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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition

November 27, 2000

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Frequently Asked Questions About the National Provider Identifier
Updated November 22, 2000. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

The Reimbursable Internet Patient Visit -- It's Almost Here!
Excerpt: "When FirstHealth group begins paying physicians for Internet 'e-visits' in January 2001, it will be jump-starting a trend that many in health care say is overdue-- and one that some say will revolutionize the concept of reimbursable patient care. The Downers Grove, Ill., managed care entity and health benefits company ... will pay physicians approximately $25 for what it terms 'structured Internet visits.'" (WebMD.com)

Employer increases maximum FSA deferrals mid-year; OK for participants to increase their deferrals?

Boosting Benefits
Excerpt: "Benefits have become a part of the corporate culture at many companies-- even a branding initiative at a family-friendly employer such as Southwest Airlines. As a result, there is no uniform approach toward benefits, not on philosophy or coverage or even cost-sharing." (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

Ford to Offer Social Services for Workers and Retirees
Excerpt: "he Ford Motor Company and the United Automobile Workers announced one of the most ambitious social efforts ever undertaken by an American corporation yesterday, a program that will provide child care, recreation programs for teenagers and book clubs for retirees." (New York Times; free registration required)

Statement By The President on the Release of New Health Claims Regulations
Excerpt: "Today [November 20], I am pleased to announce that the Labor Department is issuing final regulations requiring private health plans covering 130 million Americans to provide a fast and fair internal appeals process for patients when coverage has been denied or delayed." (White House)

Managed Care and Technology Adoption in Health Care: Evidence from Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Link to a Working Paper available for downloading from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Excerpt: "This paper empirically examines the relationship between HMO market share and the diffusion of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment. Across markets, increases in HMO market share are associated with slower diffusion of MRI into hospitals between 1983 and 1993, and with substantially lower overall MRI availability in and outside of hospitals in the mid and later 1990s." (Laurence AC. Baker)

New Group Health Regulations Bark, But Don't Bite
Excerpt: "[T]he regulation does not impose penalties on health plans that flaunt the deadline or otherwise do not comply. While patients may sue their HMOs for failing to meet the deadlines, the DOL itself cannot impose fines or other penalties for violation of the rules." (insure.com)

How Elastic is the Firm's Demand for Health Insurance?
Link to a Working Paper available for downloading from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Excerpt: "We investigate the impact of tax subsidies on the firms decision to offer insurance, and on conditional firm spending on insurance." (Jonathan Gruber, Michael Lettau)

Universal Coverage, Managed Care Reform Initiative Fails in Massachusetts
Excerpt: "A last-minute negative ad blitz by opponents was cited as undermining voters' support for the measure. But opponents say a patient protection law passed this year made the measure redundant" (Medscape; free registration required)

States Try New Ways to Expand Insurance Coverage
Excerpt: "While officials in Washington continue to argue about the best way to help the estimated 43 million Americans who lack health insurance, states and even some local governments are pursuing a variety of approaches that are starting to trim those numbers, analysts said at a policy briefing Tuesday." (DrKoop.com)

Health Coverage: State and Local Initiatives to Cover the Uninsured - PDF Report
Backgrounder for November 21 conference. (Alliance for Health Reform)

Health Coverage: State and Local Initiatives to Cover the Uninsured - Audio Clips
Audio clips of November 21 conference. (Alliance for Health Reform)

HMOs' Political Spending Targeted
Excerpt: "Pointing to nearly $4 million that nonprofit health insurers spent to defeat a universal health care proposal on the state ballot, [Massachusetts] Secretary of State William F. Galvin said yesterday he is filing legislation to curtail their ability to finance such campaigns." (Boston Globe)

Long-term Care Insurance Could Lead to Savings for Minnesota-- Recently, One in Six Buys Coverage
Excerpt: "For the first time, the state of Minnesota this fall offered its employees long-term-care insurance, and about 10,000 of -- one in six-- bought policies during a recent open enrollment." (StarTribune.com)

Job Openings Newly Posted or Reposted on EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com

Retirement Consultantfor Invesmart - Cleveland Office
in OH
ERISA - Benefits Attorneyfor William M. Mercer
in NY
Benefits Managerfor Growing New York City Organization
in NY
Benefits Managerfor The Owens Group, Inc.
in NC
401(k) Sr. Administrator - LLYfor Management Recruiters of Portland
in WA
Group Insurance Benefit Administratorfor Marin County based Group Insurance Brokerage/Consulting firm
in CA
Senior Benefit Administratorfor Buck Consultants, A Mellon Consulting Company
in NJ
Benefits Specialistfor Safeway Inc.
in CA
401(k) Plan Administratorfor Qualified Pension Services, Inc.
in CO

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