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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition

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June 7, 2000

Settling Insurance Claims Without a Lawyer: Road to Riches, or to Ruin?
Excerpt: "Now imagine winning the same settlement without having to cough up a contingency fee to a lawyer. That's the promise offered by two new companies, MyClaim.com and SelfSettle.com, which both sell online and offline services and resources to help consumers get the most out of an insurance settlement. The companies target victims of automobile accidents." (insure.com)

How Much Do TPAs Need To Do When the Trustee is a Crook?
Excerpt: "The United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has clarified ERISA's rules in a way that is beneficial for third party administrators (TPAs). The case is CSA 401(k) Plan v. Pension Professionals, Inc., 195 F.3d 1135 (9th Cir. 1999). The case is important because it draws a bright line between plan fiduciaries and service providers." (Reish & Luftman)

Supreme Court Ruling on Privacy Protection Will Have HIPAA Implications for Medical Privacy Standard
Excerpt: "An upcoming Supreme Court case on whether an individual's privacy rights are violated when hospital drug test results are turned over to law enforcement authorities will affect the governmental use exemption from privacy protections under proposed privacy regulations." (Thompson Publishing Group)

U S WEST Retirees Say They're Hopeful that Pensions/Benefits Are Safe; Qwest Deal Approved
Excerpt: "'We are disappointed that the Commission didn't order all the safeguards we had requested,' said Jim Norby, president of the 14-state Association of U S WEST Retirees. 'But the Commission has clearly indicated that it expects US WEST and Qwest to continue honoring historic commitments to retirees, and especially to ensure that our pension and health plan benefits will not be reduced.'" (Reuters via Yahoo! Finance)

Bipartisan Patients' Rights Bill Might Be Possible
Excerpt: "Democrats said they may bypass House-Senate negotiations on a patients' bill of rights and introduce as early as today a bipartisan bill on the Senate floor." (Associated Press)

Striking Balance Between Happy Bosses, Workers
Excerpt: "'Structuring work so that the work gets done and everyone's life is sustainable isn't a cost--it's good management,' Lenhoff said." (Chicago Tribune)

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