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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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April 5, 2002 - 6,435 subscribers
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Schedule F to Form 5500 No Longer Required, IRS Says in Notice 2002-24 (PDF)
Excerpt: "Employers maintaining specified fringe benefit plans under sections 125, 127 or 137 are relieved from the requirement to file annual information returns (Schedule F) attached to a completed Form 5500 pursuant to section 6039D. This notice is effective upon publication and applies to all plan years for which information returns have not been filed." (Internal Revenue Service)

It May Be Hard for Individuals To Claim Weight-Reduction Deduction Despite IRS Ruling
Excerpt: "[T]he new rule speaks louder about what it won't cover -- dietetic foods like shakes and low-cal meal plans -- than what it permits.... The ruling does cover items such as initiation fees in weight loss programs. And it may even include health club memberships and time spent with personal trainers, provided these expenses top 7.5 percent of a person's adjusted gross income.... [The ruling's] real benefit may be for Americans whose employers offer flexible spending accounts." (HealthScout News)

Health Plan Responsibilities to Alternate Payees Under a Qualified Medical Child Support Order
EBIA's Question of the Week. 'QUESTION: We just enrolled a participant's child in our health plan as an alternate recipient under a qualified medical child support order (QMCSO). The child lives with the other parent. Do we need to provide a separate SPD to the child? Does the child have COBRA rights?" (EBIA Weekly)

Surfing Section 529 Web Sites
Excerpt: "[B]usinesses can offer 529 Plans through payroll deduction or direct deposit at no cost to them or employees.... The great advantage of the 529 Plan is its flexibility. It can be used at any accredited school in any state and the assets can be transferred easily among different family members." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

Sleep Deprivation Affects Workplace
Excerpt: "Feeling sleepy between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. is normal because of a drop in body temperature, according to the National Sleep Foundation. The NSF advocates for a 15- to 20-minute nap to 'restore alertness and memory and relieve stress and fatigue.'" (Society for Human Resource Management)

Is It OK to Nap at Work?
Excerpt: "Q: Is napping at work different than napping anywhere else? A: Yes, it makes you more productive. Napping at home mainly makes you feel good, perhaps a bit more alert. But at work, besides doing that, it enables you to do more work. That's why employers should not only allow napping, they should encourage it." (Sacramento Bee via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Providers at Healthcare Leadership Council Conference Praise Changes to Medical Privacy Regulations
Excerpt: "At an April 4 news conference, health care provider groups praised the Bush administration's revision of Clinton administration medical privacy rules, saying the new regulations will 'be better for patients and providers,' CongressDaily reports." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Analysis: Proposed Amendments to HIPAA Privacy Rules (PDF)
Excerpt: "While many health care industry organizations and health care providers would undoubtedly wish to have even greater relief from some of the Privacy Rule's requirements, most will view the proposed amendments favorably.... One plan-specific change would enable health plans to provide enrollment and disenrollment information to a plan sponsor without formally amending plan documents to incorporate privacy protections." (Gardner Carton & Douglas)

Law Firm Publishes Marked Copy of Proposed HIPAA Privacy Reg, Showing Changes and Additions (PDF)
101 pages; large download. (Gardner Carton & Douglas)

Healthcare Leadership Council Position Paper on Proposed HIPAA Privacy Regulation Changes (PDF)
Excerpt: "The modifications made by HHS actually strengthen the process by which patients are informed of how their information can and cannot be used. The regulation requires that patients be given a comprehensive notice of how information is used and what rights they have. It also requires that providers get the acknowledgment of the patient that they received the notice.' (HLC website is http://www.hlc.org) (Healthcare Leadership Council, published online by the American Benefits Council)

John Hancock Offers Whole-Family Long Term Care Insurance Plan
Excerpt: "You will pay more in premiums the more people you add to the policy-- the premiums are determined using a formula relating to the ages of the people covered-- but you can include almost any member of your immediate family." (insure.com)

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

Analysis: IRS Technical Advice Memorandum Shows Continued IRS Attack on Leveraged COLI (PDF)
Excerpt: "In a Technical Advice Memorandum (TAM 200213010), the IRS has determined that even though a Pre-1986 'Leveraged COLI' arrangement satisfied the 'four out of seven' premium rule under §264(c)(1), the corporate owner could not deduct loan interest payments from income because the arrangement was a sham. While the conclusion is consistent with recent court decisions 1 it is notable for a number of reasons: ..." (Vinings Management Corporation)

Link to Full Text of IRS TAM 200213010 on Corporate-Owned Life Insurance Program (PDF)
41 pages; issued December 11, 2001. (Internal Revenue Service)

SEC's Pitt Calls for Stock Option Reform
Excerpt: "Corporations should not be able to freely hand out stock options to senior executives without more input from shareholders and independent directors of the company, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey L. Pitt said yesterday." (Washington Post)

Opinion: SEC Chairman's Views on Stock Options Are Hopeful Sign for Investors
Excerpt: "Mr. Pitt got off to a rocky start at the S.E.C., prompting some to view him as a compliant regulator. It is too early to be sure, but his options speech yesterday could be the start of an agenda that will really help investors." (New York Times; free registration required)

Opinion: Leave Stock Options Alone
Excerpt: "[C]ounting options as expenses-- 'expensing' them-- would actually distort and confuse that picture considerably. It could also prevent millions of workers from sharing in the success of their firms through employee ownership." (John Doerr and Frederick W. Smith in the New York Times; free registration required)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Senior Systems Analyst - Benefits Administration for Universal Studios
in CA
National Account Manager for Scudder Investments
in MA
Health and Welfare Consultant for Buck Consultants
in MO

Newly Posted Announcements of Promotions and New Personnel (Post Yours!)
Eric G. Knauss (Vinings Management)

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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.