The Department of Labor (DOL) published final rules in 2013 under the Affordable Care Act to protect workers and employers whose health benefits are provided through Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs). The DOL has also published a new version of Form 5500 which includes a new section “Form M-1 Compliance Information” added as an attachment to the Form 5500 for the 2013 plan year.
All welfare plans required to file the Form M-1, “Report for Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs) and Certain Entities Claiming Exception (ECEs)” must now file the Form 5500 regardless of plan size or type of funding (including small unfunded or insured welfare plans). In addition, the new attachment must be filed by all welfare plans required to file a Form 5500 even if the plan is not subject to the Form M-1 filing requirement, including plans that are not MEWAs as well as plans that are MEWAs but are not required to file an M-1 because of a filing exemption.
If the Form M-1 attachment is not provided with the Form 5500, the filing may be rejected as incomplete, which could subject the plan to possible failure to file penalties. Form M-1 will be incorporated into the 2014 Form 5500 which will eliminate the attachment for subsequent years.
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