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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition

November 22, 2000

Today's sponsor is 2e Corporation
(click on banner for more information)

Curtains for Retiree Health Benefits?
Excerpt: "A court decision allowing retirees who were consigned to Medicare-risk HMOs to sue their employers for age discrimination has even the AARP worried." (PlanSponsor.com)

Patient May Not Allege Breach Of Fiduciary Duty For Physician's Failure To Disclose Incentives
Excerpt: "The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that a patient may not bring a breach of fiduciary duty claim under ERISA against a physician for the physician's failure to disclose his financial incentive arrangement with an HMO. The ruling came in Neade v. Portes." (Spencernet)

Insurer Did Not Violate ERISA By Terminating LTD Benefits When Insured Was No Longer Disabled
Excerpt: "An insurance company did not violate ERISA by terminating the long term disability benefits of a beneficiary who was no longer physically disabled from her job. This was the decision of the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Pari-Fasano v. ITT Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company." (Spencernet)

Massachusetts HMO Executives Take Pay Cut
Excerpt: "Two HMO executives took pay cuts as their operations lost money last year, but still enjoyed large pay packages in a year that saw double-digit rate hikes." (Providence Journal)

Money Isn't Biggest Motivation For Young Employees
Excerpt: "Teen-age workers aren't motivated by money, but by respect and pride in their work-- managers who don't know this can cost their companies money through employee turnover, a new study finds." (SunHerald.com)

The Post Retirement Crisis
Excerpt: "At a time of increasing retiree activism and a shrinking supply of younger workers, plan sponsors may find it in their best interests to maintain an active, lifelong relationship with retirees." (PlanSponsor.com)

Who's Got the Best Perks?
Excerpt: "Is the competition putting your benefits package to shame? Towers Perrin's exclusive report for Plan Sponsor looks at pension, defined contribution, health, and other benefits by 19 industry segments. How do you rate?" (PlanSponsor.com)

Timeout! Employers Grant Lavish Leaves to Keep Workers
Excerpt: "Companies are so eager to retain valuable workers that they're accommodating once-unthinkable requests for time off. Even employers without formal sabbatical programs are giving leaves to workers who want to play tourist, immerse themselves in a hobby, spend time with family or just do nothing at all." (USA Today, via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Holiday Part-Timers Say They're Drawn More by the Markdowns They Get Than The Pay They Earn
(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Vacation Policy as Vital to Employers as is to Workers
Excerpt: "[V]acation time can be a real plus for your company. It might be the drawing card that helps you get and keep good workers. How much vacation -- plus personal days, paid holidays and compassionate leave -- you should provide probably will depend on what other companies are offering." (Knoxville News-Sentinel)

Many Companies Providing Adoption Assistance Benefits
Excerpt: "Dow provided $5,000 for each adoption, defraying about a third of the cost for the Jays. It's a benefit the company and its predecessor has been offering to Indianapolis workers about 10 years. When it first offered the benefit in 1990, about 12 percent of major U.S. employers were providing adoption assistance. But that number has nearly tripled in recent years, reaching 31 percent in 1999, according to a survey of 1,200 employers conducted by Hewitt Associates of Lincolnshire, Ill." (Indianapolis Star-News)

Goodling, Boehner Critical of Health Plan Claims Regulations
Excerpt: "House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman Bill Goodling (R-PA) and Employer-Employee Relations Subcommittee Chairman John Boehner (R-OH) criticized the Clinton-Gore Administration's decision to issue a final regulation to change the appeals process for plans covered under [ERISA]." (Business Wire)

U.S. Labor Department Announces New HMO Regulations
(Hartford Courant)

Labor Department Issues Rules Strengthening Workers' Health Benefit Rights
(U.S. Department of Labor press release)

Primer on Self-Funding of Medical Costs-- What are the Pitfalls? Who's a Good Candidate?

New Regulations May Help Consumers Resolve Health Plan Complaints Faster
Excerpt: "For the first time in 20 years, the government has altered the law that covers managed care health plans, issuing regulations that may allow consumers to have their complaints resolved more quickly." (Gannett News Service, via Detroit News)

CalPERS Considers Reduction in Drug Benefits, Increase in Premiums
Excerpt: "CalPERS' predicament offers a stark reminder of why employers turned to managed-care health plans in the first place -- to stop runaway cost increases that wiped out any attempt to budget benefit expenses. It also illustrates how the best-laid policies can't always anticipate shifts in the health care market." (Sacramento Bee)

American Benefits Council Addresses DOL Health Claims Regs
(American Benefits Council)

Issue of HMO Lawsuits Could Rise Again Next Year
Excerpt: "The key issue in the battle to rein in health maintenance organizations (HMOs) is whether to let patients sue when decisions by managed care plans harm their health. Consumer advocates, many medical practitioners and trial lawyers want legislation to include a provision making HMOs liable for damages. HMO lobbyists do not." (New York Times Syndicate)

Unlikely Allies Back Health Care Plan
Excerpt: "Once they were archenemies in the fight over national health care, but yesterday leading advocates of consumers, the insurance industry and hospitals jointly proposed a costly new plan to extend health insurance to more than half of the nation's 43 million uninsured." (Washington Post)

Offering LTC Seen As a Boon For Businesses
Excerpt: "Law firms and other businesses stand to gain a lot from offering long-term care insurance to their executives, maintained an LTC marketer in a workshop here at the annual meeting of National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies, McLean, Va." (National Underwriter Company)

(Following also appears in Retirement Plans Edition)

Here Come the Aggregators
Excerpt: "Aggregation engines are essentially third-party businesses lodged between financial service vendors and plan participants. An aggregator can pull information from throughout the Internet on a daily basis to bring an individual's total assets to one site." (PlanSponsor.com)

Graef Crystal: Why Did Priceline.com Forgive Loan to Miller?
Excerpt: "There's something fishy about the $3.3 million charge that Priceline.com Inc. will take because Heidi Miller resigned earlier this month. The Internet seller of travel and other services said the charge will result mainly from forgiveness of a $3 million loan 'pursuant to the terms of Ms. Miller's employment agreement,' according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing made a week ago." (Graef Crystal, on Bloomberg.com)

Job Openings Newly Posted or Reposted on EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com

Summary Plan Description Writers--Freelancefor In Plain English, Employee Benefits Communication Consultants
Senior Benefits Analystfor UCLA Campus Human Resources
in CA
Senior Benefits/Retirement Counselorfor UCLA Campus Human Resources
in CA
Managed Care Financial & Operational Consultants/ Sr Analysts Governmentfor William M. Mercer, Inc (Phoenix)
in AZ

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