An arm of the U.S. Department of Labor could end up revising, or even eliminating, major Obama-era change in group disability insurance claim procedure regulations.
The Employee Benefits Security Administration, the DOL agency that oversees benefits plans, says it wants to postpone the effective date of the regulations for at least 90 days, start a new public comment period, and, possibly, change the regulations in response to a review of the new public comments.
EBSA officials proposed the group disability claim regulation delay in a proposed rule that’s set to appear in the Federal Register on Friday.
EBSA will be providing a 15-day public comment period for the proposed 90-day applicability date delay.
Officials are asking commenters to talk to it about whether a 90-day applicability delay is long enough.
The Claim Procedure Regulations
In December 2016, officials in former President Barack Obama’s DOL completed work on an effort to revamp group disability standards.
Calendar (Image: Thinkstock)
The December 2016 regulations would require a disability plan to give a worker a complete explanation of any claim denials; give the claimant complete access to the claim file and other relevant documents; add new requirements designed to promote claim adjudicator independence; and speed up claimants’ ability to file lawsuits.
Today, a claimant must wait until a plan has completed a full claim decision and review process before filing a lawsuit.
Under the December 2016 regulations, the DOL would hold that the claimant was “deemed to have exhausted the administrative remedies available” if a plan failed to comply with DOL claim-processing rules.