Blog 3/20/2017

DirectPath Calls on the ERISA Advisory Council to Address Electronic Distribution of Employee Benefit Plan Documents and Materials in 2017

DirectPath’s Vice President of Client Services Kim Buckey has penned comments on behalf of the company to the ERISA Advisory Council, advocating for electronic distribution of employee benefit plan documents and materials in 2017.

Citing the significant technology developments since 2002 – when the Department of Labor last revised the safe harbor around distribution of these forms – Kim puts forth that the current standards of distribution do not reflect the broad adoption of smart phones and tablets among the American workforce, nor the preferences of most employees when it comes to accessing information. Distribution standards, she notes, should be guided by the goal of ensuring that individuals reliably and quickly receive the benefits plan information they need in a manner that is administratively feasible for employers without creating unnecessary redundancies or burden.

Electronic distribution not only enables easier access to benefits plan information than standard, paper distribution, it:

  • Is less prone to security breaches
  • Allows participants to quickly search for particular terms or topics to secure fast access to specific content of interest
  • Offers cost efficiencies for employers
  • Empowers employers to more efficiently communicate time-sensitive information to employees

It’s been more than 15 years since distribution standards have been revised, and those 15 years have delivered transformative solutions that have changed the way employees access information. It’s time we acknowledge these shifts and update distribution processes to reflect the new face of technology in the American workforce.

Download the letter here.