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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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March 11, 2002 - 6,505 subscribers
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Arbitrators in California Refuse to Hear Healthcare Disputes Unless Both Sides Voluntarily Agree
Excerpt: "Patients should have the right to forgo arbitration in health care disputes and file lawsuits directly in court, the nation's largest arbitration provider plans to tell California lawmakers Tuesday." (Los Angeles Times)

Study Finds Employees Highly Motivated to Use Online EAP and Work-Life Services
Press release. Excerpt: "In a first-ever study conducted last year, prominent researchers have found that employees are highly motivated to use an online, integrated work-life and employee assistance program (EAP) to obtain immediate access to information about various personal and professional issues." (Ceridian)

When Genetic Testing Collides With Major Medical Insurance (PDF)
February/March 2002 issue. Excerpt: "Barring abuse, genetic testing could be a useful tool for doctors and insurers alike. But misguided legislation could result in unfortunate unintended consequences." (Contingencies magazine, from the American Academy of Actuaries)

Analysis: Protecting Patient Information: a Whole New Ball Game
Excerpt: "When employers or plan administrators hear 'HIPAA,' they typically think-- certificates of creditable coverage, special enrollment rights or nondiscrimination rules. But HIPAA also includes the 'Administrative Simplifications' provisions. Their purpose is to streamline financial and administrative health care transactions and protect the privacy and security of those transactions by adopting national standards." (Watson Wyatt)

Opinion: Health-Care Tax Credits-- a Shot in the Arm
Excerpt: "At first glance, extending so-called 'COBRA' coverage sounds like a decent solution.... What's not to like? Plenty. For one thing, the Daschle proposal would help far too few uninsured workers." (Nina Owcharenko, published by the Heritage Foundation)

Federal Government Argues Military Retiree Health Benefits Case to Appeals Court
Excerpt: "The government appealed on Wednesday a court ruling that retired veterans who signed up with a promise of lifetime free medical care in return for a 20-year hitch are entitled to receive it." (Washington Post)

Sweeping Lawsuit Takes On Managed Health Care
Excerpt: "The lawyers say the major health insurers are so bad that their use of fraud and deceptive practices amount to racketeering. The lawyers point to insurance employees who were paid bonuses to keep people out of hospitals and to rigid industry rules intended to cut costs, not provide necessary care. The health plans say they are just doing the bidding of the nation's employers, who are trying to rein in runaway medical costs." (The Salt Lake Tribune)

Lawmakers Reintroduce Paid Parental Leave Bill for Federal Employees
Excerpt: "According to a study published by the Office of Personnel Management in November, the federal government's leave policies and programs compare favorably with benefits offered by private sector companies. OPM concluded that the government did not need to offer paid parental leave to employees ..." (GovExec.com)

OPM Issues Final Rules On Annual Leave To Aid Federal Workers Responding To Attacks
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has issued final regulations regarding annual leave that are intended to aid federal agencies and employees responding to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The final regulations appeared in the March 4 Federal Register. (Spencernet)

Specialized Medical Management Needs Early Intervention (PDF)
February/March 2002 issue. Excerpt: "Effective management of catastrophic health care costs requires getting all the information and getting it fast." (Contingencies magazine, from the American Academy of Actuaries)

Some Employers Must Prepare for HIPAA
Excerpt: "[E]mployers who self-insure health coverage for their employees are subject to the rules and must re-evaluate policies and procedures to ensure that they comply with [HIPAA].... Because they may handle the claims payments, employers that self-insure often see information about an employee's medical condition. As a result, they are more directly affected by HIPAA than employers who go through traditional, or fully funded, health plans." (Business First of Louisville via bizjournals.com; free registration required)

Texas Pulls Plug on Unlicensed Healthcare Insurer
Excerpt: "An unlicensed North Richland Hills insurance company suspected of illegally selling policies and failing to pay medical claims has been ordered to cease doing business in Texas and its assets have been frozen. Judge Darlene Byrne of Austin placed American Benefit Plans into temporary receivership Thursday ..." (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

Opinion: Florida Proposal to Sell Mandates-Free Health Insurance is Premature
Excerpt: " None of the insurance lobbies supporting the bill has been able to tell legislators how much any or all of the mandates add to the cost of an insurance policy. Without that knowledge, it would be the political equivalent of medical malpractice to suspend them in the mere belief that the costs are significant." (St. Petersburg Times)

Opinion: the Real Message of 'John Q'
Excerpt: "What could save the fictional Archibalds and real-life families from their desperation in the face of medical and financial catastrophe? The answer is community-rated, mandatory catastrophic health insurance." (San Diego Union-Tribune)

