What Does ERISA Apply To?


The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is designed to protect employees’ rights to benefits offered through their employers such as pension plans, other retirement plans, health insurance, disability insurance, life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, and other employer-sponsored benefits. Employers have certain fiduciary obligations, especially related to pensions and retirement plans, but much of the fiduciary duties are taken on by insurance companies that provide the policies and insurance coverage to employees.

ERISA regulates fiduciary duties involving employee benefits and retirement plans. If benefits are not provided according to policies or there is another breach of fiduciary duty, employees have the right to sue for benefits and damages.


What Is Not Covered By ERISA?

Perhaps the best way to understand ERISA regulation is to understand what is excluded from regulation under ERISA. Nearly all employer-sponsored benefits and insurance plans not included in the following list are regulated by ERISA:

  1. Voluntary insurance — Policies and benefits are issued by employers, but participation is voluntary, not endorsed by the employer; and you pay your own premiums.
  2. Individual insurance — Policies are purchased outside of policies that your employer offers.
  3. Business owner insurance — Policies are purchased by business owners for themselves, which do not cover employees.
  4. Government sector insurance — Policies and benefits may include any public sector employee benefits and insurance policies issued by municipal, state or federal government.
  5. Religious organization insurance — They involve policies and benefits for employees of nonprofits, schools, museums, mission organizations, hospitals, youth organizations and other organizations affiliated with recognized religions.

If you believe that your benefits or insurance plan may not be covered by ERISA, you should contact our office in Chicago immediately. You may have more legal rights to maximizing the value of your case and taking effective legal action.


Contact DeBofsky Sherman Casciari Reynolds P.C., For An Attorney Consultation

Understand your rights, and speak with an attorney who can stand up for your benefits. Call us at 312-702-1842 or 800-237-5182, or send us an email to speak with a lawyer.