throbber
(Slip Opinion)
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` OCTOBER TERM, 2015
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`Syllabus
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`1
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` NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is
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`
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` being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.
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`
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` The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been
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` prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.
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` See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 337.
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`SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
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` Syllabus
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`GOBEILLE, CHAIR OF THE VERMONT GREEN
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`MOUNTAIN CARE BOARD v. LIBERTY MUTUAL
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`INSURANCE CO.
`
`CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR
`
`THE SECOND CIRCUIT
` No. 14–181. Argued December 2, 2015—Decided March 1, 2016
`
`Vermont law requires certain entities, including health insurers, to
`report payments relating to health care claims and other information
`relating to health care services to a state agency for compilation in an
`all-inclusive health care database. Respondent Liberty Mutual In-
`surance Company’s health plan (Plan), which provides benefits in all
`50 States, is an “employee welfare benefit plan” under the Employee
`Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The Plan’s third-
`party administrator, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc.
`(Blue Cross), which is subject to Vermont’s disclosure statute, was
`ordered to transmit its files on eligibility, medical claims, and phar-
`macy claims for the Plan’s Vermont members. Respondent, con-
`cerned that the disclosure of such confidential information might vio-
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`late its fiduciary duties, instructed Blue Cross not to comply and filed
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`
`suit, seeking a declaration that ERISA pre-empts application of Ver-
`mont’s statute and regulation to the Plan and an injunction prohibit-
`ing Vermont from trying to acquire data about the Plan or its mem-
`bers. The District Court granted summary judgment to Vermont, but
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`the Second Circuit reversed, concluding that Vermont’s reporting
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`scheme is pre-empted by ERISA.
`Held: ERISA pre-empts Vermont’s statute as applied to ERISA plans.
`
`Pp. 5–13.
`
`(a) ERISA expressly pre-empts “any and all State laws insofar as
`they may now or hereafter relate to any employee benefit plan.” 29
`U. S. C. §1144(a). As relevant here, the clause pre-empts a state law
`that has an impermissible “connection with” ERISA plans, i.e., a law
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` GOBEILLE v. LIBERTY MUT. INS. CO.
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`Syllabus
`that governs, or interferes with the uniformity of, plan administra-
`tion. Egelhoff v. Egelhoff, 532 U. S. 141, 148. Pp. 5–6.
`
`(b) The considerations relevant to the determination whether an
`impermissible connection exists—ERISA’s objectives “as a guide to
`the scope of the state law that Congress understood would survive,”
`
`New York State Conference of Blue Cross & Blue Shield Plans v.
`Travelers Ins. Co., 514 U. S. 645, 656, and “the nature of” the state
`law’s “effect . . . on ERISA plans,” California Div. of Labor Standards
`
`Enforcement v. Dillingham Constr., N. A., Inc., 519 U. S. 316, 325—
`
`lead to the conclusion that Vermont’s regime, as applied to ERISA
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`plans, is pre-empted. Pp. 6–12.
`
`(1) ERISA seeks to make the benefits promised by an employer
`
`
`more secure by mandating certain oversight systems and other
`standard procedures, Travelers, 514 U. S., at 651, and those systems
`and procedures are intended to be uniform, id., at 656. ERISA’s ex-
`tensive reporting, disclosure, and recordkeeping requirements are
`central to, and an essential part of, this uniform plan administration
`system. Vermont’s law and regulation, however, also govern plan re-
`
`porting, disclosure, and recordkeeping. Pre-emption is necessary in
`order to prevent multiple jurisdictions from imposing differing, or
`even parallel, regulations, creating wasteful administrative costs and
`threatening to subject plans to wide-ranging liability. ERISA’s uni-
`form rule design also makes clear that it is the Secretary of Labor,
`not the separate States, that is authorized to decide whether to ex-
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`empt plans from ERISA reporting requirements or to require ERISA
`plans to report data such as that sought by Vermont. Pp. 7–10.
