The Employee Income Retirement Security Act, also known as ERISA, was passed into law in 1974. This piece of legislation governs the minimum standards required for pension and health plans that operate in the private sector. The law protects the individual members of these voluntary plans that choose to enter into them when employed.
The requirements of ERISA are as follows for the plans that it governs:
- Plans are required to provide members with information regarding the funding of the plan and the features available.
- The law sets forth fiduciary responsibilities for all those who control and manage the plan assets.
- Plans are required to create an appeals and grievance process for members to use so they can acquire their benefits in the event there are disputes.
- The Act allows members of the covered plans the opportunity to sue for benefits and if any breaches of fiduciary duty are made.
There have been multiple amendments to ERISA over the years. The most notable one was the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA. COBRA allows some employees and their family members to remain on health insurance plans for a set period of time following the loss of a job or another significant event.
Another well-known amendment to ERISA was the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA. This amendment protects people who have pre-existing conditions.
Now that you know a little about ERISA, you can make sure that your rights are protected when it comes to your pension and health plans. Don’t let your employer tell you otherwise or try to take these benefits from you without a proper fight.