What is ERISA?

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ERISA is the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, a federal law that regulates the basic standards of conduct for certain pension, health plans, life insurance plans, long term disability plans, and other employer sponsored welfare plans. ERISA requires, among other things, that plans provide participants with plan information, requires insurers to establish guidelines for a grievance and appeals process, and allows plan participants to sue for benefits and breaches of fiduciary duty. ERISA preempts an individual from filing certain types of lawsuits against an insurer. For example, under ERISA an individual cannot sue an insurer for personal injury or seek any type of punitive damages. The only remedy available for an individual is to seek enforcement of the specific benefits. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s ERISA information page.