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`(2) Vermont’s counterarguments are unpersuasive. Vermont ar-
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`gues that respondent has not shown that the State scheme has
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`caused it to suffer economic costs, but respondent need not wait to
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`bring its pre-emption claim until confronted with numerous incon-
`sistent obligations and encumbered with any ensuing costs. In addi-
`tion, the fact that ERISA and the state reporting scheme have differ-
`ent objectives does not transform Vermont’s direct regulation of a
`fundamental ERISA function into an innocuous and peripheral set of
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`additional rules. Vermont’s regime also cannot be saved by invoking
`the State’s traditional power to regulate in the area of public health.
`Pp. 10–12.
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`(c) ERISA’s pre-existing reporting, disclosure, and recordkeeping
`provisions maintain their pre-emptive force regardless of whether the
`new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s reporting obliga-
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` tions also pre-empt state law. Pp. 12–13.
`746 F. 3d 497, affirmed.
`KENNEDY, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS,
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` Cite as: 577 U. S. ____ (2016)
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`Syllabus
`C. J., and THOMAS, BREYER, ALITO, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J.,
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`and BREYER, J., filed concurring opinions. GINSBURG, J., filed a dissent-
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`ing opinion, in which SOTOMAYOR, J., joined.
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`3
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` Cite as: 577 U. S. ____ (2016)
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`Opinion of the Court
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`1
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` NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in the
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` preliminary print of the United States Reports. Readers are requested to
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` notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Court of the United States, Wash-
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` ington, D. C. 20543, of any typographical or other formal errors, in order
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` that corrections may be made before the preliminary print goes to press.
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`SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
`
`_________________
`
` No. 14–181
`_________________
`
` ALFRED GOBEILLE, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS
`
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` CHAIR OF THE VERMONT GREEN MOUNTAIN
`
`
`
` CARE BOARD, PETITIONER v. LIBERTY
`
`
`MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY
`
`ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF
`
`
`APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT
`
`[March 1, 2016]
`
` JUSTICE KENNEDY delivered the opinion of the Court.
`This case presents a challenge to the applicability of a
`
`state law requiring disclosure of payments relating to
`
`health care claims and other information relating to
`health care services. Vermont enacted the statute so it
`could maintain an all-inclusive health care database.
`Vt. Stat. Ann., Tit. 18, §9410(a)(1) (2015 Cum. Supp.)
`
`(V. S. A.). The state law, by its terms, applies to health
`plans established by employers and regulated by the
`Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974
`(ERISA), 88 Stat. 829, as amended, 29 U. S. C. §1001
`et seq. The question before the Court is whether ERISA
`pre-empts the Vermont statute as it applies to ERISA
`plans.
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`I
`
`A
`
`Vermont requires certain public and private entities
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`that provide and pay for health care services to report
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`information to a state agency. The reported information is
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`2
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` GOBEILLE v. LIBERTY MUT. INS. CO.
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`Opinion of the Court
`compiled into a database reflecting “all health care utiliza-
`tion, costs, and resources in [Vermont], and health care
`utilization and costs for services provided to Vermont
`residents in another state.” 18 V. S. A. §9410(b). A data-
`base of this kind is sometimes called an all-payer claims
`database, for it requires submission of data from all health
`insurers and other entities that pay for health care ser-
`vices. Almost 20 States have or are implementing similar
`databases. See Brief for State of New York et al. as Amici
`Curiae 1, and n. 1.
`
`Vermont’s law requires health insurers, health care
`providers, health care facilities, and governmental agen-
`cies to report any “information relating to health care
`costs, prices, quality, utilization, or resources required” by
`
`the state agency, including data relating to health insur-
`ance claims and enrollment. §9410(c)(3). Health insurers
`must submit claims data on members, subscribers, and
`policyholders. §9410(h). The Vermont law defines health
`insurer to include a “self-insured . . . health care benefit
`plan,” §9402(8), as well as “any third party administrator”
`and any “similar entity with claims data, eligibility data,
`provider files, and other information relating to health
`care provided to a Vermont resident.” §9410(j)(1)(B). The
`database must be made “available as a resource for insur-
`ers, employers, providers, purchasers of health care, and
`State agencies to continuously review health care utili-
`
`zation, expenditures, and performance
`in Vermont.”
