Long-term disability insurance is a tremendous asset for employees who suffer serious medical condition or injuries and can no longer work. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, is the governing rule for long-term disability insurance. It sets the groundwork for when individuals have to file and how coverage works.
Under ERISA, your employer has to inform you as an employee about the way your policy works. It also sets the process for appealing a decision and making a claim. The minimum standards also fall under ERISA. This law helps to make the process fair for you and the insurer. It provides a structure for the claims process and will help you if you have questions.
Without ERISA, an insurer could simply make up their own rules. Short filing time frames far too difficult to meet, an elimination of the ability to appeal a denied claim, among others, could be possible without ERISA mandates. The whole idea of long-term disability insurance would be heavily lopsided in favor of the insurer.
The U.S. Department of Labor helps manage and maintain the system under ERISA. You can contact the DOL if you have questions or run into issues with your insurer. However, you might want to speak with your employer first about any issues as they may be able to provide answers more quickly.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act may seem like it applies only to retirement accounts, but it also covers disability insurance provided by an employer. ERISA can be very helpful to understand if you need to make a claim as it will guide the whole process.