Legal Plan FAQs
Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked legal employee benefits program questions. If you have additional questions about our group legal insurance plans please contact our Client Service Center at 800-821-6400 (8 am – 8 pm EST/EDT, Monday through Friday) or complete the Contact Us form.
Why should my organization offer a group legal plan?
It’s a Smart, Simple and Affordable® way to meet the needs of your employees. Many individuals fear the cost of legal fees and don’t know how to find the right attorney for their needs. Our legal plan is an easy-to-administer, voluntary benefit that addresses these issues by providing affordable, convenient legal counsel for everyday personal legal needs.
Most plans are employee-funded through payroll deduction at no direct cost to the employer. Once enrolled, employees have access to an attorney, on retainer, through our nationwide network of over 17,500 pre-qualified attorneys. Employees may contact an attorney for representation for a wide range of common legal matters, in addition to telephone advice and office consultations on an unlimited number of personal legal matters.
What’s more, according to a MetLife study1, employer-based group legal plans improve productivity by:
- Reducing the amount of time employees spend handling issues at work
- Giving employees access to above average legal help
- Helping employees reduce their stress when dealing with legal matters
In addition, employees enrolled in group legal plans through work feel more loyal toward their employers and are more satisfied with the benefits their employer provides.
Why should my organization choose MetLife Legal Plans as its group legal services plan provider?
MetLife Legal Plans is the market leader in group legal plans, serving about 2,500 organizations. These include over 200 Fortune 500® companies, all major accounting firms and the world’s top benefits consulting firms. We have an excellent track record of service to our sponsors and their employees. According to a recent survey of our legal plan sponsors, 99% of respondents said that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the legal plan and 93% said the legal plan was very easy to administer.2
1 MetLife research, fielded by ORC International, between June and July of 2017.
2 MetLife survey of legal plan sponsors conducted in 2017
What is a legal plan and why should I enroll in one?
For about $20 a month, our legal employee benefits program offers employees value, convenience and peace of mind by giving them easy and low-cost access to attorneys for a wide variety of personal legal services. Legal issues arise when employees get married, have a baby, buy or sell a home or become a caregiver for a spouse or parent. On average, lawyers charge upwards of $350 an hour for legal help, an amount that is significantly more than the cost of a legal plan for a year.3
When an employee uses a network attorney for covered services, all attorney fees are covered by the legal plan. Advice and consultations on an unlimited number of personal legal matters are also included. When an employee enrolls in the legal plan, they have a lawyer on their side for just pennies a day. Payments are made conveniently and easily through payroll deductions.
What is covered by my legal plan?
Our legal plan provide fully covered services for the most frequently needed personal legal matters, in addition to advice and consultations on an unlimited number of personal legal matters.
- If you are a legal plan member, you can quickly access the member site to view coverage for the legal plan offered by your employer, or call our Client Service Center at 800-821-6400 (8 am – 8 pm EST/EDT, Mon-Fri).
- If you are thinking about enrolling in the legal plan offered by your employer, visit our information center. Your HR or benefits department can supply your access code for the information center.
- Also, you may visit the Covered Services section to view examples of covered legal matters.
What does “fully covered” mean when referring to legal services covered by my plan?
“Fully covered” means that all attorney services related to the covered matter are paid for by the legal plan when an employee uses a Network Attorney. There are no co-pays, deductibles or claim forms when a Network Attorney is used. (See terms of service for a list of excluded matters.)
If a legal matter is in process when an employee has been terminated or retires from the company, is the matter covered to completion? Is there a time limit?
We will complete matters in process that participants initiate while employed and still enrolled in the plan, even if the participant has terminated from the company. There is no time limit.
Are dependents covered by the legal plan? Do you use my organization’s dependent definitions?
Yes, our legal plans cover the spouse and dependents of the plan member, as defined by your organization.
What about non-covered matters?
If an employee desires service for a personal legal matter that is outside the scope of the plan, he or she can still receive telephone advice or an office consultation about that matter, so long as it is not excluded. This enables the employee to discuss the issues at length, understand their rights and options, and decide on a course of action. After the consultation, the attorney may decide that the matter is actually covered by the plan. If it is, the attorney will advise and provide the service. If the matter is not covered, the attorney will provide a written fee estimate and the employee can choose whether or not to retain the attorney for further representation.
Are pre-existing matters covered?
Yes, we encourage members to use the plan to resolve as many legal issues as possible, even if they are pre-existing matters. The only pre-existing matters that are not covered are those for which the member retained an attorney before becoming eligible for plan benefits. This is necessary to protect the existing attorney-client relationship.
Does your legal plan include telephone advice and office consultations with local attorneys for an unlimited number of covered and non-covered matters?