`§9410(h)(3)(B).
`
`Vermont law leaves to a state agency the responsibility
`to “establish the types of information to be filed under this
`section, and the time and place and the manner in which
`such information shall be filed.” §9410(d). The law has
`
`been implemented by a regulation creating the Vermont
`Healthcare Claims Uniform Reporting and Evaluation
`System. The regulation requires the submission of “medi-
`cal claims data, pharmacy claims data, member eligibility
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` Cite as: 577 U. S. ____ (2016)
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`Opinion of the Court
`data, provider data, and other information,” Reg. H–2008–
`01, Code of Vt. Rules 21–040–021, §4(D) (2016) (CVR),
`in accordance with specific formatting, coding, and other
`requirements, §5. Under the regulation, health insurers
`must report data about the health care services provided
`to Vermonters regardless of whether they are treated in
`Vermont or out-of-state and about non-Vermonters who
`are treated in Vermont. §4(D); see also §1. The agency at
`present does not collect data on denied claims, §5(A)(8),
`
`but the statute would allow it to do so.
` Covered entities (reporters) must register with the State
`and must submit data monthly, quarterly, or annually,
`depending on the number of individuals that an entity
`serves. The more people served, the more frequently the
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`reports must be filed. §§4, 6(I). Entities with fewer than
`
`200 members need not report at all, ibid., and are termed
`“voluntary” reporters as distinct from “mandated” report-
`ers, §3. Reporters can be fined for not complying with the
`statute or the regulation. §10; 18 V. S. A. §9410(g).
`B
`
`Respondent Liberty Mutual Insurance Company main-
`tains a health plan (Plan) that provides benefits in all 50
`States to over 80,000 individuals, comprising respondent’s
`employees, their families, and former employees. The
`Plan is self-insured and self-funded, which means that
`Plan benefits are paid by respondent. The Plan, which
`qualifies as an “employee welfare benefit plan” under
`
`ERISA, 29 U. S. C. §1002(1), is subject to “ERISA’s com-
`prehensive regulation,” New York State Conference of Blue
`Cross & Blue Shield Plans v. Travelers Ins. Co., 514 U. S.
`645, 650 (1995). Respondent, as the Plan sponsor, is both
`a fiduciary and plan administrator.
`
`The Plan uses Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts,
`Inc. (Blue Cross) as a third-party administrator. Blue
`Cross manages the “processing, review, and payment” of
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`4
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` GOBEILLE v. LIBERTY MUT. INS. CO.
`
`Opinion of the Court
`claims for respondent. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Donegan,
`746 F. 3d 497, 502 (CA2 2014) (case below). In its contract
`with Blue Cross, respondent agreed to “hold [Blue Cross]
`harmless for any charges, including legal fees, judgments,
`administrative expenses and benefit payment require-
`ments, . . . arising from or in connection with [the Plan] or
`due to [respondent’s] failure to comply with any laws or
`regulations.” App. 82. The Plan is a voluntary reporter
`under the Vermont regulation because it covers some 137
`Vermonters, which is fewer than the 200-person cutoff for
`mandated reporting. Blue Cross, however, serves several
`thousand Vermonters, and so it is a mandated reporter.
`
`Blue Cross, therefore, must report the information it
`
`possesses about the Plan’s members in Vermont.
