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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition

September 15 - 18, 2000

Fitch Warns Health Care Providers Of HIPAA Negative Impact
Excerpt: "Federal legislation designed to regulate the transmission and security of health-related information could cost as much as three to four times that spent on technological upgrades associated with Y2K, according to a report released Friday, Sept. 15 by the international rating agency Fitch." (FitchRatings.com)

Six th Circuit Uses Savings Clause to Rescue "Any Willing Provider" Statute from Preemption
Kentucky Ass'n of Health Plans, Inc. v. Commissioner of Kentucky Dept. of Ins. (6th Cir. 2000) (EBIA Weekly)

N.D. Ill.: Discrimination Claims for Denial of Infertility Treatments Dismissed for Lack of Standing
(EBIA Weekly)

Ford Adds High-Speed DSL Internet Access to Its Employee Free PC Perk
Excerpt: "Ford Motor Co. is counting on Covad Communications and ISP Big Net Inc. to provide the technical support and other management necessary to roll out high-speed Internet access to employees participating in the automaker's Model E access program. The DSL offer is an enhancement of a previously announced plan to offer employees a computer, color printer and dial-up access for home use." (CMP Media)

Perks Count for a Lot
Excerpt: "What are businesses doing to fend off talent grabs? Aside from beefing up salaries and standard benefit packages of insurance, retirement and 401(k)s, some businesses are devising perks to make life on the job more tolerable. In practice, these "soft" benefits mirror the comforts of home." (Knoxville [TN] News-Sentinel)

Hotel Health Spa Perks Give Traveling Workers a Pat on the Back
(Crain's New York Business)

Does Your Company Allow Cashouts of PTO Time as a Regular Employee Benefit? Share The How & Why

Gore Pushes Women's HMO Protections
Excerpt: "Al Gore, collecting an important labor endorsement, is pushing for passage of legislation stalled in Congress that would increase protections for women in managed-care health plans. The proposal the Democratic presidential nominee is endorsing would force HMOs to offer coverage for mastectomies, set minimum hospital stays and require coverage for consultations to get a second opinion on diagnosis and treatment options." (Associated Press)

Clinton Wants Patients' Rights Vote
Excerpt: "Complaining that 50,000 Americans encounter a delay or denial of medical care every day, President Clinton accused Republicans of abusing their power by preventing a Senate vote to expand managed-care patients' rights." (Associated Press)

Patients' Rights Tour 2000
(Families USA)

AMA Joins Clinton in Support of Patients' Rights Legislation
Excerpt: "Today also marks the first day of a targeted television advertising campaign, sponsored by the American Medical Association and the 67 doctor, patient and provider members of the Patient Access Coalition. The ads ask patients to call 1-800-833-6354 to urge their Senators to support strong patient protections." (American Medical Association)

Grassley Seeking Long-Term Care Insurance Consumer Protections
(National Underwriter Company)

Congress Looks at Long-Term Care Insurance
(The Hartford Courant)

Opinion: Pitfalls of Tax Incentives For Long-Term Care
Excerpt: "Included in the health care proposals announced by the White House recently and highlighted in the President's state of the union address is a $3,000 income-related, nonrefundable tax credit for severely disabled persons and families helping to care for them. The plan stands a good chance of being enacted ... While this attention is welcome, the use of the tax code to solve long term care problems raises issues of fairness and effectiveness." (Tax Notes, Reprinted by The Urban Institute)

Patient Advocate Seeks Farewell To Arms In Connecticut HMO War
Excerpt: "Stepping into the fray is Gerald Martens, who took office Aug. 28 as [Connecticut's] first managed care ombudsman.... As ombudsman, Martens will help customers resolve their disputes with HMOs and other managed care plans. That might mean helping them complete complaint forms, guiding them through the external review process, or perhaps even pointing out that they actually aren't covered for gastric bypass surgery or vision-correction surgery." (insure.com)

(Following also appears in Retirement Plans Edition)

