The due date to file the Form M-1 annual report is fast approaching.
The Form M-1 is used to report the custodial and financial information of a multiple employer welfare arrangement (MEWA), as well as the MEWA’s compliance with Part 7 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
A MEWA is an employee welfare benefit plan that is established or maintained for the purpose of offering or providing benefits to the employees of two or more employers and does not meet the definition of “single employer” provided in ERISA Section 3(40)(B). Only MEWAs that provide medical benefits are required to file the Form M-1.
The “annual report” refers to the annual Form M-1 filing required of all MEWAs. The annual report must be filed no later than March 1 following any calendar year for which a filing is required (unless March 1 is a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday in which case the form must be filed no later than the next business day).
How to File
The MEWA plan administrator must submit the M-1 through the Form M-1 Online Filing System, which is an electronic filing system that allows filers to complete the form and submit it to the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) at no cost. FAQs about the Form M-1 Online Filing System can be found here.
Additional Times to File Form M-1
In addition to the annual report, it’s important to note that there are other instances to file Form M-1. A MEWA must file a Form M-1 when any of the following registration events occur:
(1) Begin Operating. The MEWA first begins operating with regard to the employees of two or more employers;
(2) Begin Operating in an Additional State. The MEWA begins knowingly operating in any additional State;
(3) Merger. The MEWA begins operating following a merger with another MEWA;
(4) 50% Increase in Covered Employees. The number of employees receiving coverage for medical care under the MEWA is at least 50 percent greater than the number of such employees on the last day of the previous calendar year; or
(5) Material Change. The MEWA experiences a material change as defined by the M-1 instructions.
Event 1 requires a registration filing 30 days prior to the event, while events 2-5 require a registration filing within 30 days of the event occurring.
MEWA plan administrators must ensure timely and accurate filings for the annual report and the other instances a Form M-1 is required to avoid penalties. The maximum penalty for a MEWA administrator who fails or refuses to file a complete or accurate Form M-1 report is $1,625 a day.