In A Comparison of Self-Funded and Insured Health and Welfare Plans, health benefits expert witness Mark Johnson, J.D., Ph.D., ERISA Benefits Consulting, Inc., writes:
Another form of health plan is the Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement (MEWA). In a MEWA, a group of unaffiliated employers pool their contributions in a self-funded benefits plan for their employees. The contributions are based on the number of employees that work for each employer and the estimated costs associated with the plan. This arrangement is a way for smaller employers to get group health and other benefits for their employees.
Supporters of MEWAs typically represent the MEWA as an employee benefit plan covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and, therefore, exempt from state insurance regulation under ERISA’s broad pre-emption provisions.