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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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March 14, 2002 - 6,505 subscribers
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Education and Workforce Committee Holds First House Hearing on Mental Health Parity
Excerpt: "House negotiators dropped a Senate-passed mental health parity amendment from the fiscal year 2002 budget last December but promised to consider the subject this year ..." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Survey: Disclosures by HMO of Incentive Payments to Physicians Don't Undermine Patient Trust
Excerpt: "[T]he surprising findings of this study suggest that there is little reason for health plans to worry that disclosing incentives would damage doctor-patient relationships. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, through its Initiative to Strengthen the Patient-Provider Relationship, funded the study." (Medscape; free registration required)

KMart Chief's Severance Pay Criticized
Excerpt: "[W]hile [Chuck Conaway's $9 million] severance package isn't outrageous by today's corporate standards, Kmart customers and creditors question why Conaway, on the job for less than two years and the man who filed the country's largest retail bankruptcy, is getting any bonus money at all." (Detroit Free Press via Society for Human Resource Management)

Wellness Program Yields $8.5 Million In Annual Savings In Medical Expenses
Employees participating in their company's health and wellness program had significantly lower medical expenses and improved health risk factors in categories such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking, according to a long-term evaluation of Johnson & Johnson's program. The study, which was conducted by the MEDSTAT Group, found that savings grew over time, with most of the savings attained in the third or fourth years after the program's inception. (Spencernet)

Opinion: Hearing Reveals Ills in HMO Mandatory Arbitration
Excerpt: "More than three hundred nurses turned out for a California Assembly Health and Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday about forced HMO arbitration to support Senate Bill 458 (Escutia), which requires that arbitration be voluntary under California's HMO Accountability law. The following are some of the revelations from the hearing that show the need for the legislation ..." (The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights)

Wall Street Journal Continues Examination of Prescription Drug Marketing
Excerpt: "The number of sales representatives in the drug industry has nearly doubled to 80,000 over the last five years, the Journal reports ..." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Third Unlicensed Health Insurer Ordered to Stop Doing Business in Texas
Excerpt: "American Benefit Plans (ABP) is the third unlicensed health insurer that the Texas Department of Insurance has taken action against in the past 12 months. SAI Plus and Employers Mutual LLC were the other two unlicensed companies that received cease-and-desist orders." (insure.com)

Georgia Fines HMO $200,000 for Late Claim Payments
Excerpt: "Monday's fine [against One Health Plan of Georgia] is one of the larger ones Oxendine has imposed on a health insurance company for failing to pay claims in a timely manner. State law requires reimbursements within managed care plans within 15 working days, or the insurer must notify the provider or policyholder why a claim can't be paid." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Witness List and Links to Written Statements: Hearing on the Health Care Crisis of the Uninsured
March 12, 2002. Witnesses include Mark McClellan, White House Council of Economic Advisors; Alan Weil, Urban Institute; Vip Patel, eHealthinsurance Inc.; Karen Pollitz, Georgetown University; Cindy Mann, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured; Ron Pollack, Families USA. (U.S. Senate, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Subcommittee on Public Health)

Spencer Collects Data For TPA Annual Survey
Charles D. Spencer & Associates has begun to collect information for its 17th annual survey of third-party administrators (TPA) of welfare plans claims. The survey seeks individual TPA information for claims administered in calendar year 2001 for health, dental, vision, prescription drugs, disability, Sec. 125 flexible benefits, and workers' compensation plans. (Spencernet)

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


Re-examining Stock Options as a Way to Compensate Executives
Excerpt: "If the purpose of compensation packages is to retain and reward senior executives as well as ally their interests with the interests of shareholders, the package should contain an equity-based element-- most likely stock options-- perhaps in conjunction with 'soft' measures like improving customer satisfaction. In addition, more attention should be given to instituting safeguards to thwart the types of stock price and accounting manipulations that have recently made headlines." (The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania)




Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Pension Administrator/Accountant for First Mercantile Trust Company
in NC, TN
Account Executive for Diversified Investment Advisors
in CA, NC, NY
Internal Wholesaler for Transamerica - The Winning Organization
in DC
Benefits Manager for American Society of Civil Engineers
in VA
401(k) Administrator in Hawaii for HICKS PENSION SERVICES - HONOLULU OFFICE
in HI
Compliance Specialist for General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of The United Methodist Church
in IL
Actuarial Analyst for Consulting Firm in San Diego
in CA
CRIMINAL COORDINATOR (Investigator - Pension), GS-1801-15 for U.S. Department on Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration
in DC



Newly Posted Webcasts (Post Yours!)
Quality Healthcare: The Challenges on March 13, 2002
presented by KaiserNetwork.org



Newly Posted Press Releases (Post Yours!)
Subadvisor, LLC Launches Innovative Toolset for Financial Services Professionals (SUBADVISOR, LLC)
ERIC Warns Congress that Broad Mental Health Parity Mandate Will Do More Harm Than Good (The ERISA Industry Committee)
SunGard Corbel Achieves First EFAST Approval for 5500 Software (SunGard Corbel)
Spencer Collects Data For TPA Annual Survey (Charles D. Spencer & Associates, Inc.)

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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.