Justices OK ERISA Exemption For Church-Affiliated Hospitals

Law360, New York (June 5, 2017, 10:28 AM EDT) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday extended the Employee Retirement Income Security Act's religious exemption provision to benefit plans maintained by church affiliates, regardless of whether an actual church established the plan, handing a win to hospitals seeking freedom from ERISA's plan requirements.

The decision, which included a concurring opinion by one justice, overturned federal circuit court rulings that the exemption applied only if the church established the benefit plan. Petitioners Advocate Health Care Network in Illinois, Saint Peter's Healthcare System in New Jersey and Dignity Health in California argued that a 1980 amendment to ERISA clarified that a church-affiliated organization,...

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