For Immediate Release
Washington, DC – The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) has filed its final brief in our lawsuit against the City of Seattle seeking to halt enforcement of the City’s health coverage mandate because it requires, uniquely for Seattle, a specified level of health plan benefits and precludes uniform health plan administration.
ERIC’s brief responds to arguments made by the City opposing ERIC’s motion, filed last month, asking for summary judgment in ERIC’s favor. We argued that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the federal law that enables employers to administer health and retirement benefits for their employees uniformly across the country, preempts the health coverage mandate in Part 3 of the Seattle Hotel Employees Health and Safety Initiative (SMC 14.25).
“ERIC encourages the court to rule in favor of ERISA preemption and protect the ability of large employers to offer the best benefits to their specific workforce,” said Annette Guarisco Fildes, President and CEO, ERIC. “States must not be allowed to obstruct federal law and effectively force multi-state employers to pay in order to offer uniform health plans to their employees and families.”
Under Part 3 of the Initiative, City hotels with at least 100 rooms must offer the affected employees (even if they have other coverage) coverage in an employer-sponsored group health plan with benefits that are the equivalent of gold-level medical policy on the Washington State insurance exchange at a cost of no more than five percent of their monthly gross taxable earnings or else provide additional compensation based, in part, on the cost of such coverage.
In August, ERIC and the City of Seattle agreed to a temporary non-enforcement of the Initiative until the case is decided or the end of the year, whichever is earlier. The agreement is still in effect.
Click here to read ERIC’s motion and most recent brief.