Yes, our legal plan is the only legal plan to cover both office consultations and telephone advice for an unlimited number of covered and non-covered personal legal matters, so long as they are not excluded. These services are offered by local Network Attorneys.
What matters are excluded?
Our legal plan provides a consultation benefit for most personal legal matters. What’s more, many personal legal matters are fully covered. For a list of fully covered services in your organization’s legal plan, please log in or call the Client Service Center at 800-821-6400. The following matters are excluded from all plans:
- Employment-related matters, including company or statutory benefits
- Matters involving the employer, Network Attorneys, MetLife and affiliates
- Matters in which there is a conflict of interest between the employee and spouse or dependents, in which case services are excluded for the spouse and dependents
Appeals and class actions
- Farm and business matters, including rental issues when the plan member is the landlord
- Patent, trademark and copyright matters
- Costs and fines
- Frivolous or unethical matters
- Matters for which an attorney-client relationship exists prior to the participant becoming eligible for plan benefits
3 Average hourly rate of $370.00 based on years of legal experience, National Law Journal and ALM Legal Intelligence, Survey of Law Firm Economics (2018).
How do I enroll in your legal plan? How much does it cost?
Enrollment methods vary at each organization. Please contact your HR or benefits department to find out what the legal plan enrollment process is at your organization. Most of our plans cost around $20 per month through payroll deductions and are offered as a voluntary benefit. Costs vary depending on the plan offered by your employer.
I’m not enrolled in the legal plan. How do I get more information about the legal plan my employer is offering?
Simply access the information center to review covered services and benefit definitions, and to locate attorneys in your area. Your HR or benefits department can supply your access code to the information center. You may also call our Client Service Center at 800-821-6400.
How do I determine if a group legal plan is part of my employee benefits program?
Please contact your HR or benefits department to find out if your organization offers a group legal plan to its employees.
What kind of enrollment can we expect?
Initial enrollment rates average around 6% to 8%. You will find that enrollment tends to grow yearly as satisfied employees discuss the value of the legal plan with their coworkers. View best practices for legal plan enrollment.
What is your average annual member retention rate for a voluntary plan?
The average annual retention rate is 85%.
What is your average annual usage rate?
The average annual usage rate for our voluntary enrollment plans is 104%. For every 100 participants, we complete, on average, 104 legal matters each year. High usage is a significant factor when considering a group legal plan provider because it is evidence that employees receive a high return on investment for their benefits dollars.
Can the plan design be customized for my organization?
Yes, we can customize legal plans for groups of 3,000 and more benefit eligible employees. Visit our Customized Legal Plans page for more information.
What is your rate guarantee?
Our rate can be guaranteed for up to three years with the execution of an agreement for the same term.
How will MetLife Legal Plans support my organization with administration of the legal plan?
We will assign to your company an experienced account manager under the supervision of the Director of Plan Administration. The role of the account manager is to assist your organization with employee education and communication, billing and enrollment transmissions and ongoing plan administration. Our account managers are highly experienced in the support and assistance of implementing and maintaining legal plans.
What minimum enrollment is required?
There is no minimum enrollment requirement for our legal plan. However, we expect the sponsor to support enrollment and offer the plan annually.
How does my organization provide eligibility data and payment to Hyatt Legal Plans?
On a routine basis, generally coinciding with its payroll schedule, the employer sends us an enrollment file. The employer also collects payroll deductions and sends payment on a regular basis.
Do you provide employers with communication materials to educate employees about the plan? Is there a charge for these?
We provide standard communication materials at no charge. We will print the materials and ship them to the sponsor to distribute to employees. We are also happy to help the sponsor create a link from their intranet to our website. Our rate does not include the cost to do home mailings.
Do you provide materials and support subsequent open enrollment periods?
Yes, we are happy to assist you with subsequent open enrollment periods by providing communication materials and support
Using the Plan
- Review covered services and see complete benefit definitions.
- Find an attorney near you using the Attorney Locator.
- Get a case number by clicking on “Obtain Case Number.”
- Contact the network attorney of your choice and reference your case number when making an appointment.
Are claim forms required when using the legal plan?
Claim forms are not required when you receive service from Network Attorneys, making our plan easy to use. Claim forms are necessary only when you receive service from out-of-network attorneys.
Can I use the plan outside my state of residence? Is international coverage available?
We operate a national network of more than 17,500 Network Attorneys in all 50 states and U.S. territories. Plan members may receive service from Any Attorney. Anywhere. Anytime.® Plan members traveling outside the United States may also use the plan. Simply contact the attorney of your choice in your area. You will be reimbursed according to the out-of-network fee reimbursement schedule. You may call the Client Service Center at 800-821-6400 to get a copy of the out-of-network fee reimbursement schedule.
