Increase in Department of Labor audit activities

As we start the New Year, I want to alert you to a trend I see developing in the Employee Benefits Security Administration at the Department of Labor (DOL). The government is on a hunt for money to pay for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and, while the fines from the ACA don’t fully kick in for another couple years, there is one law that applies to all health plans and that has been largely ignored by employers and the DOL — until now. Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) applies to every employer that offers a group health plan, regardless of size, and the DOL knows that almost all employers are non-compliant. We have seen more audits in the last 2 years than over the previous 26 years. This anecdotal experience seems to be supported by the reports that the DOL is hiring a large number of new agents. Continued…