Advocacy & Litigation
ERIC has a proven track record of preserving ERISA’s national uniformity and fighting against taxes, mandates, and compliance burdens. We have expanded the availability of telemedicine, improved retirement and health regulations, and reconciled conflicting state and local paid sick and family leave laws. These efforts save large employers millions of dollars and give them the needed flexibility to best support their nationwide workforce.
Immediately below is small sample of the policies and court decisions that ERIC has shaped to help large employers providing benefits to their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Following this list are more wins which you can sort by the subject most important to you.
COVID-19 Guidance on Telehealth Benefits: DOL, HHS, and Treasury issued guidance ERIC requested clarifying that during the COVID-19 pandemic.pandemic employers can extend a telehealth-only plan to employees or their dependents who are not eligible to participate in the employer’s health plans.
Repeal of the Cadillac Tax is Successful: After a decade of lobbying, ERIC achieved a major legislative victory when Congress repealed the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) “Cadillac” excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health insurance.
IRS Issues Relief for HDHPs to Help with Coronavirus: The IRS granted ERIC’s request for it to provide relief for patients in qualified high-deductible health plans with health savings accounts, to ensure they can obtain testing and treatment for COVID-19. The IRS made it clear that employer plans can cover both patients’ tests and their treatments.
Labor Department Allows for Electronic Delivery: ERIC was influential in the Department of Labor’s decision to allow plan sponsors to send participants and beneficiaries information and documents related to their retirement plans electronically.
HSA Limit Transitional Relief Granted: Following a meeting with ERIC, the IRS announced that employers could continue to use $6,900 as the HSA contribution limit for employees with eligible family health coverage in 2018. The IRS had reduced the limit after employers had already relied on the $6,900 number.
State and Local Level
California: ERIC secured an agreement with California’s “CalSavers” state retirement savings program that exempts ERIC member companies from the registration process.
Illinois: ERIC secured a permanent exemption for our members from the Illinois Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program reporting requirements.
Massachusetts: ERIC was successful in getting the state to lower the per employee fine under the Employer Medical Assistance Contribution (EMAC) from $2,000 to $750 and securing unemployment insurance relief.
New Jersey: ERIC worked with legislators to remove from two bills an assessment on carriers and third-party administrators to fund a reinsurance program and successfully lobbied Governor Chris Christie to veto legislation that would have expanded the state’s existing paid family leave laws, thereby creating unnecessary burdens on large employers.
New York City: ERIC fixed an unworkable standard in its paid family leave rules to allow for various flexible work arrangements.
Oregon: ERIC successfully sued the Oregon State Retirement Board over its employer reporting mandate. As a result, ERIC member companies are exempt from the OregonSaves reporting requirement.
Texas: ERIC actively lobbied for telehealth in state and filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Teladoc, Inc., et al. v. Texas Medical Board et al. supporting the use of telemedicine. Governor Greg Abbott signed the telehealth bill into law in May 2017.
In the Courts
James J. Thole v. U.S. Bank N.A.: ERIC filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to uphold the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit’s decision that the plaintiffs did not have the standing to sue. The Court ruled in favor of U.S. Bank in holding that the plaintiffs lacked standing since they would receive the same benefits whether they won or lost.
CNH Industrial v. Reese: The U.S. Supreme Court summarily reversed a decision by the Sixth Circuit in CNH Industrial v. Reese. ERIC’s brief was the only one that called on the Supreme Court to reverse the Sixth Circuit completely, and instead rule in keeping with the Tackett cases that established the rules surrounding retiree health coverage and collective bargaining agreements.
Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company: ERIC filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, arguing that ERISA should preempt the Vermont law.The Court ruled in a 6-2 decision, affirming the preeminence of ERISA preemption, and striking down the applicability of the Vermont reporting law to multistate employer plans.