ERISA (29 U.S.C. 1002) was enacted in 1974 to regulate pension and welfare employee benefit plans that are established by private-sector employers, unions, or both, to provide benefits to their workers and dependents. An employee welfare benefit plan provides benefits -- through insurance or otherwise -- such as medical, surgical benefits, as well as benefits to cover accidents, disability, death, or unemployment. In 1996, HIPAA amended ERISA to require portability, nondiscrimination, and renewability of health benefits provided by group health plans and group health insurance issuers. Many, although not all, ERISA plans are covered under the proposed rule as health plans. We believe that the proposed rule does not conflict with ERISA. Further discussion of ERISA can be found in the preamble for this proposed rule.