On Dec. 16, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co., ruling that a plan can limit the length of time a participant has to bring a lawsuit for benefits. The Supreme Court’s decision is a favorable ruling for plan sponsors. To help minimize benefit claims, plan sponsors should consider amending their plan documents to limit the time period for benefit lawsuits.
Specifically, the Court ruled that an employee benefit plan’s contractual limitations period for bringing a lawsuit under ERISA for plan benefits is enforceable if the time period is not unreasonably short or controlled by another law. Also, the Court held that a plan’s contractual limitations period may start to run before a claimant satisfies the plan’s claims and appeals process.
Here’s’ the full Supreme Court Enforces Benefit Plans Time Limit for Lawsuits Legislative Brief for more details.
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