The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a federal law that governs most private pension and health plans. Its purpose is to protect the members of such plans. Below is an overview of ERISA.
ERISA establishes requirements for most private pension and health plans. Under ERISA,
- Plans must provide plan participants with specific plan information, including important details about plan funding and features;
- Plans must establish grievance and appeals processes for participants to receive benefits;
- Plan participants are granted the right to sue for benefits and breaches of fiduciary duty;
- Plan managers who control plan assets are granted fiduciary responsibilities.
Additional ERISA Information
ERISA has been amended several times. These amendments have tended to expand the protections afforded to plan participants and beneficiaries. One amendment, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), affords qualifying workers and their family members the right to maintain health coverage for a limited period of time following certain events, including the loss of employment.
Another important amendment to ERISA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which protects plan participants and their families who have medical conditions or might otherwise be denied health coverage based on other health-related factors.
Other ERISA amendments include:
- The Mothers’ Health Protection Act;
- The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act; and
- The Mental Health Parity Act.
ERISA generally does not cover the following types of plans:
- Group health plans maintained or established by governmental entities or by churches for their employees;
- Plans that are maintained for the sole purpose of compliance with applicable unemployment, workers compensation, or disability laws;
- Plans that are maintained outside of the United States and are operated primarily for the benefit of nonresident aliens; or
- Unfunded excess benefit plans.
Texas Legal Representation
Ajamie LLP’s lawyers are experienced in handling derivative lawsuits and class actions involving ERISA. The firm’s success in such matters has been publicized in a number of leading legal publications and media outlets. Our experience in such matters includes obtaining a complete dismissal of a corporate-officer defendant in a class action alleging claims under ERISA and federal securities laws and representing ERISA plan participants in an action against BP. Our experienced Texas litigation attorneys are experts in both initiating and litigating derivative and class-action lawsuits. For questions concerning derivative and class-action legal representation in Texas, please contact our team of experienced Texas derivative and class-action litigation attorneys for a consultation.