ERIC Sends Sec. Acosta Letter on Updating Delivery Methods for Notices to Beneficiaries

June 21, 2017

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The Honorable Alexander Acosta
Secretary
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20210

Dear Secretary Acosta,

We watched with interest the Administration’s meeting with top technology executives on Monday, June 19, 2017, and now urge the Department of Labor to make a technology change that will improve communications between companies that sponsor health and retirement plans and their beneficiaries, and save money for both the beneficiaries and the companies. In particular, we ask that the Department allow plan sponsors to automatically default to electronic delivery of statements to plan participants, rather than requiring them to be mailed (unless requested by the plan participant).

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) is the only national association that advocates exclusively for large employers on health, retirement, and compensation public policies at the federal, state, and local levels, and has a strong interest in policies that affect our member’s abilities to offer benefits to their employees and their families. Monday’s meeting was an encouraging sign that the Administration is open to modernization of government technology and processes. We urge the Administration to not stop there, and review regulations and update them to encourage the use of technology.

ERIC supports the modernization and streamlining of mandated retirement and health care notices to beneficiaries. One way to easily ensure better communication between a plan sponsor and its beneficiaries is to allow for the plan sponsor to use electronic delivery of notices through either email or a website, while still allowing for the beneficiary to fully opt-out and receive all notices by mail, should they so choose. Updating the process on how mandated disclosures are delivered to participants would save companies money on materials and administrative costs if required disclosures were to be more frequently delivered electronically over mail. This could save money for both companies and the participants depending on how the communication costs are paid for – either by the plan sponsor or plan assets. Additionally, plan sponsors would have the flexibility to enhance the disclosures to include interactive features that could help participants better understand the materials, as well as allow plan sponsors to tailor information specific to their individual workforce.

ERIC requests the opportunity to meet with you to share first hand from our large company members the benefits that electronic disclosure will provide to plan participants and companies sponsoring health and retirement plans. We urge your support for the most cost-efficient, timely and beneficial avenue for plan sponsors to communicate with beneficiaries.

Sincerely,

Annette Guarisco Fildes
President & CEO