Practice Areas

ERISA / HIPAA

Although no law requires employers to provide employment benefits to their employees, many employers choose to do so. Such benefits are generally subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) and its amendments, such as COBRA and the Pension Protection Act of 2006.
The Act covers both welfare benefits, such as group health benefits, life insurance, disability benefits, severance packages, and self-directed tax deferred benefit plans such as health savings accounts (HSAs), flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and cafeteria plans.
It also covers pension plans, such as union pension trusts, 401(k) plans and cash balance plans. The protection of employment benefits covered by ERISA (as well as those which are not, such as governmental plans) very often involves the implication of other laws such as those preventing age discrimination, social security and the tax laws.
They further implicate the portability provisions of HIPAA, as well as the continuation of benefits under COBRA, should employees change employers. Benefit plans which involve health care may require application of the HIPAA privacy rules, particularly where health plans contract with third party administrators and other business associates.
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