“‘I still talk to DOL investigators on a pretty regular basis, and they tell me they’re really focused on health and welfare plans right now…,’ [says David Donaldson, a former senior investigator with the EBSA (2009-2011), currently serving as president of the employee benefit consulting firm ERISA SMART]. ‘During my last quarterly training session while I was still an investigator for the DOL, they were already instructing that for every 401(k) or retirement plan we had in our case file, we were to go ahead and open up a case for the health and welfare plan if one happened to exist. We can see now that the focus on health and welfare is intensifying.’

Donaldson says this trend goes back to provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (or ACA) granting EBSA the ability to bill and get reimbursed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for auditing work related to health and welfare plans.

‘EBSA’s motivation also makes sense when you consider there are about 707,000 pension plans in the U.S., compared with about 2.5 million health and welfare plans,’ Donaldson adds.

But in the past few years there has been an interest by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and others inside and outside the Department of Labor to try and make EBSA do more random audits–in the interest, they say, of being more transparent and fair.” John Manganaro, Plan Advisor. Read more.