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U.S. Supreme Court Declines To Review Hawaii High Court Ruling That ERISA Impliedly Pre-Empted State External Review Law

 
 

HLD, v. 33, n. 7 (July 2005)

U.S. Supreme Court Declines To Review Hawaii High Court Ruling That ERISA Impliedly Pre-Empted State External Review Law

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a ruling by the Hawaii Supreme Court that the state's external review law, Haw. Rev. Stat. � 432E-6, was pre-empted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The high court held that � 432E-6 regulates insurance and thus is not expressly pre-empted by ERISA. The high court then turned to the issue of whether � 432E-6 is impliedly pre-empted by ERISA's civil enforcement scheme. The high court determined "field pre-emption" did not apply in this case because there was "no clear and manifest congressional intent to supersede state-law HMO regulations." On the issue of "conflict pre-emption," the high court said the existence of express pre-emption and saving clauses does not mean conflict pre-emption cannot exist and under the principles of conflict pre-emption even a state law that regulates insurance "will be pre-empted if it provides a separate vehicle to assert a claim for benefits outside of, or in addition to, ERISA's remedial scheme."

The high court reviewed Aetna Health Inc. v. Davila, 124 S.Ct. 2488 (2004), and Rush Prudential HMO, Inc. v. Moran, 536 U.S. 355 (2002), and concluded that � 432E-6 is pre-empted by ERISA. The Hawaii Supreme Court's decision is published at 100 P.3d 952 and summarized at HLD, n. 33, v. 1.

            Baldado v. Hawaii Management Alliance Ass'n, No. 04-1305, 73 USLW 3691 (U.S. May 31, 2005).

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