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April 12, 2000

Controversial Canadian Same-Sex Bill Passes Commons
Excerpt: "The federal government's same-sex bill ended its turbulent passage through the Commons on Tuesday as MPs voted overwhelmingly for the proposed legislation." (news.excite.ca)

Former Employee's Claim For LTD Benefits Was Barred By Statute Of Limitations
Excerpt: "The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that a former employee's breach of contract claim seeking to recover long term disability benefits was barred by the statute of limitations under New Jersey state law." (Spencernet)

Department of Labor Targets TPA As Fiduciary In Connection With Voice Automated 401(k) Services
Excerpt: "... service providers should document their own files scrupulously to explain delays in communicating participant investment elections. If delays occur because of breakdowns in information from plan sponsor to service provider, the service provider should explain that breakdown in correspondence to plan fiduciaries." (Reish & Luftman)

Introduction to Employee Stock Ownership Plans (PDF)
26-page document from the law firm of Reish & Luftman - an excellent primer. (Reish & Luftman)

Georgia's Pension System Adds Special-Treat Beneficiaries
Excerpt: "The first General Assembly to convene in the new century was first to corrupt the 'new' Employees' Retirement System of Georgia benefit plan. A Pandora's box is reopened." (Atlanta Journal)

Creating a Virtual Water Cooler
Excerpt: "People work really late these days, and change jobs every few years. These new conditions can lead to workplace vertigo, so a company called perksatwork.com is establishing customized 'employee portals' in order to make people feel a little more centered." (Internet.com)

Recent Legal Actions Against HMOs
'Sidebar' story, to accompany the Aetna U.S. Healthcare settlement story. (Associated Press)

Bush Offers Plan to Help Poor Get Health Insurance
Excerpt: "Staking his claim to an issue important to voters but often ignored by his own party, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush on Tuesday proposed a plan to help many of the nation's poor get health insurance." (Bergen NJ Record)

Texas' Health Care Problems Haven't Been Priority for Bush
Excerpt: "Texas has had one of the nation's worst public health records for decades ... But since George W. Bush became governor in 1995, he has not made health a priority, his aides acknowledge. He has never made a speech on the subject, his press office says." (SF Gate)

Avoid the Seven Pitfalls of Long Term Care Insurance
Excerpt: "Too many consumers are kept in the dark about long term care by an insurance sale force that, intentionally or not, sometimes preys on their ignorance." (insure.com)

Choosing Among Long Term Care Insurance Riders
Excerpt: "With so many long term care insurance policies to choose from, insurance companies are attempting to distinguish themselves and their products from one another. One marketing strategy is to offer policies with a laundry list of special features, discounts, riders, and expanded benefits." (insure.com)

Congress Looking For Ways To Help Old Workers
Excerpt: "Congress is brainstorming more ways to help older Americans stay at work as employers complain of labor shortages caused by the humming economy and a huge wave of baby boomers nears retirement age." (Associated Press)

Employee Extras: Creative Perks to Get Workers and Keep 'Em
Excerpt: "In today's tight labor market, employers are coming up with creative perks ranging from game rooms to chef-prepared take-home meals to boost employee recruitment and retention." (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Doctors Overdiagnosing To Help Patients Get Insurance
Excerpt: "In a stunning communal confession, nearly 40 percent of physicians queried in a random survey admitted that, in the last year, they deceived insurance companies to help patients get needed care." (New York Times Syndicate)

Aetna Settlement Might Set National Precedent
Excerpt: "In a deal that could set a national precedent, the health insurer Aetna Inc. has settled a lawsuit with Texas, promising to give doctors more power over medical treatments and agreeing to prohibit financial incentives for doctors to limit care." (Associated Press)

Norwood Steering Health Care Debate From the Back Seat
Excerpt: "Some call Rep. Charlie Norwood the 'ghost' member of the congressional committee trying to reach a compromise on health care reform. He's not physically on the panel, but is a strong presence who spooks those who seek only moderate changes." (Associated Press)

Aetna Pledges Patient Protections
Excerpt: "In a closely watched deal, Aetna U.S. Healthcare has agreed to add some modest patient protections, settling a lawsuit brought by the Texas attorney general." (USA Today)

Aetna U.S. Healthcare and Texas Attorney General Announce Agreement on Guidelines
Aetna's press release about yesterday's settlement. (Aetna U.S. Healthcare)

Texas, Aetna Reach Settlement; Ban Fines on Doctors Who Exceed Budgets
Excerpt: "The state of Texas and Aetna U.S. Healthcare will announce a landmark settlement Tuesday that Attorney General John Cornyn said will prevent health maintenance organizations from penalizing physicians who spend more than recommended on patient care." (Dallas Morning News)

You Can Do Anything - But Not Everything
Excerpt: "David Allen, one of the world's most influential thinkers on personal productivity, offers his unique advice on how to keep up the pace -- without wearing yourself down." (Fast Company)

Bosses Held Responsible for Keeping Workers
Excerpt: "Bosses, beware. A tight labor market has more companies holding their middle managers accountable for retaining workers. Companies are sending managers to retention seminars, linking bosses' pay to their staff turnover and taking other steps to get midlevel executives thinking about their role in keeping employees." (USA Today)

Copyright 2000 BenefitsLink.com, Inc.

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