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.
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.
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 […]
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: […]