable, resulting in too many cases in which MEWAs have failed to pay claims.

The Affordable Care Act amended ERISA to require MEWAs to register with the Secretary prior to operating in a State. This new registration enhances the existing reporting rules to require all MEWAs as well as certain other entities that offer or provide health benefits to the employees of two or more employers to register with the Department via the Form M-1. These proposed changes would also require MEWAs that are ERISA plans which are subject to the Form M-1 filing requirements to also file a Form 5500 Annual Return/Report, regardless of plan size. These new rules will allow the Department to collect certain custodial and financial information on these entities and assist with identifying abusive and fraudulent MEWAs before they harm small employers and participants.

The Affordable Care Act also amended ERISA to authorize the Secretary to issue a cease and desist order when it appears that conduct of the MEWA is fraudulent, or creates an immediate danger to the public safety or welfare, or is causing or can be reasonably expected to cause significant, imminent, and irreparable public injury.

Source: DOL Fact Sheet “Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements: Affordable Care Act Proposed Regulations”

Regulations and Guidance

Filings Required of Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements and Certain Other Related Entities – Final Rule
This document contains final rules under Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) that implement reporting requirements for multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs) and certain other entities that offer or provide benefits that consist of medical care (within the meaning of section 733(a)(2) of ERISA and 29 CFR 2590.701-2) for employees of two or more employers. (03/01/2013)
Ex Parte Cease and Desist and Summary Seizure Orders – Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements – Final Rule
This document contains two final rules. The first regulation establishes the procedures for the Secretary to issue ex parte cease and desist orders and summary seizure orders with respect to fraudulent or insolvent MEWAs. The second regulation
establishes the procedures for use by administrative law judges and the Secretary when a MEWA or other person challenges a temporary cease and desist order. (03/01/2013)
Notice of 2012 Form M-1 Revisions and Availability
This document announces revisions to the Form M-1, Report for Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs) and Certain Entities Claiming Exception (ECEs), and its availability. The revised form is substantively different from previous versions of the Form M-1. (03/01/2013)
Notice of adoption of revisions to Annual Return/Report Forms
This document contains revisions to the Form 5500 Annual Return/Report filed by administrators of certain employee welfare benefit plans that are required to comply with the Form M-1 reporting requirements of 29 CFR 2520.101-2. The revisions are intended to enhance the Department of Labor’s ability to enforce the Form M-1 reporting requirements. (03/01/2013)
Fact Sheet: Final ACA Regulations Relating to MEWAs
Fact sheet about the final rules relating to reporting requirements for multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs) and entities claiming exception (ECEs) and the additional enforcement authority to crack down on fraudulent health plans. (02/28/2013)
Form M-1 Online Filing System
The Form M-1 is an annual report that must be filed by Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs).
An Analysis of 2007-2009 Filings of Form M-1
This report analyzes 2007-2009 filings of Form M-1, “Report for Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs) and Certain Entities Claiming Exception (ECEs)” (“Form M-1”). MEWAs provide health or other welfare benefits to employees of two or more employers that are not part of a collective bargaining agreement, whereas ECEs are based on collective bargaining agreements. Form M-1 filings are submitted by MEWAs/ECEs that provide health benefits, possibly along with other welfare benefits. (08/17/2012)
News Release
“US Labor Department issues final rules for multiple employer health care arrangements: New enforcement tools, streamlined reporting and disclosure to ensure security of health care coverage for consumers” (02/28/2013)
Proposed Rule on Ex Parte Cease and Desist and Summary Seizure Orders: Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements | Public Comments
This document contains two proposed rules under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to facilitate implementation of new enforcement authority provided to the Secretary of Labor by the Affordable Care Act. (12/06/2011)
Proposed Rule on Filings Required of Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements and Certain Other Related Entities | Public Comments
This document contains a proposed rule under title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) that, upon adoption, would implement reporting requirements for multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs) and certain other entities that offer or provide health benefits for employees of two or more employers. (12/06/2011)
Notice of Proposed Revision of Annual Information Return/Report | Public Comments
This document contains proposed revisions to the Form 5500 Annual Return/Report filed by administrators of employee benefit plans. The proposed revisions are intended to enhance the Department of Labor’s ability to enforce the reporting requirements for multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs) under Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA). (12/06/2011)
Notice of Proposed Revision of the Form M-1
This document announces proposed revisions to the Form M-1, Report for Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs) and Certain
Entities Claiming Exception (ECEs). (12/06/2011)
Proposed Form M-1 Revisions
EBSA intends to revise the Form M-1 and instructions. Interested parties can view (or download for later viewing or printing) the proposed Form M-1 and instructions. The Department is interested in comments on all aspects of the proposed Form and instructions. (12/06/2011)
Fact Sheet
Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements: ACA Regulations (12/05/2011)
News Release
“US Labor Department proposes rules under Affordable Care Act to crack down on health care fraud, protect workers and small businesses. New rules to help prevent multiple employer welfare arrangements from defrauding consumers.” (12/05/2011)

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