U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Vermont Health Care Law
Waterbury --- On March 1st, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Vermont health care law in Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual. The law in question required all health insurers to provide de-identified health data to Vermont Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) to enable the GMCB to help manage the state's health care system. Liberty Mutual objected to this requirement to turn over data arguing that it managed health plans for companies that self-insured under the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). As ERISA, is a federal law, Liberty Mutual argued that the federal law pre-empted Vermont state law on data disclosure making it null and void. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with LIberty Mutual in a 6-2 decision.
There are wide-ranging implications of this decision. Should other companies with ERISA health plans follow Liberty Mutual's lead that could potentially remove 135,000 covered lives from GMCB's data collection or approximately 22% of the state. Removing that many covered lives from the data set could greatly impede the ability of the GMCB to make informed decisions based on the data. This sort of ERISA claim may be a harbinger of future challenges to Vermont's health care infrastructure.