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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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March 6, 2002 - 6,505 subscribers
Today's sponsor: Benelogic, LLC

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)

   Benelogic, LLC develops intuitive software applications designed
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(Help BenefitsLink to provide this newsletter at no charge to you -- our sponsors pay our way. Remember to visit them periodically; we try to make sure their products and services will be of interest to you. Thanks! --Editor)

Health Costs Top Benefit Specialists' Concerns-- Again
March 2002 issue of Human Capital IQ. Excerpt: "For 84 percent of employee benefit specialists, the top 2002 benefit priority will be controlling health care costs, according to their responses to the annual Deloitte & Touche/ISCEBS survey, Top Five Benefit Priorities for 2002. Controlling health care costs has remained the top priority for the last three years, but this year the leap in concern was significant." (Deloitte & Touche)

Medicare Proposal Urges Incentives for Generic Drugs, Curtailment of Advertising
Excerpt: "House Republicans drafting legislation to add prescription drug benefits to Medicare said today that they would encourage the use of low-cost generic drugs as an alternative to brand- name medicines and would try to persuade drug makers to curtail advertising, which has been blamed for rising costs." (New York Times; free registration required)

RFI Standard May Help Assess Health Insurers, Managed Care Providers
Excerpt: "The standardized RFI greatly reduces the effort and time that purchasers must expend to research health plans, verify responses and analyze plan-specific information.... [Employer group members of the National Business Coalitions on Health are] currently working to bring more employers and employer coalitions into the RFI initiative to affect health plans across the country." (BenefitNews.com)

Discouraging Employees From Using FMLA Leave
Excerpt: "The FMLA prohibits employer interference with FMLA rights ... The regulations, 29 C.F.R. Sec. 825.220(b), define interference as including, in addition to outright denial, 'discouraging an employee from using such leave.' ... One can certainly question whether a simple employer request that an employee delay the start of a requested FMLA leave should, by itself, violate that law." (Nixon Peabody LLP)

Proposed Georgia Legislation: Health Insurers' Pre-Approval Would Have To Be Final
Excerpt: "[The bill] would prevent insurers from changing their minds after deciding in advance to pay for a procedure. The state Senate should vote on the [bill] this week.... In addition, the legislation would [l]imit insurance companies to an 18-month period in which they can request a refund from doctors on a claim [and require] insurance companies to have staff available 24 hours a day --- and not just recordings --- to provide prior authorization for emergency-related procedures." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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

Now Online: Andersen's 'Alert: U.S. Compensation and Benefits News Briefs' for February 18, 2002
Articles include: Administration's healthcare agenda includes expanded MSAs and FSAs; Class exemption for cross-trades of securities by index and model-driven funds; Benefit denial based on experimental treatment exclusion overturned; Detailed reasons for denying LTD claim must be in initial denial notice. (Andersen)

Executive Pay Down, Survey Shows
Excerpt: "On average, the chief executives of the companies surveyed received total compensation of $10.46 million in 2001, down 4 percent from 2000, as declines in bonuses and the value of stock option grants outweighed increases in salary and incentive payments other than stock options." (New York Times; free registration required)

New Data Confirm CEO Pay Declined in 2001
Excerpt: "[T]he CEOs' median total direct compensation fell 10.2% to $2.16 million. That includes salary, bonuses, gains from stock-option exercises, long-term incentive payouts and the value of restricted stock at the time of grant.... The Mercer analysis revealed no evidence of damped enthusiasm for so-called megagrants of options, however. An option megagrant has a face value of at least eight times an individual's salary and bonus." (CareerJournal.com)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Extraordinary DB-Pension Actuary Consulting Opportunties for Louis Kravitz & Associates, Inc.
in CA
DC/401(k) Plan Administrator for JCCS, PC
in MT

Newly Posted Webcasts (Post Yours!)
The Future of 401(k) Plans-- Session I-- What's in Store for 401(k) Plans on March 13, 2002
presented by Deloitte & Touche
The Private Health Insurance Market: Treatable or Terminal? on March 5, 2002
presented by KaiserNetwork.org

Newly Posted Press Releases
Bluefinch Corporation announces it is seeking beta-testers for a new automated mail-order prescription fulfillment solution (Bluefinch Corporation)
SunGard Corbel's Hoffman Appointed (SunGard Corbel)

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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.