The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
December 19, 2000
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Health Care From Anywhere
Excerpt: "Health care providers are getting wired up for a future where every patient's medical record is a click away and doctors assist one another in operations thousands of miles apart via video conferencing." (Wired)
The Challenges of Genetic Advances
Excerpt: "As both a health insurer and the provider of health services to over eight million Americans, Kaiser Permanente will have to wrestle myriad ethical, legal, moral, and social issues resulting from the Human Genome Project. Resolving those issues will become crucial for managed care. I cannot think of a medical technology that could affect the lives of our children and grandchildren more, or require a more thoughtful dialogue in our society." (Allan J. Weiland, MD, on Medscape; free registration required)
Opinion from Morningstar: Aetna's Cost-Reduction Plan Is the Right Medicine
Excerpt: "Beginning in January 2001, the company will push through significant price increases and eliminate unprofitable membership groups such as Medicare and selected commercial HMO markets. In addition, Aetna will reorganize its salesforce, improve the efficiency of its claims-payment system, and eliminate duplicate staff functions. All told, the company will cut approximately 5,000 jobs ..." (Morningstar)
What Are Long-Term Effects of Lack of Health Insurance?
Excerpt: "The nation's largest healthcare foundation is funding a three-year research project to determine the health and economic consequences of not having access to health care." (DrKoop.com)
At the Brink: How Harvard Pilgrim Got In Trouble
Excerpt: "Because Harvard Pilgrim was the largest health plan in the market, with substantial amounts payable to hospitals and physicians, its financial problems shook the Boston health care community. The story also attracted national attention because of the plan's prominence and its reputation for quality." (Center for Studying Health System Change)
(Following also appears in Retirement Plans Edition)
Friend or Foe? The Pros and Cons of the New DOL Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program
Excerpt: "The VFC Program might be perceived as too rigid, since it details the exact correction methodology which must be adhered to in order to participate in the program. EPCRS allows for negotiation between the IRS and the plan official and demonstrates correction principles, citing examples of possible correction methodologies, but does not provide the only acceptable methods of correction resulting in an 'all or nothing proposition' as is the case in the VFC Program." (Marcia S. Wagner, Esq.and Deanna H. Niño, Esq.)
Tax Issues In Executive Compensation
Excerpt: "The following are compensation methods reviewed in this outline: Non-qualified Deferred Compensation Plans; Stock ppreciation Rights (SARs); Phantom Stock Plans; Restricted Stock Plans; Incentive Stock Options (ISOs); Non-Qualified Stock Options (NQSOs)." (Morris, Manning & Martin LLP)
Labor Department Creates New Outreach and Communications Office
Excerpt: "The U. S. Department of Labor's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration today announced creation of the Office of Participant Assistance and Communications to handle broad-based outreach and assistance for the millions of workers covered by private-sector pension and health benefit plans." (U.S. Department of Labor)
Congratulations to Howard Fluhr, CEO of The Segal Company, on Becoming Chairman of EBRI
(The Segal Company)
How to Handle Stock Options for Year-End Taxes
Excerpt: "So before you exercise a thing, it's imperative that you drop some numbers into tax preparation software and get a feel for what it's going to do to your tax bill. There are two types of options available-- nonqualified stock options, a.k.a. nonquals, and incentive stock options, or ISOs. The big difference between them is in the way they are taxed." (Yahoo! Finance)
Corporate Share Repurchases in the 1990s: What Role Do Stock Options Play?
Excerpt: "This paper investigates how the growth of stock option programs has affected corporate payout policy. Given that earnings per share (EPS) is widely used in equity valuation, some corporations may opt to repurchase shares to avoid the dilution of EPS that results from past stock option grants. Executives may also prefer distributing cash by repurchasing shares or retaining more earnings, as opposed to increasing dividends, to enhance the value of their own stock options." (Federal Reserve Board)
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