ERISA PRE-EMPTION JUST GOT BROADER

ERISA has one of the broadest pre-emption clauses of any Federal statute. This means that any state law seeking to regulate an employee benefit plan is likely, with very narrow exceptions, to be pushed aside by the federal statute which governs employee benefit plans, the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974 “ERISA.” In Gobeille v Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, the United States Supreme Court held that ERISA pre-empts a Vermont statute requiring health care services to report certain information to a state agency for inclusion in a state database. The Court held that the U.S. Department of Labor has the responsibility for such record-keeping under ERISA, and that upholding the Vermont statute could subject insurers to 50 different reporting requirements. In so doing, the Court broadened what is already perhaps the broadest preemption rule in federal law. Disability insurance plaintiffs seeking to avoid ERISA pre-emption in the future had best work for the government or a church or have a policy not part of an employee benefit plan.

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