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Fifth Circuit Confirms a Summary Plan Description May Also Act as the Plan Document under ERISA

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reiterated its prior determination that a Summary Plan Description (?Ç£SPD?Ç¥) for an employer-sponsored, group medical plan subject to ERISA could also serve as the plan document, provided it contains all of ERISA?ÇÖs written plan document requirements. The court further held that in this case the SPD?ÇÖs reference to a non-existent plan document was not material or detrimental to the participant under the plan. Historically, ?Ç£plan booklets?Ç¥ for medical plans have contained the relevant SPD provisions regarding the benefits payable and the procedures for filing claims for benefits. However, many of those booklets did not contain all of ERISA?ÇÖs requirements for an SPD or for the written plan document, including claims appeals procedures and certain other provisions, such as funding sources, amendment and termination provisions, and other required details. As a result, we have consistently recommended that the plan booklet be carefully… Continue Reading

June 2017
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