A client reached out to us since they realized that many of their clients only had benefit booklets/certificates of insurance/evidence of coverage documents for their plans but did not have ERISA-compliant Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs) or Plan Documents. The client asked us what was the most efficient way to make sure their clients have all the ERISA-required documentation, without having to create all new SPDs/Plan Documents for each benefit plan.
We recommended that these plans create a “Wrap Document” on our PDM software. In a wrap document, multiple plans offered by an employer (i.e., medical, dental, vision, life, long-term disability, short-term disability) are combined into one plan that “wraps” all the included benefits together. An ERISA wrap document containing both health benefits and other welfare benefits only needs to file one Form 5500. Phia’s Wrap Document template on PDM is a combined Plan Document/Summary Plan Description, so it meets ERISA’s documentation requirements.
Using this wrap document option, these particular clients did not have to create new SPDs/Plan Documents for all of their ERISA benefits. In other words, they could continue to use their current documents since the wrap document met the ERISA requirements. Not only did this streamline the process for our client, but it was a cost-effective way of making sure their clients were in compliance with ERISA.