ERISA: Federal Regulation of Health/Pension

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
TUE, WED, THU 10:30 - 11:20 am TNH 3.126

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location
Final May 2, 2012 8:30 am A-Z in 2.123


This three-credit course will examine the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), the federal statute that regulates private-sector employee pension, health and other benefits. (Note that "Obamacare" is in large part an amendment to ERISA.) ERISA regulates trillions of dollars of pension assets and billions of dollars of health care benefits: it led to the growth of HMOs and is responsible for much of the widespread dissatisfaction with our healthcare system. Students will learn about the statute's structural protections for pension benefits, and the limits of its protections for non-pension benefits such as health coverage. We will explore the breadth of ERISA's federal preemption of state causes of action, the practical results of this preemption, and its limits. We will study ERISA's fiduciary requirements and its resulting remedial structure-who can sue whom for what remedies. The course will touch on national policy concerns about pension savings and health care. Knowledge of ERISA is important to all employment law practitioners, including firms that advise and represent employers. There is no tax prerequisite for this class; the tax aspects of the statute will be touched on only very briefly.


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