State reporting mandates for benefit plans are pre-empted by ERISA, the Supreme Court ruled.
In a case brought by Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. challenging a Vermont requirement that public and private entities provide payment data to a state health-care database, the justices ruled 6 to 2 on Tuesday that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act supersedes any state’s authority over benefit plans.
“Pre-emption is necessary in order to prevent multiple jurisdictions from imposing differing, or even parallel, regulations, creating wasteful administrative costs and threatening to subject plans to wide-ranging liability,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion for Gobeille vs. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.
With 17 states and the District of Columbia already issuing health-care data reporting mandates similar to Vermont’s, the opposite conclusion “would have potentially subjected plan administrators to a multiplicity of burdensome state reporting requirements — in addition to those imposed by ERISA itself,” said Nancy Ross, a Chicago-based Mayer Brown partner who filed Liberty Mutual's original appeal in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “This decision should be welcome news to the business community,” Ms. Ross said in a statement.