The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) wants to set new standards for group disability benefits decision appeals and give plan members easier access to the federal courts.
EBSA is getting ready to publish a draft group disability appeals regulations in the Federal Register Wednesday.
Group disability plans come under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), not the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA).
But EBSA, the arm of the U.S. Labor Department that oversees group benefit plans, said it wants to base the updated group disability appeal standards on PPACA appeal standards, because it has just set final PPACA internal appeal and external review standards, and officials there believe employers will be used to the PPACA standards.
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The current standards were set 15 years ago, officials say in a preamble to the new proposed regulations.
“Even though fewer private-sector employees participate in disability plans than in other types of plans, disability cases dominate the ERISA litigation landscape today,” officials say.