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 24, 2002 - 6,426 subscribers
Today's sponsor: RewardsPlus

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

   Register for a RewardsPlus demo & cut benefit enrollment costs!

   Save your company and clients valuable time and money by
   automating the process of employee benefit enrollment and
   administration. Request a free demo of RewardsPlus' powerful
   benefit technology that will:

   * Reduce bottom line with proven cost savings and ROI
   * Increase retention & revenue through robust benefit programs
   * Empower strategic HR through simplified administration

   Click the banner above to register now!

(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)

Maine Newspapers Advocate Override of Governor's Veto of Mental Health Bill
Excerpt: "Maine Gov. Angus King (I) on April 16 vetoed a bill (LD 1627) that would have expanded a 1995 state mental health parity law that requires health plan policies held by businesses with at least 20 employees to cover treatment of seven mental illnesses." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Temporary Reprieve for Health Insurers on USA Patriot Act Money Laundering Compliance (PDF)
Excerpt: "[T]he Treasury's implementing regulations, issued during a press conference on April 23, 2002, temporarily exempt insurance companies from implementing anti-money laundering compliance programs until October 24, 2002, unless (1) Treasury issues a regulation prior to that date setting an earlier compliance deadline, or (2) Treasury determines that such a compliance program is not necessary." (Miller & Chevalier Chartered)

DOL Online Publication: Employer Child Care Options
Originally published November 2000. Excerpt: "An employer's response to the child care needs of its employees depend on the company's size, industry, location and economic condition. Employers need a decision making mechanism to determine the best course of action for their companies.... There are many different types of programs from which employers can select their own approach ..." (U.S. Department of Labor, Women's Bureau)

Employee Assistance Programs Draw More Attention
Excerpt: "Stress and anxiety in the workplace are rampant even in companies out of the spotlight, leading employers worried about productivity to put more stock in once little-noticed Employee Assistance Programs. The rising cost of health care is keeping businesses from expanding services despite the upsurge in demand following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks ..." (The Dallas Morning News via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Retiree Medical Coverage: Will Only the Lawyers Get Healthier?
Excerpt: "Employers, meanwhile, have drawn a line over health care. 'If it became the policy of this country that, once you offer a benefit, you can never, ever get out of it, companies would simply opt out-they would run like hell,' insists Mark Ugoretz, president of the ERISA Industry Committee ..." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

Implications of the Move Away From Comprehensive Health Benefits
Executive summary of EBRI Issue Brief for April 2002. Full version is available for purchase from EBRI; see http://www.ebri.org/store/ebriib.htm (Employee Benefit Research Institute)

Health Industry Association Research is Optimistic on Long-Term Care Insurance Market
Excerpt: "In seven years, from 1993 through 1999, the number of policies sold doubled from 3.4 million to more than 6.8 million, with 3,200 employers contributing about 25% to the 750,000 sold in 1999 and averaging 35% annual growth." (BenefitNews.com)

Florida HMOs Fined $550,000 for Slow Payments
Excerpt: "Half of all Florida HMOs are not paying physicians on time, according to Florida Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher. His office has fined 15 of the state's 32 HMOs a total of $550,000 for violating Florida's prompt pay law." (insure.com)

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

Facts From EBRI: Employer Spending on Benefits 2000 (PDF)
April 2002 issue; 3 pages. Excerpt: "Retirement benefits remain the largest single sector of benefits expenditures by employers, although health benefits have been catching up." (Employee Benefit Research Institute)

ERIC Tells IRS to Exempt Statutory Stock Options from FICA, FUTA Taxes, or Wait for Congress to Act (PDF)
Excerpt: "The ERISA Industry Committee is pleased to submit the following comments on the proposed regulations regarding the application of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act and the Federal Unemployment Tax Act to incentive stock options governed by Code § 422 and options granted under employee stock purchase plans governed by Code § 423 (collectively, 'statutory options')." (ERISA Industry Committee)

American Benefits Council Asks for FICA, FUTA Exemption for Statutory Stock Options (PDF)
April 23, 2002 letter to IRS. Excerpt: "[W]e disagree with the position of the Treasury and IRS with regard to the application of Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) and Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) to statutory stock options. For the public policy, legal and administrative reasons discussed below, the Council recommends that prospective administrative guidance permanently exempt such stock option transactions from employment tax withholding." (American Benefits Council)

Cost-Cutting HR and Benefits Consultants Thrive as Others Founder
Excerpt: "While the economic downturn has whacked classic, big-name management consultant firms, niche firms that specialize in the humdrum realm of human resources have become standout performers by helping companies cut costs and cope with hard times.... [M]ost HR and benefits consulting firms actually added consultants in the New York market last year, Crain's research shows. Gainers include Segal, Towers Perrin and Buck Consultants Inc." (Crain's New York Business via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Qualified Plan Administrator for Campbells Administration Inc.
in CA
Benefits Analyst I for GreenPoint Financial Corp.
in NY
Business Consultant for ING Aetna Financial Services
in CT
Retirement Services Advisor for Sterling Financial Trust Company
in PA

Newly Posted Webcasts (Post Yours!)
Generic Pharmaceuticals: Marketplace Access and Consumer Issues on April 23, 2002
presented by KaiserNetwork.org

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
5500's - A Practical Guide and Workshopin MD on May 16, 2002
presented by Baltimore Chapter of the International Society of Certifed Employee Benefit Specialists

Newly Posted Press Releases
Employee Retirement Plans: Pay Attention or Pay the Price (Argus Consulting Ltd)
Still River Retirement Planning Software, Inc. Releases Software Updated for New IRS Required Minimum Distribution Regulations (Still River Retirement Planning Software, Inc.)

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.