HR Management & Compliance

Health Insurance: Courts Weigh In on San Francisco’s Controversial Ordinance

On Jan. 1, 2008, the controversial San Francisco Health Care Security Ordinance went into effect, extending health coverage to uninsured residents and requiring medium- and large-sized employers to either provide employees with health benefits or pay a fee to the city to help fund the insurance program.

Just before the new year, a federal district court in San Francisco struck down the portion of the law regarding employer funding of the plan. The court found that the law waded into matters regulated by the federal employee benefits law, ERISA.

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But a week into the new year, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stepped in and gave San Francisco the green light to put the law into full effect, including the employer-funding provision, until an appeal of the district court’s ruling can be fully considered. The appeals court also gave a strong indication that it is likely in the long term to uphold the provision requiring employers to chip in to cover San Francisco’s uninsured.

For more information on the ordinance and employer obligations, click here.

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