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


Technical Explanation of the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002 (PDF)
79 pages. Includes explanation of section on 'Interest Rate Used in Determining Additional Required Contributions to Defined Benefit Plans and PBGC Variable Rate Premiums (sec. 405 of the bill, sec. 412 of the Code, and secs. 302 and 4006 of ERISA)'; 'Tax Technical Corrections (secs. 411-418 of the bill)'; and 'Extension of Archer Medical Savings Accounts ('MSAs') (sec. 612 of the bill and sec. 220 of the Code)." (Joint Committee on Taxation)

Stock Options Are Faulted by Investor Warren Buffett
Excerpt: "Warren E. Buffett, using the forum that the Berkshire Hathaway annual report provides, has renewed his attack against the widespread use of stock options and at the ways corporations assure that executives will profit from options even if the company's share price declines." (New York Times; free registration required)




Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Institutional Financial Consultant for TIAA-CREF
in MA
Client Associate - Reporting & Disclosure for AEGON Group
in IA
Plan Administrator for Actuarial Benefits Co.
in CA
Market Research Manager - Strategic Planning for Transamerica
in CA
Pension Plan Administrator for Professional Plan Administrators, Inc.
in CA
Account Executive - Washington D.C. for Transamerica
in DC
401(k) / DC Plan Administrator for Redwood Administrators, Inc.
in NJ
Account Manager for Corporate Benefit Services of America, Inc. (CBSA)
in MN
401(k) Pension Administrator for Retirement Alliance, Inc.
in NH



Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
Private Wealth Management Summitin on April 18, 2002
presented by Opal Financial Group
FMLA, COBRA (including HIPAA portability), Section 125, and HIPAA Privacy - Atlantain GA on June 3, 2002
presented by A.E. Roberts Company
FMLA, COBRA (including HIPAA portability), Section 125, and HIPAA Privacy - Louisvillein KY on June 4, 2002
presented by A.E. Roberts Company
FMLA, COBRA (including HIPAA portability), Section 125, and HIPAA Privacy - Minneapolisin MN on June 4, 2002
presented by A.E. Roberts Company
FMLA, COBRA (including HIPAA portability), Section 125, and HIPAA Privacy - San Diegoin CA on June 4, 2002
presented by A.E. Roberts Company
FMLA, COBRA (including HIPAA portability), Section 125, and HIPAA Privacy - Davenportin IA on June 4, 2002
presented by A.E. Roberts Company
FMLA, COBRA (including HIPAA portability), Section 125, and HIPAA Privacy - Des Moinesin IA on June 11, 2002
presented by A.E. Roberts Company
FMLA, COBRA (including HIPAA portability), Section 125, and HIPAA Privacy - Jacksonin MS on June 11, 2002
presented by A.E. Roberts Company
FMLA, COBRA (including HIPAA portability), Section 125, and HIPAA Privacy - Birminghamin AL on June 11, 2002
presented by A.E. Roberts Company
FMLA, COBRA (including HIPAA portability), Section 125, and HIPAA Privacy - Indianapolisin IN on June 11, 2002
presented by A.E. Roberts Company
FMLA, COBRA (including HIPAA portability), Section 125, and HIPAA Privacy - New Orleansin LA on June 18, 2002
presented by A.E. Roberts Company
FMLA, COBRA (including HIPAA portability), Section 125, and HIPAA Privacy - Detroitin MI on June 18, 2002
presented by A.E. Roberts Company
FMLA, COBRA (including HIPAA portability), Section 125, and HIPAA Privacy - Omahain NE on June 18, 2002
presented by A.E. Roberts Company
FMLA, COBRA (including HIPAA portability), Section 125, and HIPAA Privacy - Evansvillein IN on June 18, 2002
presented by A.E. Roberts Company
FMLA, COBRA (including HIPAA portability), Section 125, and HIPAA Privacy - Downers Grovein IL on June 18, 2002
presented by A.E. Roberts Company
FMLA, COBRA (including HIPAA portability), Section 125, and HIPAA Privacy - Ft. Waynein IN on June 25, 2002
presented by A.E. Roberts Company
FMLA, COBRA (including HIPAA portability), Section 125, and HIPAA Privacy - Chicago O'Harein IL on June 25, 2002
presented by A.E. Roberts Company
FMLA, COBRA (including HIPAA portability), Section 125, and HIPAA Privacy - Mobilein AL on June 25, 2002
presented by A.E. Roberts Company
FMLA, COBRA (including HIPAA portability), Section 125, and HIPAA Privacy - Peoriain IL on June 25, 2002
presented by A.E. Roberts Company



Newly Posted Press Releases (Post Yours!)
New Electronic Payment Technology For Health Care Launched By Evolution Health (Evolution Health)
Alexander Hamilton Institute Releases New Free Reports: "Documentation for Successful PAs" and "Reinstatement Rights Under Military Leave Laws" (Alexander Hamilton Institute)

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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.