9th Cir.: Plan Administrator May File Interpleader Action in Federal Court Under ERISA
Aetna Life Ins. Co. v. Bayona (9th Cir. 2000). Excerpt: "The question that goes begging here (because it was not raised by the facts) is whether an ERISA plan administrator could choose to bring a state law interpleader action in state court." (EBIA Weekly)

DOL Requests Comments on ERISA Disclosure Requirements
Excerpt: "The DOL has solicited public comments about the disclosure obligations of ERISA benefit plan fiduciaries. Specifically, the DOL wants to hear about the effect on benefit plans and employers of recent court rulings that have added fiduciary disclosure requirements to those already found in ERISA Section 104(b)." (EBIA Weekly)

Graef Crystal: An Odd Time to Attack Tenet Healthcare
Excerpt: "Granted I am my own favorite author, but having taught at the University of California at Berkeley for some 10 years, I still carry the notion that it is not kosher to cite yourself as the confirmation of your own conclusions. So off I went to Tenet [Healthcare Corp.]'s latest proxy ... to get the most recent numbers.... What I found was [CEO Jeffrey C. Barbakow] not the overpaid, underperforming CEO I expected. Rather, I found a CEO who was neither overpaid nor underpaid ..." (Graef Crystal, on Bloomberg.com)

Reminder--Form 5500 Filing Deadline Looms
Excerpt: "... the DOL confirmed that it will not be extending any further the October 16, 2000 Form 5500 filing deadline for 1999 calendar year plans. The deadline for all plans required to file on or before July 31, 2000 (which includes 1999 calendar-year plans) was previously extended to October 16, 2000 to allow time to implement the new electronic filing requirements." (EBIA Weekly)

Another Question is Answered in Our Cafeteria Plans Q&A Column
A senior executive ... has been forced to resign effective October 31. [He had] elected $4,800 of health FSA coverage for the current plan year (July 1-June 30), and by the end of October he will have paid $1,600 into his health FSA account via salary reductions. On October 31 (his last day of work), he submitted his first-ever claim for reimbursement: a claim to be reimbursed for $4,000 ... [do] we have to reimburse him ... even though he only contributed $1,600 before his employment ended? (BenefitsLink.com)

Job Openings Newly Posted or Reposted on EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com

Non-Qualified Benefit Consultantfor Compensation Resource Group, Inc
in Location Other Than U.S., ALL STATES
Benefits Consultant- Non-Qualified Plansfor Compensation Resource Group, Inc
in Location Other Than U.S., ALL STATES
Defined Benefit Plan Consultantfor CitiStreet - A State Street and Citigroup company
in MA
Account Managerfor Leading Employee Benefit Consulting Firm
in FL
401(k) Plan Administratorfor Pension Design Services, Inc.
in NH
Sr. Benefits Specialistfor Private Healthcare System, Inc.
in MA
Employee Benefits Specialistfor Employee Benefit Solutions
in VA, WV
401(K) Product Directorfor Transamerica
in CA
Pension Consultantfor Polycomp Administrative Services, Inc.
in CA
Employee Benefits Paralegalfor Georgia Municipal Association
in GA
PENSION POSITIONSfor National Automobile Dealers Association
in DC, MD, VA
Retirement Plans Client Service Representativefor Armstrong/Robitaille Business and Insurance Services
in CA
Benefits Administratorfor Altera Corporation
in CA
Qualified Plan Conversion Specialistfor Pen-Cal
in CA
401(k)/DC Plan Administratorfor Pension Benefits, Inc.
in PA
Extended Benefits Specialistfor Fortune 1000 company - Position located in Florham Park
in NJ
in CA
Assistant Manager of Daily Processingfor DailyAccess.com
in AL
DB Pension Representativefor Third-Party Administrator
in WA
Pension Plan Administratorfor Leading Third Party Administration Firm in San Diego County,
in CA
Defined Contribution - OmniPlan Power Userfor The Ross Companies
in NY
Benefits Coordinatorfor The Macerich Company
in CA

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