Focus On . . . State Laws Rush in Where ERISA Fears to Tread
Journal of Pension Benefits, Vol. 18, No. 2, p. 3, Winter 2011
8 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2011
Date Written: February 3, 2011
One of the most important and controversial provisions of ERISA is its wide-ranging preemption of state laws "relating" to covered employee benefit plans. The U.S. Supreme Court has grappled, largely unsuccessfully, with the scope of ERISA preemption; and the state of the law, particularly with respect to health and welfare plans, is not satisfactory. Despite ERISA preemption, plans cannot ignore state laws. First, there are gaps in ERISA that are sometimes resolved by resort to state law. Second, the ERISA rules often require the application of state law: for instance, who is a "spouse"? This article discusses some state law issues that arise in connection with retirement plans covered by ERISA.
Keywords: ERISA, Employee Benefit Plans, Health, Welfare, State Laws
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