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).