`In August 2011, Vermont issued a subpoena ordering
`
`Blue Cross to transmit to a state-appointed contractor all
`the files it possessed on member eligibility, medical
`claims, and pharmacy claims for Vermont members. Id.,
`
`at 33. (For clarity, the Court uses “Vermont” to refer not
`only to the State but also to state officials acting in their
`official capacity.) The penalty for noncompliance, Vermont
`threatened, would be a fine of up to $2,000 a day and a
`suspension of Blue Cross’ authorization to operate in
`Vermont for as long as six months. Id., at 31. Respond-
`ent, concerned in part that the disclosure of confidential
`information regarding its members might violate its fidu-
`ciary duties under the Plan, instructed Blue Cross not to
`
`comply. Respondent then filed this action in the United
`States District Court for the District of Vermont. It
`sought a declaration that ERISA pre-empts application of
`Vermont’s statute and regulation to the Plan and an in-
`junction forbidding Vermont from trying to acquire data
`about the Plan or its members.
`
`Vermont filed a motion to dismiss, which the District
`
`Court treated as one for summary judgment, see Fed. Rule
`Civ. Proc. 12(d), and respondent filed a cross-motion for
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` Cite as: 577 U. S. ____ (2016)
`
`Opinion of the Court
`summary judgment. The District Court granted summary
`judgment to Vermont. It first held that respondent, de-
`spite being a mere voluntary reporter, had standing to sue
`because it was faced with either allegedly violating its
`“fiduciary and administrative responsibilities to the Plan”
`or assuming liability for Blue Cross’ withholding of the
`
`data from Vermont. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Kimbell, No.
`2:11–cv–204 (D Vt., Nov. 9, 2012), p. 12. The District
`Court then concluded that the State’s reporting scheme
`was not pre-empted. Although that scheme “may have
`some indirect effect on health benefit plans,” the court
`reasoned that the “effect is so peripheral that the regula-
`tion cannot be considered an attempt to interfere with the
`administration or structure of a welfare benefit plan.” Id.,
`at 31–32.
`
`
`
`The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed.
`The panel was unanimous in concluding that respondent
`had standing, but it divided on the merits of the pre-
`emption challenge. The panel majority explained that
`“one of ERISA’s core functions—reporting—[cannot] be
`laden with burdens, subject to incompatible, multiple and
`
`variable demands, and freighted with risk of fines, breach
`of duty, and legal expense.” 746 F. 3d, at 510. The Ver-
`mont regime, the court held, does just that. Id., at 508–
`510.
`
`This Court granted certiorari to address the important
`issue of ERISA pre-emption. 576 U. S. ___ (2015).
`
`II
`
`
`The text of ERISA’s express pre-emption clause is the
`necessary starting point. It is terse but comprehensive.
`ERISA pre-empts
`“any and all State laws insofar as they may now or
`hereafter relate to any employee benefit plan.” 29
`U. S. C. §1144(a).
`
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`6
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` GOBEILLE v. LIBERTY MUT. INS. CO.
`
`Opinion of the Court
`The Court has addressed the potential reach of this
`
`
` clause before. In Travelers, the Court observed that “[i]f
` ‘relate to’ were taken to extend to the furthest stretch of
`
`its indeterminacy, then for all practical purposes pre-
`emption would never run its course.” 514 U. S., at 655.
`That is a result “no sensible person could have intended.”
`California Div. of Labor Standards Enforcement v. Dil-
`lingham Constr., N. A., Inc., 519 U. S. 316, 336 (1997)
`(Scalia, J., concurring). So the need for workable stand-
`ards has led the Court to reject “uncritical literalism” in
`
`applying the clause. Travelers, 514 U. S., at 656.
`Implementing these principles, the Court’s case law to
`
`date has described two categories of state laws that ERISA
`pre-empts. First, ERISA pre-empts a state law if it has a
`“‘reference to’” ERISA plans. Ibid. To be more precise,
`“[w]here a State’s law acts immediately and exclusively
`upon ERISA plans . . . or where the existence of ERISA
`plans is essential to the law’s operation . . . , that ‘refer-
`ence’ will result in pre-emption.” Dillingham, supra, at
`325. Second, ERISA pre-empts a state law that has an
`impermissible “connection with” ERISA plans, meaning a
`state law that “governs . . . a central matter of plan admin-
`istration” or “interferes with nationally uniform plan
`administration.” Egelhoff v. Egelhoff, 532 U. S. 141, 148
`(2001). A state law also might have an impermissible
`connection with ERISA plans if “acute, albeit indirect,
`economic effects” of the state law “force an ERISA plan to
`adopt a certain scheme of substantive coverage or effec-
`tively restrict its choice of insurers.” Travelers, supra, at
`668. When considered together, these formulations ensure
`
`that ERISA’s express pre-emption clause receives the
`broad scope Congress intended while avoiding the clause’s
`susceptibility to limitless application.
