David C. Pellegrin
Penalties for Failure to Provide ERISA Plan Documents
Pursuant to ERISA, a federal law that governs employee insurance benefits provided by private employers, plan administrators have an obligation to provide plan documents when an employee becomes covered by an insurance plan or upon written request. If the plan administrator – usually the employer – fails to provide these documents, then the plan administrator could be liable for penalties.
29 U.S.C. § 1024(b)(4) states:
The administrator shall, upon written request of any participant or beneficiary, furnish a copy of the latest updated summary plan description, and the latest annual report, any terminal report, the bargaining agreement, trust agreement, contract, or other instruments under which the plan is established or operated.
Because it is so important that ERISA plan participants and beneficiaries be put on notice of the terms and conditions of any insurance plans provided to employees by employers, Congress has provided for penalties for failure to provide the required information upon inception of coverage or upon written request. A qualified ERISA attorney can assist you with requesting plan documents and making a request for plan documents if necessary.