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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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January 9, 2002 - 6,356 subscribers
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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)

Supreme Court Rules Health Plan Does Not Have Right to Reimbursement from Participant
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court holds that ERISA section 502(a)(3) does not authorize a suit by a fiduciary to enforce a plan's reimbursement provision against a participant for amounts recovered by the participant against a tortfeasor, reasoning that such relief is not 'equitable' relief within the meaning of that section. The majority opinion characterizes the claim as legal in nature, imposing personal liability on the participant, rather than an equitable recovery of particular funds. (U.S. Supreme Court)

Marsh & McLennan to Pay More to Its Fund for Victims' Families
Excerpt: "[T]he company announced in a letter to the 295 families [that] the insurance costs [of continued coverage health coverage for victims' families] will be borne fully by additional Marsh & McLennan contributions to the charity fund. None of the money given to the fund by colleagues, friends and clients and none of the $10 million already contributed by the company will be used to pay for extended health insurance, the company said ..." (New York Times; free registration required)

Enron's Incomplete Paperwork Leaves Former Workers in Insurance Limbo
Excerpt: "Enron officials said the company hasn't been able to process the COBRA paperwork fast enough. The company planned to have the COBRA information mailed to workers 21 days after they were terminated but it's taken longer than Enron expected ..." (InsuranceNewsNet.com)

AMA Releases 25-Page "Principles for Medical Review"
Excerpt: "Acknowledging that medical review programs play an important role in promoting an efficient distribution of health care resources, the AMA Health Policy Group recently released the 2nd Edition of its 'Principles for Medical Review.' ... The AMA strongly encourages all medical review agencies and health plans to use these guidelines in developing their own policies and procedures." (American Medical Association)

Double-Digit Health Care Premium Hikes Passed On Now to Participants
Excerpt: "Average 10% to 13% increases in health care costs have brought most benefits managers to this cold truth: It's no longer possible to avoid increasing employee contributions to health care premiums. IOMA's own survey of benefits professionals found that more than half (51.7%) of respondents overall listed increased employee cost sharing as the most successful method for controlling benefits costs in the last year." (IOMA's Report on Managing Benefits Plans)

Keeping Up With Science: Using Drug Formularies to Control Costs
Excerpt: "New drugs offer great promise in terms of improving health and productivity. But employer drug plans are struggling to keep up with the cost of these pharmaceutical developments." (Benefits Canada)

What to Do When Your Health Care Gets Yanked
Excerpt: "In the midst of recession, newly laid-off workers are facing an additional hurdle: where to find decent, affordable health insurance. The situation has further undermined the financial security of millions of Americans who've already lost their incomes." (TheStreet.com)

More Americans Had Job-Based Health Benefits Last Year, but Economists Say It Won't Last
Excerpt: "Despite rising health costs from 1997 to 2001, more employers offered health benefits during that period, contributing to a gain in the number of insured Americans, a study released Tuesday shows." (Medscape; free registration required)

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

Special Reporting Requirements Regarding Incentive Stock Options and Employee Stock Purchase Plans
Excerpt: "This Alert will serve as a reminder of certain year-end reporting requirements imposed with respect to incentive stock options and employee stock purchase plans. Under Section 6039(a) ... every corporation that in 2001 issued stock upon the exercise of an incentive stock option ... must furnish, on or before January 31, 2002, a written statement containing certain specified information to the employee exercising the option." (Cooley Godward LLP)

Overview: Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (PDF)
4-page report prepared by the Trucker Huss law firm. Excerpt: "This article addresses the provisions of USERRA that concern the obligations employers have with respect to employee benefits." (Trucker Huss)

U.S. CEOs' Largest Paper Profits and Losses on Stock Options Received During 2000
Excerpt: "The following table shows the 15 U.S. chief executives with the largest paper profits and paper losses last year on stock options they received in 2000...." (Graef Crystal, on Bloomberg.com)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
401(k) Plan Administrator for Small Employee Benefits Consulting and Actuarial Firm in Blue Bell, PA
Senior DC Administrator - Fun and Challenging! for Louis Kravitz & Associates, Inc.
Compliance and Nondiscrimination Testing Specialist for PFPC
Plan Specialist for Retirement Management Services, LLC

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
Managing Prescription Drug Benefits-Teleweb Seminarin on January 16, 2002
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Designing Plans after EGTRRAin FL on February 14, 2002
presented by ASPA Employee Benefits Council of Central Florida

Newly Posted Press Releases
Hembree Awarded Qualified Pension Administrator Designation (ASPA)

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.