`
`III
`Respondent contends that Vermont’s law falls in the
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`7
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` Cite as: 577 U. S. ____ (2016)
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`Opinion of the Court
`second category of state laws that are pre-empted by
`ERISA: laws that govern, or interfere with the uniformity
`of, plan administration and so have an impermissible
`“‘connection with’” ERISA plans. Egelhoff, supra, at 148;
`Travelers, 514 U. S., at 656. When presented with these
`contentions in earlier cases, the Court has considered “the
`objectives of the ERISA statute as a guide to the scope of
`the state law that Congress understood would survive,”
`ibid., and “the nature of the effect of the state law on
`ERISA plans,” Dillingham, supra, at 325. Here, those
`
`considerations lead the Court to conclude that Vermont’s
`regime, as applied to ERISA plans, is pre-empted.
`A
`
`ERISA does not guarantee substantive benefits. The
`statute, instead, seeks to make the benefits promised by
`an employer more secure by mandating certain oversight
`systems and other standard procedures. Travelers, 514
`U. S., at 651. Those systems and procedures are intended
`to be uniform. Id., at 656 (ERISA’s pre-emption clause
`
`“indicates Congress’s intent to establish the regulation of
`employee welfare benefit plans ‘as exclusively a federal
`concern’” (quoting Alessi v. Raybestos-Manhattan, Inc.,
`451 U. S. 504, 523 (1981))). “Requiring ERISA adminis-
`trators to master the relevant laws of 50 States and to
`contend with litigation would undermine the congressional
`goal of ‘minimiz[ing] the administrative and financial
`burden[s]’ on plan administrators—burdens ultimately
`borne by the beneficiaries.” Egelhoff, supra, at 149–150
`(quoting Ingersoll-Rand Co. v. McClendon, 498 U. S. 133,
`
`142 (1990)); see also Fort Halifax Packing Co. v. Coyne,
`482 U. S. 1, 9 (1987).
`
`ERISA’s reporting, disclosure, and recordkeeping re-
`
`quirements for welfare benefit plans are extensive.
`ERISA plans must present participants with a plan de-
`scription explaining, among other things, the plan’s eligi-
`
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`8
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` GOBEILLE v. LIBERTY MUT. INS. CO.
`
`Opinion of the Court
`bility requirements and claims-processing procedures.
`§§1021(a)(1), 1022, 1024(b)(1). Plans must notify partici-
`pants when a claim is denied and state the basis for the
`denial. §1133(1). Most important for the pre-emption
`question presented here, welfare benefit plans governed by
`ERISA must file an annual report with the Secretary of
`Labor. The report must include a financial statement
`listing assets and liabilities for the previous year and,
`further, receipts and disbursements of funds. §§1021(b),
`1023(b)(1), 1023(b)(3)(A)–(B), 1024(a). The information on
`assets and liabilities as well as receipts and disburse-
`ments must be provided to plan participants on an annual
`basis as well. §§1021(a)(2), 1023(b)(3)(A)–(B), 1024(b)(3).
`
`Because welfare benefit plans are in the business of
`providing benefits to plan participants, a plan’s reporting
`of data on disbursements by definition incorporates paid
`claims. See Dept. of Labor, Schedule H (Form 5500)
`Financial Information (2015) (requiring reporting of
`“[b]enefit claims payable” and “[b]enefit payment and
`payments to provide benefits”), online at http://www.
