Supreme Court Declines to Hear Appeal to a Michigan Tax on Health Insurance Plans

By on January 18, 2017

The Supreme Court of the United States has declined to hear the Self-Insurance Institute of America Inc.’s ERISA preemption challenge to a Michigan tax on health insurance plans.

As we previously reported last year, the Sixth Circuit, had decided, on remand from the Supreme Court, that the Michigan Health Insurance Claims Assessment Act (Act) was not preempted by ERISA. The Act imposes a 1 percent tax on all paid claims by insurers or third-party administrators (TPAs) for health services rendered in Michigan to Michigan residents. The case was brought by the Self-Insurance Institute of America (SIIA), a trade association representing the sponsors of self-insured health plans and their TPAs, alleging the Act was preempted by ERISA. The trial court dismissed the case, concluding that the law was not preempted by ERISA. The Sixth Circuit also held that the Act was not preempted. After granting certiorari, the Supreme Court vacated this judgment and remanded the case to the Sixth Circuit for further consideration in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Gobeille v. Liberty Mut. Life Ins. Co., which invalidated a Vermont statute that required an ERISA plan to report health care information to an all-payer claims database, since the Vermont law interfered with nationally uniform plan administration. On remand, the Sixth Circuit reaffirmed its original decision, finding that nothing in Gobeille warranted overturning its decision. SIIA’s attempt to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court was declined on January 9, 2017.

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