What are employer sponsored plans?

Many large private employers provide health coverage through their own sponsored self-funded and administered employee welfare benefit plans. These plans may look very much like private indemnity insurance or an HMO, and be administered for the employer by an insurance company, but are covered under the Employees Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which will be discussed later in this section.

The term sometimes also refers more generally to health insurance that you get from your job. This definition is not especially helpful because, depending on the specifics of the policy, eligibility, and payment arrangements, the legal implications can be vastly different. Nevertheless, the more general meaning is more common than the more specific one. If you find something on the internet or in a book that discusses employer sponsored medical coverage, it is very important to determine whether it refers to an employer-run health care plan or merely one that is provided by a private insurance company as a benefit of employment.