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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition

November 16, 2000

Today's sponsor is 2e Corporation
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Key Health Providers Try to Leverage Potential Benefits of E-Health
Excerpt: "A host of healthcare provider organizations, health insurers and employers are piloting efforts to overcome barriers that have prevented physicians and other health providers from using Internet-based technologies to help improve patient care access and quality, and lower healthcare costs." (Medscape; free registration required)

Text of Regulation: Final Ergonomics Program Standard
Excerpt: "The purpose of this standard is to reduce the number and severity of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) caused by exposure to risk factors in the workplace. This standard does not address injuries caused by slips, trips, falls, vehicle accidents, or similar accidents." (Occupational Safety & Health Administration)

New Job Safety Rules Would Implement Ergonomics Standards

Repetitive-Injury Rules Come Under Industry Attack
(Dallas Morning News)

OSHA Compliance Costs Lower Than Feared?
Excerpt: "[Denver area] ergonomic consultants say the costs of conforming to new federal rules might not be as great as business groups contend. The regulations on ergonomics, announced Monday by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, would take effect Jan. 16, but businesses have until October to comply." (Denver Post)

Any laws against employee's required health contribution being based on gender, age, smoker status?

Defined Contribution Health Insurance
Excerpt: "Employers want to stop being 'the monkey in the middle.' They want to get out of managing health benefits. At the same time, they want their workforce covered and productive. They know that having a good health plan reduces expenses for sick leave and can boost worker morale. The question is how to balance these two competing interests." (National Center for Policy Analysis)

Business Group Plans to Push Hospitals to Cut Medical Errors
Excerpt: "A group of 60 of the country's largest companies announced plans yesterday to push hospitals to reduce medical errors that are to blame for the deaths of tens of thousands of patients each year." (New York Times; free registration required)

Nation's Insurance and Managed Care Lobbies in Merger Talks
Excerpt: "The Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA) and the Association of American Health Plans (AAHP) have agreed to enter merger talks, sources tell Reuters Health." (Medscape; free registration required)

Michigan HMO to Adopt No-Referral Plan; Aetna First to Drop Unpopular System to Ease Complaints
Excerpt: "The unpopular HMO referral system is undergoing a transformation in Michigan. The state this month approved the first no-referral HMO plan, which will be offered by Aetna US Healthcare in January. It could become a model for other major Michigan health maintenance organizations." (Detroit News)

(Following also appears in Retirement Plans Edition)

San Francisco Domestic Partner Benefits Law Likely to Pass Muster
Excerpt: "What remains of San Francisco's domestic partners benefits law looks as if it will fly with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The three-judge panel hearing challenges to the historic ordinance on Tuesday seemed inclined to let a lower court ruling stand, despite arguments that federal law pre-empts requirements that companies doing business with the city of San Francisco provide benefits to domestic partners of employees, including gays and lesbians." (Law.com)

San Francisco Domestic Partner Benefits Law Challenged
Excerpt: "San Francisco's 1997 Equal Benefits Ordinance, requiring city contractors to give unmarried workers' domestic partners the same benefits as married workers' spouses, was on trial once again November 14, this time before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals." (Planet Out, via Yahoo! News)

SEC Approves Auditor Independence and Market Structure Rules
From Chairman's statement: "Specifically, the rule would reduce the number of audit firm employees and family members whose investments in, or employment with audit clients would impair the auditor's independence. The rule also identifies certain non-audit services that, if provided to an audit client, would impair independence.... Firms would also be allowed to perform up to 40 percent of a client's internal audit work, with no restriction for smaller companies with assets under $200 million." (Securities and Exchange Commission)

New SEC Rules Requiring Public Disclosure of Order Execution
Excerpt: "[B]y making more visible the execution quality of the securities markets, the rules are intended to spur competition among market centers and broker-dealers to provide the best possible price and speed of execution for investor orders. " (Securities and Exchange Commission)

Job Openings Newly Posted or Reposted on EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com

Service Representative - Cincinnatifor Transamerica
in OH
Relationship Managerfor The Vanguard Group
in NC
Defined Contribution Plan Administratorfor Fortune Benefits, Inc.
in GA
Benefits Analystfor Group Insurance Brokerage/Consulting Firm
in CA
Client Managerfor Group Insurance Brokerage/Consulting Firm
in CA
Pension Consultantfor Karel @ Associates, Ltd.
in IL

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