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The Wagner Law Group

The Wagner Law Group, A Professional Corporation, is a nationally recognized ERISA & employee benefits, estate planning, employment, labor & human resources practice. 

 

Established in 1996, The Wagner Law Group has 22 attorneys engaged exclusively in employee benefits, estate planning and employment law. Six of our attorneys are AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell as having very high to preeminent legal abilities and ethical standards. The firm is among the largest ERISA boutiques in the country. Our practice is national in scope, with clients in more than 40 states and several foreign countries.

 

 

 

 

Contact Info

The Wagner Law Group

 

  Integrity | Excellence

  

Boston 

Tel: (617) 357-5200 

Fax: (617) 357-5250 

99 Summer Street 

13th Floor

Boston, MA 02110


Palm Beach Gardens 

Tel: (561) 293-3590
Fax: (561) 293-3591
7108 Fairway Drive
Suite 125
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418

   

Tampa

Tel: (813) 603-2959

Fax: (813) 603-2961

101 East Kennedy Boulevard

Suite 2140
Tampa, FL  33602 

 

San Francisco

Tel: (415) 625-0002

Fax: (415) 358-8300

300 Montgomery Street

Suite 600

San Francisco, CA 94104

 

St. Louis

Tel: (314) 236-0065

Fax: (314) 236-5743
100 South 4th Street, Suite 550
St. Louis, MO  63102 

 

www.wagnerlawgroup.com

 

 

 

 

March 10, 2016

 

 Health and Welfare Law Alert

 

 

 

 Supreme Court: ERISA Preempts Vermont Health Data Collection Law as Applied

to Self-Funded Plans

 

 

 

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, in Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual. Ins. Co., that ERISA preempts (nullifies) Vermont's "all-payer database" law to the extent it is applies to self-funded group health plans.

  

Background. Vermont's all-payer database law is intended to create a database of information from insurers, employers, and providers to permit the state to examine health care utilization, expenditures, and performance. To create this database, the law requires group health plans (among others) to provide certain information, including health care costs, prices, quality, utilization and health insurance claims and enrollment data. The law requires this information to be reported as often as monthly, and compliance failures can result in penalties of up to $2,000 per day.

  

Liberty Mutual sponsors a self-funded health plan that provides health benefits to over 80,000 individuals across the country. Because of the administrative burden the Vermont law placed on its self-funded group health plan, as well as its fiduciary duty to maintain the confidentiality of sensitive plan information, Liberty Mutual challenged the law, arguing that it was preempted by ERISA. In particular, Liberty Mutual argued that, with certain exceptions such as state insurance laws, state laws relating to ERISA-covered plans are preempted.

  

Supreme Court's Decision. The Court held, in Gobeille, that state reporting mandates like the one in Vermont are preempted by ERISA with respect to self-funded plans. In reaching this conclusion, the Court determined that ERISA's goal of establishing a uniform system, particularly as to core functions like reporting, would be frustrated by multi-jurisdictional mandates that impose conflicting administrative obligations. Moreover, the Court noted that law, if allowed to stand, would result in wasteful administrative costs and subject the plan to wide-ranging liability.

  

Takeaway for Employers. The Court's decision in Gobeille may cause some plan sponsors to look more critically at state-level reporting mandates or requirements that relate to their employee benefit plans. Plan sponsors, however, should proceed with caution since the Court's decision does not invalidate all state-level reporting laws. Accordingly, employers should contact qualified benefits counsel to determine whether and how their particular group health plans may be affected by this decision.

 

 

 

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This Newsletter is provided for information purposes by The Wagner Law Group to clients and others who may be interested in the subject matter, and may not be relied upon as specific legal advice.  This material is not to be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. Under the Rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, this material may be considered advertising.