Supreme Court to Consider ERISA Implications of Vermont Health Care Database

July 10, 2015

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case next year which will decide whether ERISA preempts a Vermont law requiring self-insured health plans to submit claims data to a statewide unified database, a mechanism to collect information from medical providers and insurance companies which several states use.  Vermont’s health care database law, otherwise known as the Vermont Health Care Uniform Reporting and Evaluation System (VHCURES) is being challenged in Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, in which the Second Circuit ruled the law was preempted by ERISA.  The state argued that these types of databases are useful in shaping health care policy, evaluating existing health care programs and improving the quality and affordability of patient care.  This is the second ERISA dispute the Court has added to next term's docket; the other is a case involving the scope of ERISA's equitable remedies provision and the extent to which ERISA-governed plans can seek reimbursement for overpaid benefits or benefits paid in error.