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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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January 10, 2002 - 6,356 subscribers
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Analysis: Supreme Court Rejects Plan's Attempt To Sue Beneficiary for Reimbursement
Excerpt: "The Employee Retirement Income Security Act does not give a health plan and its administrator the right to sue a beneficiary for reimbursement of benefits paid to her after she received tort damages from a third party responsible for her injuries, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Jan. 8 in a 5-4 opinion ..." (Society for Human Resource Management)

American Benefits Council Publishes Issues Paper on Patients' Bill of Rights (PDF)
Excerpt: "Both the House- and Senate-passed PBOR bills contain expanded liability for employers and health plans. The Council opposes any expanded liability as being counter-productive to the provision of health coverage in a private, voluntary employer-sponsored system." (American Benefits Council)

Health Care Priorities Survey: Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Trumps Patients' Rights (PDF)
January 7, 2002. Excerpt: "48% of all adults see the provision of a new Medicare drug benefit as extremely important ... 37% believe that enacting a patients' bill of rights is extremely important. 73% see this as extremely or very important." (HarrisInteractive.com)

Little Hope Is Seen in Reviving Bills on Patients' Rights
Excerpt: "Talk about star-crossed legislation: The patients' bill of rights just can't seem to catch a break. Every time new protections for the nation's HMO enrollees appear imminent, something happens to push them off track." (Los Angeles Times)

Number of Americans With Job-Based Health Benefits Grew Through Early 2001, Despite Higher Costs
Press release. Excerpt: "[T]he percentage of workers offered health insurance ... varies widely by hours of work. In 1997, only 46.9 percent of employees that worked twenty-one to thirty-four hours per week were offered health benefits. For employees that worked full-time, the offer rate was 83.3 percent in 1997. However, rates did improve slightly between 1997 and 2001." (Health Affairs)

Work-Life Changes For the Months Ahead
Excerpt: "As a society, we're setting off in some new directions. Here are some trends to watch ..." (CareerJournal.com)

URAC Announces Accreditation of 13 Health Care Web Sites
The Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) has announced that it has accredited 13 health care-related Web sites under a program that measured the sites against rigorous standards for quality and accountability. The newly accredited sites are some of the nation's largest and busiest health care Web sites, including WebMD, IntelliHealth, the Health Insurance Association of America, and Healthyroads. URAC is the Washington, D.C.-based health care accreditation organization. (Spencernet)

CMS Delays Effective Date of Payment Rates Under Medicare Outpatient PPS
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it is delaying the effective date of the payment rates set for Medicare hospital outpatient services paid under the prospective payment system (PPS) for calendar year 2002. Notice of the delay was published in the Dec. 31, 2001 Federal Register. (Spencernet)

GAO Study Compares Retail Drug Prices With Discount Cards, Mail Order Programs, and Internet
A new study by the Government Accounting Office details and compares drug prices from retail pharmacies with and without the use of a drug discount card, from drug discount mail order programs, and from Internet pharmacy programs. Immediately after the release of the study on January 4, independent and chain pharmacy groups contended that the study revealed that drug discount programs were ineffective in lowering costs. (Spencernet)

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

Employers Battle California Crackdown on Use of "Independent Contractors"
Excerpt: "Over the past fiscal year, audits of 4,600 employers by the Department of Industrial Relations determined that 67,000 employees had been misclassified as independent contractors." (Sacramento Bee via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

DuPont Offers Stock Options To Employees As Anniversary Celebration
Excerpt: "DuPont executives said Wednesday they are giving their employees around the world 200 stock options each as part of the company's 200th anniversary celebration. Nearly all 85,000 workers will be eligible to buy 200 shares of DuPont stock for $44.50 a share anytime during a 10-year period beginning in July 2003, with some conditions." (DelawareOnline.com)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Pension/Employee Benefits Specialist for Diversified Investment Advisors
Retirement Plan Administrator for Nationwide Retirement Plan Services
401(k) Sales Consultant for PlanMember Financial Corporation
Mid-Level Actuarial Analyst for Watson Wyatt Worldwide
Employee Benefits Audit Manager for Kraft CPAs
Employee Benefits Audit Senior for Kraft CPAs
Compliance Analyst for Leggette Actuaries, Inc.
Vice President, National Sales for Corporate Benefit Services of America, Inc.
Institutional Financial Consultant for TIAA-CREF
Account Executive - Business Development for ExpertPlan,Inc.

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
Opportunities & Challenges: Stock Options in Today's Economyin CA on April 9, 2002
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership
Opportunities & Challenges: Stock Options in Today's Economyin NC on June 4, 2002
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership
Opportunities & Challenges: Stock Options in Today's Economyin MA on June 5, 2002
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership
2002 Diamond Degree Selectin CA on March 20, 2002
presented by PenServ Inc.

Newly Posted Press Releases
Alexander Hamilton Institute Releases New Free Reports, "Controlling Rising Health Care Costs" and "State Discrimination Record-Keeping Requirements" (Alexander Hamilton Institute)
New Captive Insurance Association Launched in DC (Captive Insurance Couincil of the District of Columbia, Inc.)

Newly Posted Announcements of Promotions and New Personnel (Post Yours!)
Sue A. Trammel (Benefit Plan Audit Services, LLC)

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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.