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Life Health > Health Insurance

Feds extend Form 5500 revision comment period

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The U.S. Department of Labor says it and other agencies will give members of the public until Dec. 5 to react to a Form 5500 update proposal.

Related: 3 jabs from the small-group health plan reporting fight

“Based on the requests from a range of stakeholder groups, the agencies have decided to extend the public comment period on the proposed forms revisions,” officials say in a notice set to appear tomorrow in the Federal Register.

The 5500 is to benefit plans what the Form 1040 is to households. Benefit plans use the form to report on their activities to the Labor Department and the Internal Revenue Service.

The Employee Benefits Security Administration, a Labor Department division that’s working with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. and the Internal Revenue Service on the 5500 revision project, wants to add a group health plan reporting form, Schedule J, to the 5500 packet.

EBSA wants to require all group plans, including very small group health plans, to send in Schedule Js, to give it and other health policymakers more information about the state of group health market.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that the Labor Department, not state insurance regulators, must manage any efforts to collect claim data or other data from group health plans.

EBSA published the revision proposal in the Federal Register July 21 and originally set an Oct. 4 filing deadline.

For employers that sought a routine filing extension, the filing deadline for the 2015 5500 is Oct. 15. 

The Washington-based American Council of Life Insurers and some benefits law firms wrote to say that they were too busy with issues related to the 5500 filing process and the new Labor Department fiduciary rule to prepare comments on the 5500 revision.

Some commenters asked the Labor Department and other agencies to hold a public hearing on the 5500 revision proposal, and to state that they will wait until on or after Jan. 1, 2020, to require plans to use any revised 5500 filing process. 

The Labor Department believes the request for a hearing is premature, EBSA officials say.

“The agencies will be in a better position to evaluate that issue after receiving the public comments on the proposals,” officials say.

Similarly, the agencies want to wait until they’ve seen the comments on the revision proposal to make decisions about the effective date, officials say.


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