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What does ERISA cover?

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The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 is a federal law. The simplest way to understand what it is all about is that it established minimum standards for employers who offer retirement, health and other benefit plans. However, ERISA doesn't require employers to offer those plans.

A division of the Department of Labor, the Employee Benefits Security Administration administers ERISA. Your local DOL office should be your first point of contact if you have questions, concerns or complaints about ERISA.

ERISA laws only apply to non-government, private employers that offer their employees health insurance plans and other specific benefit plans. No requirements are in place for those plans by ERISA -- only the minimum standards for certain types of benefits. Individual insurance policies purchased privately are not covered under ERISA.

If you need to pursue a civil claim against an employer who falls under ERISA, it is a complicated area of the law. Many lawyers work only in ERISA law and can help employees who may have been wronged due to financial mismanagement of plan fiduciaries.

ERISA set the requirements and standards for:

-- Conduct

-- Reporting and accountability

-- Disclosures

-- Procedural safeguards

-- Financial and best-interest protection

ERISA also includes two health insurance overage laws: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985.

At Darras Firm Inc., we handle ERISA legal matters and can provide information on legal options that exist for employees. To learn more about ERISA, please visit our many webpages dedicated to the subject.

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