Employees in the Washington, D.C., area and throughout the country may be covered by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). It applies to most retirement and health plans, and it sets rules as to the information employees who are covered by an ERISA plan are entitled to know. It's worth noting that this legislation does not apply to most plans created outside of the United States. ERISA also doesn't apply to plans that were created or overseen by employees, government agencies or churches.
The legislation has been altered several times since it was first created. Important changes include the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). HIPPA laws are designed to prevent employees from being discriminated against due to their medical care. The COBRA amendment allows employees who have been terminated retain an employer plan for a predetermined amount of time.