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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition

November 6, 2000
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Text of Presidential Memorandum to The Secretary of Labor on Health Care
Excerpt: "You shall in the next 2 weeks promulgate final regulations protecting millions of individuals with employer-based health coverage. The regulations shall establish a fair and unbiased process for reviewing medical benefits claims, require timely coverage and appeal decisions, and direct plans to provide meaningful information to patients advising them of their rights to the appeals process." (U.S. Newswire)

Clinton Focuses on Health Plan Appeals, Orders New DOL Regs
Excerpt: "President Clinton ordered the Labor Department on Saturday to quickly assure a 'fair and unbiased' appeals process for people denied or delayed coverage under private health insurance plans." (Las Vegas Sun)

Links to State Child Support Enforcement Web Sites
(Office of Child Support Enforcement)

Does the Internet Make Markets More Competitive?
Link to a Working Paper available for downloading from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Excerpt: "The Internet has the potential to significantly reduce search costs by allowing consumers to engage in low-cost price comparisons online. This paper provides empirical evidence on the impact that the rise of Internet comparison shopping sites has had for the prices of life insurance in the 1990s." (Jeffrey R. Brown, Austan Goolsbee)

Cost of Non-Prescription Sunglasses Recommended by Optometrist May Be Deductible Expense
Excerpt: "A health FSA participant asked the IRS for an information letter clarifying whether non-prescription sunglasses could be covered under the plan. His optometrist had advised wearing sunglasses over contact lenses to compensate for a retina condition that made the participant's eyes very intolerant of light." (EBIA Weekly)

Exclusion for Obesity Treatment Does Not Violate ADA
Excerpt: "The plaintiff requested pre-approval of this procedure from Blue Cross, and it was denied on the basis of the plan's exclusion for 'weight reduction programs or treatment for obesity including any Surgery for morbid obesity ... regardless of Medical necessity.'" (EBIA Weekly)

Disability Determination by Social Security Administration Not Binding on ERISA Disability Plan
Excerpt: "After an independent medical examination that was part of a periodic review, the plan insurer concluded that the participant's ongoing disability was not adequately supported, and it terminated the benefits. When the participant challenged the benefit termination in court, the federal trial court granted judgment in favor of the insurer." (EBIA Weekly)

Company Settles DOL Lawsuit Regarding Misuse of Employee Contributions Under Insured ERISA Plan
Excerpt: "In this press release, the DOL announces the settlement of its lawsuit against a company that withheld employee contributions for health insurance premiums but failed to forward the contributions to the insurer, causing employee health coverage to be canceled." (EBIA Weekly)

Online Database of Family-Friendly Companies and Programs
Link to FamilyFriendly.com web site. Excerpt: "To find out what companies offer the following family friendly programs, first click on the box you are interested in and then click on 'Look'." (FamilyFriendly.com)

Flexible Work Arrangements-- Pros and Cons

Signs Your Dot-Com Employer Is in Trouble
Excerpt: "When the support staff starts to freak out and fight each other more than usual, you can bet that something sinister is brewing upstairs." (TheStreet.com)

DOL Issues Proposed Regulations on Collective Bargaining Exception to MEWA Rule
(EBIA Weekly)

Beyond Cost: More Employers Are Looking at Quality in Making Healthcare Purchasing Decisions
(Contingencies magazine)

New Booklet from IFEBP: Group Term Life Insurance
The most popular life insurance offered as an employee benefit, group term life insurance, is covered in detail. Advantages and disadvantages are considered in a new booklet available from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans ($10 non-members; free to IFEBP members). (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

(Following also appears in Retirement Plans Edition)

Florida Appellate Court Upholds Broward County Domestic Partnership Law
Excerpt: "Finally, the court certified to the Florida Supreme Court the following question of great public importance: Does the Broward County Domestic Partnership Act contravene [the Florida Constitution]?" (Cypen & Cypen)

Job Openings Newly Posted or Reposted on EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com

401(k)/DC Administratorfor Southern California Administrator
in CA
Pension Plan Administratorfor Benefit Associates, Inc.
in CA
Director/Manager, Defined Contribution Departmentfor The Angell Pension Group, Inc.
in RI
Benefits Administration Managerfor Schwarz
in IL
Benefits Managerfor Major National Law Firm in San Francisco
in CA
Pension Consultantfor MetLife
in CO
Health Plan Audit Consultants, San Francisco and Los Angeles Officesfor William M. Mercer, Incorporated
in CA
Pension Consultants/Administratorsfor Northern NJ Mid-Size Pension Consulting Firm
in NJ

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