Your Rights Under ERISA
Some of Boston University’s benefit plans are subject to the provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). ERISA provides participants in these plans with certain rights.
Boston University Plans Subject to ERISA
The following Boston University benefit plans are subject to the provisions of ERISA:
- Health Plan
- Dental Health Plan
- Long-Term Disability Plan
- Basic Life Insurance Plan
- Group Supplemental Life Insurance Plan
- Travel Accident Insurance Plan
- Personal and Family Accident Insurance Plan
- Supplemental Death Benefit Plan
- Retirement Plan
- Supplemental Retirement & Savings Plan
- Flexible Benefits Program
- Tuition Remission Program
- Severance Pay Plan
Provisions of ERISA
ERISA provides the participants in these plans with certain rights. The following statement is included here, so that you will be aware of your rights under the law. Under ERISA:
- You may examine, without charge, at Human Resources and at other specified locations, during normal business hours, all plan documents relating to the plans in which you participate. The documents that must be available for your review include insurance contracts, plan and trust documents, collective bargaining agreements, and all documents filed with the U.S. Department of Labor and available at the Public Disclosure Room of the Employee Benefits Security Administration, for example, detailed annual reports.
- If you wish, you may request your own copies of these plan documents by writing to Human Resources. Where permitted by law, you may have to pay a reasonable charge to cover the costs of copying.
- You will receive summaries of the plans’ annual financial reports each year, free of charge. The plan administrator is required by law to furnish each participant with a copy of these summary annual reports.
- You may request a statement of your vested benefits under the Boston University Retirement Plan and the Supplemental Retirement & Savings Plan. This statement will be given to you free of charge and may be requested once each year.
- You have a right to receive a copy of any material change to a plan within 210 days of the plan year in which the change is adopted, unless earlier notice is required by law.
Continue Health and Dental Coverage
You may continue health care or dental care coverage for yourself, your spouse, or your dependents if there is a loss of coverage under the Health Plan or Dental Health Plan as a result of a qualifying event. You or your dependents will have to pay for such coverage. Review the applicable section of this website and the documents governing the Health Plan and Dental Health Plan on the rules governing your COBRA continuation coverage rights.
You may reduce or eliminate exclusionary periods of coverage for preexisting conditions under the Health Plan, if you have creditable coverage from another plan. You should be provided a certificate of creditable coverage, free of charge, from your group health plan or health insurance issuer when you lose coverage under the Health Plan, when you become entitled to elect COBRA continuation coverage, when your COBRA continuation coverage ceases, if you request it before losing coverage, or if you request it up to 24 months after losing coverage. Without evidence of creditable coverage, you may be subject to a preexisting condition exclusion for 12 months (18 months for late enrollees) after your enrollment date in your coverage.
Besides giving you certain rights as a participant, ERISA places certain duties upon the people who are responsible for the management of the above-mentioned plans. These people are called “fiduciaries” under the law, and they have the duty to act prudently and in your best interests.
Under ERISA, no one may fire you or discriminate against you to prevent you from obtaining a plan benefit or excercising your rights under ERISA.
Enforcing Your Rights
If your claim for a benefit is denied, in whole or in part, you must receive a written explanation of the reason for the denial. You have a right to obtain copies, without charge, of documents relating to the decision, and to appeal any denial all within certain time schedules.
Under ERISA, there are steps you can take to enforce your rights. For instance, if you request materials from the plan and do not receive them within 30 days, you may file suit in a federal court. In such case, the court may require the plan administrator to provide the materials and pay you up to $110 for each day’s delay until you receive the materials, unless the materials were not sent for reasons beyond the administrator’s control.
If you have a claim for benefits that is denied or ignored, in whole or in part, you may file suit in a state or federal court. In addition, if you disagree with a plan’s decision or lack thereof concerning the qualified status of a domestic relations order or medical child support order, you may file suit in federal court. In addition, if you disagree with a plan’s decision or lack thereof concerning the qualified status of a domestic relations order or medical child support order, you may file suit in federal court.
If it should happen that plan fiduciaries misuse plan money, or if you are discriminated against for asserting your rights, you may seek assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor or file suit in a federal court.
In a lawsuit, the court normally decides who pays the court costs and legal fees. If you are successful, the other party might have to pay. But, if you lose, the court might order you to pay these costs and fees, especially if the court finds your claim to be frivolous.
Assistance with Questions
If you have any questions about this statement of your rights under ERISA, contact Human Resources. If you have any questions about this statement or about your rights under ERISA, or if you need assistance in obtaining documents from the Plan Administrator, you should contact the nearest area office of the Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, listed in your telephone directory, or the Division of Technical Assistance and Inquiries, Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20210. You may also obtain certain publications about your rights and responsibilities under ERISA by calling the publications hotline of the Employee Benefits Security Administration.