`
`dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/2015-5500-Schedule-H.pdf (as last visited
`Feb. 26, 2016).
`
`The Secretary of Labor has authority to establish addi-
`tional reporting and disclosure requirements for ERISA
`plans. ERISA permits the Secretary to use the data dis-
`closed by plans “for statistical and research purposes, and
`[to] compile and publish such studies, analyses, reports,
`and surveys based thereon as he may deem appropriate.”
`§1026(a). The Secretary also may, “in connection” with
`any research, “collect, compile, analyze, and publish data,
`information, and statistics relating to” plans. §1143(a)(1);
`see also §1143(a)(3) (approving “other studies relating to
`employee benefit plans, the matters regulated by this
`subchapter, and the enforcement procedures provided for
`under this subchapter”).
`
`ERISA further permits the Secretary of Labor to “re-
`
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`9
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` Cite as: 577 U. S. ____ (2016)
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`Opinion of the Court
`quir[e] any information or data from any [plan] where he
`finds such data or information is necessary to carry out
`the purposes of ” the statute, §1024(a)(2)(B), and, when
`investigating a possible statutory violation, “to require the
`submission of reports, books, and records, and the filing of
`
`data” related to other requisite filings, §1134(a)(1). The
`Secretary has the general power to promulgate regulations
`“necessary or appropriate” to administer the statute,
`§1135, and to provide exemptions from any reporting
`obligations, §1024(a)(3).
`It should come as no surprise, then, that plans must
`
`keep detailed records so compliance with ERISA’s report-
`ing and disclosure requirements may be “verified, ex-
`plained, or clarified, and checked for accuracy and com-
`pleteness.” §1027. The records to be retained must
`“include vouchers, worksheets, receipts, and applicable
`
`resolutions.” Ibid.; see also §1135 (allowing the Secretary
`to “provide for the keeping of books and records, and for
`the inspection of such books and records”).
`
`These various requirements are not mere formalities.
`
`Violation of any one of them may result in both civil and
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`criminal liability. See §§1131–1132.
`
`As all this makes plain, reporting, disclosure, and
`recordkeeping are central to, and an essential part of, the
`uniform system of plan administration contemplated by
`
` ERISA. The Court, in fact, has noted often that these
`requirements are integral aspects of ERISA. See, e.g.,
`Dillingham, 519 U. S., at 327; Travelers, supra, at 651;
`Ingersoll-Rand, supra, at 137; Massachusetts v. Morash,
`
`
`
`490 U. S. 107, 113, 115 (1989); Fort Halifax, supra, at 9;
`Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v. Massachusetts, 471 U. S. 724,
`732 (1985).
`
`Vermont’s reporting regime, which compels plans to
`report detailed information about claims and plan mem-
`bers, both intrudes upon “a central matter of plan admin-
`istration” and “interferes with nationally uniform plan
`
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`10
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` GOBEILLE v. LIBERTY MUT. INS. CO.
`
`Opinion of the Court
` administration.” Egelhoff, 532 U. S., at 148. The State’s
`
`
`law and regulation govern plan reporting, disclosure,
`and—by necessary implication—recordkeeping. These
`matters are fundamental components of ERISA’s regula-
`tion of plan administration. Differing, or even parallel,
`regulations from multiple jurisdictions could create waste-
`ful administrative costs and threaten to subject plans to
`wide-ranging liability. See, e.g., 18 V. S. A. §9410(g) (sup-
`plying penalties for violation of Vermont’s reporting rules);
`
`CVR §10 (same). Pre-emption is necessary to prevent the
`
`
`States from imposing novel, inconsistent, and burdensome
`reporting requirements on plans.
`
`The Secretary of Labor, not the States, is authorized to
`
`administer the reporting requirements of plans governed
`by ERISA. He may exempt plans from ERISA report-
`
`ing requirements altogether. See §1024(a)(3); 29 CFR
`§2520.104–44 (2005) (exempting self-insured health plans
`from the annual financial reporting requirement). And, he
`may be authorized to require ERISA plans to report data
`similar to that which Vermont seeks, though that question
`is not presented here. Either way, the uniform rule design
`of ERISA makes it clear that these decisions are for federal
`authorities, not for the separate States.
