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Welfare Plans Edition

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May 26, 2000

Patients' Rights Bill Snagged Again
Excerpt: "Democrats said Thursday that unless a deal could be struck by next week on legislation to give patients more protections against HMOs, they would give up on negotiations with Republicans aimed at building a House-Senate compromise." (Associated Press)

What Employers Need to Know About Employee Benefit Plan Disclosures, Notices and Certificates
Includes general ERISA disclosure duties and health plan disclosures required by the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act, the Newborns' and Mothers' Health Protection Act, the Mental Health Parity Act, HIPAA and more. (Perkins Coie LLP)

Employee Benefits: A Survey Of Tax-Favored Welfare Benefits
Extensive outline by attorney J. Thomas Cristy of the Seattle law firm of Perkins Coie LLP. (Perkins Coie LLP)

Disabled Employee Buys 24 Months of Continued Coverage But Sues For Failure to Get COBRA Notice
Excerpt: "The employee argued that by not notifying him of his COBRA rights, the employer deprived him of the opportunity to make arrangements for other coverage before his COBRA period ran out ... [and] the court concluded the employer was NOT entitled to summary judgment on the employee's statutory penalty claim." (EBIA Weekly)

California Medical Association Takes HMOs To Court
Excerpt: "In the first lawsuit of its kind, the California Medical Association has accused three of the state's largest, for-profit HMOs of running what amounts to an illegal racket. The lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court in San Francisco, charges Blue Cross, Pacificare and HealthNet with violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)." (New York Times Syndicate)

6th Cir: Collective Bargaining Agreement's Retiree Medical Benefits Clause Created Lifetime Benefits
Excerpt: "In Maurer v. Joy Technologies, Inc., ... the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) ... provided for retiree medical benefits. The term of the initial CBA was three years. Thereafter, the CBA was renegotiated [six times, but] not until the 1991 CBA [did it contain] a clause that expressly reserved the right of the company to amend or terminate the retiree medical plan." (EBIA Weekly)

Ruling Against HMOs Looks Familiar
Excerpt: "History appears to be repeating itself from the bench of the Illinois Supreme Court when it comes to rulings with major implications for the nation's health-care industry. Last week, the state high court held that the doctrine of institutional negligence may be applied to health maintenance organizations." (Chicago Tribune)

D.C. Cir: 60-Day Appeal Period Doesn't Start When Plan Fails to Say Why Claim Was Denied
Excerpt: "[T]he court determined that the plan had failed to disclose a key basis for the denial decision (i.e., that one of the plaintiff's doctors had refused to certify her as disabled)." (EBIA Weekly)

Disabled Howard Co. Maryland Police Seek to Eliminate Earnings Cap
Excerpt: "To say their tax-free pension income is a better deal than full-career officers have on normal pensions isn't fair, said the disabled retirees." (SunSpot.com)

California Governor Vetoes Bill Permitting Use of Family Leave to Care for Domestic Partners
Excerpt: "Bowing to business group opposition, Gov. Gray Davis vetoed a bill yesterday that would have allowed employees to use family leave to care for a domestic partner." (SF Gate)

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