Who controls the data? U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear healthcare case

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case next term on whether a self-funded insurer should have to turn over certain information to the state of Vermont—a case that could have far-reaching implications.

The court announced Monday that it would hear Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. In the case, the state of Vermont argues it needs certain data from Liberty, such as claims, member eligibility and other issues, to help it improve the cost and effectiveness of healthcare. Liberty Mutual, however, argues that the federal Employer Retirement Income Security Act, known as ERISA, protects it and its third-party administrator from having to hand over the information, which is otherwise required by the state. 

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals already ruled that ERISA does take precedence over state law, meaning Liberty Mutual's third-party administrator shouldn't have to turn over the data. ERISA regulates traditional pensions and other employer-provided benefits.

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