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Welfare Plans Edition

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July 28, 2000

Virginia to Act As Review Court for Decisions by Health Care Companies
Excerpt: "For the first time, Virginians have a place to go--besides court--if they are unable to settle disputes through their insurers' own internal review procedures. Virginia is one of about 30 states that allow consumers to ask the state to review decisions made by their managed-care plans ... Through the Bureau of Insurance, patients are able to appeal decisions about whether their health plan will cover certain types of treatment." (Knight-Ridder / Tribune Business News)

Dallas-Based 7-Eleven Inc. Offers Variety of Benefits for Its Workers
Excerpt: "The Dallas-based company provides cafeteria-style medical insurance plans for pets; retention bonuses based on months of work, not years; and special rates on car insurance and home security systems. It introduced what spokeswoman Margaret Chabris called an offbeat benefits program last spring as one way to lure and retain good workers." (Knight-Ridder / Tribune Business News)

Connecticut Employers Include Job Perks to Keep Talented Workers
Excerpt: " ... pay is not always the most important factor considered by the American worker. With just 60 employees, [Connecticut employer] Cronin is dwarfed by larger competitors in New York City and Boston that are able to offer prospective employees more money and prestige. So, two years ago, Cronin laid out a specific strategy to keep up with the giants of its industry without lowering its hiring standards." (Knight-Ridder / Tribune Business News)

Small Businesses in Texas Should Shop Carefully for Health Insurance
Excerpt: "Offering health insurance has always been a problem for small businesses because their numbers are too small to negotiate the better rates offered to larger companies. But today, the grumbling is louder than ever because small businesses are trying to compete for skilled employees at the time when they are least able to afford attractive benefits packages ... small business advocacy groups say costs have been increasing by 20 percent to 25 percent for small companies." (Knight-Ridder / Tribune Business News)

New Florida Law Will Require Small Businesses to Pay More for Health Insurance
Excerpt: "Florida's 15,000 small businesses will likely have to pay more for their health insurance because of new laws that became effective this month, and one-person small businesses may find it harder to get. Legislation signed into law by Gov. Jeb Bush means that small businesses--from one to 50 employees--can be be hit with a 10 percent surcharge by insurance carriers if one or more employees or their family members get sick and file claims." (Knight-Ridder / Tribune Business News)

A Decade With the ADA
Excerpt: "Ten years after it was signed into law, the Americans with Disabilities Act is evident as one of the biggest pieces of U.S. civil rights legislation." (Public Broadcasting System Online NewsHour)

(Following also appears in Retirement Plans Edition)

Cheney as Vice President Would Face Serious Cut in Pay
Excerpt: "If he becomes vice president, he'll earn an annual salary of $181,400, plus $10,000 for expenses. Of course, there's free limo service, Air Force Two, a house and 24/7 security, not to mention the other perks. But that pales next to his $26.4 million compensation package last year as CEO of energy services giant Halliburton. That included $1.3 million in pay, $5.6 million in stock, and stock options valued at up to $18.9 million." (USA Today)

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