The laws and regulations governing employee benefits are complex and not particularly intuitive. First, it is necessary to determine whether the entity sponsoring the benefits program is the type of entity subject to ERISA. One must also determine whether the particular benefits being offered are governed by ERISA. Once it is clear that ERISA applies, one must determine whether a particular benefit program is a welfare plan or a retirement plan. From there, the plan sponsor (often the employer) must operate within a fiduciary framework and understand which activities fall within that framework. Employer plan sponsors are often surprised to learn that the insurance carriers and/or service providers with which they have contracted are not the entities with ultimate responsibility under ERISA. By failing to understand the scope of their ERISA obligations and the types of transactions ERISA prohibits, employer plan sponsors may unwittingly expose themselves to governmental penalties and excise taxes, as well as litigation. With over 20 years of experience working with employee benefit plans, Sheila is able to offer practical guidance to plan sponsors, insurance carriers, and service providers so that they may avoid the pitfalls associated with a misunderstanding of their roles and responsibilities.
The Law Offices of Sheila Deselich Cohen frequently advises plan sponsors, plan vendors, consulting firms and other law firms with respect to ERISA matters, including the following:
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Sheila Deselich Cohen