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ERISA law is the set of federal laws and amendments that protects the participants of voluntarily established pension and health care plans in the private industry. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, or the ERISA law, requires a number standards and duties be kept by the providers of pension plans and welfare plans for workers, which are established to provide health, disability, death, vacation and training benefits, prepaid legal services, scholarship funds and more.

ERISA law covers most privately employed participants in pension or other benefits plans. ERISA law does not cover plans maintained for employees by the government or churches. ERISA law also doesn't cover plans that are kept strictly to comply with worker's compensation laws or plans that are kept outside the United States.

ERISA law requires a number of standards be met by the providers of health and pension plans. ERISA law mandates that a plan provider must inform participants about their plan information. Under ERISA law, anyone who is affected by this law has the right to request information about the law or a specific plan at any time. ERISA law also requires most plan providers to file an annual report regarding the plan's operations ad financial specifics.

ERISA law also dictates that fiduciary duties must be upheld by organizations that manage benefit plans. "Fiduciary duty" means that plan providers have the responsibility to act in the best interest of the plan participants at all times. They have the duty to provide benefits and defray administrative costs from the participant's plan expenses.

There are a few amendments to the ERISA law that expand the protection offered to pension and health care plan participants. The COBRA law allows some participants to continue health coverage even in the event of unemployment. The HIPAA law protects plan participants with existing medical conditions who may otherwise be discriminated against in health care coverage. ERISA law and its amendments are enforced by the Department of Labor's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

ERISA law also mandates that a grievances and compliant department be established for plan participants. ERISA law gives plan participants the right to sue a plan provider for benefits or compensation when fiduciary duties have been breeched by a plan provider. ERISA law also enforces civil penalties against plan providers who fail to meet annual reporting requirements or who engage in actions that are prohibited under ERISA law.

If you have suffered losses regarding your pension or welfare plan, if plan information has not been fully disclosed to you, or if your plan provider has in any way violated your rights and best interest in plan coverage, you have the legal right to seek compensation for your losses. To find out more information about your legal rights and options in a civil ERISA law case, you may wish to contact a qualified and experienced attorney who can maximize and protect your interests in an ERISA law case.

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