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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition

December 4, 2000

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What You Must Do (& When) to Comply With HIPAA's New EDI Rules
Excerpt: "With a compliance date of October 2002, it is by no means too early to start to get ready for electronic processing of your health and benefits data. The Health Care Financing Administration's (HCFA) proposed EDI standards cover eight health care transactions, are required of most providers, and can cost thousands of dollars for failure to comply." (IOMA's Managing Benefits Plans)

Parents Sue HMO in Baby's Death
Excerpt: "Now the Baumans are trying to win financial damages from Aetna. In a precedent-setting ruling in June, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal appeals court ruling that the couple could sue the HMO for malpractice in state court. They're preparing for a trial next summer. Until now, HMOs routinely got state malpractice lawsuits moved to federal courts, where the most plaintiffs can recover is the cost of care denied them." (Washington Post)

The Middle Class Parent Penalty: Child Benefits in the U.S. Tax Code
Working paper. Excerpt: "Low-income families with children receive large tax benefits from the Earned Income Tax Credit, while high income taxpayers receive large tax benefits from dependent exemptions (whose value is greater to those in higher tax brackets). In contrast, middle-income parents receive substantially smaller tax benefits associated with children." (David T. Ellwood, Jeffrey B. Liebman, National Bureau of Economic Research)

The Growth of Work-Site Daycare
Excerpt: "So why isn't on-site daycare more prevalent? The answer, unfortunately, is that quality daycare is expensive. And, although there are many firms that could potentially benefit from on-site daycare once they offer it, they must first be willing to commit a substantial amount of cash-- and be convinced that they will earn it back-- before they are willing to take the plunge." (Lee McIntyre, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)

For Hartford City Employees, Laser-Eye Surgery is Covered
Excerpt: "Municipal employees in Hartford, one of the nation's most impoverished cities, enjoy an unusually lavish health care benefit: free laser eye surgery." (DrKoop.com)

More Employers Allowing Employees to Bring Babies to Work
Excerpt: "Faced with a tight labor market and employees who are reluctant or unable to find people to care for their babies, a growing number of employers are allowing parents to bring their babies to work, not to an on-site day care center, but directly to their desks, where they care for their children while doing their jobs." (New York Times; free registration required)

When Mixed Pairs Rearrange Health Coverage, Timing Can Be Tricky
Excerpt: "Dozens of mixed pairs--federal employees married to federal retirees--have called in recent days with questions about "premium conversion," the new arrangement that allows employees to pay their Federal Employees Health Benefits Program premiums with before-tax money." (Washington Post)

Should LOA employees be given the same annual enrollment opportunities as active employees?
Interesting discussion on our message boards. Join in! (BenefitsBoards.net)

(Following also appears in Retirement Plans Edition)

DOL Issues Final Claims Regulations
(Groom Law Group)

2001: A Claims Odyssey
Excerpt: "During the next year, employers will have to overhaul the claims procedures for all of their ERISA health and disability plans. An overhaul is required because the Department of Labor is drastically changing the claims procedure rules, especially those for health plans (including medical, dental, vision and prescription drug programs).... This Alert includes: (1) a table listing the new deadlines, and (2) a plan administrator's To Do List." (Lisa L. Collins and Timothy J. Stanton of Gardner Carton & Douglas)

IRS to Require Separate Reporting of Income from Exercise of Stock Options in 2001
Excerpt: "The purpose of this announcement is to advise employers about an additional code for use on the 2001 Form W-2. This code will be used to identify the amount of compensation related to the exercise of an employer-provided nonstatutory stock option currently required to be included in an employee's wages in boxes 1, 3 (up to the social security wage base), and 5." (Internal Revenue Service)

Job Openings Newly Posted or Reposted on EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com

Senior Compliance Specialistfor Putnam Investments
in MA
Implementation Specialistfor Towers Perrin - Benefit Administration Services
in NJ, PA
International Executive Benefits Consultant for Clark Bardes Consulting/Compensation Resource Group, Inc.
Pension Administratorfor Clifton Gunderson L.L.C. - Regional CPA firm
in IL
Senior Paralegal- Retirement Consultantfor William M. Mercer
in NY
DC Pension Plan Administratorfor Employee Benefits Group, Inc.
in MN
ERISA Attorneyfor The Northern Trust Company
in IL
401(k)/ DC Plan Administratorfor The Stoller Company
in CA

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