As compliance mandates continue to build up each year, it’s important to provide required communications to your employees on time and in a way they can easily understand. Whether it’s the Form 1095-C, COBRA notices, or an annual summary plan description (SPD), we can help you manage and send out compliance communications.
Typically, we will incorporate any plan and regulatory changes since the last update and manage carrier and client reviews. Our deep knowledge of benefits is an asset because we question changes that don’t sound right and describe complex plan features in plain language. Sometimes, through this process, we uncover a misunderstanding between the client and the carrier on a particular element of plan design or administration.
ERISA requires that SPDs are easy to understand. And whether intentional or not, the quality of your SPDs conveys a message to employees. If they are done well, SPDs can both meet compliance requirements and reinforce the value of benefits to your employees.
Anatomy of a well-written SPD
We keep several objectives in mind when approaching this type of communication. We help ensure your summary plan descriptions:
- Comply with Department of Labor regulations
- Are easy to understand
- Are easy to read (using 11- or 12- point font size and appropriate white space)
- Are organized for easy reference
- Are arranged in an order that makes sense to the participant
- Are succinct
- Use a personal tone (use the second person “you”)
- Use active tense
- Use charts, tables, and graphs to summarize and explain complex information
To achieve these objectives, Milliman will, as needed:
- Reorganize to improve sequence
- Edit to improve comprehension
- Improve page layout and design
- Coordinate the printing and delivery processes