church plans) other than governmental plans, but they do not apply to health insurance
issuers. The NMHPA provisions in the Code do not contain the requirement that a plan
provide the special notice that is required under the NMHPA provisions in ERISA and the
PHS Act. An employer or plan that fails to comply with the NMHPA provisions in the
Code may be subject to an excise tax under section 4980D of the Code.
The NMHPA provisions in ERISA generally apply to all group health plans other than
governmental plans and church plans. These provisions also apply to health insurance
issuers that offer health insurance in connection with such group health plans. Generally,
the Secretary of Labor enforces the provisions of NMHPA in ERISA, except that no
enforcement action may be taken by the Secretary against issuers. However, individuals
may generally pursue actions against issuers under ERISA and, in some circumstances,
under State law.
The NMHPA provisions in the PHS Act generally apply to health insurance issuers and to
certain State and local governmental plans. States, in the first instance, enforce the PHS
Act with respect to issuers. Only if a State does not substantially enforce any provisions
under its insurance laws will HHS enforce the provisions, through the imposition of civil
money penalties. HHS has primary enforcement authority with respect to State and local
The interim rules being issued today by the Secretaries of the Treasury, Labor, and HHS
have been developed on a coordinated basis by the Departments. In addition, these interim rules
take into account comments received by the Departments in response to the request for public
comments on NMHPA published in the Federal Register on June 26, 1997 (62 FR 34604).