Health Plans & Benefits: Participant Rights

Employees participating in retirement and health benefit plans are granted several important rights by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Among them are the right to: disclosure of important plan information, a timely and fair process for benefit claims, elect to temporarily continue group health coverage after losing coverage, a certificate evidencing health coverage under a plan, and recover benefits due under the plan.

It is important for employees and their families to know their benefit rights to make their benefits work for them.

DOL Web Pages on This Topic

Consumer Information on Health Plans Provides fact sheets, booklets, and other health plan information from the Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA).

An Employee's Guide to Health Benefits Under COBRA (PDF) COBRA gives workers and their family members who lose their health benefits in certain circumstances the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their plan. This publication provides a detailed overview of the law.

How to File a Claim for Your Health and Disability Benefits Provides advice to participants about how to file a claim for benefits and what to do if the claim is denied.

How to Obtain Employee Benefit Plan Documents from the Department of Labor Describes the documents and materials available through the EBSA public disclosure room and how you can obtain the documents from them.

Life Changes Require Health Choices (Español) Provides guidance on making health benefit decisions following key life events such as marriage or the birth or adoption of a child.

Pension and Health Care Coverage... Questions & Answers for Dislocated Workers Provides answers to common questions asked by dislocated workers.

Retirement & Welfare Brief: Can the Retiree Health Benefits Provided by Your Employer Be Cut? Provides tips for retirees and current employees on checking the documents that determine health care coverage during retirement.

Top 10 Ways to Make Your Health Benefits Work for You (Español) Provides 10 tips to help make your health benefits work better for you.

Women's Health & Cancer Rights Act (WHRCA) of 1998: Questions & Answers Provides answers to frequently asked questions about the enrollment and annual notice requirements under WHCRA.

Work Changes Require Health Choices Provides information on making health care decisions when your work life changes.

Your Employer's Bankruptcy: How Will it Affect Your Employee Benefit? Provides information on bankruptcy's effect on pension plans and group health plans.

Frequently Asked Questions for Reservists Being Called to Active Duty Related to their Pension and Health Benefits Provides answers to the most frequently asked questions about pension and health benefits by National Guard and reserve members being called to active duty as a result of the events of September 11, 2001.