Ever wonder if you are passing out the correct notices at the right time for your welfare benefit plans? Here is a handy guide that can help! As always, please contact your plan consultant with any questions!

Document Type of Information Applies To Timing
Summary Plan Description (SPD) Document written to be understood by the average participants and sufficiently explain plan Anyone eligible for the plan and any beneficiaries receiving benefits Within 90 days of becoming covered by the plan. Must be furnished every ten years (or 5 years if plan is amended)
Summary of Material Modifications (SMM) Describes modifications to a plan document or SPD Anyone eligible for the plan and any beneficiaries receiving benefits Within 210 days of end of the plan year in which the change is adopted
Summary Annual Report Narrative summary of the Form 5500 Welfare plans that are funded and have a trust Within 9 months after the end of the plan year, or 2 months after the due date of the Form 5500 filing
Plan Documents Includes the latest SPD, latest Form 5500, trust agreement and other instruments of the plan Participant and beneficiaries Must be furnished no later than 30 days after a written request
Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) and Uniform Glossary Template describing the benefits and coverage under the plan with a glossary of terms Participants and beneficiaries With enrollment materials and within 7 days upon request
COBRA* General Notice Notice of right to extension of group health benefits when coverage is lost due to qualifying event Covered employees and spouses When group health plan coverage starts
COBRA* Election Notice or Notice of Unavailability of COBRA Notice of right to elect COBRA coverage upon qualifying event or notice that the individual is not entitled to COBRA Covered employees, spouses and dependent children who are qualified beneficiaries Within 14 days after being notified of the qualifying event – may be 44 days in certain circumstances
Notification of Benefit Determination (“Explanation of Benefits”) Information regarding benefit claim determinations Participants and beneficiaries that make a claim Requirements vary based on the plan type and claim involved
Medical Child Support Order (MCSO) Notice Regarding receipt and qualification determination of MSCO directing the plan to provide health coverage to noncustodial children Participant, children named is MSCO, and representatives Promptly after receipt and within reasonable time for qualification status
CHIPRA Notice Employer must provide employees of possible premium assistance opportunities available All employees regardless of eligibility status Annually
Newborns’ Act Description of Rights Details on federal or state law that relate to hospital length stay in connection with childbirth Plan participants Included in SPD
Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act Details on benefits for mastectomies, prostheses and treatment Participants Upon enrollment and annually
Summary of Material Reduction in Covered Services Summary of changes to plan document or SPD that materially reduce covered services or benefits Participants Within 60 days of the adoption of material reductions

Note: this is not a comprehensive list of all notices required, just the most common notices. For more details, see the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Reporting and Disclosure Guide for Employee Benefit Plans.

*Generally, COBRA applies to employers with 20 or more employees