Updates on the latest in benefits news and practical pointers for your benefits-related issues.

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How Can I Tell If My Benefit Plan Is Governed by ERISA?

ERISA is an acronym for the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Most people have never heard of ERISA, but its comprehensiveness impacts the vast majority of American workers and their dependents. The original intent behind ERISA’s enactment was to remedy pension plan abuses; however, just prior to Congress’ passage of the ERISA law, the scope […]

What to Expect at an Independent Medical Examination (IME)

Your private disability insurer may require you to undergo what is known as an “independent medical examination” (“IME”). Indeed, most disability insurance policies include provisions that permit the insurer to require claimants to undergo an examination with a physician of its choosing. Whether you receive disability benefits can depend largely […]

9th Circ.’s Hasty UnitedHealth Reversal Is Disappointing

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our health care system in many ways over the past two years. While much of the focus has been on vaccines and treatment, COVID-19 has also caused an increasing demand for mental health treatment, [1] including treatment for substance use disorders. [2] […]

ERISA Ruling Was Right To Seal Sensitive Records

The U.S. judicial system is admired around the world due to the openness and transparency of judicial proceedings. Courtrooms are open to the public, and the pleadings and evidence introduced in court cases are considered public records. However, there are times when access to court proceeding documents need to be balanced with the person’s rights to privacy. […]

What Is an Incontestability Clause?

An incontestability clause is a provision in a life or disability insurance policy that prevents the insurance company from canceling the policy based on misstatements in the policy application after the insurance has been in effect for a certain period of time, usually two years. Most states require the inclusion of such clauses in insurance policies […]

Reimagining ERISA Civil Procedure

Claimants seeking benefits brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) have been authorized to bring a “civil action” to seek redress. Although the term “civil action” is supposed to have identical meaning under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure regardless of the type of claim being brought, ERISA claim litigation differs dramatically from ordinary civil procedure. […]

Narcolepsy Disability Benefits

Narcolepsy can be a debilitating, chronic neurological disorder that affects every aspect of a person’s daily living. People who suffer from Narcolepsy generally experience Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (“ESD”) due to the brain’s inability to control the sleep-wake cycles […]

The Winds of Change Are Blowing in ERISA Litigation

If you receive a benefits package from your employer in addition to your salary, there are specific laws that will apply. Those laws may limit the damages you are entitled to receive if your benefits are denied or terminated. Other legal requirements and hurdles will arise as you navigate the appeal process […]

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