The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
December 29, 2000
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Fifth Circuit Declines to Treat "No Better Benefits" SPD Statement as Irrevocable Commitment
Excerpt: "In McCall v. Burlington Northern ... a SPD for a 1991 voluntary severance plan contained a 'no better benefits' statement; in 1995 the company offered a severance plan with better benefits. In a 2-to-1 decision, the Fifth Circuit held the 'no better benefits' statement was not a breach of fiduciary duty because the statement was truthful when made. [This opinion] aptly illustrates the risks inherent in making unqualified forward-looking statements of plan intent." (McCalla ,Thompson)
Consumers Spurn New Sources of Information About Health-Care
Excerpt: "[A] new survey ... casts doubt on the proposition that providing consumers with comparative health data will translate into wiser choices. The researchers surveyed 2,000 adults and found that 70 percent picked a doctor, hospital or health plan based on recommendations from family, friends, co-workers or their regular physician, while fewer than 10 percent consulted comparative quality ratings provided by employers, consumer groups or the media." (Detroit News)
Federal Government Delays N.Y. Health Insurance Program
Excerpt: "A plan to extend health insurance to nearly 600,000 poor New Yorkers will not start as scheduled in January because the federal government has not given its approval, state officials said Thursday. The government-run insurance program, known as Family Health Plus, was approved by the state Legislature last year. But state and federal regulators have not reached an agreement about how far the state should be able to bend rules that control government health insurance programs." (Binghamton [NY] Press & Sun-Bulletin)
Indexed Figures Released for 2001 Long Term Care Premiums
Excerpt: "IRS Revenue Procedure 2001-13 also gives the 2001 indexed figures for 'eligible long-term care premiums' that can be considered 'medical care' for federal income tax purposes.' (Hewitt Associates)
(Following also appears in Retirement Plans Edition)
Link to Information Copies of Form 5500 for 2000
Both machine print and hand print versions are available for viewing. (U.S. Department of Labor)
Labor Department, Other Agencies Release Form 5500 for 2000
Excerpt: "The Form 5500 and Form 5500-EZ for plan year 2000 are essentially unchanged from 1999. Certain changes were made to reflect changes in the law, improve forms processing and clarify the instructions.... Starting in late February, the Internal Revenue Service will mail the annual Form 5500 and Form 5500-EZ package to filers. Information copies of the forms, schedules and instructions are available on PWBA's website at www.efast.dol.gov." (U.S. Department of Labor press release)
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