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The BenefitsLink Newsletter

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April 6, 2000

Tech Workers Watch Stock Options Lose Value
Excerpt: "Technology worker Jonas Hedberg easily sums up what this week's gyrating markets have felt like for tens of thousands of Internet workers watching their stock options slump: Ouch." (USA Today)

401(k)s Invested in Employer Stock Especially Vulnerable To Market Volatility
Excerpt: "The 401(k) plan, the focus of retirement savings for many Americans, is extremely vulnerable to the stock market's volatility. No one knows that more than workers whose 401(k) accounts are heavily concentrated in the stock of one company--the company they work for." (Associated Press)

So Long, Florida CHPA
Excerpt: "The Community Health Purchasing Alliances, or CHPAs (pronounced 'chippas'), will not allow insurance agents to sell new policies through the alliances after May 15. Businesses that already have a CHPA policy will not be able to renew starting July 1." (Florida Times-Union)

An Opposing View: Give HMO Patients the Choice of a Trial
Excerpt: "The Bee's March 26 editorial 'Ill-suited reform' opposed [California bill] AB 1751, which would guarantee the right of HMO patients to choose between a trial or private arbitration. The Bee's position ignores the powerlessness of patients in the forced arbitration system, which dramatically differs from the American court system." (Letter to Editor of Sacramento Bee)

Managed Care Ad Sparks Sharp Rebuke - Critics Accuse HMO Group Of Disrupting Hill Debate
Excerpt: "Four little words in a health insurance industry ad--'medical mistakes can kill'--have drawn a furious reaction from politicians and medical groups supporting managed-care legislation before Congress." (Washington Post)

Hopes for Social Security Reform
Excerpt: "Federal retirees hope this month's congressional repeal of the earnings test for Social Security beneficiaries is just Act I of a three-act play to improve their retirement benefits." (GovExec.com)

Long-Term Care Insurance Market Grows, but Buyer Beware
Excerpt: "When buying long-term care insurance, age, spousal discounts and inflation protection add-ons all affect premiums, a study by Weiss Ratings Inc. finds. And the differences can be dramatic." (Medscape; free registration required)

Focus on Women: The Importance of Planning for Retirement
Excerpt: "There are a number of compelling reasons why women should be especially diligent about saving for retirement, if possible in an IRA, even if they have other demands on their money." (IRAjunction.com)

DOL Strategic Enforcement Plan (plain text version)
Excerpt: "The Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA) is publishing this Strategic Enforcement Plan (StEP) for the purposes of informing the public of its current goals, priorities, and methods, and promoting compliance with Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA)." (U.S. Department of Labor)

DOL Strategic Enforcement Plan (PDF)
Excerpt: "The Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA) is publishing this Strategic Enforcement Plan (StEP) for the purposes of informing the public of its current goals, priorities, and methods, and promoting compliance with Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA)." (U.S. Department of Labor)

Holding Patients Hostage: The Unhealthy Alliance Between HMOs & Senate Leaders
Excerpt: "... how campaign cash--particularly unlimited soft money contributions--has cemented an alliance between pro-managed care interests and Senate leaders that has thwarted strong new patients' rights protections supported by the majority of Americans." (Public Citizen's Congress Watch)

Fifth Circuit Joins Three Other Circuits In Allowing AIDS Limits In Health Plan
Excerpt: "The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a district court's decision that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) anti-discrimination provision does not regulate the terms and content of goods and services, including health insurance policies. Therefore, the insurance company that issued a policy containing an AIDS limit of $10,000 was found to be not liable for over $400,000 in hospital bills for AIDS treatments." (Corbel)

The Use of Informal Rewards in Recognizing Performance
Excerpt: "The value of informal rewards, that is, spontaneous, non-monetary forms of recognition, as employee motivators is increasing today for two reasons. First, traditional rewards such as compensation and promotions--although still important--are becoming less and less effective in motivating today's employees to achieve high performance. Second, informal rewards are effective and highly desired by today's employees." (Performance Management International)

Take that R+ and Shove It! Trying to Reinforce Angry Associates
Excerpt: "Employees experience anger toward managers and supervisors whom they perceive fail to take actions that would solve problems for them or create opportunities for them to experience positive reinforcement, recognition and reward. Many of these issues could be resolved if a pro-active, problem-solving process was in place." (Performance Management International)

Administration Under Pressure to Support Anti-Offset Social Security Bill
Excerpt: "Lobbyists and politicians are putting heavy pressure on the Clinton administration to support a bill that would restore some Social Security spousal and survivor benefits to thousands of people. Most of those whose benefits would be restored or increased are low-income female federal retirees or teachers." (Washington Post)

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