The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, better known as ERISA, was enacted to ensure that employees receive the pension and other benefits promised by their employers and to encourage employers to provide benefits to their employees. Most Americans today receive their health benefits through “welfare benefit plans,” that are governed by ERISA. Death and Long Term Disability benefits are also commonly provided as employee benefits under ERISA plans and thus subject to its governance. Oftentimes employers provide these benefits through the purchase of insurance covering their employees. When evaluating a dispute between a claimant and a plan, the most important question to ask is perhaps: “Who purchased the coverage?” If the answer is the claimant’s employer, then in all likelihood the dispute is governed by ERISA. This is a crucial determination to make because the laws and regulations impacting the claim vary considerably, and not necessarily intuitively, from those governing traditional insurance and contracts.
ERISA Law erisaltd