The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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October 11, 2000
HIPAA Law Toughens Rules on Confidentiality for Insurers, Providers
Excerpt: "Next month, after a two-month public comment period, HHS will release the final regulations for electronic transactions under the law, known as HIPAA. Health care plans, clearinghouses and providers—except small, self-administered plans—that choose to transmit electronic transactions will have two years from Oct. 16 to comply with these rules. Small plans with up to $5 million in annual receipts will have three years to comply." (eWeek.com)
4th Cir.: De Novo Standard Should Be Applied to Determination of Disability Eligibility
Excerpt: "The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that a district court improperly applied the deferential arbitrary and capricious standard of judicial review in addressing an insurer's denial of a beneficiary's claim for long term disability benefits. The ruling came in Feder v. Paul Revere Life Insurance Company." (Spencernet)
Hennepin County Minnesota Rejects Same-Sex Benefits Coverage Proposal
Excerpt: "The Hennepin County Board on Tuesday narrowly scuttled a plan to seek a change in state law to allow local governments to offer workers with gay or lesbian partners the same health-care benefits married workers can get for their spouses. The defeat puts the Minneapolis City Council at the forefront of the recently renewed debate. A City Council committee passed a similar resolution earlier Tuesday. The full council is expected to vote on it Friday." (StarTribune.com)
Who's Watching the Kids? The State of Child Care in America
Excerpt: "On Sept. 22, 75 participants from government, business, the child care field and academia met at Wharton for a conference entitled, "Caring for the Young Children of Working Parents: A Call for Private and Public Sector Leadership." The goal was to assess what’s wrong with child care and to examine both public and private sector options for fixing it." (Knowledge@Wharton, free subscription required)
Excerpt: "Here is a list of some of the best and most unusual benefits available, all of which are designed to meet the emotional, physical, mental, and even family needs of valued employees-and keep Bay Area worker bees humming with the same employer." (HighTechCareers.com)
The Health Care Consequences of Smoking and its Regulation (PDF)
Link to a draft of a chapter to be published in Frontiers in Health Policy Research, available for downloading from the National Bureau of Economic Research. (Frontiers in Health Policy Research)
Opinion: Senate Should Put Patients, Not Big Insurers, First
Excerpt: "There is still time for this Senate, in this Congress, to give patients the protections they deserve. The American Medical Assn. believes that a majority of senators would vote to pass a real patients' bill of rights if the Senate Republican leadership would allow the bill to come to a vote." (Los Angeles Times)
Dispute Continues Over Patients' Rights Bill
Excerpt: "Backers of differing versions of legislation designed to expand the rights of patients in managed care plans are making a last-ditch effort to find a compromise. But in the waning days of the Congress, an agreement remains elusive." (Medscape; free registration required)
Aetna, HMOs Battle Effort in Massachusetts to Codify "Patients' Rights"
Excerpt: "Big business, including Aetna US Healthcare and two leading health-maintenance organizations in the state, has contributed $1.1 million to defeat the ballot question ... But Richard AC. Lord, president of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts ... said implementing the ballot question would drive up the price of health care and restrict the system's ability to control costs-- the crux of managed care." (Baltimore Sun)
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