Health Care Counsel

Arent Fox's health care law blog offers news, analysis, and insights for the health care industry.

Health Care Counsel

Sylvia G. Costelloe

Sylvia G. Costelloe
Washington, DC

Sylvia is an associate in Arent Fox's Complex Litigation group.


Blog Posts by Sylvia G. Costelloe

Church-Affiliated Benefit Plans Exempt from ERISA: What the Supreme Court’s Ruling Means for Healthcare Providers

The Supreme Court issued a stunning ERISA decision on Monday, overturning the law in the three federal circuits as to what constitutes a “church plan” that is exempt from ERISA’s requirements. In Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton, 581 U. S. ____ (2017), issued June 5, 2017, the Court held that ERISA’s “church plan” exemption applies to plans sponsored by hospitals that are affiliated with churches, regardless of whether or not those plans were actually established by a church. This decision reverses contrary rulings by the Third, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits.  While this case arose out of pension plans sponsored by church-affiliated entities, the decision will apply equally with respect to health and welfare plans. 

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Arent Fox LLP, founded in 1942, is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and government intersect. With more than 350 lawyers, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to clients that range from Fortune 500 corporations to trade associations. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.