The Department of Labor (DOL) has announced a 90-day delay – through April 1, 2018 – of the applicability date for ERISA plans to comply with a final rule amending the claims procedure requirements applicable to disability benefits.
The three-month delay of the applicability date announced Nov. 24 is intended to give interested stakeholders the opportunity to submit, and for the department to consider, data and information related to concerns by some insurance industry and employer groups, and some members of Congress, that the claims procedure amendments will drive up disability benefit plan costs, cause an increase in litigation and, in so doing, impair workers’ access to disability insurance benefits.
The final rule amending the disability benefits claims procedure requirements for ERISA plans was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 19, 2016. The amendments were to become applicable to claims for disability benefits filed on or after Jan. 1, 2018.
In response to the concerns noted above raised by stakeholders, and pursuant to Executive Order 13777 on Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda, the department published a notice in the Federal Register on Oct. 12, 2017, seeking comment on a proposed 90-day delay of the applicability date for plans to comply with the claims procedure amendments. The comment period on the proposed delay ended on Oct. 27, 2017. In that same document, the department asked for comments that provide data and information germane to a re-examination of the merits of repealing, replacing, modifying or retaining the rule. That comment period ends on Dec. 11, 2017.