Ruling Gives Religion-based Hospitals Pension Exemption
On June 5, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton case that religious-affiliated hospitals are exempt from federal pension requirements. That means faith-based hospitals can avoid pension regulations — such as paying premiums to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation — under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s (ERISA) “church plan” exemption.
Health organizations affiliated with churches (i.e., Dignity Health) operate significant numbers of hospitals in the United States. And, this is good news for those nonprofit hospitals that struggle financially due to the increase in patients on government programs, which reimburse at lower rates than private payers.
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