Providence Health to pay $352M to settle ERISA lawsuit

Renton, Wash.-based Providence Health & Services will pay nearly $352 million to resolve claims it underfunded its pension plan, according to Bloomberg BNA.

The class-action suit accused Providence Health of improperly classifying 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.

Providence Health's settlement is the largest in a string of settlements over the way religiously affiliated hospitals fund their pension plans, according to the report.

In May, St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, Conn., agreed to pay $107 million to resolve allegations it improperly classified and underfunded its pension plan. Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health inked a $75 million settlement in August to settle similar allegations. The Trinity settlement was more than nine times larger than the $8 million settlement reached by St. Louis-based Ascension Health in a similar suit in 2015.

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