Employer advocacy group urges Congress to improve employee health care and retirement

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Individuals are not the only ones making resolutions for 2023. The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) spelled out its objectives in a recent letter to congressional leaders.

“We are eager to engage with you and the 118th Congress to continue advancing legislative solutions that will promote the well-being of American workers, retirees and their families,” President James Gelfand wrote. “ERIC welcomes the opportunity to discuss our policy priorities, which are focused on improving employee health and financial security; increasing flexibility and opportunity; reducing costs and administrative burdens; and helping large employers continue to deliver uniform, national benefits programs related to health care, retirement, paid leave and compensation.”

ERIC is a national nonprofit organization exclusively representing the largest employers in the United States in their capacity as sponsors of employee benefit plans for their nationwide workforces. With member companies that are leaders in every economic sector, ERIC is the voice of large employer plan sponsors on federal, state, and local public policies affecting their ability to sponsor benefit plans and to lawfully operate under ERISA’s protection from a patchwork of different and conflicting state and local laws, in addition to federal law. Approximately 100 national companies are members.

Top policy priorities

The letter addressed three top priorities:

Tax treatment and ERISA preemption: ERIC supports measures that ensure continued tax preferences for employer-sponsored benefits and exclusive federal regulation of nationwide benefits plans.

“Large employers operating in multiple states need the consistency and certainty provided by ERISA to ensure that they can offer uniform, national benefits to their workforce,” Gelfand wrote. “ERIC works to preserve ERISA preemption and defend plan sponsors’ ability to design benefits that drive value. And we oppose any state attempt to erode ERISA’s national uniformity for federally regulated plans.”

Health care: ERIC’s work on health policy is focused on promoting affordable, high-value coverage for employees by promoting transparency and competition; building and improving markets to lower costs and improve quality; reforming the payment system to incentivize value; and improving flexibility for employers to innovate and design the best health coverage for their beneficiaries.

“We hope to work with Congress on these policy areas as well as improving benefits for high-deductible health plan beneficiaries and improving patient safety throughout the health care system,” he wrote.

Retirement and compensation: Gelfand encouraged Congress to build on the SECURE 2.0 Act by enacting additional policies that maintain the voluntary, employer-provided system and expanding retirement savings opportunities without imposing costly and ineffective administrative burdens.

“ERIC will work diligently to ensure that large employers can provide robust, affordable, high-value employee benefits to their workforce,” he concluded. “There has never been a more important time to ensure that workers and their families are healthy and have access to high-quality, affordable health care and a financially secure retirement. We look forward to working with Congress to support these important goals and to serve as a resource during the 118th Congress.”