About Us

Avanto is an ERISA-based Health Plan

ERISA stands for the federal Employee Retirement and Income Security Act, was enacted in 1974, largely to regulate employee pension funds. Although the law was originally enacted to protect employee pension funds, it also affects employer-sponsored health plans and employee welfare benefits.

Employers may choose to purchase a traditional health insurance product in the open market, or they may choose to self-fund in the context of a Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement (MEWA), meaning that an alliance of many employers creates a group market that pools their contributions in the self-funded benefits plan for their employees’ welfare. By pooling their contributions together, employers of all sizes are better positioned to offer the best benefit packages from insurance companies. Nationally, about half of all insured employees are covered by these self-funded health and welfare benefit plans.

MEWAs that offer health plans must file every year prior to March 1 an M-1 form with the Department of Labor (DOL), who through ERISA, regulates such entities. In that M-1 form, there is a box titled Entity Claiming Exception (ECE). ERISA section 3(40)(A) exempts certain arrangements from the definition of a MEWA. Excluded are plans maintained pursuant to collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) deemed so by the Secretary of Labor.

And that’s where we come in…

Avanto Health Care is jointly offered to our Union members by both the employer and Firestone Labor Union, a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(5) national labor organization, registered with the DOL as an ECE, whose mission is to promote the right to work, free flow of capital and labor, and collaborative solutions with employers and their employees pursuant to a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) where we represent our members regarding their hours, wages, working conditions, grievances and benefits.

Simply put, employers of all sizes appreciate the interest we have in strengthening their employee-relationship with a strong Neutrality clause within the CBA, grievance procedures that could potentially avoid a costly lawsuit, and the many health and welfare plans we offer at below-market prices in order to help them manage costs and keep their employees healthy with Affordable Care Act-compliant health plans, and other employee welfare benefits and discounts.