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The Most Important Things to Know About ERISA Law  

You may have never seen the acronym ERISA, but if your retirement or healthcare plan is governed by this law, it is likely that ERISA has been protecting your benefits for much, if not all, of your working life. ERISA is the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and it is a federal law that ensures workers get the benefits they deserve, but many people do not know much about ERISA. Below are the most important things to know about the ERISA law. 

What Is ERISA?

ERISA is the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. ERISA is a federal law that was enacted to protect American workers. ERISA is a law made for workers. Before ERISA was enacted, there was no guarantee that the benefits employees worked for over the course of their careers would be available once they retired. ERISA solved that problem. 

ERISA doesn’t just protect employee retirement benefits. Because of ERISA, workers’ healthcare and disability insurance benefits are better regulated. Since its inception in 1974, ERISA has protected employee pensions, 401(k)s, health insurance, and disability. 

What Does ERISA Do?

ERISA protects workers and their retirement benefits so that the benefits you earned are available once you are ready to use them. ERISA addresses specific problems that were present before its enactment. ERISA sets the minimum standards for employer-provided retirement accounts and healthcare insurance. 

ERISA protects workers. ERISA requires employers to act in a way that does not cause harm to workers’ retirement, disability, or insurance policies. Specifically, ERISA allows employees to sue for benefits that are rightfully theirs. ERISA even allows certain benefits to be paid to employees if the policy itself is terminated. 

Perhaps the most beneficial effect of ERISA is what it requires of employers. ERISA requires employers to: 

  • Take accountability for the policies it administers. ERISA requires anyone who manages or has control over a retirement account or healthcare policy to act as a fiduciary for the employee. If the account is mismanaged, then the policy administrator is liable and must restore the losses caused by the mismanagement. 
  • Be transparent with employees about plan information. Any important information about the plan, including plan features and funding, must be disclosed to the employee. 
  • State how much time an employee must work before they become eligible for a healthcare or retirement plan that includes benefits that will not be taken away. 
  • Be subject to the minimum standards for operation set by ERISA regarding participation, vesting, funding, and benefit accrual. 

How Does ERISA Affect My Long-Term Care Insurance?

Employer-provided long-term insurance coverage is typically subject to ERISA. Despite the extended protection that ERISA provides to employees, the federal law stifles employees’ ability to have successful disability claims. 

ERISA sets out strict rules for filing and appealing disability claims. If you fail to meet these stringent requirements, you can lose your right to file or appeal a disability claim denial forever. You need experience on your side. Call Michael Bartolic at Bartolic Law and get a highly respected and highly regarded ERISA lawyer on your team. 

How Does ERISA Affect My Retirement?

ERISA applies to employer-provided retirement accounts, whether they are benefit plans (pensions) or contribution plans (401(k)s). Under ERISA, employers are required to submit an annual report about your account. A policy administrator must protect your assets and act in your best interest, not the best interest of the employer. Policy administrators must also provide important information about your account to you. 

How Does ERISA Affect My Healthcare Plan?

Your healthcare plan is affected similarly to your retirement account and your long-term care insurance policy by ERISA. You have a right to expect your employer to report your account details to the Department of Labor every year, disclose pertinent information about your policy to you, protect your assets, and act in your best interests. 

ERISA is a law intended to give working people a lot of protection, but there are some pitfalls that employees can fall into if they misunderstand any provision of the law. Michael Bartolic of Bartolic Law is at the top of his field as an ERISA lawyer. If you find yourself in need of a qualified ERISA lawyer that has the trust of his peers, call Bartolic Law today.

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