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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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January 14, 2002 - 6,377 subscribers
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In the Supreme Court This Week: a Question of Patients' Rights
Excerpt: "[T]he Supreme Court this week examines whether 37 states already have the answer to the politically charged question. Those states, New York among them, in recent years have adopted their own versions of patients' bills of rights, generally authorizing some form of independent review when HMOs or other insurance companies balk at paying for medical procedures recommended by primary care physicians." (Newsday.com)

New Claims Procedures for Disability Claims Effective January 1, 2002
Disability claims filed on or after January 1, 2002 are subject to claims procedures established by the U.S. Department of Labor in November 2000. The stated purpose of the new rules is to ensure speedy decisionmaking for those needing the replacement income that disability benefits are intended to provide. New claims procedures governing group health plans, scheduled to be effective the first day of the first plan year beginning on or after July 1, 2002, will be discussed in a future article. (Sanders, Schnabel & Brandenburg, P.C.)

Small-Business Groups in Wisconsin Decry Lack of Health Insurance Legislation
Excerpt: "Wisconsin small-business owners are reaching the breaking point over soaring health insurance costs and are exasperated at the government's lack of action on the crisis." (The Business Journal of Milwaukee)

California investigating Employers Mutual
Excerpt: "California regulators have begun an investigation into an insurance company that has been barred from selling policies in several states and is being overseen by a federally appointed receiver." (SignOnSanDiego.com)

A Shift to Quality by Health Plans
Excerpt: "Six California health plans are expected to announce Tuesday what they call an 'unprecedented' effort to improve patient care and control spiraling health-care costs by rewarding doctors and hospitals for quality, not just efficiency." (Los Angeles Times)

Patients' Rights Debate Will Be Revived, Los Angeles Times Editorial Predicts
Excerpt: "Patients' rights legislation may be 'on life support,' but it will not likely die because voters will 'demand' that the issue be given 'attention in the coming election cycles,' a Los Angeles Times editorial says." (KaiserNetwork.org)

AAHP Urges Washington To Address Growing Cost Crisis in Health Care System
Press release. Excerpt: "Since that time, the managed care industry has played a significant role in holding down health care costs, helping consumers gain access to high quality health care. Unfortunately, the past five years has seen more than its share of political scape-goating, and attempts to litigate and regulate our way to better health care. There is a price for this approach, and consumers are paying it, dearly." (American Association of Health Plans)

South Florida HMOs to Target High-Cost Hospitals
Excerpt: "Some big managed-care companies are developing new health plans that will charge consumers different rates depending on which hospital they choose. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida and Humana Inc. will implement the new plans this year in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties." (The Palm Beach Post)

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

Polaroid Executive Compensation Plan Withdrawn After Criticism From Retirees and Workers
Excerpt: "The original package could have provided more than $5 million to top executives. Now, Polaroid says the plan won't even be discussed at a hearing Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del." (Associated Press via Lycos News)

Another Question is Answered in the Stock Options, Restricted Stock and Other Long-Term Employment Incentives Q&A Column
When a company reprices stock options for current employees, what is the current practice or law regarding how to handle unexercised stock options for retirees of that company? (BenefitsLink.com)

Another Question is Answered in the Stock Options, Restricted Stock and Other Long-Term Employment Incentives Q&A Column
Can I use funds in my traditional or Roth IRA to purchase stock options? (BenefitsLink.com)

EITF Continues Accounting Assault on Stock Compensation Accounting
Excerpt: "It is expected that most companies will continue repricing by using options outside the six-month window and replacing with restricted stock. But as a result of these accounting changes, it is also likely that more repricings using the restricted stock approach will be limited to those options that are severely underwater." (Watson Wyatt)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Employee Benefits Attorney for Thompson Hine LLP
Pension Administrator/Accountant for First Mercantile Trust Company
Defined Benefit Plan Actuarial Analyst for George Beram & Company, Inc.
401(k) Administrator/Account Manager for Pension Specialists, Inc.
Defined Contribution Plan Administrator for The Preston Group, LLC
Senior Account Manager, Retirement Plans for Charles W. Cammack Associates, Inc - NYC Benefits Consulting firm
Employee Benefits Consultant/Administrator for Oxford Associates, LLP, a member of the BST Advisory Network

Newly Posted Benefits Businesses for Sale (Post Yours!)
The "Holy Grail" of Employee Benefit Business Domain NamesFacilities in Location Other Than U.S., AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
401(k) Plansin GA on April 16, 2002
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)
Cafeteria Plansin GA on April 17, 2002
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)
ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plansin GA on April 18, 2002
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)
HIPAA & Other Federal Mandates for Group Health Plansin GA on April 18, 2002
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)
COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plansin GA on April 19, 2002
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)
Long Term Carein NY on January 30, 2002
presented by New York Metropolitan Area Chapter - ISCEBS
Healthcare Subrogation After Great-West Life v. Knudson: Advanced Strategies for the Futurein AZ on May 16, 2002
presented by Benefit Recovery, Inc. and Lawrence & Russell, LLP
2002 Los Angeles Benefits Conferencein CA on January 31, 2002
presented by ASPA
Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America's Midwest Regional Conferencein IL on March 13, 2002
presented by Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America
Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America Washington, DC Public Policy Fly-Inin DC on March 20, 2002
presented by Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America
PSCA Retirement Technology Conferencein MA on April 25, 2002
presented by Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America
The Future of Social Securityin PA on March 5, 2002
presented by ASPA Benefits Council of The Delaware Valley
2002 Great Lakes Area IRS/ASPA Benefits Conferencein IL on May 2, 2002
presented by IRS and ASPA

Newly Posted Press Releases
Funds to accelerate deployment of Insurance-Engine(tm), e-procurement platform for health care and employee benefits supply chains (IE-Engine Inc.)
Health Care and Employee Benefits e-Procurement Firm IE-Engine Names Former Ariba Executive as President (IE-Engine Inc.)
MyCafeteriaPlan.com Launches Easy-to-use Internet Educational Presentation! (BusinessPlans, Incorporated)

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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.