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Sunday, August 10, 2014
Why ERISA Hurts Employees
Will you be the next victim of an ERISA denial by Employer?
Seattle (ESTRA) - Congress approved ERISA Legislation which provides unfair advantages for
Corporations. In fact, there is no recourse in the law which provides
compensation for Employers holding back benefits just because they can.
Most Employees are a single paycheck away from losing everything.
Unfair legislation such as this encourage taking advantage of workers
instead of treating them with respect and dignity.
Imagine, being in an enjoyable job which for most people today is
rare, unfortunately. Most disabled who
are able to return to work realize it is a privilege to get up each day and
perform daily living activities, including work. In my opinion, for most, the joy this bring
is unimaginable unless you’ve lost the ability to function on some level, and
must deal with such restrictions. The
saying, “you don’t miss the water until the well runs dry”, is applicable in
this case. And, a worst experience from
my perspective, is the use of ERISA legislation, power, and influence as an
excuse to deny a long-term disability claims by employers whom received the
faith and trust of employees, putting life goals and career aspirations in
their hands for eight hours per day, and giving them your best work. Ouch!
The betrayal may be worse than the injury, for most workers. Workers like family, really?
Even with corporate wealth are unfair denials.
But the true problems lay with U.S. Congress, both the House and the
Senate. They are responsible for this
written legislation which self-insured corporations follow. Perceptively speaking, employer and insurance
company lobbyist, have left gapping wholes in the lives of the injured by
allowing these organizations free reign to do as they please regarding these
claims. By giving employers power to
deny employee benefit claims without any repercussions, allows their investors
to profit off the suffering of past employees.
Why would Congress write into legislation no options for employees to be
compensated for losses incurred for breached ‘bad faith’ decisions by private
corporations? It’s like telling them it
is ok to deny disabled their benefits. Although
comments made by individuals describing these ‘bad faith’ behaviors by private
companies are posted over and over again via internet, and buried by
individuals or corporation who would prefer their conduct remain underground
via web, there are far too many individuals facing this same fate, causing
these comments on these incidents to grow.
a moment of being injured, yet comforted that a decision was made in advance to
sign up for a group long-term disability policy with self-insured employer. Never realizing someday there would be a time
for use however it turns out there is a need for benefits after all. Most employees have no idea the degrees some
employers will go through in order not to pay benefits. Most workers are trusting, relying more on relationship
development during working years. But
can you really rely on this? In fact
recent surveys have come out stating employee’s satisfaction with employer
benefit plans are decreasing.
numbers of disillusion employees who’ve received a letter in the mail from
their employer or LTD contractor can vouch for levels of dissatisfaction after being
denied benefits initially, two, five, or ten years later. Sadly, many of these sick and injured people
suffer loses in silence. How often do we
hear these statistical numbers of these abuses?
Traditionally they are not out in the open. Otherwise, in my opinion, many would be
dropping out of their group insurance programs like someone yelling fire in a
crowded nightclub. Imagine the
surprise. In fact, current ERISA legislation
has enough loop holes for insurance and employers.
there in corporate legislation written by Congress where you cannot sue for
unfair or bad faith behaviors? I
personally have not found any. Only in
ERISA Self-Insured Group Insurance Policies is this possible. Who would have thought this type of injustice
would pass through Congress? Did you
know they passed legislation for corporations to be paid out immediately after
disasters? Yet, those unable to foot an
additional month of bills are expected to wait years. How is this fair? More importantly, why hasn’t Congress made
reforms to ERISA to correct this horrible injustice? Perhaps due to money, greed, and power in the
hands of a few? Is Congress less
concerned with a level playing field?
There is one thing you can help, vote. Voting in 2014 for people who are interested
in the average citizen’s life. People
unwilling to ignoring what the majority value, such as ERISA Reform.
U.S. House and Senate can Reform ERISA today.
From my perspective, there will be no changes
in Congress’ behaviors until they are held accountable for their actions or
lack thereof. ERISA Reform is a great
place to start because of the impact it would have on those with the least
resources. This Congress has passed the
least legislation, and what they have passed has not been in best interest of
poor or middle class people. We hear a
great deal of talk about help, without actions. Talk is cheap, and in my opinion, each year,
its value becomes worth less and less, because their words are not attached
with actions, especially in Congress.
of ERISA in the beginning started out as a genuine good idea to protect
workers. The need for legislation of
this type is an indication that many employees where not getting a fair shake
when applying for benefits.
legislation started out to be in the best interest of workers, yet turned out to
be in the best interest of corporations.
As when money gets into the mix via lobbyist and corporations mainly
managing ERISA, well intention legislation can turn into unfavorable position
for those who need it most, poor and middle class employees.
opinion, the biggest mistake in this legislation is the little recourse
available to insured with requesting ERISA Benefits from Self-Insured
Employers. When companies realize there is
a not consequence for bad behaviors against insured, some exceed with plans to
eliminate legitimate LTD claims, from my perspective.
mistake in my opinion, is allowing same company that benefits from claim denial
to review worker’s claim. Approving
insured does nothing for their bottom lines and provides no incentive to be
fair, especially with no repercussions for unfairly denying benefits.
It is up
to Congress to amend these laws in order for them to level the playing field
for workers, for which it was intended.
There needs to be timelines for benefit payments to workers and a
magistrate, someone outside these companies to review claims as part of the
process. In my opinion, this would cost
less and could be a part of the plan.
This would protect employees from having to fight their employer in
federal court, which primary favors large corporations which typically fight
their cases there. Furthermore, allow
these cases back into State Courts which provide an opportunity for sick and
injured employees to receive a justice. I
suspect less money would then be pocket by investors and employers and rightly
benefit those this plan was set up to protect.
changes to the current legislation which provides a neutral third party with no
ties to self-insured corporations or their associated lobbyist such as a
magistrate to review validity of claims would ensure a greater chance of a fair
claim review. From my perspective, fiduciary
responsibilities over ERISA are difficult for some corporation to strike a fair
balance between investors and sick or injured employees.
Employees often experience intimidation after filing LTD claims by Employers.
important thing to do is remove clauses placed in Employer Benefit Polices which
allow abuses against insured. They
provide opportunities for employers to cancel or eliminate benefits paid. Making these games illegal would also aid in
claim process fairness. From my perspective, clauses are disguised for
employer protections used to eliminate legitimate claims.
the sick and injured to be self-sufficient after injury helps take care of medical,
physical, emotional, and financial well-being of these individuals. In my opinion, when receiving the benefits
they paid premiums on, it allows them a quicker recovery time, provides the
safety net promised, and creates trust between employer and employees.
question I would ask Congress is to consider not giving corporation outs on
defining disability. Social Security Disability
Insurance has one of the most restrictive requirements. In most cases, far more in depth than
corporations, yet, many of these companies clauses placed in the group policy
plans allow them to escape paying out claims.
Again, Congress it is up to you to do right by workers. Revise ERISA, so these loopholes are
eliminated for corporations. Tighten
ERISA so it provides fair coverage for people injured in a car accident.
Again, many changes to ERISA would provide
insured with hope of a least having a fair shake when their claim is being
evaluated. The employee’s survival risk
increase when denied auto or long-term disability insurance. It’s unfair for most sick and injured to lose
not only the jobs, but assistance with livelihood which they were told would be
available if an unforeseen event occurs.
ERISA can be a force for the protection of
workers, when more workers are included in the decision making, fair
legislation is put in place, and corporation views fiduciary responsibilities
for the worker and not the investor or themselves.
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