- In a 6-2 decision on Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. and against a 2005 Vermont data collection law aimed at improving quality of care.
- The court ruled that the U.S. Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) pre-empts state laws that “relate to any employee benefit plan.”
- Boston-based Liberty Mutual, a self-insured employer, argued that the Vermont law conflicted with ERISA because it mandates that insurers report the types of healthcare services they pay for as well as how much they pay to a state database.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts administers Liberty Mutual's self-funded plan, with about 140 employees in Vermont and thousands across the country.
"The fact that reporting is a principal and essential feature of ERISA demonstrates that Congress intended to pre-empt state reporting laws like Vermont's," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority.
“Differing, or even parallel, regulations from multiple jurisdictions could create wasteful administrative costs and threaten to subject plans to wide-ranging liability,” Justice Kennedy wrote.
According to Reuters, Liberty Mutual said, the ERISA law is intended to protect employers from a patchwork of burdensome state regulations.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented. “State-law diversity is a hallmark of our political system,” Justive Sotomayor wrote.