Rush Prudential HMO, Inc. v. Moran, 536 U.S. 355, 9 (2002)

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Cite as: 536 U. S. 355 (2002)

Opinion of the Court

Group Coverage, as well as his own medical judgment. Rush's medical director, however, refused to concede that the surgery had been medically necessary, and denied Moran's claim in January 1999.

Moran amended her complaint in state court to seek reimbursement for the surgery as "medically necessary" under Illinois's HMO Act, and Rush again removed to federal court, arguing that Moran's amended complaint stated a claim for ERISA benefits and was thus completely preempted by ERISA's civil enforcement provisions, 29 U. S. C. 1132(a), as construed by this Court in Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v. Taylor, 481 U. S. 58 (1987). The District Court treated Moran's claim as a suit under ERISA, and denied the claim on the ground that ERISA preempted Illinois's independent review statute.3

The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed. 230 F. 3d 959 (2000). Although it found Moran's state-law reimbursement claim completely preempted by ERISA so as to place the case in federal court, the Seventh Circuit did not agree that the substantive provisions of Illinois's HMO Act were so preempted. The court noted that although ERISA broadly preempts any state laws that "relate to" employee benefit plans, 29 U. S. C. 1144(a), state laws that "regulat[e]

3 No party has challenged Rush's status as defendant in this case, despite the fact that many lower courts have interpreted ERISA to permit suits under 1132(a) only against ERISA plans, administrators, or fiduciaries. See, e. g., Everhart v. Allmerica Financial Life Ins. Co., 275 F. 3d 751, 754-756 (CA9 2001); Garren v. John Hancock Mut. Life Ins. Co., 114 F. 3d 186, 187 (CA11 1997); Jass v. Prudential Health Care Plan, Inc., 88 F. 3d 1482, 1490 (CA7 1996). Without commenting on the correctness of such holdings, we assume (although the information does not appear in the record) that Rush has failed to challenge its status as defendant because it is, in fact, the plan administrator. This conclusion is buttressed by the fact that the plan's sponsor has granted Rush discretion to interpret the terms of its coverage, and by the fact that one of Rush's challenges to the Illinois statute is based on what Rush perceives as the limits that statute places on fiduciary discretion. Whatever Rush's true status may be, however, it is immaterial to our holding.

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