DOL Health & Welfare Plan Audit Response and Protection: Reducing Risk Exposure to Avoid Costly Penalties

Recording of a 110-minute CPE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Recorded event now available

This webinar will provide employee benefits accounting and tax professionals with a thorough and practical guide to preparing responses for a Department of Labor (DOL) investigative audit of a company’s health and welfare plan. The panel will discuss required documentation and procedures for submittal to the Department in response to audit correspondence, and will offer useful tools to help make your firm’s health and other benefit plans “audit-ready.”


The Department of Labor (DOL) is substantially increasing the number of ERISA health and welfare plan audits of employers of all sizes. The increased investigation activity presents a heightened compliance burden on small and medium-sized employers, and employee benefits advisers must be proactive in ensuring their firms are audit ready.

DOL audits subject employers to burdensome documentation demands, intrusive investigations and disruptive on-site inspections. DOL audit letters typically seek documentation of health and benefit plan compliance with the ACA, MHPAEA, HIPAA, COBRA and other ERISA requirements. DOL audits can also attract IRS scrutiny.

Penalties due to deficiencies discovered in DOL audits can be steep. One survey found that nearly one-third of all health and welfare plan audits resulted in penalties in excess of $10,000 per examination. Employee benefits accountants and advisers must evaluate and anticipate audit risks and preemptively remedy potential defects to avoid painful and expensive assessments.

Listen as our experienced panel provides a practical guide to proactively managing the document process to effectively respond to a DOL health and welfare plan audit.


  1. DOL health and welfare audit correspondence process
  2. Typical documentation requested in DOL correspondence
  3. Making plans audit ready
  4. Penalties and fines


The panel will discuss these and other important topics:

  • What documents will an employer be required to provide in a DOL audit investigation?
  • What are the triggers for a DOL audit?
  • What are the first steps an employee benefits professional should take upon receiving a DOL audit letter?
  • What key provisions should employee benefits advisers monitor regularly and review prior to responding to a DOL audit notification?

Learning Objectives

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Recognize and correct serious but common mistakes that lead to 401(k) audits by the DOL
  • Discern plan operational errors
  • Determine whether plans pass the basic DOL testing requirements
  • Identify documents an employer may be required to disclose during a DOL audit


Erin A. Kartheiser, Partner
McDermott Will & Emery, Chicago

Ms. Kartheiser represents numerous large corporations, both public and private, in connection with their full range of employee benefit matters, including retirement plans, health and welfare benefits, fiduciary guidance, employee benefit-related tax and securities issues, executive compensation and ERISA litigation. She also has extensive experience representing employers in the negotiation of trustee, third party administrator, recordkeeper and other outside vendor agreements.

Joanna C. Kerpen, Partner
McDermott Will & Emery, Washington, D.C.

Mrs. Kerpen focuses her practice on a variety of employee benefits tax and ERISA matters related to 401(k) plans, pension plans, health and welfare plans, and executive compensation plans, including designing, amending and administering such plans. She has extensive experience with PPACA compliance as with HIPAA and various other federal and state laws relevant to health and welfare plans.

Sarah G. Raaii
McDermott Will & Emery, Chicago

Ms. Raaii focuses her practice on employee benefits matters. She previously worked with in-house attorneys and federal and state lobbyists at an international financial services corporation. When she was selected as a National Economic Council legal intern at the White House, she worked on benefits regulation and policy. 

EA Credit

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EA Processing $5.00


Recorded Event

Includes full event recording plus handouts.

Note: Self-study CPE and EA credits are not offered on recorded events.

Recorded Webinar Download $147.00

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Program Materials

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Program Materials

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EA Credit

Strafford is an IRS approved continuing education provider and this course is approved for 2 enrolled agent (EA) credit hours.

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Customer Reviews

I liked the concentration on specific issues and examples.

Edita Rimalovsky

Komisar Brady & Co.

Excellent seminar! It was efficient and the important topics were covered at just the right pace; no time was wasted covering information that the participants already knew.

Rhonda G. Williams, CPA

Barraclough & Associates

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Joanna Johnston

Savas Greene & Company

I appreciated the flow of the information offered and the ease at which I could follow the handouts.

Larry Bruck

WISS & Company

I loved the tools and handouts. Every CPE class should offer these kind of tools.

Jackie Meyer

Sample and Bailey

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Accounting Advisory Board

Bill Allen


Making Auditors Proficient

Alicia Dias

Audit Manager


Richard H. Gesseck



Neil Goldenberg

CFO Advisor


Greg Goller

Partner-in-Charge, Non-Profit Tax Practice

Grant Thornton

Lynford Graham, CPA

Professor of Accounting

Bentley University

Joe Kristan


Roth & Co. CPAs

Steven J. Luber

Senior Manager


Gary O'Krent


Bluestein O'Krent & Bluestein

Curtis Reinhart


Ernst & Young

Celia Roady

Tax Partner

Morgan Lewis

Charles (Chip) Schweiger


PKF Texas

Chris Stanz

Principal, Non-Profit and Government Practice


Alan Strand


Strand and Associates

Danielle Thompson

Director of Business Development

Insight Accounting Group

or call 1-800-926-7926

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