“I realize that the Q&A is referencing the review of retirement plan SPDs, but would these be the same tips you would give for reviewing an SPD for medical/dental/eye plan(s)?”
Michael A. Webb, vice president, Cammack Retirement Group, answers:
This is an excellent question because it addresses an issue that in general, can be problematic; taking information that is specific to one situation (reviewing a retirement plan summary plan description (SPD) in this case) and applying it to an entirely different situation (reviewing a health and welfare benefit SPD). Though it would be wonderful if information provided in specific situations would be generally applicable, such information is NOT generally applicable in the majority of cases.
Such is the case with the information provided regarding the review of retirement plan SPDs. Though some of the information we have provided as to how to review a retirement plan SPD would be applicable to a health and welfare SPD as well, some would say that the tips for review of a retirement plan SPD would be the same as those for a review of a health and welfare SPD would not be accurate.
Since this is a retirement plan column, we won’t address the specifics of reviewing health and welfare SPDs here, However, it would be fair to say that you can use the issues that we outlined in our retirement SPD review Q&A as a starting point for a discussion with counsel well-versed in health and welfare plan issues to discuss SPD review considerations that are specific to those types of plans.
Thank you for your question, and we hope you continue to enjoy reading Ask the Experts!
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