Restaurant Industry Health and Welfare Trust Fund (RIHWTF)

RIHWTF is a voluntary employee beneficiary association (VEBA). The VEBA designation gives the Trust fund its 501(c)9 tax exemption. The plan is regulated by ERISA, the DOL and other Federal agencies such as ACA and HHS.

What is a VEBA Trust Fund?

VEBA plans have been used by different non-profit and institutions since the mid- 1930s and there are several thousand in existence today. Today regulations come from several sources, in particular, ERISA. The plans are designed to help a specific industry to use benefit plans based on input from employers in the industry. Their individual and collective input is used to design medical coverage which are affordable for both the employer and employee and meet minimum federal and state requirements. They are fully insured and include mandated regulatory offerings.

Why should an employer join a Trust?

Cost? Yes, but in today’s market with ACA and HHS, as well as ever changing regulatory dynamics for the employer a Trust becomes the back office he or she does’t have. A well run Trust, like RIHWTF, has volunteer Trustees who are fiduciaries and professional consultants. These professionals include: Trust attorney and contract plan administrator to handle the day to day ministerial fiduciary responsibilities of the Trustees. The plans in the Trust are audited annually by independent outside auditors and benefit reviews are also done for the Trust employers. The Trust is designed to offer a client a Board of Trustees who accepts the fiduciary responsibility of a qualified Trust plan. This shifts much of the liability from the employer to the Trust. The Trust signs and owns contracts with the medical carriers and is responsible for the collection and disbursement of contributions. As plan administrators they are also responsible for the protocols of privacy (PHI) as well as electronic transmission of encrypted information (EDI). The Trust produces monthly financials and monthly eligibility as well as handles COBRA, FMLA and other duties that an individual employer must find time to do his or herself. These are some of the items that the Trust takes responsibility for that the employer is responsible for now without being protected by a fiduciary policy. Trust carries fiduciary as well as dishonesty bonds.

Reality Check

Despite the bickering on both sides of the issue of healthcare, in particular the ACA or more commonly referred to as Obamacare, nothing ever seems quite settled. If you are skeptical about the ability to get in front of the curve, you are not alone. The RIHWTF offers a no non-sense straightforward, no hype opportunity to meet your requirements as an employer. The Trust runs itself with appointed Trustees who receive no pay and come from your industry. The contributions made by each employer for their employees purchased on a fully insured and fully prepaid method, prepaid medical and ancillary plans. The premium contains a trust administration fee, as well as legal, plan administration and marketing and sales. There are no additional fees to pay to accommodate Federal regulations. On an annual basis a Pro forma financial is set up after audit and forecast of upcoming required mailings and communication is set annually. The forecast of expense is done prior to release of the annual premium and approved by the Trustees.