Most workers may have heard about the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), yet few know its role. If an employee has heard of this federal law, then it’s likely because they have had problems in receiving information about or gaining access to health insurance, retirement or other job-related welfare benefits.
ERISA requires group benefits plan administrators, such as retirement or employer-sponsored health insurance program managers, to provide employees with specific information about their accounts or policies on demand.
This federal law doesn’t generally cover church or government-administered plans, nor does it apply to any disability or unemployment ones. Any programs set up by a company solely to qualify with workers’ compensation laws or ones that are maintained abroad for the benefit nonresidents are generally not covered by ERISA either.
Employees may ask these plan administrators for instructions on how to become vested in their retirement plan or how much they can expect disbursements from their account to be. Group benefits administrators may need to answer subscriber questions about their health insurance, including participation standards and inquiries about coverage requirements.
The entities appointed to manage these employee welfare plans have a fiduciary duty to the workers who receive employer-sponsored health insurance or have a retirement account in place. The administrators of these programs must responsibly manage the assets contained in these accounts. They must also take time to establish procedures for filing appeals or grievances. They must also come up with a protocol for responding to such legal action.
Understanding the ins and outs of health insurance and retirement plans isn’t an easy feat. An attorney here in San Francisco can help you make sense of it all, though. Your California lawyer can review the details surrounding your denial of benefits, disbursements or a breach of fiduciary duty and advise you for your right to file a lawsuit in your case to recover what plan administrators lawfully owe you.