How can an employer be prepared for a Department of Labor audit of its benefit plan?
Minneapolis attorney Monica Kelley, specialist in advising employers on employee benefits packages, explains how employers can get ready for DOL audits of benefit plans.
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Since employer sponsored plans, for the most part, are subject to ERISA and the Department of Labor has jurisdiction over them, then the Department of Labor can come in and audit your plan at any time that it chooses. We have seen an uptick in Department of Labor audits of health plans and the Department of Labor has specifically announced that it intends to audit more health plans. Part of this is about healthcare reform. So the things that you can do to be sure that you’re ready for an audit – and this can happen to anyone a large employer or a small, big plan or little – the things you can do to be ready are to have your documentation in place. And I can’t tell you how many times I see employers that have the certificate of coverage for the insurance but they don’t have the disclosures that are required to employees. So make sure that you bring your documentation and your disclosures up to snuff under ERISA in advance of getting a Department of Labor audit request.
Another thing is to make sure you keep records of everything that you do so when an employee accepts or declines coverage, keep a record of it. When you offer coverage to dependents, keep a record of it, those kinds of things.