The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
October 13, 2000
Health Plan Administration: Signing on the Digital Line
Excerpt: "The concept of digital verification is twofold: Create an 'electronic credential' that identifies the person sending or receiving data. After identity has been established, the person can sign an 'electronic signature' authorizing specific actions, such as filling a drug prescription or insurance claim. The certificate, meanwhile, is stored in a permanent database." (Healthcare Business)
Britain to Allow Insurers to Use Genetic Testing to Refuse Coverage or Increase Premiums
Excerpt: "Insurers in the UK are to be allowed to use genetic test results to identify people with hereditary illnesses. The government will announce on Friday that insurers will be able to use those results to refuse cover or to push up premiums for those born with genes that could lead to fatal conditions. The decision makes Britain the first country to approve the commercial use of gene technology in this way." (BBC News)
Using a Special Accounting Period Rule to Simplify Fringe Benefit Reporting
Excerpt: "For the administrative convenience of employers, the IRS provides a special accounting period rule to allow employers adequate time to accumulate all fringe benefit valuation information prior to year-end (IRS Ann. 85-113, 1985-31 IRB 31). Under this special accounting period rule, employers may use any 12-month period that begins between November 1 and December 31, inclusive, rather than the calendar year, to compute personal use income for the calendar year." (Practitioners Publishing Company)
Patients' Rights Stay Unresolved
Excerpt: "Another Congress, another dead managed care reform bill. There still are last-minute hopes that the so-called patients' bill of rights might reach a vote before lawmakers leave town. But Republican and Democratic staffers who have worked on the bill since its introduction say managed care reform is not going to make it out of this Congress, which is past its scheduled adjournment date... " (Salt Lake Tribune)
Congress Approves Plan to Insure Military Retirees
Excerpt: "Congress today approved permanent health care coverage for all retired career military personnel, at an estimated cost of $60 billion over the next decade. The new coverage, which was requested by the nation's senior military leaders, replaces a patchwork of benefits that relied on Medicare and a retiree's ability to use medical clinics at the nation's shrinking number of bases." (New York Times; free registration required)
(Following also appears in Retirement Plans Edition)
Subs Can Avoid Tax on Parent Stock That Funds Rabbi Trust for Sub's Employees
Regarding IRS Notice 2000-56. Excerpt: "IRS has specified the requirements necessary for a subsidiary to avoid being taxed when a parent's stock is contributed to a rabbi trust and used to provide deferred compensation to the subsidiary's employees and service providers." (RIA Federal Taxes Weekly Alert)
Graef Crystal: Tommy Hilfiger's Pay Style Isn't Ralph Lauren's
Excerpt: "You would think that designer Tommy Hilfiger and Joel Horowitz, chief executive of Tommy Hilfiger Corp., would be galvanized into doing whatever it took to turn around the company's stock. ... Well, they have indeed been galvanized, but not to focus on the stock price. Hilfiger's pay is based solely on the company's revenue." (Graef Crystal, on Bloomberg.com)
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