The basic purpose of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, is to set minimum standards for voluntary pension and health plans. It's a piece of legislation meant to protect the interests of plan participants in Washington, D.C., and other states and their designated beneficiaries. However, there are times when certain benefit plans are not set up in a way that keeps the best interests of participants in mind.
While public sector employees in Washington, D.C. may have some degree of security when it comes to pensions, this isn't always true for private sector workers. This is why the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was passed in the early 1970s. Initially, the purpose of ERISA was to protect pensions for private sector employees in the United States. Today, the act has been expanded to cover many other types of employee benefits, including long-term care, various medical insurance plans, and dental, prescription, and vision plans.