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Proposed Extension of Information Collection; Comment Request Annual Report for Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (Form M-1)

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The Department of Labor (the Department), in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA 95) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing collections of information. This helps the Department assess the impact of its information collection requirements and minimize the reporting burden on the public and the public understand the Department's information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. Currently, the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) is soliciting comments concerning a proposed extension of the current approval of an information collection entitled Annual Report for Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (Form M-1), contained in the Department's regulation at 29 CFR 2520.101-2, Multiple Employer Welfare Start Printed Page 62351Arrangements and Certain Other Entities that Offer or Provide Medical Care to the Employees of Two or More Employers. A copy of the Department's information collection request (ICR) may be obtained by contacting the office listed in the addresses section of this notice.


Written comments must be submitted to the office shown in the addresses section below on or before January 26, 2010.


Direct all written comments to G. Christopher Cosby, Office of Policy and Research, Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room N-5647, Washington, DC 20210. Telephone: (202) 693-8410; Fax: (202) 219-4745. These are not toll-free numbers. Comments may also be submitted electronically to the following Internet e-mail address:

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I. Background

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), codified as Part 7 of Title I of the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), was enacted to improve the portability and continuity of health care coverage for participants and beneficiaries of group health plans. In the interest of assuring compliance with Part 7, section 101(g) of ERISA, added by HIPAA, further permits the Secretary of Labor (the Secretary) to require multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs), as defined in section 3(40) of ERISA, to report to the Secretary in such form and manner as the Secretary might determine. The Department published a final rule providing for such reporting on an annual basis, together with a form (Form M-1) to be used by MEWAs for the annual report. The reporting requirement enables the Secretary to determine whether the requirements of Part 7 of ERISA are being carried out. EBSA submitted an ICR for the information collection in Form M-1 to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance in connection with publication of the final rule, and OMB approved the information collection under OMB control number 1210-0116. This approval is scheduled to expire on February 28, 2010. After considering any comments received in response to this notice, EBSA intends to submit an ICR to OMB to request continuing approval. The public is not required to respond to an information collection unless it displays a valid control number. No change to the existing ICR is being proposed or made at this time.

II. Desired Focus of Comments

The Department is particularly interested in comments that:

  • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;
  • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
  • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
  • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., by permitting electronic submission of responses.

III. Current Action

This notice requests comments on an extension of OMB's approval of the information collection included in Form M-1. The Department is not proposing or implementing changes to the existing ICR at this time. A summary of the ICR and the current burden estimates follows:

Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection of information.

Agency: Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor.

Title: Annual Report for Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements and Certain Entities Claiming Exception (Form M-1).

OMB Number: 1210-0116.

Affected Public: Business or other for-profit; Not-for-profit institutions.

Respondents: 741.

Frequency of Response: Annually.

Responses: 3,718.

Estimated Total Burden Hours: 2,336.

Total Burden Cost (Operating and Maintenance): $143,650.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of the ICR; they will also become a matter of public record.

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Dated: November 9, 2009.

Joseph S. Piacentini,

Director, Office of Policy and Research, Employee Benefits Security Administration.

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[FR Doc. E9-28384 Filed 11-25-09; 8:45 am]