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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition

October 30, 2000

Today's sponsor is Super401(k) (click on banner for more information)
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MyLackey.com Finishes Its Chores
Excerpt: "The upstart, which provided consumers with a range of personal services from walking their dogs to detailing their cars, has posted a farewell note on its Web site with a 'thank you' and 'goodbye' to its customers and vendor partners." (CNET.com)

Humana Unveils Internet-Accessed Health-Care Plan
Excerpt: "Humana Inc. held a coming-out party yesterday for what the HMO company calls "one of the country's first and most comprehensive" efforts at creating a health plan that does business mainly on the Internet." (The [Louisville KY] Courier-Journal)

Federal Court Permits State-Law Bad Faith Claims to Proceed Against ERISA Plan Insurer
Hill v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama (N.D. Ala. 2000). Excerpt: "This opinion adds to the growing number of federal trial courts that have recently allowed state law claims to be brought against insurers of ERISA plans ... [it] is based on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in UNUM v. Ward, 119 S. Ct. 1380 (1999), which made it significantly easier for a state law to qualify as a law regulating insurance and thus be protected from preemption under the ERISA 'savings' clause." (EBIA Weekly)

Illinois "Independent Review" Statute Protected from ERISA Preemption As Law Regulating Insurance
Excerpt: "Moran v. Rush Prudential HMO, Inc.... The Illinois statute at issue in this ERISA preemption case requires HMOs to submit to an independent review procedure whenever there is a disagreement between a patient's treating physician and the HMO about whether medical treatment is necessary. Moreover, in the event that an independent reviewer determines that the disputed treatment is necessary, the statute requires the HMO to cover it." (EBIA Weekly)

Employ Yourself In Benefits Activism
Excerpt: "However, where many employers have fired employees for comparing salaries (or making other union-like noises), companies' benefits policies seem to be viewed as continuing works-in-progress that can 'benefit' from your input. And companies that don't encourage such communication have nonetheless responded to outside employee-exerted pressures. Here's how some benefits have been recently enhanced or saved through internal employee lobbying or external employee action." (FinancialWeb.com)

Promoting Work-Life Balance Can Make Business Sense, Study Says
Excerpt: "With unemployment at record-low levels, companies are turning to programs such as elder or child care assistance, parental leaves or flexible work schedules to recruit and keep employees. But a report to be released today says these programs have limited potential, largely because they ignore the company's culture and its business results." (SiliconValley.com)

Expert Predicts Next Wave In Health Care Insurance: Defined Contribution Accounts
Excerpt: "When the next recession strikes, managed care is likely to be cast aside for a new system, an expert said yesterday at a Manhattan conference on health care and the Internet." (Newsday)

Medicare Coordination of Benefits, Including Employer Services Section
Excerpt: "This web site is designed to inform [coordination of benefits] customers about Medicare as the Secondary Payer (MSP) and about their role in this beneficial program.... You will find information on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)/Social Security Administration (SSA)/Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) Data Match Project and Medicare as the secondary payer." (Health Care Financing Administration)

The Most Important Factors in Underwriting Stop-Loss
Excerpt: "We are continuing an interview with Bob Baisden, President, International Assurance of Tennessee, Inc., regarding the excess-loss industry and current difficult market conditions.... In the last article, you attributed your company's success to better underwriting. Please enumerate the five most important factors in underwriting." (Sungard Corbel)

Physicians' Collective Bargaining Bill Dies; Supporters Vow To Try Again
(American Medical Association)

Integration of Life Annuity and Long-term Care Insurance: Theory, Evidence, Practice, Policy (PDF)
Working Paper, made temporarily available for downloading by the Pension Research Council. (Mark J. Warshawsky of TIAA-CREF, Brenda Spillman of The Urban Institute, Christopher Murtaugh of The Center for Home Care Policy and Research)

(Following also appears in Retirement Plans Edition)

Detailed Guidance on Electronic Filing of Form 5500 Made Available on DOL's EFAST Website
Excerpt: "On October 18, 2000, the DOL made available on its EFAST website three publications that contain detailed instructions for filing the Form 5500 electronically. A summary of each publication is set forth below." (EBIA Weekly)

Republicans, Democrats Argue Over Deadlocked Budget
Excerpt: "'We'll always listen to what the president has to say, but we have a bill that has already passed the House; the Senate is working on passing it. ... We have to move forward,' said House Majority Whip Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas." (CNN)

White House, Congress Budget Deal Falls Apart As Clinton Vows to Veto Bill
Excerpt: "A fragile budget compromise between President Clinton and Congress fell apart Thursday, diminishing hopes that Republicans and Democrats would find a way to deliver a $1 minimum wage increase and retirement tax breaks to millions of Americans." (Knight-Ridder / Tribune, via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Job Openings Newly Posted or Reposted on EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com

Implementation Project Managerfor Fidelity Investments
in MA
Client Managerfor Benefit Services Corporation, a subsidiary of METLIFE
in GA
Retirement Sales Consultantfor Invesmart
in CA, GA, IL, NY, TX
Employee Benefits - Legal Assistantfor Buck Consultants
in CO
Senior 401k Plan Specialistfor Citistreet - A State Street & Citigroup Company
in MA
Retirement Plan Sales Representative - Houston & Dallasfor Invesmart
in TX
Pension Actuaryfor EPACO, a Chicago based employee benefits consulting firm
in IL
401(k) Plan Administratorfor RSM McGladrey, Inc.
in IL

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