If this message looks garbled to you or if the headlines in this message don't connect you to Web pages when you click on them, please request the "plain text" version of this newsletter ("Welfare Plans Edition") by emailing your request to publisher Dave Baker
Jobs | Today's Messages | Topical News | Q&A Columns | Services & Products | Search | Reference

The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
To BenefitsLink home page Fill your job openings fast by advertising on BenefitsLink

April 17, 2002 - 6,426 subscribers
Today's sponsor: Chang Ruthenberg & Long PC

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

   Announcing Yet Another Benefits Law Firm Website ...


   We Cordially Invite You To Come Visit Our New Website at

   Chang Ruthenberg & Long PC ... see the benefits

(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)

CalPERS Expected To Approve 25% Increase in Health Plan Premiums
Excerpt: "The California Public Employees' Retirement System, the second-largest purchaser of health care behind the federal government, on April 17 is expected to approve a 'historic' 25% increase in health insurance premiums for next year, the San Jose Mercury News reports." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Democrats Say Bush Revisions Ruin Medical Privacy Rules
Excerpt: "Democratic senators harshly criticized President Bush today for proposing to roll back certain protections for the privacy of medical records, but a Bush administration official defended the White House plan, saying privacy was less important than access to high-quality care." (New York Times; free registration required)

AARP To Launch $10M Campaign To Counter Direct-To-Consumer Drug Advertising
Excerpt: "AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, hopes to 'prod more people' into inquiring about generic equivalent prescriptions ..." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Los Angeles Times Examines Roadblocks To Providing Trade-Displaced Workers Health Benefits
Excerpt: "As part of a bill authorizing presidential trade negotiating authority, the Senate Finance Committee in February approved a provision that would offer trade-displaced workers a 75% subsidy to purchase health insurance through COBRA ... A proposal by President Bush and the version of the trade bill passed in the House last December do not contain any health insurance provisions." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Insurer's Interpretation of LTD Policy To Reduce Monthly Benefits Was "Unreasonable"
An insurer's interpretation of a long term disability policy that had the effect of significantly reducing a beneficiary's monthly benefits was 'unreasonable.' This was the ruling of the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Dandurand v. UNUM Life Insurance Company of America (No. 01-2204). (Spencernet)

Humor: What If 'First Monday' TV Show Tackled ERISA HMO Preemption Case in Supreme Court
Excerpt: "Below please find a dramatic treatment of today's case, using your characters. It really would, I think, make a riveting and dramatic show.... There once was a girl named Melissa; Who tried to get round old ERISA; But pre-emption was such; That she didn't get much; Except for a punch in the kisser." (Slate.msn.com)

Insurer Properly Amended LTD Plan To Reduce Amount, Duration of Benefits: Eighth Circuit
The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that an insurance company properly amended a long term disability plan to reduce both the amount and the duration of benefits. The ruling came in Ross v. Rail Car America Group Disability Plan and the Canada Life Assurance Company (No. 00-2800). (Spencernet)

Disease Management Plan Unveiled by Managed Care Organization in North Carolina
Excerpt: "MedCost, the state's largest preferred provider organization, is launching a disease management program designed to improve the quality of life for employees and the bottom line for employers.... Bringing disease management on board as an employee benefit is part of a national trend, one attempt to curb increasing health benefit costs." (The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area [N.C.] via bizjournals.com; free registration required)

Tax Credits Would More Effectively Help Younger People Purchase Health Coverage, Study Says
Excerpt: "Tax credits for the purchase of health insurance would 'be effective' for young, healthy people but would 'do little to ease the financial burden' for people ages 55 and older -- the age group 'most likely to rely on individual health insurance policies' -- according to a new study published online in Health Affairs..." (KaiserNetwork.org)

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

Analysis: DOL Guidance on Complying with the ERISA Claims and Appeals Regulation (PDF)
11 pages. Excerpt: "Starting this year, all employee benefit plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) must comply with the claims and appeals regulation issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) in November 2000. Plans affected include most retirement, health and welfare plans sponsored by an employer, union or joint board of trustees." (The Segal Company)

Opinion: Stock Option Accounting 'Reform' Would Gouge Taxpayers, Investors
Excerpt: "Senate Bill 1940, introduced in the U.S. Senate by Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ)... [would] raise billions in taxes, because private sector accounting rules would leave companies with little choice but to take a deduction for options based on the lower 'fair value' when they are issued, rather than the higher 'intrinsic value' when exercised." (National Taxpayers Union)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Senior Health Benefits Analyst for The Segal Company
in CA
Project Coordinator - Client Management for Transamerica
in CA
Sr. Benefits Consultant for Northern Trust Retirement Consulting, L.L.C.
in GA
Pension Consultant/Administrator for Wender & Company
in OH
Daily Valuation Manager for Growing Employee Benefits Firm
in MD
TrustMark Resource / Network Administrator for Growing Employee Benefits Firm
in MD
Benefits Manager for Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy LLP
in GA
Sales Position: 401(k) Retirement Specialist - California & Nevada! for Hartford Life Insurance Companies
in CA, NV
Putnam Regional Manager for Hartford Life Insurance Companies
in CA, MI, NV
Paralegal - Employee Benefits for The Nyhart Co., Inc.
in IN
Benefits Analyst/Coordinator for City of Houston
in TX

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
2002 Employee Benefits Conferencein IL on May 29, 2002
presented by Illinois CPA Foundation
Cross Plan Testing & Compliancein CA on April 18, 2002
presented by WP&BC Orange County

Newly Posted Press Releases
AHI's Benefits Alert Releases New Free Report - "Know Your Notification Obligations" (Alexander Hamilton Institute)
Newkirk ePubs - Internet Content Archive and Delivery System for Financial Institutions (Newkirk)

Subscribe to the Retirement Plans Edition, too (click)

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.