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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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February 21, 2002 - 6,496 subscribers
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HMOs May Be Exposed to State Law Malpractice Actions for Mixed Treatment and Eligibility Decisions
Excerpt: "Inherent difficulties with prevailing case law regarding participants who have been injured as a result of negligent medical decisions made by health maintenance organizations foil attempts to obtain meaningful relief for the injured party. Out of frustration, some courts have engaged in creative rule-making that has led to questionable decisions. This article will discuss the Supreme Court's Pegram decision and, what, if any, impact it has had ..." (Kilpatrick Stockton LLP)

U.S. Judge Dismisses Several Accusations Against Health Insurers
Excerpt: "A federal judge yesterday dismissed several charges against the nation's largest health insurance companies, but he said plaintiffs could proceed with accusations that the insurers had violated federal fraud and pension laws." (New York Times; free registration required)

Is Health Insurance a Civil Right?
Excerpt: "The fight is about money -- who wins, who loses, who pays and who decides. To make progress, all factions, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO to the Health Insurance Association of America and the Federation of American Hospitals, will have to go against their individual interest." (Washington Post)

Health Care Experts React to Themes of Uninsured, Patients' Rights in 'John Q.'
Excerpt: "The fictional HMO offered by Archibald's employer has a $20,000 cap on benefits -- far below the $250,000 required for the son's heart transplant. The following is a recap of some recent newspaper articles that examined the health care issues raised by the film." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Opinion: John Q Insults Our IQ
Excerpt: "Written as a scathing critique of the insurance industry, the movie includes cameos by author Arianna Huffington and Politically Correct's Bill Maher, as well as a clip from a Hillary Clinton speech. The movie has already generated a storm." (National Post Online)

Commentary: Adding HMOs to the List of Film Villains
Excerpt: "Hollywood has found its own 'axis of evil.' It is not drug lords, the Red Menace or the Klingons. It is managed health care. In 'John Q,' which opened Friday, Denzel Washington plays John Q. Archibald, a peace-loving father and working-class Everyman, until his employer-sponsored health plan fails to cover the $250,000 heart transplant his son needs to stay alive." (Washington Times)

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


Overview: IRS Issues Proposed Regs in Connection with Golden Parachute Payments
Excerpt: "The determination of who is a disqualified individual [has] three significant changes. First, the $1 million test for value of stock owned has been eliminated.... Second, the newly proposed regulations modify the annualized compensation method for determining who is a highly compensated individual ... Third, the new regs change the disqualified individual determination period to the 12 months prior to and ending on the date of the change in ownership or control of the corporation." (National Association of Stock Plan Professionals)

Revenue Procedure 2002-13 Sets Forth Safe Harbor Valuation of Compensatory Stock Options
Excerpt: "This revenue procedure provides guidance for valuing stock options, including a safe harbor for valuing compensatory stock options for purposes of §§ 280G and 4999 of the Internal Revenue Code. The Internal Revenue Service will treat the value of a compensatory stock option determined in accordance with the requirements of this revenue procedure as properly determined for purposes of §§ 280G and 4999." (Internal Revenue Service)

Study Finds 91% of Companies Use Web For Communication
Ninety-one percent of companies use the Web to communicate with employees, and 48% give employees the ability to manage certain services on their own, such as enrolling in benefit plans or training courses, according to the latest e-Track survey on Web-based HR self-service conducted by Towers Perrin. The Web has revolutionized the way companies reach employees with information and basic human resource services, but the full potential of the Internet still has not been fully realized. (Spencernet)

Lawsuit Seeking Benefits Under ERISA Sec. 510 Was Barred By Statute of Limitations: Court
The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that a former employee's lawsuit seeking to recover benefits under ERISA Sec. 510 was barred by the applicable state statute of limitations. The ruling came in Muldoon v. C.J. Muldoon & Sons, et al. (Nos. 01-1516 and 01-1845). (Spencernet)




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Newly Posted Press Releases (Post Yours!)
ARIOSO PROVIDES EFFICIENT BENEFIT SOLUTIONS FOR THE NEW ECONOMY (Arioso)

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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.