`B
`
`Vermont disputes the pre-emption of its reporting re-
`gime on several fronts. The State argues that respondent
`has not demonstrated that the reporting regime in fact
`has caused it to suffer economic costs. Brief for Petitioner
`52–54. But respondent’s challenge is not based on the
`theory that the State’s law must be pre-empted solely
`because of economic burdens caused by the state law. See
`Travelers, 514 U. S., at 668. Respondent argues, rather,
`that Vermont’s scheme regulates a central aspect of plan
`administration and, if the scheme is not pre-empted, plans
`will face the possibility of a body of disuniform state re-
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`11
`
`Cite as: 577 U. S. ____ (2016)
`
`Opinion of the Court
`porting laws and, even if uniform, the necessity to accom-
`modate multiple governmental agencies. A plan need not
`wait to bring a pre-emption claim until confronted with
`numerous inconsistent obligations and encumbered with
`any ensuing costs.
` Vermont contends, furthermore, that ERISA does not
`pre-empt the state statute and regulation because the
`state reporting scheme has different objectives. This
`Court has recognized that “[t]he principal object of
`[ERISA] is to protect plan participants and beneficiaries.”
`Boggs v. Boggs, 520 U. S. 833, 845 (1997). And “[i]n enact-
`ing ERISA, Congress’ primary concern was with the mis-
`management of funds accumulated to finance employee
`benefits and the failure to pay employees benefits from
`accumulated funds.” Morash, supra, at 115. The State
`maintains that its program has nothing to do with the
`financial solvency of plans or the prudent behavior of
`fiduciaries. See Brief for Petitioner 29. This does not
`suffice to avoid federal pre-emption.
` “[P]re-emption claims turn on Congress’s intent.” Trav-
`elers, 514 U. S., at 655. The purpose of a state law, then,
`is relevant only as it may relate to the “scope of the state
`law that Congress understood would survive,” id., at 656,
`or “the nature of the effect of the state law on ERISA
`plans,” Dillingham, supra, at 325. In Travelers, for exam-
`ple, the Court noted that “[b]oth the purpose and the
`effects of ” the state law at issue “distinguish[ed] it from”
`laws that “function as a regulation of an ERISA plan
`itself.” 514 U. S., at 658–659. The perceived difference
`here in the objectives of the Vermont law and ERISA does
`not shield Vermont’s reporting regime from pre-emption.
`Vermont orders health insurers, including ERISA plans,
`to report detailed information about the administration of
`benefits in a systematic manner. This is a direct regula-
`tion of a fundamental ERISA function. Any difference in
`purpose does not transform this direct regulation of “a
`
`

`
`12
`
`
`
`
` GOBEILLE v. LIBERTY MUT. INS. CO.
`
`Opinion of the Court
` central matter of plan administration,” Egelhoff, supra, at
`
`148, into an innocuous and peripheral set of additional
`rules.
`The Vermont regime cannot be saved by invoking the
`
`State’s traditional power to regulate in the area of public
`health. The Court in the past has “addressed claims of
`pre-emption with the starting presumption that Congress
`does not intend to supplant state law,” in particular state
`laws regulating a subject of traditional state power. Trav-
`elers, supra, at 654–655. ERISA, however, “certainly
`contemplated the pre-emption of substantial areas of
`traditional state regulation.” Dillingham, 519 U. S., at
`330. ERISA pre-empts a state law that regulates a key
`facet of plan administration even if the state law exercises
`a traditional state power. See Egelhoff, 532 U. S., at 151–
`152. 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, including
`those that operate with the purpose of furthering public
`health. The analysis may be different when applied to a
`state law, such as a tax on hospitals, see De Buono v.
`NYSA–ILA Medical and Clinical Services Fund, 520 U. S.
