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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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January 28, 2002 - 6,414 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)

Eleventh Circuit Slaps Down State-Law Bad Faith Claims Against ERISA Plan Insurers
Walker v. South Co. Services, Inc. (11th Cir. 2002). Excerpt: "[W]e reported on a small flurry of cases in the fall of 2000 in which federal trial court judges permitted such claims, based on their reading of a later Supreme Court case, UNUM v. Ward ... The Eleventh Circuit in this opinion forcefully rejects any interpretation of Ward that would preserve bad faith claims." (EBIA Weekly)

Trial Court Rejects ERISA Reimbursement Claim, Following Supreme Court's Great-West Decision
Primax Recoveries, Inc. v. Sevilla (N.D. Ill. 2002). Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: This case illustrates how slippery the constructive trust remedy can be, since it depends so heavily on exactly who is holding the disputed amounts at the time a reimbursement claim is made." (EBIA Weekly)

Opinion: HMO Lawsuits Are More Actions Without Class
Excerpt: "Don't look now, but a new rash of abusive class action lawsuits is breaking out. With patients' rights legislation tied up in Congress, the new targets are managed care organizations." (Washington Post)

Long-Term Health and Wellness Program Evaluation Confirms Company Savings for Johnson & Johnson
Press release. Excerpt: "Reduction in medical care costs amounted to a savings per employee of $225 annually. The savings came from reductions in hospital admissions, mental health visits and outpatient service use. Savings grew over time, and most came in the third or fourth year after the program began." (PR Newswire, via International Foundation for Employee Benefit Plans)

In Wisconsin, Business Groups Oppose Mental Health Parity Bill
Excerpt: "The current bill passed the Democratic-controlled state Senate in October 2001 and is now before the Republican-controlled Assembly's Health Committee, which will hold a public hearing on the matter Feb. 12." (The Business Journal of Milwaukee)

General Motors Attempts to Measure and Improve Quality of Health Care
Excerpt: "Assessing the quality of health care has long been a pursuit of industry experts, but now businesses that provide health insurance to their employees are focusing on quality and patient satisfaction." (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Experts Debate Options for Health Care Reform
Excerpt: "Do Americans have a right to health care? While it's not spelled out in the U.S. Constitution or Bill of Rights, 85 percent of Americans say the answer is yes." (San Diego Daily Transcript)

People Without Health Insurance Caught In Vise of Politics
Excerpt: "At least a million people have lost their health insurance since the recession began last year -- making some 40 million who have no medical protection.... Both Republicans and Democrats agree that this is a dreadful situation that needs to be changed. But their proposed solutions are so far apart that health insurance was a major reason why the economic stimulus package stalled in Congress before the Christmas break ..." (The Miami Herald)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Sr. Specialist, Benefits & Compensation for Converium Reinsurance (North America) Inc.
Officer Retirement Plans Administration for Security Benefit Group
Retirement Plan Administrator for National benefits consulting firm
401k consultant for Allstate Financial
Team Leader - Recordkeeping for INVESCO Retirement, Inc.

Newly Posted Webcasts (Post Yours!)
Prospects for Long-Term Care Policymaking at State and Federal Levels on January 24, 2002
presented by National Academy of Social Insurance

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
Mercer/Foster Higgins National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plansin CA on March 12, 2002
presented by Employee Benefit Planning Association of Southern California
Health Plans, HIPAA, and COBRA Update: Current ERISA, Tax, and Other Issues for Attorneys, Administrators, Insurers, and Consultantsin ALL STATES on March 14, 2002
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association Committee on Continuing Professional Education)
Annual Conference-NIPA San Francisco Chapterin CA on February 21, 2002
presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators-SF Chapter
2003 Los Angeles Benefits Conferencein CA on January 30, 2003
presented by ASPA

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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.