As a follow up to our previous post, the Department of Labor announced earlier this month that its revised disability claims procedure regulations will indeed take effect on April 1, 2018. The DOL stated that it received few substantive comments with quantitative data on the burdens imposed by the regulations. Moreover, the DOL found that none of the comments established that the final rule imposed an unnecessary burden or significantly impaired worker access to disability benefits.
With a looming April 1 deadline, employers and their third party administrators and insurers should review all materials for ERISA plans that provide disability benefits, including plan documents and summary plan descriptions. Particular attention should be given to reviewing and revising processes and communications used for claims and appeals, as the regulations impact the manner of claims processing and expand the disclosures that must be included in benefit denial notices.