In 1974, the federal government enacted a law to protect health plans and established retirement plans. The United States Department of Labor enforces the law and it is the Employee Retirement Income Social Security Act, and it provides guidelines to employers that they must follow.
The law requires employers to do several things. They must provide plan information about funding and features to anyone who is eligible to participate, they must have someone to control and manage plan assets as part of their fiduciary responsibilities and they must establish a process by which individuals can file a grievance and appeal if they want their benefits. The law also gives a person the ability to sue if they feel any of these things have not been done.
Amendments to the act
One amendment to the act is the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which allows for a person and their family to keep their health insurance for a short time after they leave a job. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is another amendment that provides protection for anyone who is discriminated against in health coverage because of an issue with their health.
Other changes over the years
Other amendments made over the years include the following:
- Affordable Care Act
- Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act
- Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act
- Mental Health Parity Act
- Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act
While state laws are in place to protect employees from being mistreated by employers, federal law provides an additional umbrella to the individuals and their families. Any time a person feels they are not receiving what they deserve from the ERISA, they may benefit from speaking to an attorney.