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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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February 11, 2002 - 6,451 subscribers
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Plan Sponsors Offering Domestic Partner Benefits at a Galloping Pace
Excerpt: "Spurred by the urge to recruit or retain employees, their own nondiscrimination codes, or local laws and helped by low costs due to the small number of employees signing up for domestic partner health benefits plan sponsors increasingly are offering medical and dental plans to domestic partners." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

Naps at Work: Good for Your Health, Not Your Job
Excerpt: "Just two years ago, 'nap spaces' were being promoted as an employee perk. But now, 'nap-friendly employers have gone underground with their policies' ..." (Washington Post)

Providing Public Sector Services in a Time of Change: the Total Rewards Perspective (PDF)
Excerpt: "This article discusses some of the implications of key demographic trends for public sector employers-- and how the total rewards approach can help.... [T]he immediate concerns for government employers are: Responding to the different needs and priorities of older workers; Succession planning associated with retiring managers; and Replacing workers as they retire." (The Segal Company)

New Yorkers Demand Review of Health Claim Denials More Than Anyone Else
Excerpt: "Since July 1999, more than 1,600 New Yorkers have requested independent reviews of claim denials from health insurers. According to the New York State Insurance Department, New Yorkers use their state's external review law process more than consumers in any of the other 41 states with similar laws." (insure.com)

Patients Find Success Haggling as Health Care Costs Climb
Excerpt: "[E]mployers are behind this, too. Along with increasing insurance deductibles, many are introducing 'lump sum' plans that cap how much a worker can spend on health care. Add it all up, and there's more pressure on employees to bargain." (The Wall Street Journal via MSNBC.com)

Unlicensed Insurance Companies Continue to Sell in Florida; Agents May Be Liable for Claims
Excerpt: "Unlicensed, unregulated companies such as TRG are proliferating in Florida and the rest of the country, regulators say, because many people cannot afford ever-increasing premiums charged by licensed health insurance companies.... According to Florida law, if an unauthorized insurer fails to pay a claim, those who solicited, negotiated or accepted an application for the insurance are liable to the insured for the claims not paid." (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Coalition Forms to Reverse Rising Trend of Uninsured Americans
Excerpt: "Beyond the personal toll for people without coverage, the sharp increase in the number of uninsured Americans is a growing concern to employers, unions and providers of care. Some said they were worried that the trend would undermine the nation's employer-based health care system." (New York Times; free registration required)

TIAA Properly Terminated LTD Benefits of Beneficiary Who No Longer Was "Disabled"
The Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA) did not abuse its discretion when it terminated the long term disability benefits of a beneficiary who no longer met the LTD plan's definition of 'totally disabled.' This was the ruling of the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Ferrari v. Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (No. 01-1182). (Spencernet)

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

Store Owner Found Personally Liable As Fiduciary for $5 Million Owed to Retirees
Excerpt: "The owner of a defunct grocery store is personally liable as a plan fiduciary for more than $5 million the store owes its retirees for violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act in terminating an unfunded grocery voucher program, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana ruled Jan. 22 ..." (Society for Human Resource Management)

Investors Group Is Close to Switching Its Stance on Stock Options
Excerpt: "A large association of institutional investors is on the verge of switching its position and supporting an effort to force companies to count stock-option awards as an expense that cuts into profits." (New York Times; free registration required)

Opinion: Stock Options, Once a Rallying Point, Sullied by Excess
Excerpt: "Stock options became popular nearly 20 years ago as a way to instill a greater sense of responsibility in the people who run public companies. Now they are derided as a corrupting influence behind the deception and suspicion rattling the stock market." (Boston Globe)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Pension Consultant for New England Financial
Benefits Administrator for Black Mountain Management, Inc.
Benefits and Implementation Analyst for Black Mountain Management, Inc.
Financial Retirement Sales Rep for Metavante 401(k) Services
Research/Administrative Assistant for Milliman USA
Defined Benefit Administrator for The Senex Group
DC/401K Administrator or Assistant for The Senex Group
Defined Contribution Plan Administrator for Northeast Planning Services, Inc.
401K Plan Administrator for Boston Financial Data Services
Quality Assurance Tester for ExpertPlan, Inc.

Newly Posted Press Releases
Labor Department Finalizes Exemption For Plans Engaging in Securities Cross-Trades (U.S. Department of Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration)

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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.