`
`806 (1997), the enforcement of which necessitates inci-
`dental reporting by ERISA plans; but that is not the law
`before the Court. Any presumption against pre-emption,
`
` whatever its force in other instances, cannot validate a
`state law that enters a fundamental area of ERISA regu-
`lation and thereby counters the federal purpose in the way
`this state law does.
`
`
`
`
`
`IV
` Respondent suggests that the Patient Protection and
`Affordable Care Act (ACA), which created new reporting
`obligations for employer-sponsored health plans and in-
`corporated those requirements into the body of ERISA,
`further demonstrates that ERISA pre-empts Vermont’s
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`
`
` 13
`
`
`
` Cite as: 577 U. S. ____ (2016)
`
`Opinion of the Court
`reporting regime. See 29 U. S. C. §1185d; 42 U. S. C.
`§§300gg–15a, 17; §18031(e)(3). The ACA, however, speci-
`fied that it shall not “be construed to preempt any State
`law that does not prevent the application of the provi-
`sions” of the ACA. 42 U. S. C. §18041(d). This anti-pre-
`emption provision might prevent any new ACA-created
`reporting obligations from pre-empting state reporting
`regimes like Vermont’s, notwithstanding the incorporation
`of these requirements in the heart of ERISA. But see 29
`U. S. C. §1191(a)(2) (providing that the new ACA provi-
`sions shall not be construed to affect or modify the ERISA
`pre-emption clause as applied to group health plans); 42
`
`U. S. C. §300gg–23(a)(2) (same).
`The Court has no need to resolve this issue. ERISA’s
`
`pre-existing reporting, disclosure, and recordkeeping
`provisions—upon which the Court’s conclusion rests—
`maintain their pre-emptive force whether or not the new
`ACA reporting obligations also pre-empt state law.
`
`
`*
`*
`*
`ERISA’s express pre-emption clause requires invalida-
`
`tion of the Vermont reporting statute as applied to ERISA
`
`plans. The state statute imposes duties that are incon-
`sistent with the central design of ERISA, which is to pro-
`vide a single uniform national scheme for the administra-
`tion of ERISA plans without interference from laws of the
`several States even when those laws, to a large extent,
`impose parallel requirements. The judgment of the Court
`
` of Appeals for the Second Circuit is
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`Affirmed.
`
`

`
`
`
`1
`
`
`
` Cite as: 577 U. S. ____ (2016)
`
` THOMAS, J., concurring
`
`
`SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
`
`_________________
`
` No. 14–181
`_________________
`
` ALFRED GOBEILLE, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS
`
`
` CHAIR OF THE VERMONT GREEN MOUNTAIN
`
`
`
` CARE BOARD, PETITIONER v. LIBERTY
`
`
`MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY
`
`ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF
`
`
`APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT
`
`[March 1, 2016]
`
`JUSTICE THOMAS, concurring.
`
`I join the Court’s opinion because it faithfully applies
`
`our precedents interpreting 29 U. S. C. §1144, the express
`pre-emption provision of the Employee Retirement Income
`Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). I write separately because I
`have come to doubt whether §1144 is a valid exercise of
`congressional power and whether our approach to ERISA
`pre-emption is consistent with our broader pre-emption
`jurisprudence.
`
`
`
`I
`Section 1144 contains what may be the most expansive
`
`
`express pre-emption provision in any federal statute.
`
`Section 1144(a) states: “Except as provided” in §1144(b)
`ERISA “shall supersede any and all State laws insofar as
`they may now or hereafter relate to any employee benefit
`plan.” Under the ordinary meaning of the phrase “relate
`to,” §1144(a) pre-empts all state laws that “‘stand in some
`
`relation’” to, “‘have bearing or concern’” on, “‘pertain’” to,
`“‘refer’” to, or ‘“bring into association with or connection
`
`with’” an ERISA plan. Shaw v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., 463
`
`
`U. S. 85, 97, n. 16 (1983) (quoting B

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