If I have a legal matter in process when I terminate or retire from my employer, is the matter covered to completion? Is there a time limit?
We will complete matters in process that you initiate while employed and still enrolled in the plan, even if you have terminated from the plan or employment. There is no time limit.
How do I find a Network Attorney?
- Plan members simply access the member site to use our attorney locator to find an attorney near them or they can call the Client Service Center at 800-821-6400 (8 am – 8 pm EST/EDT, Mon. – Fri.) to get help with finding an attorney. After selecting an attorney, the member can then call to schedule a meeting in person or they can discuss the matter over the phone.
- If you are thinking about enrolling, simply access our information center. Your HR or benefits department can supply your access code to the information center. You may also call our Client Service Center at 800-821-6400 (8 am – 8 pm EST/EDT, Mon-Fri).
How are attorneys selected for the network? What are their qualifications?
We only select attorneys who meet our selection criteria and agree to our Attorney Code of Excellence. Attorneys in the network have an average of 25 years’ experience in the practice of law (the minimum required for the managing attorney at a firm is eight), have graduated from an accredited law school, and must maintain valid state licensure. Additionally, the attorneys must maintain offices and agree to provide superior customer service to legal plan members.
Whom do I call if I have a problem with the legal plan or attorneys?
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call our Client Service Center at 800-821-6400 (8 am – 8 pm EST/EDT, Mon-Fri) when you have questions or concerns about our legal plan benefits, Network Attorneys, or other matters involving the legal plan. We operate a full-service Client Service Center at our headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. Our representatives are trained to answer questions and resolve problems and we will take immediate action to resolve the problem and generally succeed in doing so in 24 to 48 hours.
Do the same attorneys provide both telephone and office consultations to ensure consistent service?
Yes. Having the same local attorney provide phone, office and representation for a particular matter is critical to consistent, quality service. We encourage plan members to select the attorney and service that suits them best and we expect attorneys to “go the distance” to serve plan members.
How many attorneys are in your network?
Our national attorney network has more than 17,500 attorneys operating in all 50 states and U.S. territories. We customize the network to meet plan members’ needs so it is strongest where our members live and work.
Does your network include attorneys who can respond to e-mail inquiries from participants?
Yes. We maintain a Law Firm E-Panel® that provides participants the opportunity to forward questions via e-mail at any time to attorneys in all states and receive answers electronically. Plan members simply log in and select “Attorney Locator” then “Law Firm E-Panel.”
Do you have multilingual attorneys? Do you have attorneys who specialize in certain areas of the law?
Yes. Many participating law firms have multilingual attorneys and attorneys who specialize in certain areas of law. The call center and website provide such data as number of attorneys in the firm, years of experience, area of expertise, and multilingual capabilities.
How often do you re-credential attorneys in your network?
All participating law firms in our attorney network are re-credentialed on a yearly basis.
What percentage of participants uses a Network Attorney for services?
More than 98% of our participants use a Network Attorney for services. We monitor usage very closely and will add network attorneys in geographic areas where 5% or more of participants need to use out-of-network attorneys.
Can plan members use their own attorneys?
Yes. Plan members who wish to use out-of-network attorneys can request our fee reimbursement schedule by contacting our Client Service Center at 800-821-6400. The participant pays the attorney, submits a claim form to Hyatt Legal Plans and receives reimbursement within 14 days. If the out-of-network attorney charges fees in excess of the maximum amount payable, the excess is the responsibility of the plan member.
How do plan members receive service in states outside of where they reside?
With over 17,500 Network Attorneys nationwide, it’s easy. Members simply use our Attorney Locator or call our Client Service Center at 800-821-6400 for assistance in identifying Network Attorneys in their current location or planned destination. Members may use Any Attorney. Anywhere. Anytime®4, and always have the freedom to use out-of-network attorneys.
Are Network Attorneys restricted in the amount of time they spend with participants?
No. Attorneys in the network are encouraged to spend as much time as necessary to assist and represent members and are compensated for all services provided. The legal plan does not impose hour limits or frequency restrictions on covered services. Members are encouraged to use the legal plan and Network Attorneys are expected to “go the distance” for members.
Employers and benefits consultants, for more information about our attorney network, or to learn about implementing a group legal plan at your organization, please request a proposal today.
4 If services are provided by a out-of-network attorney, the Member is responsible for paying the difference between the reimbursement amount and the attorney’s charge for the services. To obtain a copy of the out-of-network fee reimbursement schedule, call the Client Service Center at 800-821-6400.