The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a federal law governing pension, health, and other benefit plans; this Act applies to most private employers. ERISA laws in New York State are similar to the laws in other states. New York employers are not obligated by any state or federal law to provide benefit plans to employees. ERISA provisions establish standards that govern such businesses that choose to provide benefit plans to their employees. Littman & Babiarz Attorneys at Law is your ERISA Law Firm in Syracuse, Ithaca and Auburn, New York.
Who Administers ERISA?
ERISA laws are administered by the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), which is a division under the United States Department of Labor (DOL). Questions, concerns, or complaints concerning ERISA laws should be addressed by contacting your local Department of Labor office. Due to the complexity of ERISA laws and how they operate in New York State, it is advisable to contact The Law Firm of Littman and Babiarz, your ERISA lawyers in Auburn, Ithaca and Syracuse.
Who Benefits from ERISA?
Due to the different provisions of ERISA that apply to various employee benefit plans, people of different age groups can benefit from ERISA. Retiring employees will find their future income has been protected by ERISA provisions, as well as their right to file a dispute concerning any aspect of their retirement financial holdings. Current employees’ rights to full disclosure and to file a dispute concerning their retirement financial holdings are also protected. Littman and Babiarz, your ERISA Law Firm in Syracuse, Ithaca and Auburn, can answer your questions regarding your personal eligibility.
In addition to the basic protections above, other employee benefit (or welfare) plans can be established to provide vacation funds, scholarship funds, health benefits, disability benefits, death benefits, prepaid legal services, day care centers, apprenticeship and training benefits, or other similar benefits. Due to the nature of these benefits, past or present employees can enjoy the protections ERISA provides, according to the availability of such benefits through their employer and their personal eligibility.
What are the Provisions of ERISA?
ERISA does not compel employers to provide benefit plans to employees. Moreover, ERISA laws do not apply to privately purchased, individual insurance policies or benefits. ERISA does establish standards to regulate the following aspects of employee benefit plans:
- Conduct – ERISA provisions regulate how managed care and other fiduciaries manage employee benefit plans.
- Disclosures – Employee benefit plan participants must be provided with certain disclosures, usually in the form of a detailed Plan Summary.
- Financial and Best-Interest Protection – ERISA provisions protect employee benefit plan funds and ensure their fair and equal distribution according to plan guidelines.
- Procedural Safeguards: ERISA provisions require written policies for filing claims and appeals, as well as time frames for filing such actions.
- Reporting and Accountability – ERISA provisions require that detailed reports be forwarded to the federal government to give evidence of accountability.
Employee benefit plans covered by ERISA also enjoy regulatory protection under the Benefit Claims Procedure Regulation. These additional regulations affect how benefits are determined when an employee files a claim. They impact the claims and appeals process, as well as rights of disclosure for employees.
ERISA laws have also been amended to include two additional areas that address health insurance coverage. These laws are:
- The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA)
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996(HIPAA)
In addition, some New York State laws affect how employee benefit plans provide coverage and benefits, particularly insurance benefits. Article 52 of the State Insurance Law of New York and Statute § 5-335 of the General Obligations Law both attempt to fight ERISA claims that can infringe on employee insurance benefits. Due to these and other challenges, ERISA laws in New York State can be confusing. Littman and Babiarz are your experienced ERISA attorneys in Central New York and the Finger Lakes and we can help you unravel difficult questions regarding your employee benefits plan.
Littman & Babiarz Attorneys at Law – Your ERISA Law Firm in Syracuse, Ithaca and Auburn
ERISA provisions only apply to non-governmental (private) employers that offer benefit plans such as employer-sponsored health insurance, life insurance, or disability insurance, among other benefits. ERISA has limitations, and in New York State, can have particular complications when applying for claims under accidental injury insurance coverage. While it does offer protection for employees who must file claims or who have been wronged by some portion of their benefit plan administrative procedures, civil claims against an ERISA employer can be a long and difficult process.
At Littman and Babiarz Law, we are your ERISA Law Firm in Syracuse, Ithaca and Auburn. Our experienced attorneys have the knowledge and skill to provide guidance concerning ERISA law, including filing claims and appeals to ensure you receive the full employee benefits to which you are entitled. We have been serving the citizens of Elmira, Ithaca, Auburn, Syracuse, and central New York for more than 30 years. Give us a call at 607-269-7110 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.