MEWA Compliance Management Chart

Establishment and Maintenance

Trade Association

Plan Sponsor




A trade association will typically act as a plan sponsor for a MEWA. The plan sponsor acts as settlor for the trust. This does not involve any fiduciary responsibility. However, in order to ensure that the plan will exist at the MEWA level, the sponsoring entity must be properly configured as an entity whose members are part of a common trade, industry or profession and is controlled by those employer members.

Direction and Oversight

Named Fiduciaries

Plan Administrators




Fiduciaries control and manage the MEWA’s compliance obligations. However, the actual responsibilities of each fiduciary will vary and a single person or entity may assume multiple (or all) fiduciary roles. The Named Fiduciary(ies), Plan Administrator, and trustees assume most of the liability resulting from compliance failures and typically assume a more active role in compliance management. They must understand all compliance requirements and put processes in place to ensure those requirements are met. They must monitor and audit those processes to verify they are achieving the desired results and make modifications as necessary.

The named fiduciaries (which may include the Plan Administrator and trustees) may avoid some liability by properly delegating it to third parties pursuant to a written procedure set forth in the plan.


Service Providers

Insurer, TPA or Other


MEWA Members


Internal Staff




Fiduciaries will often engage another entity to perform compliance tasks, such as preparing and distributing plan descriptions, notices, etc. While compliance responsibilities may be assigned to internal administrative staff, they are frequently performed by the insurer/TPA or the employer members of the MEWA. Tasks may involve fiduciary responsibilities or may simply be ministerial tasks. In either case, fiduciaries must monitor an entity’s performance of delegated tasks and remember that they retain the liability for compliance failures regardless of whether a task was delegated.