ERISA Benefit Plan Wraps, SPDs and New ACA Mandates

Structuring and Amending Compliant Plan Wraps, SPDs and Notices

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This CLE webinar will provide counsel with a review of ERISA requirements for written plan documents and summary plan descriptions (SPDs). The panel will explain how plan sponsors and their counsel can create wrap plan and SPD documents as an effective and cost-efficient means of ensuring compliance. The panel will also address the newest revisions to the summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) mandated by the ACA for group health plans.


With a variety of health benefits to offer, plan sponsors who rely on insurance company policy or contract documents alone to meet ERISA's SPD disclosures to plan participants are at risk of falling short in meeting legal requirements.

Wrap documents are a cost-effective tool for plan sponsors that can be leveraged with an SPD to ensure ERISA compliance. A single filing can incorporate by reference all group insurance policies and contracts used to provide welfare benefits while providing explicit language clarifying the sponsor's position.

The ACA-mandated SBC, a summary of plan features like covered benefits, coverage limitations and exceptions, has recently been revised to include coverage requirements for 2014. DOL and HHS released FAQ’s on the new SBC template as well as clarification on the agencies’ position on safe harbors and enforcement.

Listen as our panel of experienced ERISA practitioners examines wraps and SPDs for ERISA welfare benefit plans. The panel will give special attention to strategies for providing cost-effective documents to plan sponsors and administrators that comply with ERISA and DOL requirements, while avoiding potential challenges from plan participants. The panel will also address the new SBC disclosure mandated by the ACA.



  1. Wrap plans and SPDs
  2. Determining if a plan triggers ERISA disclosures to participants
    1. Employee welfare benefit plans under ERISA
    2. DOL safe harbor
  3. ERISA requirements
    1. Written plan documents
    2. SPDs for plan participants
    3. Penalties for noncompliance
  4. The wrap approach
    1. Cost efficiencies
    2. What to include in wrap documents
    3. DOL model statement of rights
    4. References to other documents
  5. Ensuring consistency of plan documents
  6. Revisions to summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) for 2014
    1. Minimum essential coverage
    2. Minimum value standard
    3. Annual limits on essential health benefits


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What types of employee welfare benefit plans are subject to ERISA reporting and disclosure requirements and what are the penalties for failing to comply?
  • What information beyond what is included in insurance policies and other contract documents is included in plan wrap documents and SPDs to ensure ERISA compliance?
  • What language and provisions must be disclosed to plan participants to ensure an accurate summary of a plan that will meet SPD requirements?
  • Why should plan sponsors be mindful of the Supreme Court's Amara ruling when it comes to ensuring consistency among plan documents?
  • What are the key distinctions between SPDs and SBCs?

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


Jennifer Kobayashi
Jennifer Kobayashi

Wang Kobayashi Austin

Ms. Kobayashi practices in the area of employee benefits and executive compensation. She has experience in a...  |  Read More

Stephen F. Herbes
Stephen F. Herbes
Assistant General Counsel
1199SEIU National Benefit & Pension Funds

Prior to his current position, Mr. Herbes practiced law at several large international firms where he counseled...  |  Read More

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