Alert / Employee Benefits
Upcoming key compliance deadlines and reminders for third quarter 2020

June 19, 2020

As many parts of the country return to work and resume some semblance of normal operations, required reporting and disclosure deadlines for ERISA plans loom in the third quarter.

Below, you’ll find various filings due in the coming summer months that may or may not be applicable based on your plan’s characteristics. Of specific note is the July 15 extended deadline for filing Form 5500, for plans with original or extended Form 5500 deadlines falling between April 1 and July 15, 2020. The deadline to provide the associated Summary Annual Report has also been extended.

Of course, if you have questions about the applicability of certain requirements to your plan, please contact your Lockton account service team. Here are potential action items for the third quarter of 2020 (through Sept. 30).

  • July 15
    • File Form 5500 for plans with an original or extended Form 5500 filing deadline falling between April 1 and July 15, 2020.
      • Automatic extension granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Under guidance issued in April 2020, an automatic extension was granted for filing Form 5500 for certain ERISA plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All Forms 5500 due under an original or extended deadline between April 1, 2020, and July 15, 2020, are now summarily due on July 15.
    • Further, a Summary Annual Report (SAR) for plans falling under this automatic extension will now be required not earlier than Sept. 15, 2020.
  • July 30
    • Make San Francisco HCSO contributions for the prior calendar quarter.
    • Required if the employer is subject to the San Francisco Health Care Security Ordinance (HCSO) and, with respect to enrollees in a self-insured plan, is not taking advantage of the new annual calculation of self-insured expenditures allowed by the HCSO. Fully insured plan sponsors cannot use the annual true-up method.
  • July 31
    • Submit PCORI tax.
    • The PCORI tax is applicable to insured and self-funded plans, but the plan sponsor is responsible for the tax only with respect to self-funded plans. The calculation is $2.45 per covered life for plan years that ended Jan. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2019, and $2.54 per covered life for plan years that ended Oct. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2019. The payment for all plan years ending in 2019 is due July 31, 2020.
    • The fee does not apply to most “excepted benefits,” or to health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), where the HRA and associated medical plan are self-insured and have the same plan year.
    • As a reminder, the PCORI tax and filing responsibility was extended for an additional 10 years as part of year-end legislation in December 2019.
    • The PCORI tax may NOT be paid with ERISA plan assets, in most cases (there is an exception for certain multiemployer plans); it is the responsibility of the employer or plan sponsor. The tax is submitted with and reported on IRS Form 720, under Part II.
    • For more details, see our recent alert on the PCORI filing responsibility for 2020.
  • July 31
    • File Form 5500 for plan year ending Dec. 31, 2019.
      • Unless extension is obtained
    • ERISA plans with a calendar year plan year must file Form 5500 by July 31 annually, unless the plan sponsor obtains an extension.
    • This applies to all calendar-year ERISA plans, unless otherwise exempted. Filing is completed electronically through the Department of Labor’s (DOL) EFAST2 portal. More information on how to file electronically can be found here.
    • Welfare plans (other than MEWAs) that are fully insured, unfunded or a combination of both, are excused from filing if they have fewer than 100 participants covered on the first day of the ERISA plan year.
    • Form 5500 extensions are available by filing a Form 5558 with the DOL on or before the filing’s initial due date. Filing Form 5558 can allow the plan up to an additional 2 ½ months to complete the filing.
  • Sept. 30 (or Dec. 15, if Form 5500 is filed under an extension)
    • Distribute Summary Annual Report (SAR).
    • A summary of the plan’s financial performance for the previous year must be distributed to participating employees, former employees, COBRA beneficiaries and Qualified Medical Child Support Order (QMCSO) recipients within nine months of the close of that plan year.
    • The SAR requirement does not apply to self-funded plans that pay benefits exclusively from employer’s general assets, even if those assets include employee contributions, as long as the contributions are made through a Section 125 cafeteria plan.
    • SAR language is rather standard, and the disclosures may be made according to DOL’s requirements for electronic disclosure, if desired.
  • Sept. 30
    • Pay annual fee on health insurers.
    • Self-funded MEWAs must make fee payments by Sept. 30 via electronic transfer. MEWAs with $25 million or less in net written premiums for a “data year” will not owe any annual fee for the “fee year” that follows.
    • Self-funded MEWAs are rare.
  • Various
    • Provide ERISA-related notices and disclosures.
    • Federal authorities, as part of their pandemic-related guidance, have granted plan administrators leeway, where that leeway is necessary, to provide ERISA-related notices and disclosures (e.g., COBRA election packets) to plan participants and beneficiaries later than would otherwise be required, as long as the administrator provides the notices and disclosures as soon as practicable. Administrators are also granted wider latitude to provide these notices and disclosures via email or a continuously available website. See our alert for more information.
  • Various
    • Adjust various COBRA, HIPAA special enrollment, and plan claim submission and appeal due dates.
    • While not literally a reporting and disclosure issue, federal guidance requires plan administrators to suspend the running of various deadlines affecting plan participants and beneficiaries for the period from March 1, 2020, to the date that is 60 days after the president rescinds the national emergency declaration related to the coronavirus pandemic. That rescission has not yet occurred, so this “outbreak period” is still a moving target. These deadlines include initial COBRA elections, COBRA premium payments, HIPAA special enrollment applications, and deadlines related to claim and appeal submissions. See our alert for more information.


Not legal advice: Nothing in this alert should be construed as legal advice. Lockton may not be considered your legal counsel, and communications with Lockton's Compliance Services group are not privileged under the attorney-client privilege.

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