Form M-1 for MEWAs



The Form M-1 is an annual report that must be filed by multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs). The Form is used to report the custodial and financial information of the MEWA, as well as the information for compliance with Part 7 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

MEWA Definition

The term “multiple employer welfare arrangement” means an employee welfare benefit plan, or any other arrangement which is established or maintained for the purpose of offering or providing benefits to the employees of two or more employers, and does not meet the definition of “single employer” provided in ERISA Section 3(40)(B). The definition of MEWA also does not include an arrangement established or maintained:

Form M-1 – Annual Report

The “annual report” refers to the annual Form M-1 filing required of all MEWAs. The annual report must be filed no later than March 1 following any calendar year for which a filing is required (unless March 1 is a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday in which case the form must be filed no later than the next business day).

There are several exceptions under which a MEWA is not required to file an M-1.  These include:

Components of Form M-1

The Form M-1 is comprised of 3 Parts.

How to File

You cannot file a paper Form M-1 by mail or other delivery service. The Form M-1 Online Filing System is an electronic filing system for the Form M-1 annual report for multiple employer welfare arrangements. The system allows filers to complete the form and submit it at no cost.

Extension of Time

A one-time extension of time to file will automatically be granted if the administrator of the MEWA or ECE requests an extension. To request an extension, the administrator must: (1) check box B(3) in Part I, and complete the rest of Part I as it applies to the MEWA or ECE; (2) complete boxes 1a-d, 2a-d, and 3a-c in Part II; (3) electronically sign, date, and provide the administrator’s name at the end of the form; and (4) electronically file this request for extension no later than the normal due date for the Form M-1. In such a case, the administrator will have an additional 60 days to file a completed Form M-1. A copy of this request for extension must be attached to the completed Form M-1 when filed.

Additional Times to File Form M-1

A MEWA must file a Form M-1 when any of the following registration events occur:

  1. Begin Operating. The MEWA first begins operating with regard to the employees of two or more employers;
  2. Begin Operating in an Additional State. The MEWA begins knowingly operating in any additional State;
  3. Merger. The MEWA begins operating following a merger with another MEWA;
  4. 50% Increase in Covered Employees. The number of employees receiving coverage for medical care under the MEWA is at least 50 percent greater than the number of such employees on the last day of the previous calendar year; or
  5. Material Change. The MEWA experiences a material change as defined by the M-1 instructions.

Event 1 requires a registration filing 30 days prior to the event, while events 2-5 require a registration filing within 30 days of the event occurring.

Administrative Penalties

The maximum penalty for a MEWA administrator who fails or refuses to file a complete or accurate Form M-1 report is in the thousands of dollars per day. Link penalty chart here.

Additional Resources

FAQs on the Form M-1

2019 Form M-1 with instructions

For questions on completing the M-1, contact the Employee Benefits Security Administrator’s (EBSA) Form M-1 help desk at 202-693-8360.

For inquiries regarding electronic filing capability, contact the EBSA computer help desk at 202-693-8600.

For inquiries regarding the Form M-1 filing requirement, contact the Office of Health Plan Standards and Compliance Assistance at 202-693-8335.