Long Term Disability

This is the Long Term Disability category of the Broad REach Benefits blog. At Broad Reach Benefits, we focus on employers that have between 30 and 500 benefit eligible employees. We’re employee benefit specialists, not a big box brokerage firm or payroll company with a sales force peddling policies.

DOL Announces April 1 Applicability of Final Disability Plan Claims Procedure Regulations

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced its decision for April 1, 2018, as the applicability date for ERISA-covered employee benefit plans to comply with a final rule (released in December 2016) that imposes additional procedural protections (similar to those that apply to health plans) when dealing with claims for disability benefits. In October 2017, the DOL had announced a 90-day delay of the final rule, which was scheduled to apply to claims for disability benefits under ERISA-covered benefit plans that were filed on or after January 1, 2018.

Effective Date

While the DOL’s news release indicates that the DOL has decided on an April 1 applicability date for the final rule, the regulatory provision modified by the 90-day delay specified that the final rule will apply to claims filed “after April 1, 2018.”

Plans Subject to the Final Rule

The final rule applies to plans (either welfare or retirement) where the plan conditions the availability of disability benefits to the claimant upon a showing of disability. For example, if a claims adjudicator must make a determination of disability in order to decide a claim, the plan is subject to the final rule. Generally, this would include benefits under a long-term disability plan or a short-term disability plan to the extent that it is governed by ERISA.

However, the following short-term disability benefits are not subject to ERISA and, therefore, are not subject to the final rule:

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced its decision for April 1, 2018, as the applicability date for ERISA-covered employee benefit plans to comply with a final rule (released in December 2016) that imposes additional procedural protections (similar to those that apply to health plans) when dealing with […]

By |January 24th, 2018|Disability, Employee Benefits, Employee Communications, Human Resources, Legislation, Long Term Disability, Short Term Disability|Comments Off on DOL Announces April 1 Applicability of Final Disability Plan Claims Procedure Regulations

Law Firms- Do you really Know What’s in Your Group Long Term Disability Contract?

Group Long Term Disability insurance (LTD) is intended to protect the income of the firms partners or directors, of counsel, attorneys and staff in the event they suffer an injury or illness.  It’s a very inexpensive benefit to purchase yet arguably one of the most important.  Group LTD can ultimately cover millions of dollars of potential loss in the event of a permanent disability.  Many law firms fail to realize that subtle features and provisions within their group policy can dramatically increase or decrease the payout for a claim until a claim unfortunately occurs.

Through our years of experience working with the legal profession we’ve developed a systematic approach to providing specialized coverage for law firms.  As part of the Broad Reach Benefits process, our team provides you with a group LTD plan audit.  By providing us with a copy of your current LTD summary plan description and answering a few questions we can produce a detailed assessment of any potential areas of weakness in your current LTD contract.  Since each insurance carrier can provide varying levels of contracts it is critical to understand what and how your contract provides protection. Most benefit brokers provide a simple spreadsheet comparison that takes an executive summary view of the benefits and compares prices.  This approach will not show the “under the hood” provisions and clauses that will have a dramatic impact on benefit payouts in the event of a claim.

Below are a few questions to consider when thinking about your current group LTD policy: […]

By |March 3rd, 2014|Disability, Employee Benefits, Law Firms, Long Term Disability|Comments Off on Law Firms- Do you really Know What’s in Your Group Long Term Disability Contract?

Long Term Disability- The Zero Day Residual Benefit

Does your long term disability contract require total disability in order for the qualifying period to start?  Better make 100% certain that is NOT the case and someone wasn’t asleep at the switch when your contract was written.  Your plan should include a zero day residual benefit.

Zero day residual provides coverage for partial disabilities in the qualifying period of a claim.  This means a claimant can use partial days of work to satisfy the qualifying period for both short term and long term disability.  Without a zero day residual benefit an employee would have to be totally disabled in order for their 90 or 180 day qualifying period to start.  Think about it.  How many people are not totally disabled on day one of a claim?  An employee who develops cancer (a leading cause of LTD claims) may start out being partially disabled, unable to perform at 100%, but not totally disabled.  In contracts without a zero day residual feature that partially disabled employee wouldn’t even be able to get their 90 or 180 day clock ticking and certainly wouldn’t receive a benefit.

In an attempt to reduce costs, some carriers and employee benefits brokers may strip out features.  Don’t wait to get burned on a claim to find out what your benefits include.

By |August 6th, 2012|Disability, Employee Benefits, Long Term Disability, Short Term Disability|Comments Off on Long Term Disability- The Zero Day Residual Benefit