(If this message looks garbled to you or if the headlines in this message don't connect you to Web pages when you click on , please request the "plain text" version of this newsletter (Welfare Plans Edition) by emailing your request to publisher Dave Baker at davebaker@benefitslink.com)
The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition

Today's sponsor is EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com
(click on banner for more information)

(Would your company like to sponsor an issue?)

October 4 - 5, 2000

Court Rejects IRS's Proposed Cafeteria Plan Rules Regarding Reimbursement From An FSA
Excerpt: "An IRC Sec. 125 flexible spending account (FSA) was required to reimburse an employee for amounts actually paid for health care expenses in a plan year, even though the medical services that gave rise to the expenses took place during the prior plan year. This ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana in Grande v. Allison Engine Company." (Spencernet)

Reasonably Average Man Standard? Group Policy to be Interpreted in "Ordinary, Popular Sense"
Excerpt: "We believe the average person would not under- stand the term 'tissue transplant' to encompass [high dose chemotherapy with peripheral stem cell rescue], because she would not understand stem cells to be 'tissue.' Instead, the average person would focus on the fact that stem cells in this procedure are a component of the patient's blood." (United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit)

Domestic Partner Benefits Proposed for Hennepin County Minnesota Employees
Excerpt: "Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin wants to provide same-sex domestic-partner benefits to the county's 11,000 workers and is seeking a change in state law to make that possible." (StarTribune.com)

Concord CA Considers Domestic Partner Benefits
Excerpt: "A decade ago, Concord was ground zero for anti-gay legislation. From being the first city in the nation to overturn a law barring discrimination against people with AIDS to refusing to acknowledge Gay Freedom Week, the city got a national reputation for its inhospitality toward homosexuals." (San Francisco Chronicle)

Supervisors Hold Firm on Domestic Partners' Benefits Vote
Excerpt: "Despite pleas to rescind a vote granting benefits for the gay and unmarried partners of county employees, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday refused to back down from a decision that one supervisor called 'fair and just.'" (Los Angeles Times)

6th Cir.: Insured May Have Changed Beneficiary Under "Undue Influence" Common Law Doctrine
Excerpt: "The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that an insured may have changed the designated beneficiary of his life insurance benefits as a result of "undue influence." The ruling came in Tinsley v. General Motors Corporation and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company." (Spencernet)

Medical Saving Accounts Program Never Fulfilled Its Promise
MSA (Knight-Ridder / Tribune, via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Most Insurers Will Cover Abortion Pill
Excerpt: "Most insurers and pharmacy benefit managers say they will cover the newly approved RU-486 abortion pill, but they are leaving it up to employers to decide whether to extend the benefit to their employees." (insure.com)

Coverage Can Be Tailored to Suit Workers, Employers
Excerpt: "Consumer-choice health purchasing groups split costs between owners and employees, let create plans that meet their needs.... Health insurers aren't ready to say so publicly yet, but they know that the cost-containment benefits of managed care have just about run their course.... The good news [is] something relatively new to the insurance industry but not widely known among employers--consumer-choice health purchasing groups, or CHPGs, of which two now operate in California." (Los Angeles Times)

Spending on Health Care -- A Three-Decade Perspective on Current Costs
Excerpt: "For employers struggling to evaluate their own health costs, the historical perspective may offer some context of the overall health market for using more recent data to compare and project employers' health costs." (Deloitte & Touche)

Massachusetts Voters to Decide on Universal Healthcare

HMOs Under Pressure from States to Speed Payment of Claims
Excerpt: "Doctors, hospitals and other providers in California might find that health plans that have been the slowest and most inadequate in paying claims suddenly are among the first to put checks in the mail. Lawmakers recently passed a bill that would allow the state to make plans with a pattern of slow payment pay future claims within a shorter time span than mandated for other plans. Under California's current prompt-pay law, HMOs have to pay or deny claims within 45 days ..." (Managed Care Executives Online)

Pittsburgh-Area Health Insurance Firm Drops Controversial Flat Fee Compensation Plan
Excerpt: "Under the compensation plan that was abandoned, Highmark would have begun making flat payments to cover each patient that a specialist treated. The payments would have varied with the patient's diagnosis. Currently, the specialists receive fees for each service they provide." (Knight-Ridder / Tribune)

(Following also appears in Retirement Plans Edition)

