multiple employer welfare arrangement (MEWA)

The multiple employer welfare arrangement (MEWA) is an employee welfare benefit plan involving two or more employers or any other arrangement that is established or maintained for the purpose of offering or providing participants or their beneficiaries, through the purchase of insurance or through self-insurance, medical, surgical, or hospital care or benefits.

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Or benefits in the event of sickness, accident, disability, death, or unemployment, or vacation benefits, apprenticeship or other training programs, day care centers, scholarship funds, or prepaid legal service. Prior to 1983, if a MEWA was determined to be an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) covered plan, state regulation of the arrangement was precluded by ERISA's preemption provisions. On the other hand, if the MEWA was not an ERISA-covered plan, which was generally the case, ERISA's preemption provisions did not apply, and states were free to regulate the entity in accordance with applicable state law.