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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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February 20, 2002 - 6,496 subscribers
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Funds Must Be in the Control of the Defendant in Order to Pursue a Subrogation/Reimbursement Claim
Excerpt: "The Knudson decision should not be viewed as a loss, but like a 'sacrifice' in baseball, where a single out places runners in a better scoring position for upcoming batters. Knudson clarifies that, even in the Ninth Circuit, a plan may now pursue a reimbursement action in federal court as long as the funds are in the control of a defendant in the federal court lawsuit, which is much more than we had in the Ninth Circuit before Knudson." (Attorney Thomas H. Lawrence)

Letter Sent By Certified Mail Satisfied Employer's Duty Under COBRA: Fifth Circuit
An employer satisfied its notification duty under COBRA by sending a letter via certified mail to a former employee's last known address even though the employer knew that the individual did not actually receive the letter. This was the ruling of the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Degruise v. Sprint Corporation, et al. (No. 00-31320). (Spencernet)

More Employers Offering Domestic-partner Benefits
Excerpt: "In most cases insurance enrollment and insurance costs increase less than 2 percent when coverage is offered to same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partners, advocates say. Affordability may be one reason Fortune 500 companies have begun to offer domestic partner benefits." (Business First of Columbus [Oh.] via bizjournals.com; free registration required)

California Employer Health Benefit Survey
Excerpt: "A survey of California employers released by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET) shows that premiums for employer sponsored health insurance increased 9.9% in 2001, which was more than double California's 4.3% inflation rate. Enrollment in HMOs decreased while the number of workers in less restrictive managed care plans increased." (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Options for Expanding Health Insurance for People With Chronic Conditions
Excerpt: "[C]hronic conditions are widespread among working-age adults, according to a new study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC). This Issue Brief examines existing coverage sources for insured working-age people with chronic conditions and assesses how various coverage proposals might affect uninsured people with chronic conditions." (Center for Studying Health System Change)

Opinion: President Bush's Takes Innovative Approach to Health Policy
Excerpt: "[Bush] proposed three significant changes in health-care policy, all centered on the fundamental concept of individually owned health insurance. Most important is making Medical Savings Accounts available to everyone.... The president's second proposal involves refundable tax credits to allow low-income families to buy health insurance.... Finally, President Bush proposes to pay 60% of health insurance premiums for laid-off workers for up to a year." (OpinionJournal.com)

Enrollment by Californians in HMOs Slipping
Excerpt: "The percentage of Californians enrolled in HMOs declined last year for the first time in at least eight years, dropping below 50%, a report released Tuesday shows." (Los Angeles Times)

Ounces of Prevention Add Up for HMO Industry
Excerpt: "While less than half of all Americans get the most basic and effective preventive health services annually, managed care health plans are steadily improving the rate at which they deliver effective preventive services to patients." (BenefitNews.com)

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

More Proposed Regulations Issued on Golden Parachute Payments
Excerpt: "These proposed regulations are proposed to apply to any payments that are contingent on a change in ownership or control occurring on or after January 1, 2004. Taxpayers may rely on these proposed regulations until the effective date of the final regulations. Alternatively, taxpayers may rely on the 1989 regulations for any payment contingent on a change in ownership or control that occurs prior to January 1, 2004." (Internal Revenue Service)

Guidance Provided Relating to Golden Parachute Payments Contingent on Change in Ownership or Control
Excerpt: "The IRS has issued proposed regulations relating to golden parachute payments to provide guidance to taxpayers who must comply with Code Sec. 280G. The proposals would apply to any payments that are contingent on a change in ownership or control occurring on or after January 1, 2004 ... Rev. Proc. 2002-13 ... provides guidance for valuing stock options, including a safe harbor for valuing compensatory stock options for purposes of Code Secs. 280G and 4999." (CCH)

Tech Firms Fight Shift In Rules On Options
Excerpt: "The bill could reduce the earnings that many companies report by millions of dollars, in some cases meaning the difference between showing a profit and posting a loss. At issue is whether stock options, which are offered to managers and employees as compensation, must be listed as an operating expense." (Washington Post)

Do Stock Options Buy Silence?
Excerpt: "It's also true that when a company's stock is performing monstrously well, few people want to rock the boat, even if they know that shortcuts may have been taken. That leads us to the subject of stock options. There is a growing trend among companies to issue such options to rank-and-file employees, not just those in the executive suite." (New York Times; free registration required)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Benefits Control Manager for Wachovia Corporation
Manager, Safety and Disability Benefits for Wachovia Corporation
Reporting Specialist for Fidelity Investments
Employee Benefits Attorney for Leading Bay Area Law Firm

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
Basics of Employee Health and Welfare Benefitsin MA on April 11, 2002
presented by New England Employee Benefits Council
Basics of Employee Retirement Plansin MA on October 17, 2002
presented by New England Employee Benefits Council
2002 Consumer Driven Health Benefits Seminarsin NY on April 10, 2002
presented by Employee Benefit News
2002 Consumer Driven Health Benefits Seminarsin TX on April 25, 2002
presented by Employee Benefit News
2002 Consumer Driven Health Benefits Seminarsin IL on May 7, 2002
presented by Employee Benefit News

Newly Posted Press Releases
SunGard Introduces HIPAA & ERISA Consulting (SunGard Corbel)
Mellon And Vinings Management Announce Strategic Alliance (Mellon Financial Corporation)

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Copyright 2002 BenefitsLink.com, Inc., but you may freely distribute this email newsletter in whole. This newsletter is edited by David Rhett Baker, J.D.