The end of July brings two important deadlines for employers who sponsor a group health plan for their employees.

  • July 31, 2018 is the deadline to report and pay the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee for all self-insured group health plans with a plan year ending in 2017. PCORI fees are used to fund clinical and healthcare research.
  • July 31, 2018 is the deadline for filing Form 5500 annual reports for group health plans that do not otherwise satisfy an exemption to the filing requirements.

PCORI Fees (Form 720)

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), an employer that sponsors a self-insured group health plan must pay an annual PCORI fee. The amount of the fee is equal to the average number of covered lives during the applicable year, multiplied by the specified dollar amount ($2.26 for 2018 payments). To determine the number of covered lives, employers may use any one of four different methods. To report and pay the PCORI fee, employers must file Form 720 and remit payment by July 31. The PCORI fee requirement applies only for plan years ending before October 1, 2019—so for most plans, the final payments will be due in 2019.

Annual Reports (Form 5500)

Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), an employer must file a Form 5500 with the Department of Labor, annually, for each plan that the employer sponsors. Some exceptions apply. For example, for most health and welfare plans covering fewer than 100 employees, no filing is required.

For calendar-year plans: The deadline for filing Form 5500 is July 31. Alternatively, the employer can request an extension by filing a Form 5558 by July 31. These requests are automatically granted and extend the filing deadline to October 15.

For non-calendar-year plans: The deadline to file Form 5500 or request an extension is the last day of the seventh month after the end of the plan year. With the extension, the filing deadline is the 15th day of the 10th month after the end of the plan year.