As ERISA attorneys that handle employee benefit claims, we are often asked what types of benefits are covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. It is a really quite a long list of possible benefits that an employer can offer which would be called an ERISA plan.
General Guidelines for a Plan to be Covered by ERISA
ERISA applies to benefit plans offered by private e
mployers, not governments or churches. Whether the plan is insured or funded by employer funds does not matter. Also, while most employer plans are “group plans,” an ERISA plan may exist if there is only one covered employee outside of the owner’s family.
Examples of Plans Your Employer May Offer Which are Covered by ERISA
Here is a list of the types of benefit plans covered by ERISA:
- Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance plans
- Dental Insurance plans
- Disability Insurance plans- both Short Term Disability & Long Term Disability
- Employee Assistance plans (EAPs) (if they provide counseling, not just referrals)
- Health plans, including Medical, Surgical, Hospital, HMO plans, & Retiree Medical plans
- Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs) & Medical Reimbursement plans
- Health FSAs (Flexible Spending Accounts)
- Housing Assistance plans
- Life Insurance plans, including Split Dollar Life Insurance plans
- Long Term Care Insurance plans
- Pension, 401k, & certain types of Deferred Compensation plans
- Prepaid Legal Services plans
- Prescription Drug plans
- Severance Pay plans
- Scholarship plans
- Training or Apprenticeship plans
- Scholarship Plans
- Vision Insurance plans
- Wellness programs (if medical care is provided)
This list is not exhaustive. Essentially, most benefits offered by your employer may be an ERISA plan. Again, these must be offered through your employer to be covered by ERISA.
Check back tomorrow, and we will describe benefits you may get through work that are not ERISA plans in NOT ERISA: Employer Benefit Plans That Are NOT Covered by ERISA.