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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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April 18, 2002 - 6,426 subscribers
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Employers Unlikely to Imitate CalPERS' 25% Health Plan Rate Hike
Excerpt: "Although experts view the CalPERS action as a clear indication of the return of soaring health increases, [analysts and business groups] say the pension fund's situation was in many ways unique and doesn't necessarily point to a further escalation of what many are calling a national health-care crisis." (Los Angeles Times)

Commentary: Health Care in a 'Death Cycle'
Excerpt: "CalPERS has a national reputation as the most hard-nosed, efficient customer in the health care marketplace, and California is the No. 1 state for managed care. When the single most important player in the showcase of managed care sees its bills going up at [the rate of 25% a year], it says unmistakably that time has run out for this dysfunctional, disjointed thing we call health care." (David Broder in the Washington Post)

How Private Health Insurance Works: a Primer
Excerpt: "This primer ... examines the structure and operation of private health insurance-- including the types of organizations that provide it, how managed care is delivered, and how risk pools work-- and describes how private health insurance coverage is regulated under state and federal laws. The primer explains how the current nature of private insurance relates to key issues facing federal and state policymakers." (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

'Tech-Driven' Disease Management Program Reduces Costs, Improves Outcomes
Excerpt: "A 'technology driven' disease management program tested by a Denver-based managed care organization lowered the risk of serious episodes for chronically ill patients and reduced health care costs by an average of $900 per participant, reports Health Management Technology.... The CareResults program begins by searching members' electronic medical records for certain billing and diagnosis codes, to identify potential participants in the disease management program." (iHealthBeat.com; free registration required)

Medical Errors May Be More Common Than Previously Thought, Study Finds
Excerpt: "More than 8 million U.S. households have at least one member who has suffered a serious health problem as a result of a medication or medical error, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund." (iHealthBeat.com; free registration required)

Rising Costs Are Beginning to Erode Comprehensive Health Benefits
Press release from EBRI. Excerpt: "The return to double-digit increases in the cost of providing health benefits is causing many employers and plan sponsors to consider moving away from comprehensive, low cost-sharing health benefits toward higher consumer cost-sharing and/or reduced benefits, according to a new report by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)." (PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance)

Government's Amicus Brief in Supreme Court Case on Illinois Medical Necessity HMO Review Statute (PDF)
38 pages. The federal government argues in its brief (submitted several months ago to the court) that the Illinois review statute is not preempted by ERISA because it 'regulates insurance' for purposes of ERISA's insurance savings clause. (U.S. Department of Justice)

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

Joint Committee Describes Present Law and Background Relating to Executive Compensation (PDF)
49 pages; JCX-29-02 was published April 17, 2002. Describes ERISA and tax aspects of nonqualified deferred compensation, split dollar insurance arrangements, corporate-owned life insurance and stock options. (Joint Committee on Taxation)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Pension Fund Analyst for Levi, Ray, & Shoup
in IL
Defined Contribution Administrator for Union Bank of California
in CA

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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.