The Departments of Labor and Treasury recently released proposed regulations that would increase filing requirements for ERISA plans. Under these regulations, small plans that historically were exempt from Form 5500 filing requirements may be required to file. These revisions would apply for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2019, reported in the year 2020. Highlights of the proposed rules are found below.

  • Form 5500 reporting will soon be required by all ERISA group health plans, including those now exempt as a small unfunded, insured, or combination unfunded/insured welfare plans. This reporting will include:
    • A new Schedule J (i.e., Group Health Plan Information) that indicates the types of health benefits offered, the funding method (e.g., participant and employer contributions) and whether the plan is insured, a trust or pays benefits from the employer’s general assets. 
    • Information about grandfathered status, whether a high deductible health plan, Health Reimbursement Arrangement, or health Flexible Spending Account, financial and claims information, and list third-party administrators, stop-loss carriers and other plan service providers (e.g., mental health or substance abuse benefit managers). 
    • Questions about compliance with the Affordable Care Act, HIPAA, Mental Health Parity rules, GINA, SPD, SBC and other compliance requirements. 
    • A separate Schedule C for each service provider, including for some small plans currently exempt from filing.
    • Schedule H expanded to include questions on fee disclosures, leveraged asset acquisitions, annual fair market valuations, designated investment alternatives, investment managers, plan terminations, asset transfers, administrative expenses, uncashed participant checks, SPDs and other topics. 
    • Schedule I eliminated; small plans that currently file Schedule I would generally need to file Schedule H instead.
    • Similar changes are proposed for Form 5500-SF (currently applies to plans with fewer than 100 participants), which would no longer be available to group health plans (i.e., Form 5500-SF will only be usable by group Financial Plans).

Next Steps

All employers offering retirement and health and welfare plans should read this information and stay informed as these changes will affect all employers offering such plans. Comments, which are due by providing the detailed group health plan data required under the proposal. Comments are also requested on the feasibility of treating the filing of Form 5500 (including Schedule J) as compliance with health care reform's transparency in coverage and quality of coverage reporting requirements. The proposal also mentions IRS-only compliance questions to be added to the 2016 forms and schedules (described in an IRS proposal), along with additional IRS-only items proposed for subsequent years. Because these questions do not apply to welfare plans, the IRS seeks comments on whether to add the questions to the various forms and schedules based on subject matter or collect them on a single IRS-only schedule.

  • Begin considering how to complete this filing beginning with the 2019 plan year; whether using a third-party vendor or completing the filing in-house.
  • For more information please see:
  • Read the DOL fact sheet, which provides the intention to improve employee benefit plan reporting by requiring more detailed information on issues such as group health plan, compliance, plan investments and service provider fees.



The information herein is intended to be educational only and is based on information that is generally available. HUB International makes no representation or warranty as to its accuracy and is not obligated to update the information should it change in the future. 
The information is not intended to be legal or tax advice. Consult your attorney and/or professional advisor as to your organization’s specific circumstances and legal, tax or other requirements.