Started in 1974, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act is intended to protect the interests of the employees, retired and active, who have pension plans, health care plans, disability insurance plans and other benefit plans through their employer. While the law does not necessarily require that an employer offer a specific type of benefits, it does mandate that the employer adhere to what was offered to employees and in accordance to certain standards.
South Carolina readers may know that ERISA cannot mandate your employer to offer you a certain plan, however, ERISA does require that your employer adhere to assurances made to you. Essentially, ERISA demands that employers protect the financial interests of retired and active employees. If you are having trouble getting the benefits you deserve or need to know more about ERISA, you have the right to seek help to do so.
What does ERISA cover?
ERISA does not govern every single type of benefits plan, but it does cover severance plans, health insurance, disability insurance, pre-paid legal service plans, scholarship funds, pension plans and day care centers operated by the employer. This act requires that the employer act in a manner that shields the interests of plan participants, such as in the following ways:
Avoiding conflicts of interest when dealing with issues such as making investments and decisions that will affect benefits
Managing funds in a way that benefits plan participants and beneficiaries
Giving pertinent information to all plan participants
Complying with regulation guidelines pertaining to how and where plan funds can be invested
These matters can be complicated, and you may be unsure of your rights if you are experiencing an issue related to your benefits plan. As a plan participant, you are entitled to a complete explanation of your rights and how you can proceed in order to achieve a beneficial outcome to your current concerns.
Protecting your interests and your future
ERISA matters are complex, yet you do not have to navigate them on your own. Whether legal action is necessary or there is another way to achieve your objective, you would be wise to take quick action to learn about your options. Shielding your interests in such important matters is daunting, yet with help, it is possible.
ERISA exists to protect people like you. You may find it useful to find out how you can deal with denied claims, complete an initial claim or fight for the outcome you deserve.