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ERISA Proposes Using TPAs

A coalition of the country's largest employers said health care coverage and retirement plans for American workers should be delivered by third-party administrators such as banks, investment companies, and insurers. That's the recommendation made by the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) in its "New Benefit Platform for Life Security" report.

Although employers would continue funding health insurance and retirement benefits, they could outsource administrative functions to save money. Administrators would compete with each other based on quality, use of information technology, plan design, and cost, according to the report. Each administrator would offer a core set of "lifetime security" benefits — health, retirement, and short-term savings.

Employees who left their jobs would still retain health care coverage, as benefits would remain with the administrator. Employees who changed jobs could allow their new employers to make contributions as well. The new platform offers "portability, engagement of both consumers and employers, and a level playing field for everyone to participate, regardless of employment status," says Mark Ugoretz, president of ERIC.

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