The U.S. Department of Labor appears to be letting major new group disability insurance claim standards take effect Sunday.
The new regulations set new standards for claim reviews, and they may make it easier for claimants to sue in federal court if the claimants can show that the claim administrators failed to follow proper procedures.
The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the department arm that oversees benefits programs subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), developed the rules during the administration of Barack Obama.
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After President Donald Trump entered office, his administration postponed the effective date of the regulations, from the original effective date of Jan. 1, 2018, but officials ultimately decided to let the regulations take effect once the extension had ended. officials argued that employers and insurers had failed to provide concrete evidence that the regulations would reduce access to group disability coverage or increase prices.
How Preston Rutledge, the new EBSA administrator, implements the new regulations could hint at how he will handle other Labor Department regulations under EBSA’s jurisdiction, such as group health plan mental health benefits parity regulations, and the retirement plan fiduciary rule.
Steven Mindy, a partner at Alston & Bird who handles benefits and ERISA litigation, said in an email interview about the new regulations that they affect plans other than group disability insurance plans.