If this message looks garbled to you or if the headlines in this message don't connect you to Web pages when you click on , please request the "plain text" version of this newsletter ("Welfare Plans Edition") by emailing your request to publisher Dave Baker at davebaker@benefitslink.com
The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition

December 7, 2000

Today's sponsor is EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com (click on banner for more information)
(Would your company like to sponsor an issue?)

IRS's Recalculation Of Cost Of Group-Term Life Insurance Is Likely To Please Employees
Excerpt: "As a result of revision of the actuarial tables to account for people living longer, on June 3, 1999, the Internal Revenue Service published final regulations revising the tables used to calculate the cost of employer provided group term life insurance that is includible in employees' gross income." (Pitney, Hardin, Kipp & Szuch LLP)

A Perk That Gives Back-- Personal Growth Is Typical Result of Sabbaticals
Excerpt: "Although Citizens of Connecticut and its Providence-based parent, Citizens Financial Group Inc., have allowed 15 employees to take sabbaticals since 1995, paid leaves in the corporate sector are quite rare. Annual member surveys since 1996 by the Society for Human Resource Management find that only a small number -- between 3 percent and 7 percent -- work at a company that offers paid sabbaticals." (Hartford Courant)

DOL Audits on HIPAA Compliance Require Detailed Employer Records
Excerpt: "Several recent regulatory actions suggest increased monitoring of group health and cafeteria plans for compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other benefit laws. Plan sponsors should be aware of the apparent increased enforcement activity and what may be required for an audit." (Thompson Publishing Group)

Complementary and Alternative Medicine: The Road Less Traveled?
Excerpt: "In 1997, 83 million Americans-- 42% of the population-- used some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The largest segment of CAM users is age 50 to 64, and the number of CAM users age 65 and older is increasing. In this Issue Brief, [we] provide a policy-oriented overview of CAM, including such topics as user characteristics, federal government research, sources of insurance coverage for CAM, and legislation affecting both CAM practitioners and consumers." (American Association of Retired Persons)

Ms. Clinton to Focus on Health Care
Excerpt: "Battle scars from the war over Hillary Rodham Clinton's failed health-care plan will not keep her from focusing on the issue in the Senate, the New York senator-elect said Wednesday.... Clinton made health care a centerpiece of her campaign and said she will follow through on her election promise to plug away at the issue, despite her troubled history with it." (Las Vegas Sun)

Study Suggests Physician-Lobbyists Are Focused On The Bottom Line, Not Patient Care
Excerpt: "The comprehensive study of physician lobbying, published in the Nov. 27 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, concludes that most physician-lobbyists are focusing almost entirely on bottom-line issues like Medicare reimbursement, managed-care reform and research funding. Meanwhile, the study says, the "self-interested" doctor-lobbyists are neglecting such national public health concerns as the large number of uninsured ..." (Modern Healthcare)

(Following also appears in Retirement Plans Edition)

Review of PWBA's Enforcement and Training Programs (PDF)
Originally released March 24, 2000. Excerpt: "[The purpose of this report is] to assess the effectiveness of [the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration's] entire enforcement program. Our assessment focused on two areas: (1) the effectiveness of PWBA's enforcement program based on the agency's performance data; and (2) the adequacy of the training programs that support the enforcement program." (Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Labor)

Vesting in the Option Economy
Excerpt: "The usual purpose of a vesting schedule is to provide employees with an incentive to stay with the company. As competition for employees intensifies, however, companies seem to be willing to shorten the vesting schedules.... But what happens when an employee is fired for the specific purpose of depriving him of his stock options?" (Professor D. Gordon Smith, on TheLaw.com)

DOL Revises Claims Procedures and SPD Regs (PDF)
Summary of new rules, with chart of claims procedure deadlines. (Aon Consulting)

Employee Staffing and Plan Design
Excerpt: "Although an employer may exclude temporary and leased workers as well as other classes of employees from participation in its benefit plans, some plans fail to clearly exclude individuals that are otherwise reclassified as employees. Every benefit plan must exclude leased and reclassified individuals from plan participation to the extent legally possible." (CPA Journal)

Opinion: Admirable And Rare Political Cooperation Saves Workers' Stock Option Option
Excerpt: "A curious human resources manager at a company that has never been identified wrote a letter to the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division seeking clarification of a fine point in the FLSA. How do you calculate option grants to hourly or nonexempt employees who work overtime?" (MicroTimes.com)

Having It Both Ways
Excerpt: "If employees shouldn't be penalized by factors such as market slumps, they shouldn't benefit from market mania either.... As e-stocks continue to seek their natural level, the people who run the stumbling companies feel compelled to grope for anything-- anything-- that'll keep their key employees from wandering elsewhere. Thus, the repriced option, which works like this: ..." (eCompany)

Crunch Time for Options Recipients
Excerpt: "The beauty of incentive stock options is that you owe no income tax until you actually sell the stock. So why is freshly minted millionaire Mike Smith so irate about his tax bill? It's because although he doesn't owe regular income tax on his options yet, he must scrape up about $2.5 million of Alternative Minimum Tax by April 15 if he hangs onto his stock into 2001." (San Jose Mercury News)

Job Openings Newly Posted or Reposted on EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com

Experienced Pension Professionalsfor DailyAccess.com
in AL
Consulting Actuaryfor Pentec, Inc.
in CT
Pension Consultantfor McKay Hochman Co., Inc.
in NJ
401(k) Enroller/Contractorfor Transamerica Insurance & Investments
Senior Institutional Trust Relationship Managerfor The NorthernTrust Company
in IL
Defined Contribution Administratorfor 401kservices.com, inc.
in CA
Director of Client Servicesfor Universal Pensions, Inc.
in MN

Subscribe to the Retirement Plans Edition, too (click)
Copyright 2000 BenefitsLink.com, Inc.

Feel free to forward this email to friends, colleagues or clients, if no fee is paid to you and the email is forwarded in its entirety. Thanks!

BenefitsLink is a trademark of BenefitsLink.com, Inc., published by Dave Baker with much help from Mary Hall and lots of friends.

To subscribe (free): visit https://benefitslink.com/newsletter - or the person desiring to subscribe can send an email to BLwelfare@add.mb00.net

We have an online archive of prior issues at
BenefitsLink logo
Looking for a speaker for your benefits group? Want to throw your hat into the ring? Free.

Need personnel? It's like fishing in a barrel here.

Need a benefits job? Sort the openings by their distance away from you.

Exchange questions and tips with colleagues. Co-sponsored by us and several employee benefits organizations.

Promotions and new personnel in the employee benefits community.

Experts field questions online, submitted by readers via email.

View by location, by sponsoring organization, or by date.

Largest listing of benefits software on the net: descriptions, downloads.

Ads are our sole source of support. No subscription fees!

davebaker@benefitslink.com">CONTACT US

Copyright 2000 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. All rights reserved. BenefitsLink is a trademark of BenefitsLink.com, Inc.