Rush Prudential HMO, Inc. v. Moran, 536 U.S. 355, 27 (2002)

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

Opinion of the Court


Rush still argues for going beyond Pilot Life, making the preemption issue here one of degree, whether the state procedural imposition interferes unreasonably with Congress's intention to provide a uniform federal regime of "rights and obligations" under ERISA. However, "[s]uch disuniformi-ties . . . are the inevitable result of the congressional decision to 'save' local insurance regulation." Metropolitan Life, 471 U. S., at 747.11 Although we have recognized a limited exception from the saving clause for alternative causes of action and alternative remedies in the sense described above, we have never indicated that there might be additional justifications for qualifying the clause's application. Rush's arguments today convince us that further limits on insurance regulation preserved by ERISA are unlikely to deserve recognition.

To be sure, a State might provide for a type of "review" that would so resemble an adjudication as to fall within Pilot Life's categorical bar. Rush, and the dissent, post, at 394 (opinion of Thomas, J.), contend that 4-10 fills that bill by imposing an alternative scheme of arbitral adjudication at

11 Thus, we do not believe that the mere fact that state independent review laws are likely to entail different procedures will impose burdens on plan administration that would threaten the object of 29 U. S. C. 1132(a); it is the HMO contracting with a plan, and not the plan itself, that will be subject to these regulations, and every HMO will have to establish procedures for conforming with the local laws, regardless of what this Court may think ERISA forbids. This means that there will be no special burden of compliance upon an ERISA plan beyond what the HMO has already provided for. And although the added compliance cost to the HMO may ultimately be passed on to the ERISA plan, we have said that such "indirect economic effect[s]," New York State Conference of Blue Cross & Blue Shield Plans v. Travelers Ins. Co., 514 U. S. 645, 659 (1995), are not enough to preempt state regulation even outside of the insurance context. We recognize, of course, that a State might enact an independent review requirement with procedures so elaborate, and burdens so onerous, that they might undermine 1132(a). No such system is before us.


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