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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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February 15, 2002 - 6,451 subscribers
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Recent Trend in Health Care: Defined Contribution Health Care Arrangements
Excerpt: "Employers who are concerned about rising costs and the increasing administrative complexities of providing health coverage for employees have been exploring new ways to structure health care arrangements. Many employers are currently exploring the pros and cons of arrangements frequently referred to as 'defined contribution health care.' Such arrangements may be structured in any of the following ways ..." (Groom Law Group)

In Battle to Lower Employers' Health Care Costs, Will Employees Become 'General Contractors'?
Excerpt: "Some health-care economists argue [that a defined contribution type of health plan] closes the historic disconnect between the payer and user of health care services and will lead to more effective health-care spending and lower costs. Critics, however, contend these plans can punish those who are sickest and encourage consumers to pinch pennies on prevention and risk serious illness later." (The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania)

Mental Health Care Denials Received Most Consumer Complaints in Massachusetts
Excerpt: "Patients seeking state reviews of health plan decisions under Massachusetts' one-year-old patients' bill of rights most often ask the state to reverse denials of care related to mental health treatment, the Boston Globe reports." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Overview: Mental Health Parity Act Extended; Congress May Seek to Expand Law This Year (PDF)
Excerpt: "Plans already in compliance with MHPA have no new compliance obligations because the extension of MHPA signed last month does not place any new requirements on group health plans. It simply extends the provisions of the law as passed in 1996 through the end of this year. The following section of this Bulletin summarizes MHPA's provisions." (The Segal Company)

Witness List and Written Statements: Using Health Tax Credits to Decrease the Number of Uninsured
February 13, 2002 hearing. Includes statements of Stuart Butler, Ph.D., Vice President, Domestic and Economic Policy Studies, Heritage Foundation; Iris Lav, Deputy Director, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Jeff Lemieux, Senior Economist, Progressive Policy Institute; Vip Patel, Founder and Chairman, eHealthinsurance Inc., Sunnyvale, California. (U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means)

Covering the Uninsured: Press Conference
Excerpt: "Press conference launches Covering the Uninsured, a national advertising and education campaign to 'inform the public and national leaders on the importance of increasing the number of Americans with health care coverage.'" (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation via KaiserNetwork.org)

House Democrats Question Bush Administration Health Insurance Tax Credit Proposal
Excerpt: "Jeff Lemieux of the Progressive Policy Institue, a 'long-time backer' of health insurance tax credits, said that the administration's proposal 'could in fact disrupt employer-based coverage and should not be enacted in its current form.'" (KaiserNetwork.org)

Bush Administration Backs Genetic Discrimination Ban
Excerpt: "Senior Bush administration officials called on Congress Wednesday to pass legislation to bar employment and insurance discrimination based on genetic information." (Reuters Health via Lycos)

Eighth Circuit Dismisses ADEA Claims Challenging Promotions of Younger Employees
The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has affirmed the dismissal of plaintiffs' claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) challenging the promotions of seven younger employees. The case is Dorsey, et al. v. Pinnacle Automation Company (Nos. 00-3558 and 01-1030). (Spencernet)

Gay Partners of Police, Firefighters Will Get Benefits
Excerpt: "Gay and lesbian partners of Portland police and firefighters will be eligible to collect pension benefits, should their partners be killed in the line of duty, under a city ordinance adopted Wednesday." (The Oregonian)

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

Permanently Deferred Salary: Enron Quits Paying What It Owes Retired Managers
Excerpt: "As unsecured creditors, Enron's deferred compensation victims are a sizable group, numbering about 500, with a total claim estimated at $300 million to $400 million." (USA Today via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Procedural Due Diligence in the Selection and Monitoring of Plan Service Providers
Excerpt: "Plan fiduciaries have a duty to select plan service providers prudently, and once service providers are selected, to monitor the quality of their work regularly and to review their compensation periodically to ensure it is reasonable. These fiduciary duties ... spring from ERISA's prudence and loyalty provisions. This article discusses the theory behind the duties and provides guidelines for establishing a prudent process for selecting and monitoring service providers." (Kilpatrick Stockton LLP)

Senate Bill Could Stymie Stock Options
Excerpt: "A congressional bill introduced Wednesday could dampen the technology industry's widespread reliance on stock options. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., introduced Senate Bill 1940 to 'plug a corporate tax loophole' that allows companies to claim large tax deductions without declaring the cost as an expense on earnings statements." (CNET via Yahoo! News)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Qualified Plans Supervisor for First Trust Corporation
Technical Analyst for First Trust Corporation
Plan Administrator for Ceridian
Associate, Benefits for Black Mountain Management, Inc.
401(k) Benefit Administration Specialist for CUNA Mutual Group - Madison WI
Benefits Accounting Manager for Regions Financial Corporation
Employee Benefits Counsel for Legal In-House - Employee Benefits - Florida

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
11th Annual Public Funds Boards Forumin CA on December 7, 2002
presented by Institute for International Research

Subscribe to the Retirement Plans Edition, too (click)

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.