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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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January 18, 2002 - 6,377 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)

Opinion: Tax Credits Worth a Healthy Try for Covering Uninsured
Excerpt: " A furious new debate is set to break out over how to provide health insurance for the uninsured. It began last year during the fight over an economic stimulus package. The main quarrel that blocked agreement on the stimulus in December -- medical benefits for workers who have lost their jobs in the recession -- was a microcosm of the struggle that was to come over coverage for the nation's 40 million uninsured." (Washington Times)

Direct Health Plan Contracting Regains Momentum
Excerpt: "Through what it calls a 'next generation' health care delivery network model, Patient Choice offers a system that allows employers to directly contract with providers for employee health benefits." (BenefitNews.com)

Opinion: Health Insurance Crisis Demands Action Now
Excerpt: "Those who imagine that the 'market place' will somehow be our salvation and not further fragment the existing system are as unrealistic as those who believe a government-run system will miraculously happen anytime in the foreseeable future.... Personal responsibility has to include an enforced requirement that individuals have a minimum amount of health-insurance coverage." (Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler in The Seattle Times)

Health Cost Increase Stirs Concern In U.S.
Excerpt: "A report by the Health Care Financing Administration finds health care spending in 2000 climbed 6.9%, from 5.7% in 1999, and the highest rate of increase since 1988.... The recent increases suggest the HMOs have run out of costs to cut, raising the prospect of a new spiral in health care spending." (National Post Online)

U.S. Healthcare Ills Familiar, but Solutions Are Not
Excerpt: "Instead of using managed care and HMOs to control costs, the system may now have to turn to corporate healthcare purchasers and drastically different budget priorities, experts told audiences at the National Health Care Policy Conference." (Reuters Health via Lycos)

Beneficiary Could Not Sue Third-Party Insurer Under ERISA, Ninth Circuit Rules
A beneficiary could not pursue an ERISA lawsuit against a third-party insurer seeking to recover additional life insurance benefits because the insurer was not functioning as the plan administrator. This was the ruling of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Everhart v. Allmerica Financial Life Insurance Company (No. 99-17094). (Spencernet)

Welfare Benefit Plans: Whose Decision Is It, Anyway?
Excerpt: "There is no question that the plan's eligibility formula was complex.... Nevertheless, there are several steps that the TPA might have taken which could have significantly reduced its liability exposure." (Reish Luftman McDaniel & Reicher)

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

Analysis: IRS Announces Proposed Regulations for ISO's and ESPP's
Excerpt: "The Internal Revenue Service ... has issued proposed regulations, which clarify current law regarding the Federal Insurance Contributions Act ('FICA') and the Federal Unemployment Tax Act ('FUTA'). The proposed regulations ... generally provide that an individual who exercises certain statutory stock options may realize 'wages' for purposes of FICA and FUTA." (Pillsbury Winthrop LLP)

Nasdaq's Shareholder Approval Rules for Stock Benefit Plans
Excerpt: "As of mid-December 2001 when we spoke with a Nasdaq staff attorney, the following rules apply in 2002 until further Nasdaq notice ..." (Mark Poerio, Esq. of Paul Hastings)

Overview: FASB Update re Cancellation of Underwater Stock Options
Excerpt: "On December 27, 2001, FASB released an expansion of its EITF Issue No. 00-23 regarding the financial accounting rules that apply to stock compensation. This EITF addresses questions arising under FASB's Interpretation 44 (issued 3/31/2000)." (Mark Poerio, Esq. of Paul Hastings)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Financial Writer for INVESCO Retirement, Inc.
Employee Benefits EE Educator for AmSouth Bank
Implementation Client Service Manager for Black Mountain Management, Inc.
401(k) Sales Consultant for Pension Specialists, Inc.
Benefits Consultant for CBIZ Business Solutions of St. Louis, Inc.
Employee Benefits Attorney for Dean, Mead, Egerton, Bloodworth, Capouano & Bozarth, P.A.
Benefits Administrator for ALLTEL Communications
Call Center Manager for Hewitt Associates
Senior Plan Administrator for Strong Investments, Inc.
401(k)/Pension Administrator for Contemporary Pensions, Inc.

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
What Should I Do With My Lump Sum Distribution?in PA on March 21, 2002
presented by Nadav Baum @ Salomon Smith Barney

Newly Posted Press Releases
Has Enron Made Being A Fiduciary Even More Frightening? (Bruce Ruud & Associates)

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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.