EEOC Publishes Compliance Manual on Employee Benefit Plans
Excerpt: "The section provides guidance and instructions for investigating and analyzing issues [under ADEA, the ADA, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the Equal Pay Act] ... with regard to life and health insurance benefits, long-term and short-term disability benefits, severance benefits, pension or other retirement benefits, and early retirement incentives.... [A]ll employee benefits must be provided in a non-discriminatory manner unless a statutory exception provides otherwise." (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)

Court-Approved Plan Language Seeks To Guarantee Safe Harbor for Sponsor Discretion
Excerpt: "[T]he U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit laid down safe harbor language for SPD deferential standard of review [in] Herzberger v. Standard Insurance Co.... The issue was whether language in plan documents to the effect that benefits shall be paid when the plan administrator upon proof (or satisfactory proof) determines that the applicant is entitled to confers upon the administrator a power of discretionary judgment..." (Corbel)

Chart of Currently Pending Employee Benefits Issues in Washington
Describes issues, bill numbers, and status. Nice! (Deloitte & Touche)

Job Openings Newly Posted or Reposted on EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com

Implementation Specialistfor Towers Perrin - Benefit Administration Services
in NJ, PA
401(k) Consultantfor Louis Kravitz & Associates, Inc.
in CA
Senior Compliance Specialistfor Putnam Investments
in MA
Employee Benefits Tax Manager/Senior Managerfor Deloitte & Touche, Leading Professional Services Firm
in MN
Trust Administratorfor Fifth Third Bank, Kentucky, Inc.
in KY
in NC
Senior Benefit Plan Analystfor Marriott International, Inc.
in MD
Part Time Defined Contribution Administratorsfor Ceridian Retirement Plan Services
in CO
Retirement Administratorfor Delaware Investments
in PA
Daily Valuation Administratorfor WESPAC Plan Services, Inc.
in CA
Senior Paralegal- Retirement Consultantfor William M. Mercer
in NY
Defined Benefit Conversion Programming Specialistfor New York Life Benefit Services LLC
in MA
Defined Benefit Conversion Specialistfor New York Life Benefit Services LLC
in MA
Director of TSA Salesfor Security Benefit Group of Companies - Topeka, KS
in KS
Compliance Administratorfor The Vanguard Group
in PA
Operations Managerfor Summit Bank
in NJ
HR Generalistfor Hewitt Associates
in IL
Pension Plan Administratorfor Thomas F. Barrett, Inc.
in MD
Defined Contribution Account Administratorfor The Vanguard Group
in PA
ERISA Attorneyfor Watson Wyatt Worldwide
in OH
Trust Account Manager (Employee Benefits)for The Northern Trust Company
in IL
Nonqualified Plan Account Managerfor Benefit Plan Services, Inc.
in GA
Regional Account Representativefor Insurance Company Providing 401(k) and Other Retirement Plans
in TX
Assistant Benefit Consultantfor Buck Consultants, Inc.
in NJ
Legal Assistant II - ERISAfor American Century Investments
in MO
ERISA - Benefits Attorneyfor William M. Mercer
in NY

Subscribe to the Retirement Plans Edition, too (click)
Copyright 2000 BenefitsLink.com, Inc.

Feel free to forward this email to friends, colleagues or clients, if no fee is paid to you and the email is forwarded in its entirety. Thanks!

BenefitsLink is a trademark of BenefitsLink.com, Inc., published by Dave Baker with much help from Mary Hall and lots of friends.

To subscribe (free): visit https://benefitslink.com/newsletter - or the person desiring to subscribe can send an email to listmanager@postmastergeneral.com, with this as the subject of the email: subscribe BLwelfare

We have an online archive of prior issues at
BenefitsLink logo
Looking for a speaker for your benefits group? Want to throw your hat into the ring? Free.

Need personnel? It's like fishing in a barrel here.

Need a benefits job? Sort the openings by their distance away from you.

Exchange questions and tips with colleagues. Co-sponsored by us and several employee benefits organizations.

Promotions and new personnel in the employee benefits community.

Experts field questions online, submitted by readers via email.

View by location, by sponsoring organization, or by date.

Largest listing of benefits software on the net: descriptions, downloads.

Ads are our sole source of support. No subscription fees!


Copyright 2000 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. All rights reserved. BenefitsLink is a trademark of BenefitsLink.com, Inc.