The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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September 7, 2000
Getting to the Bottom Line on Health Insurance Tax Break for Federal Employees
Excerpt: "The Office of Personnel Management has produced a nifty financial work sheet to help all those federal employees trying to figure out the government's new perk that will soon allow them to use pretax dollars to pay health insurance premiums." (Washington Post)
Consumer Foundation Publishes 'HMO Patient Self-Defense Kit'
Excerpt: "How can patients or their allies help themselves in a system that is set up not to help them get treatment? Your tactics must be those of negotiation. Everything is negotiable--with the HMO, the HMO doctor, the HMO hospital. In a negotiation, establishing what is reasonable is the goal." (Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights)
H.M.O. Costs Spur Employers to Shift Plans
Excerpt: "Health insurance premiums are increasing by 10 percent to 30 percent across the country, according to employers, insurers and regional business groups familiar with the rates being paid by dozens of companies. Driven largely by escalating drug costs, the double-digit increase in annual premiums is the third consecutive one for many companies." (New York Times; free registration required)
3d Cir.: Disparate Retiree Medical Coverage Based On Medicare-Eligibility Is Age Discrimination
Excerpt: "Employer-sponsored health plans that provide different benefits for Medicare-eligible retirees than for retirees younger than age 65 violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled. The case is Erie County Retirees Association, et al v. The County of Erie, Pennsylvania..." (Spencernet)
Guardian, Berkshire to Merge
(Business Wire, via Yahoo! Finance)
Another Question is Answered in Our Professional Liability Insurance Q&A Column
What should a benefit plan service-provider do if there is suspicion, or actual knowledge, that a trustee of a plan is embezzling? (BenefitsLink.com)
Study: HMOs Doing Better, But Can Still Improve
(Following also appears in Retirement Plans Edition)
6th Circuit OKs District Judge's Use of Advisory Jury on ERISA 510 Issue
(Cincinnati Enquirer, originally published February 16, 2000)
Wealth Through The Workplace Act: Super Stock Options
Excerpt: "During the past three months Congress has put forth employee benefit legislation that potentially will increase participant deferrals as part of a strategy to improve coverage. Complimentary legislation entitled, 'Wealth Through the Workplace Act,' or 'Super Stock Option' currently being considered by Congress (HR 3462) may be the catalyst necessary to awaken legislators to the state of employee benefits in the New Economy." (OptionWealth.com)
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