As I wrote about last January, in December 2016 the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) released its Final Rule amending the Claims Procedure regulating claim handling for ERISA governed disability benefits. In the Final Rule, ERISA governed plans were required to implement a number of changes to their claims handling procedures effective January 1, 2018.
However, on October 12, 2017, pursuant to the Executive Order Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda, the DOL sought comment on a proposed 90-day delay of the January 1, 2018 applicability date. According to the DOL, this delay was in response to the concern of insurance industry, employer groups, and some members of Congress that the Final Rule would drive up the cost of disability benefits plans and associated litigation. Once the comment period closed, the DOL reviewed the submitted comments to see whether or not the Rule would increase the cost of benefit plans, increase litigation, or decrease access to coverage.
On January 5, 2018, the DOL announced April 1, 2018 as the applicability date for the Rule amending the Claims Procedure regulating claim handling for ERISA governed disability benefits. The DOL explained they received approximately 200 comments and only a few of them substantively responded to the DOL’s request. Therefore, the DOL found “the information provided in the comments did not establish that the final rule imposes unnecessary regulatory burdens or significantly impairs workers’ access to disability insurance benefits.”