Adventist Health System accused of improperly relying on ERISA 'church plan' exemption

Altamonte Springs, Fla.-based Adventist Health System is accused of underfunding its pension plans by $134 million, according to Bloomberg BNA.

The federal lawsuit, filed Oct. 28, alleges Adventist improperly classified its pension as a "church plan" exempt from the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which requires pension plans to have adequate funding to pay their promised benefits.

The Adventist lawsuit is the latest in a string of cases filed over the way religiously affiliated hospitals fund their pension plans. 

In late October, Renton, Wash.-based Providence Health & Services agreed to pay nearly $352 million to resolve claims it misclassified its pension plan. St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, Conn.; Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health; and St. Louis-based Ascension have settled similar suits in recent years.

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