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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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February 5, 2002 - 6,451 subscribers
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More People Using FMLA, Especially Men
Excerpt: "Research shows an increase in use of leave by men, particularly for the birth or adoption of a child, which is somewhat ironic in view of the fact that the act's detractors claimed it would benefit only women." (Chicago Tribune)

New Kid on the Block: Financial Planning as an Employee Benefit (PDF)
24 pages; December 2001 survey results. (International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists)

Patients Want States to Force Insurers to Cover Obesity Surgery
Excerpt: "Advocates of bariatric surgery say thousands of people have been unable to have the operation even when their doctors have recommended it as a solution to deadly health problems because it is not covered by their insurance plans.... Insurers say mandating what treatments should be provided will only increase costs and make it more difficult to provide coverage ..." (AP via ABCNews.com)

Congressional Quarterly's Audio Report: Bush Health Proposals for Fiscal Year 2003
Excerpt: "When lawmakers take up President Bush's fiscal year 2003 budget this week they will have difficulty finding money to pay for his ambitious proposals to assist states that help seniors pay for prescription drugs and offer individual tax credits that would cover up to 90 percent of health insurance premiums for those without coverage." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Bush Budget Proposal Includes $89 Million In Tax Credits For Uninsured, Loosens MSA AND FSA Restrictions
President George Bush's 2003 budget proposal, which is being sent to Congress today, will include $89 billion over 10 years in individual tax credits to help an estimated 6 million uninsured Americans to buy health insurance, according to HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. (Spencernet)

Opinion: Proposals in Administration's Budget Could Weaken Employer-Based Health Insurance System
Excerpt: "The two proposals that would pose risks to the employer-based insurance system are: A refundable tax credit for the purchase of private health insurance for individuals and families not covered by employer-based coverage ... and an expansion of Medical Savings Accounts ..." (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

Analysis: In Great-West Case, Supreme Court Holds ERISA Limits Suits By Health Plans
Excerpt: "[T]he Supreme Court found that Great-West and the other plaintiffs should have tried harder to make their case while the state court negotiations were under way, and that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 limits the ability of benefits companies to sue plan members for cash in federal court." (National Underwriter via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

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

IRS Changes Date of Hearing On Proposed Regs On FICA, FUTA Taxation of Stock Options
The Internal Revenue Service has announced that it has changed the date of the public hearing on its proposed regulations governing the application of Social Security (FICA) and unemployment (FUTA) taxes and income tax withholding to statutory stock options. Notice of the change was published in the January 28 Federal Register. (Spencernet)

Top Five Benefit Priorities Survey for 2002
Excerpt: "Cost concerns abruptly displace attraction and retention considerations for employers. The number one priority in 2002 for benefit specialists from the employer's perspective is controlling health and welfare costs (84%). This year's results emphasize the challenge of reining in health care costs, as this priority tops the list for the third consecutive year - unparalleled in the survey's history." (Deloitte & Touche)

Stock Plan Software - Administration Made Easy
Excerpt: "Isn't there a basic software product available - we're thinking something that comes on a CD here - that is designed specifically for stock option plan record keeping, and that won't cost a smaller company an arm and a leg? ... We are excited, relieved, and above all, very, very happy to be able to report that we have found not just one, but several excellent alternatives." (Foundation for Enterprise Development)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Compensation Manager for Ricoh Electronics, Inc.
Benefits Manager for Ricoh Electronics, Inc.
Benefits Manager, Personnel Services for Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Pension Representative for Third-Party Administrator
Compensation Consultant for Grant Thornton

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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.