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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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January 17, 2002 - 6,377 subscribers
Today's sponsor: SunGard Corbel

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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)

Justices Hear Case on Patients' Rights
Excerpt: "John G. Roberts Jr., representing Rush Prudential, said the Illinois law was not a regulation of insurance, but rather a state-mandated remedy for a medical-coverage dispute that 'changes dramatically what the plan actually provides.'" (New York Times; free registration required)

Supreme Court Hears HMO Case
Excerpt: "Wednesday's argument focused on the complex relationships among the federal law, state laws and previous Supreme Court decisions. Acknowledging the difficulty, Justice David H. Souter observed, 'The facts do not put this in a clear category.'" (Associated Press via Yahoo! News)

HMO Seeks Overturn of Illinois Law
Excerpt: "'You can't expect companies to deal with 40 different laws,' attorney John G. Roberts Jr. said, telling the court in oral arguments that the Illinois law usurped regulatory powers Congress had reserved to the federal government." (Washington Post)

Justices Mull States' Powers Over HMOs
Excerpt: "Those questioning how HMO coverage could be defined as insurance included Justices O'Connor, David H. Souter, Stephen G. Breyer and Antonin Scalia." (Washington Times)

Supreme Court Hears Arguments in HMO Review Case
Excerpt: "With the congressional legislation bogged down, the court dispute over the validity of state HMO rules has become more vital. But the justices' questions during the hourlong arguments did little to reveal how they might decide whether states can require binding review in disputes between a patient and HMO over what treatment is medically necessary." (USA Today)

District Court Improperly Dismissed Plaintiff's Claims For Severance Benefits
A federal district court improperly concluded that employees' state law claims for promised severance benefits were preempted by ERISA because the benefits were promised under a distinct, one-time offer separate from the employer's severance pay plan. This was the ruling of the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Crews v. General American Life Insurance Company (Nos. 00-3931 and 00-3963). (Spencernet)

Eighth Circuit Upholds Offset of LTD Benefits By Social Security Disability Benefits
The administrator of a long term disability plan did not abuse its discretion when it offset a beneficiary's LTD benefits against the amount of the beneficiary's Social Security disability benefits. This was the ruling of the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Campos v. Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company (No. 01-2160). (Spencernet)

Kennedy Advocates New Laws Requiring Employer-Paid Health Insurance, Sick Leave
Excerpt: "'We can begin, on a bipartisan basis, to fashion legislation that will require employers with more than 100 workers to be good corporate citizens and provide basic health insurance for their workforce,' Kennedy said in a speech to the National Press Club." (Society for Human Resource Management)

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

IRS Changes Course On Split-Dollar Life Insurance and Offers Transitional Tax Planning Opportunities
Excerpt: "Unique planning opportunities may be available for [Split Dollar Arrangements] that are entered into before the IRS issues final regulations, which are anticipated in early 2004. Special tax treatment is provided for SDAs established before January 28, 2002. In addition, amendments to existing SDAs may be required." (McDermott, Will & Emery)

Furnish Documents to DOL in 30 Days or . . .
Excerpt: "TRA '97 also gave the Department authority to assess penalties on a plan administrator that fails to provide the Department with the requested documents within 30 days of the request .... [F]inal regulations were issued on January 7, 2002, effective March 8, 2002." (Kilpatrick Stockton LLP)

Reminder: January 31 Deadline for ISO, Employee Stock Purchase Plan Reporting
Excerpt: "'Affected individuals' includes employees and may include former employees and/or beneficiaries of such employees or former employees who have, during 2001: Obtained legal title to corporate stock pursuant to exercise of an ISO; or Transferred corporate stock that was originally acquired under an ESPP." (Kilpatrick Stockton LLP)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Defined Contribution Plan Consultant for TRI-AD
Benefits & Compensation Manager for World Airways, Inc.
ERISA Attorney in Wonderland for The ERISA Law Group, P.A.
Pension Manager for Mercer Advisors
ERISA Associate for McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC
Document Specialist for Growing TPA Firm in Sacramento, CA
Pension Administrative Consultant for Growing TPA Firm in Sacramento, CA
Data Processing Manager for Established ERISA TPA (Third Party Administrator) firm in Dallas

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
Basic Compensation Conceptsin FL on February 26, 2002
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
MidWest Regional Conferencein IL on March 13, 2002
presented by Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America

Newly Posted Press Releases
AmeriServ Licenses Pyramid's PlanWeb to Run in Hosted Environment (Pyramid Digital Solutions)

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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.