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What is the Employment Retirement Income Security Act?

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Like many of our California readers, you may have heard the abbreviation ERISA in the past. While some have a basic idea of what this means, others are in the dark and wonder if it pertains to them in any way.

ERISA stands for the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. According to the United States Department of Labor, this is a "federal law that sets minimum standards for most voluntarily established pension and health plans in private industry to provide protection for individuals in these plans."

Over the years, there have been many amendments to the Employment Retirement Income Security Act, some of which employees are more familiar with than others.

For example, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, also known as COBRA, has been one of the most important changes over the years. With this in place, some employees, as well as their families, are able to continue with their health care coverage for a particular period of time after a designated event, such as a job loss. Another well known amendment to the Employment Retirement Income Security Act is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA.

Those who understand the ins and outs of the Employment Retirement Income Security Act have an easier time determining if their rights have been violated by their employer or another party.

In the event that individuals feel that an organization has impeded on their Employment Retirement Income Security Act rights, they may wish to consult with an employment law attorney about their legal rights moving forward.

Source: United States Department of Labor, "Health Plans & Benefits" Nov. 24, 2014

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