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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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January 2, 2002 - 6,403 subscribers
Today's sponsor: EBIA's COBRA: The Developing Law

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(Help BenefitsLink to provide this newsletter at no charge to you -- our sponsors pay our way. Remember to visit them periodically; we try to make sure their products and services will be of interest to you. Thanks! --Editor)

IRS Slams Door Shut on Tax Avoidance Program Involving Reimbursement of Health Insurance Premiums
IRS Rev. Rul. 2002-3 (Dec. 21, 2001). Excerpt: "Under a widely-marketed tax avoidance program, employers are told that they can make tax-free reimbursements to employees for health insurance premiums already paid by the employees on a pre-tax salary reduction basis. The IRS disagrees. As explained in Rev. Rul. 2002-3, the IRS says that such reimbursements constitute taxable wages for federal income tax purposes and are subject to FICA and FUTA, just like any other wages." (EBIA Weekly)

Finding the Best Medicine: Employers Focusing on Quality of Care
Excerpt: "Go beyond basic patient-satisfaction surveys to the more-telling data on health care outcomes, [experts] recommend. Then use the outcomes to determine if there are areas in which a health plan and/or providers should improve." (HR Magazine)

Making Disease Management Work
Excerpt: "Employers are embracing disease management (DM) programs to improve the health of their workers. DM can increase productivity and reduce medical insurance costs, both of which can have a dramatic effect on the bottom line." (HR Magazine)

Patients' Rights, Medicare Drug Benefit, Uninsured Likely to Return as Priorities in 2002
Excerpt: "The 2002 congressional session 'promises a return to meat and potatoes' health care issues, including coverage for the uninsured, a Medicare prescription drug benefit and patients' rights legislation, the Los Angeles Times reports." (KaiserNetwork.org)

New from EBRI: Sources of Health Insurance and Characteristics of the Uninsured
The December 2001 Issue Brief from EBRI is an analysis of the March 2001 Current Population Survey. (Employee Benefit Research Institute)

(Following items are in both editions of the BenefitsLink Newsletter)

Bonuses In Bankruptcy Common, But Not Always Popular
Excerpt: "Polaroid said it must pay millions to 45 top executives to make sure they don't jump the sinking ship before they can use their expertise to disassemble the company and pay off creditors. Some of the payments would be tied to how well the sales go, but others would be guaranteed. The plan has angered some former Polaroid workers, many of whom never got severance pay and lost thousands in an employee stock plan." (StarTribune.com)

Government Releases Statistics on Employee Benefits in Private Industry, 1999
Excerpt: "The NCS provides comprehensive measures of occupational earnings, compensation cost trends, and details of benefit provisions. The focus of this summary is on the incidence of employee benefits, ranging from health and retirement benefits to wellness programs; it also includes data on employee contributions to medical care plans." (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics)

An On-line Primer on the Fundamentals of Stock Plan Administration
Excerpt: "Regardless of how your company does it, the core areas of responsibility for any stock plan administrator generally boil down to (i) administering plan transactions and (ii) managing the flow of information related to the plan and plan transactions. This on-line primer will introduce you to the basic elements of each core area of responsibility." (National Association of Stock Plan Professionals)

What the Convergence of Professional Services Means for Employee Benefit Plans
Excerpt: "Multidisciplinary practices (MDPs) are intended to be onestop professional service providers that offer complete solutions to complex problems. MDPs will continue to evolve and grow. Whether this trend is good or bad for employee benefit plans depends upon whether it ultimately reduces costs and improves services." (George M. Kraw, published by ICMA Retirement Corporation)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
401(k) Sales Professional for MBM Advisors Inc.
Pension Analyst for Long Island Employee Benefits Group Ltd.
Benefits Administrator for McGregor & Associates, Inc.
Enrolled Actuary for Employee Benefits Consulting Firm

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
Central Florida ASPA Employee Benefits Council Meetingin FL on January 8, 2001
presented by Central Florida ASPA Employee Benefits Council

Subscribe to the Retirement Plans Edition, too (click)

Copyright 2001 BenefitsLink.com, Inc., but you may freely distribute this email newsletter in whole. This newsletter is edited by David Rhett Baker, J.D.