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Attention: DOL Increases Penalties for Group Health Plan Violations

Now more than ever, companies need to access their policies and processes to ensure they are compliant with state and federal regulations. Last week, the Department of Labor (DOL) increased the fines employers face if they don’t provide proper documentation to employees regarding their group healthcare plans.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has increased the penalties employers face under ERISA for group health plan reporting and disclosure failures. These new amounts apply to penalties assessed after Jan. 15, 2020, and include the following: 

  • Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC): Failure to provide group health plan participants and beneficiaries with an SBC may now result in a penalty of up to $1,176 per participant or beneficiary.
  • Employer CHIP Notice: Failure to provide a CHIP Notice to employees in states that offer group health plan premium assistance through a state Children’s Health Insurance Program may now result in a penalty of up to $119 per day per employee.
  • Summary Plan Description (SPD): Failure to furnish an SPD to the DOL upon request may now result in a penalty of up to $159 per day (not to exceed $1,594 per request).
  • Form 5500: Failure to file an annual report with the DOL (unless a filing exemption applies) may now result in a penalty of up to $2,233 per day. 

The per-day fines will really stack up quickly. To make sure you are compliant with the law, reach out to your broker, carrier or an employment law attorney. If you aren’t able to get the assistance you need, HRinDemand can help locate resources for you.

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Melissa Marsh, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is a human resources consultant and founder of HRinDemand, a human resources company in Reno, NV, offering expert guidance and easy-to-use tools to help small businesses with employment regulations, compliance, employee relations, and company growth.

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