October 17, 2017
On Oct. 12, 2017, the DOL released proposed regulations providing a 90-day delay – through April 1, 2018 – in the effective date of the final regulations concerning claims procedures for plans that provide disability benefits. The final regulations – which subject disability claims procedures to requirements similar to health care reform’s enhanced requirements for group health plans – were discussed in our Jan. 10, 2017, edition of Compliance Corner and are scheduled to apply to claims for disability benefits under ERISA-covered employee benefit plans that are filed on or after Jan. 1, 2018.
According to the DOL, it’s undertaking efforts to examine regulatory alternatives that meet its objectives of ensuring the full and fair review of disability benefit claims while not imposing unnecessary costs and adverse consequences (pursuant to President Trump’s Feb. 24, 2017, Executive Order 13777). The DOL believes that this delay will allow an additional opportunity to collect comments and reexamine the impacts of the final regulations. Ultimately, the DOL is seeking public comments on the proposed delay and on the regulations themselves.
Plan sponsors involved in the adjudication of disability claims should carefully review these regulations. Once the dust has settled, there may be administrative challenges when attempting to implement the new procedures in a timely manner. Note that the regulations’ applicability is based on a specific date and isn’t currently tied to the plan year.
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