What Is ERISA?

Let's start with a very simple answer to the question of what ERISA is: ERISA is a lifeline. When your claim for employee benefits has been denied by your employer's insurance company, the process required by a federal law called ERISA gives you a way to appeal the denial and pursue the benefits you have earned.

But ERISA is a complicated law, with many potential pitfalls. At the Law Office of Robert F. Keehn in Los Angeles, we can help you use ERISA to assert your employee benefits despite an initial denial of your claim by the insurance company. Our firm has successfully appealed numerous claims denials and offers a free initial consultation to discuss the facts of your specific case.

Key Points About a Complicated Law

The Employee Income Retirement Security Act, commonly known as ERISA, sets minimum standards for employers who offer employee benefit plans. ERISA does not require employers to offer such plans. But when employers do offer benefit plans, ERISA requires employers to be transparent about what is included in the plan and how it is funded.

When Congress passed ERISA in 1974, the main concern was pension security. But ERISA is a very expansive law and also applies to other employment-related benefits, such as disability insurance and health insurance.

ERISA is the type of federal law that takes precedence over state laws in the area it regulates. This is called pre-emption. What it means, in practice, is that if your benefits claim is wrongfully denied, suing your employer's insurance company for bad faith under state law is not really an option.

What Are ERISA Benefits?

Fortunately, although ERISA takes away some rights under state law, it also establishes a procedure for challenging benefit claim denials under federal law. Under ERISA, you can appeal a claim denial under federal law. In fact, that appeal is required for you to preserve your right to file a lawsuit.

ERISA doesn't always seem fair. What is important, however, is that ERISA establishes a well-defined and often very effective way for you to assert your right to benefits you earned from your employer.

Our firm has the experience and resources to advocate for you effectively throughout this process. This begins with a close review by a lawyer of the denial letter you received from your employer's insurance company.

We will also obtain access to the file on which the denial was based. ERISA requires the insurance company to provide your file. Once we have your file, we will analyze it to determine where and why the insurance company went wrong, and to make sure that your claim is well-documented with relevant information about your disability or medical condition.

Free Initial Consultations Available

Don't let your employer's insurance company keep you from getting the benefits you earned. Call 866-502-4729 (toll free) to schedule a no-obligation initial consultation with an experienced ERISA attorney. You may also fill out our online intake form. We serve clients throughout California.