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What are some of the requirements under ERISA?

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Quick Answer

Requirements for pensions and other benefit plans under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act include the providing of important information about the plan to participants, fiduciary responsibility of plan management, and the establishment of an appeals process, reports the U.S. Department of Labor. Amendments to ERISA add the requirements of allowing workers to maintain health coverage after job loss and enabling those with preexisting health conditions or other medical problems to receive coverage.

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Full Answer

Although ERISA does not oblige employers to set up benefit plans for workers, it requires compliance when employers decide to offer plans, explains About.com. ERISA requires the administrators of benefit plans to disclose key plan features such as what the plan offers, how to obtain benefits, plan limitations and other guidelines. Administrators must report in detail on plan finances to the federal government. Qualified plan members must obtain benefits without discrimination. The plans are required to have written procedures for establishing claims and appealing denied claims.

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, is an ERISA amendment that requires plans to allow workers and their families to elect to continue benefit coverage after circumstances such as unemployment, reduced hours, death and divorce, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Other amendments that require plans to grant coverage to workers include the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the Newborns' and Mothers' Health Protection Act, and the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act.

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