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New Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Form 5500

Jan 15, 2009

New Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Form 5500
Rules for Reporting Gifts and Entertainment Expenses


For plan years beginning Jan. 1, 2009 and after, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is requiring employee benefit plans to include the value of meals, gifts, sporting event tickets and similar items provided by insurers and service providers to brokers and consultants on 5500 Schedule A and C filings. This is in addition to the monetary commission and bonus/override compensation currently reported on these schedules. This rule applies to both fully insured and ASO ERISA plans with 100 or more participants.

As the insurer or administrative service provider to these plans, Anthem Blue Cross is required to track and report this information to the plan administrators in a timely manner so they can complete the schedules. The new DOL guidance asks plan administrators to report employee benefit plans that fail to provide information necessary for the plan administrator to file Form 5500 and required schedules. Therefore, Anthem Blue Cross is reviewing their options for capturing, allocating and reporting these compensation items to their clients.

The following is a high-level comparison of the rules:
  • Report value of occasional meals, gifts and entertainment valued at $10 or more, if the total value of items equals at least $100 per person in a calendar year. 
  • Report individual items valued at $50 or more regardless of whether the $100 annual value is met.
Realizing that the disclosure of this information may have an effect on your client relationships, Anthem Blue Cross wants you to be aware of the new requirements so you can plan for 2009. In the coming weeks, Anthem Blue Cross will provide additional details about how they plan to implement these new reporting requirements rules along with any changes to their business practices that may be necessary due to these changes.

For the specific instructions concerning meals, gifts and entertainment, please see the EBSA Notices issued by the Department of Labor. Click on the PDF link near the top and go to page 64823 (the bottom of column 1 and the top of column 2).
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