The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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October 12, 2000
'Tight' LTC Writers Have Lower Claim Ratios
Excerpt: "A new study from a major actuarial firm suggests insurers with 'tight' underwriting rules for investigating and selecting applicants for long-term care insurance really do report lower claims costs than insurers that apply loose standards." (National Underwriter Company)
Door Opens on Patients' HMO Suits
Excerpt: "Using a recent Supreme Court decision originally hailed as a victory for HMOs, plaintiffs' attorneys are seeking to remove the federal protections that have kept managed-care businesses out of state courts and shielded them from juries with the power to exact large damages for wronged patients. What's given these attorneys a big boost is the Department of Labor's endorsement of a patient's right to sue HMOs under state law." (Law.com)
UnumProvident Corp.'s New Disability Insurance Allows Conversion To Long Term Care Insurance
Watson Wyatt Climbs in First Trading Day
Excerpt: "Shares of Watson Wyatt (WW:NYSE) rose as much as 19% in their trading debut Wednesday, making the company one of the few human resources consultants to go public." (TheStreet.com)
Buyouts Would Give Pentagon Flexibility to Reshape Workforce
Excerpt: "Under legislation moving through Congress, Defense will be able to offer cash buyouts worth up to $25,000 to employees who volunteer to retire early or quit, but without the traditional requirement that Defense abolish a position each time it gives a buyout." (Washington Post)
What Are Other Employers Offering as Incentives for Waiving Health Care Benefits?
Practitioners discuss the use of cash and other incentives to be paid to employees who waive health coverage that otherwise would be provided by the employer. (BenefitsBoards.net)
Benefit Satisfaction Lags For Health Plans
Excerpt: "Just 12 percent of employee benefit managers responding to a recent survey by Watson Wyatt Worldwide say their organizations get excellent results from their health plans in terms of employee satisfaction. Only 13 percent got excellent outcomes in terms of cost, according to the survey." (National Underwriter Company)
Consumer Advocates Put Pressure On Senator From Washington State Over Patient Rights Bill
Excerpt: "Family members of patients wrongfully denied treatment by their HMOs called on U.S. Senator Slade Gorton to change his vote and support bi-partisan, federal, patients' rights legislation, at a morning press conferences in front of the Senator's offices." (U.S. Newswire)
Gore, Bush Positions on Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs)
The Cost of Prescription Drugs: Who Needs Help?
(American Association of Retired Persons)
In Kentucky, Outsiders Join a Patient-Rights Fray That Isn't Quite What This Doctor Ordered
Excerpt: "The health care issue is more starkly defined in this central-Kentucky district than anywhere else in the nation because the incumbent Republican, Representative Ernie Fletcher, is a physician who has been cut off from fresh financing by the Kentucky Medical Association, which helped get him elected two years ago by stirring $600,000 in donations from the medical profession." (New York Times; free registration required)
California LTC Bill Signed Into Law
Excerpt: "A bill regulating long-term care insurance rates was signed into law by California Governor Gray Davis late last month. The fate of hotly contested Senate bill 898 was uncertain right up to its signing. Insurers and consumer advocates said the long-term care law was an acceptable approach to regulating LTC premium increases." (National Underwriter Company)
Congress Near Deal to Raise Fee Payments to H.M.O.'s
Excerpt: "Congress is rushing to provide additional money to health maintenance organizations to keep them in the Medicare program, even as politicians daily denounce the abuses of H.M.O.'s on the campaign trail. President Clinton said today that the increase in payments to managed care plans was excessive." (New York Times; free registration required)
(Following also appears in Retirement Plans Edition)
Third Circuit Rules Supplemental Benefits Must Stay in Plan
Excerpt: "In yet another pro-employee ERISA ruling, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that plant shutdown benefits are retirement-type subsidies at the time added to the plan, and as a result, they are accrued benefits subject to the anti-cutback rules under ERISA and the tax code. The case is Harry Bellas v. CBS, Inc.; Westinghouse Pension Plan." (Thompson Publishing Group)
Federal Government Opens New Web Site With Information On Laws, Regulations, Cases, etc.
First government website to provide the public with easy, one-stop access to all online U.S. Federal Government resources. (Firstgov.gov)
Graef Crystal: Boskin, Tyson Find Rich Public-Service Afterlife
Excerpt: "You know how satellites heading to the far reaches of space are sent out of their way around an intermediate planet so they can pick up extra thrust towards their long-term goal? Humans can use a similar technique to give their pay a rocket boost." (Graef Crystal, on Bloomberg.com)
IRS Amends Regulations Defining Employee Benefit Plan Trusts As "Domestic Trusts"
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