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April 11, 2000

The Lessons From Computer Associates' Pay Fiasco
Excerpt: "Investors should take away at least two lessons from this episode: Do some math before signing off on an executive compensation scheme and don't set a performance target that ignores what happens in the broader stock market." (Graef Crystal, on Bloomberg.com)

Pet Insurance, Legal Services Among New Benefits Offered to Workers
Excerpt: "Lenox Hill's pet perk, albeit quirky, reflects the leading edge of a burgeoning national trend born of the rapidly shrinking labor market. Companies everywhere are dreaming up and dangling new, and sometimes rather exotic, benefits and incentives in an effort to attract quality workers and keep them." (Chicago Tribune)

Aetna U.S. Healthcare Stops Physician Incentive Payments
Excerpt: "Aetna U.S. Healthcare has agreed to stop rewarding or fining doctors over whether they limit patients' health care, settling a lawsuit filed by the state of Texas with a deal that could become a model for other HMOs. Texas Attorney General John Cornyn and Aetna were to announce details of the settlement today." (Associated Press)

Spell-Out Clearly Your Plan Administrator's Discretionary Authority With New "Safe Harbor" Language
Excerpt: "A new federal court decision [Herzberger v. Standard Ins. Co. (7th Cir.)] has created an opportunity for employers to avoid certain legal risks associated with the administration of employee welfare benefit plans governed by [ERISA]." (Briggs and Morgan)

A Dream Deferred
Excerpt: "Compensation specialists are touting deferred compensation as a win-win situation. That hype, and its being a feature in the pay packets of some very well-known CEOs, has led to its becoming the compensation flavor of the month. But if you block out the buzz and examine the idea closely, you'll find that in many cases it's a sucker's bet, good only for the employer and prudent only in certain instances, primarily involving older executives." (Worth Online)

Participants' Challenge of First Union's Use of Own Funds Largely Dismissed
Excerpt: "A federal district court has dismissed claims by current and former employees of First Union that the firm's practice of limiting investment options for its 401(k) plan to its own mutual funds violated ERISA." (Watson Wyatt)

Retiree Medical and Medicare+Choice Plans: Planning for an Uncertain Future
Excerpt: "For those employers who have not already done so, now is a good time to take a hard look at the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating Medicare+Choice plan options within their retiree medical program." (Watson Wyatt)

Health Plan Liability Still in the Spotlight
Excerpt: "Should patients be able to sue their health plans? Do financial incentives and other managed care practices violate ERISA and other laws? Even though participants and observers are anxious for some resolution, fears remain that expanded liability could sharply increase health care premiums and reduce access to coverage for many Americans." (Watson Wyatt)

Communicating Cash Balance Plans
Excerpt: "Generally overlooked by the media is the impact of good communication in rolling out a cash balance plan, and, conversely, the even more dramatic impact of poor communication." (Watson Wyatt)

DOL Resolves Four Lawsuits Over Failure To Forward 401(k) Plan Contributions

Why Your Doctor Isn't Happy to See You
Excerpt: "Now, after two months in our health system, no one has yet sat down to explain to her what was wrong and what needed to be done. When she heard that I had a reputation for spending extra time with my patients, she asked the HMO to transfer her case to my office." (Ron Adler, M.D., on SF Gate)

Doctors Surveyed Say Insurance Denials Hurt Their Patients
Excerpt: "Six out of 10 doctors report that health insurance plans refuse at least once a month to cover the cost of drugs they prescribe for patients." (Los Angeles Times)

American Medical Association Scolds AAHP for Ad Campaign Blaming Physician Mistakes
Excerpt: "In a letter to Karen Ignani, AAHP president and chief executive officer, Dr. Anderson reminds her that she was asked three years ago to be a founding member of the AMA-affiliated National Patient Safety Foundation and declined." (American Medical Association)

Forbes 500 Employee Benefits Survey
See what America's largest companies are offering in the way of employee benefit programs, including 401(k), tuition assistance and paid leave for childbirth. (Forbes)

Copyright 2000 BenefitsLink.com, Inc.

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