Basics of Employee Benefits Administration Course Outline

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The administration of employee benefit plans is no easy task. Administrators, managers and directors are tasked with multiple priorities: maintaining affordable and valuable benefit programs for their employees, keeping their plans compliant with applicable benefit laws, and ensuring the security and integrity of their data. These priorities are made even more complicated with ever-changing economic and legislative landscapes. 

The Basics of Employee Benefit Plan Administration course gives attendees not only the foundation of plan design and administration that will guide them throughout their benefits career but also provides regulatory updates to keep attendees current with legislation and plan compliance deadlines.

Applicable to administrators of small or large companies, health-focused or retirement-focused professionals, and newcomers and veterans of the benefits field, this course will help attendees focus on how to retain compliance while strategizing on juggling those competing priorities.

Day 1

  1. Introduction
  2. The Foundation: Core Laws
    1. Terminology
    2. Government oversight and compliance
      1. IRS—Tax and penalty implications
      2. DOL—ERISA 
      3. EBSA
      4. HHS—Medicare/Medicaid
      5. SEC—Retirement plans
      6. Regulations and reporting
    3. Section 125
    4. Affordable Care Act (ACA)
      1. Compliance
      2. Play or pay
      3. Applicable large employer (ALE)
      4. Employer shared responsibility
      5. Grandfathered plans
      6. ACA reporting
      7. Individual coverage HRA (ICHRA)
    5. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
      1. Provisions
      2. ADA vs. FMLA
      3. ADA Amendments Act
    6. Children’s Health Insurance Program and Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA)
    7. Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
      1. Eligibility
      2. Duration
      3. Payments and notices
      4. Termination and penalties
    8. Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
      1. Basics
      2. Employee welfare benefit plan
      3. Employee pension benefit plan
      4. Plan administrator
      5. Common plan mistakes
      6. Reporting and disclosure
      7. Form 5500
      8. Summary of benefits and coverage (SBC)
    9. Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)
    10. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
      1. Eligible employer
      2. Eligible employee
      3. FMLA protections
    11. Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
    12. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
      1. Privacy and security rules
      2. Protected health information (PHI)
      3. Complaints and enforcement
      4. Audits and penalties
    13. Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA)
    14. Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act (NMHPA)
    15. Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Relief Act (USERRA)
    16. Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) 
  3. Framework: Health and Welfare
    1. Strategies and governance
    2. Organizational structure
    3. Plan oversight
    4. Globalization
    5. Communications
    6. Employee experience
    7. Processes and procedures
    8. Data administration
      1. Total benefits outsourcing
      2. Vendor management
      3. Cyber risks of outsourcing
    9. Financial issues in employee benefits administration
      1. Return on investment (ROI)
      2. Forecasting and budgeting
      3. Measurement of ROI
      4. Risk management
      5. Fraud and theft
      6. Audits
      7. Dependent eligibility
  4. Wellness and Well-Being
    1. Wellness programs
    2. Wellness trends
    3. Wellness program ROI
  5. Current Events
    1. COVID-19
    2. American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

Day 2

  1. Framework: Retirement
    1. Retirement savings plans
      1. Types of plans
      2. Individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
      3. Defined contribution (DC) plans
        1. Minimum participation rules
        2. Plan limits
        3. Plan qualification
        4. Nondiscrimination testing
        5. Vesting
        6. Distributions
        7. 401(k) major issues
        8. 401(k) automatic enrollment
        9. Contribution formulas and limits
        10. Target-date funds (TDFs)
        11. Common plan mistakes
        12. Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS)
      4.  Defined benefit (DB) plans
      5.  Retirement committee
      6.  Fiduciary responsibilities and duties
        1. Fiduciary responsibilities
        2. Types of fiduciaries
        3. Fiduciary duties
        4. Prudent person rule
        5. Exclusive benefit rule
        6. Diversification rule
        7. Plan document rule
        8. Reasonable plan expenses rule
        9. Fee disclosure rules
        10. Plan document rule
        11. Fiduciary risk mitigation
        12. Final fiduciary rule
        13. ERISA 404(c)
        14. Steps to limit liability
        15. Fiduciary best practices
        16. Fiduciary breach penalties
      7. Liabilities
        1. Types of liability insurance
        2. Fiduciary liability insurance
      8. Bonding requirements
      9. Insurance differences
      10. Conflicts of interest
      11. Fund advisor selection
      12. Claims procedures
      13. Handling appeals
      14. Document
      15. Custodial agent services
      16. Custodian services
      17. Recordkeeping
    2. Framework: A little of both
      1. Cybersecurity
      2. Business continuity
      3. Disaster recovery
      4. Board of directors questions
      5. Retirement plan risk
      6. Prohibited transactions
      7. Disqualified person
      8. Bankruptcy and benefit plans
      9. ERISA fee disclosures
      10. Fee disclosure requirements
      11. Excess fee cases
      12. Student loan debt
      13. CARES Act provisions
  2. Case Study
    The capstone for this course is working with a team on a complex case study. You are the newly hired director of global benefits for a multinational organization that has a lot of challenges. As a team you will evaluate the current state of the organization’s benefits administration, identify the top priorities and develop a high-level plan for how you would approach getting the employer into better shape.