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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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May 9, 2002 - 6,424 subscribers
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(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)

Sen. Hatch Expresses Opposition To Schumer-McCain Generic Drug Bill
Excerpt: "Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on May 8 said that he does not support a bill (S 812) to update the 1984 drug patent statute that bears his name, 'dimming prospects' that Congress will pass legislation to make it easier for generic drugs to come to the market, the Wall Street Journal reports." (KaiserNetwork.org)

The Use of Genetic Information In Disability Income and Long-Term Care Insurance (PDF)
Excerpt: "This issue brief ... discusses, from the perspectives of both consumers and insurers, the implications of the newly emerging genetic technologies for [disability income and long-term care insurance]. Strategies to effectively address ... concerns about the possible misuse of genetic information, while preserving the viability of the voluntary, individual disability income and long-term care insurance markets are also explored." (American Academy of Actuaries)

Health Plans Begin to 'Tier' Hospitals Based on Cost
Excerpt: "Americans will pay more out of pocket to use pricier hospitals under a relatively new benefits design that is rapidly gaining in popularity. Health plans in California and a handful of major metropolitan markets say the new options respond to employer demands for products that hold down double-digit premium increases. One way to do that, the plans believe, is to divide hospitals into 'tiers' based on cost and shift some of the financial responsibility to consumers." (Reuters Health via Medscape; free registration required)

Opinion: Health Plans 'Bait-and-Switch' Beneficiaries by Increasing Costs, Reducing Benefits
Excerpt: "Health insurance in California is 'fast becoming a bait-and-switch scam' in which consumers choose a health plan and insurers then increase costs or reduce benefits, Jamie Court writes in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Women Take the Lead In Making Family Health Insurance Decisions
Excerpt: "When it comes to health insurance, women are the primary decision makers in their families, according to a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a nonprofit California health care philanthropy." (insure.com)

Columnists Discuss Possible Successors To Managed Care
Excerpt: "Although the U.S. health care system looked as bleak in the early 1990s as it does now, '[t]aking the steps required to restrain costs ... will be even harder today than it would have been' then, David Wessel writes in his 'Capital' column in the Wall Street Journal." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Study: Association Health Plan Proposal Would Create Regulatory Loopholes, Could Hurt Consumers
Excerpt: "Congressional proposals that would exempt association health plans -- in which small businesses pool together to purchase health insurance for their employees -- from state regulation would create 'regulatory loopholes' that could lead to 'a new rash of health insurance scandals,' according to a study released May 8 by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association of America, CongressDaily reports ..." (KaiserNetwork.org)

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

Rev. Rul. 2002-22: IRS Rules on Tax Aspects of Nonstatutory Stock Option Transfers in Divorce (PDF)
Excerpt: "Issues: Is a taxpayer who transfers interests in nonstatutory stock options and nonqualified deferred compensation to the taxpayer's former spouse incident to divorce required to include an amount in gross income upon the transfer? Is the taxpayer or the former spouse required to include an amount in gross income when the former spouse exercises the stock options or when the deferred compensation is paid or made available to the former spouse?" (Internal Revenue Service)

Notice 2002-31: Proposed Ruling on Withholding Tax Aspects of Nonqualified Stock Option Transfers (PDF)
Excerpt: "This notice sets forth the contents of a proposed revenue ruling explaining how [FICA, FUTA], and the Collection of Income Tax at Source on Wages (income tax withholding) apply to a transfer of interests in nonstatutory stock options and nonqualified deferred compensation to a former spouse incident to a divorce. The proposed revenue ruling also contains proposed reporting requirements with respect to such transferred interests." (Internal Revenue Service)

IRS Changes Time of Hearing On Proposed Regs On FICA, FUTA Taxation of Stock Options
The Internal Revenue Service has announced that it has changed the time of the public hearing on its recently issued proposed regulations governing the application of Social Security (FICA) and unemployment (FUTA) taxes and income tax withholding to statutory stock options. Notice of the change was published in the May 7 Federal Register. (Spencernet)

Shareholders Endorse Shareholder Voting Requirement For Stock Option Plans
Excerpt: "TIAA-CREF announced today that shareholders of Mentor Graphics strongly supported a CREF shareholder resolution asking that all material stock option plans be submitted to shareholders for approval. The resolution was approved, winning support from 57.2% of the shares voted ... The SEC estimates that only about 20% of companies with equity compensation plans have instituted programs not approved by shareholders, but the number appears to be growing." (PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance)

Mentor Graphics Loses Proxy Fight in Big Win for Shareholder Activists
Excerpt: "In a sign of increased shareholder activism following widespread corporate accounting scandals and concern over outsized executive pay, investors in two companies ... approved shareholder resolutions opposed by management.... Mentor Graphics said 56.7% of shareholders voting at its annual meeting on Tuesday backed a nonbinding resolution asking that all significant stock-option plans be submitted to the software company's shareholders for approval." (Wall Street Journal via Yahoo! News)

Welcome to new BenefitsLink advertiser DATAIR Employee Benefit Systems
Excerpt: "DATAIR Employee Benefit Systems, Inc. has been a leading provider of software for employee benefit professionals since 1967. Choose from one of several free offers"

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Client Services Director for PFPC
in MD
Pension Consultants/Administrators; F/T & P/T for Northern NJ Mid-Size Pension Consulting Firm
in NJ, NY
Associate Account Executive for Lockton Companies of Dallas
in TX
401k Administrator for Secured Trust Bank
in TX
Consultant/Manager for Montgomery County Administration Firm
in PA
Retirement Plan Administrator 401(k) for Alliance Benefit Group
in MN
Health Care Facilitator for UCLA
in CA
Senior Retirement Plan Consultant for Invesmart
in WA

Newly Posted Webcasts (Post Yours!)
Reducing Medical Errors: A Review of Innovative Strategies to Improve Patient Safety on May 8, 2002
presented by KaiserNetwork.org
Closing the Gaps in Hatch-Waxman: Assuring Greater Access to Affordable Pharmaceuticals on May 8, 2002
presented by KaiserNetwork.org

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
Security, Privacy, Nondiscrimination: Looking at the Post 9/11 Workplace Audio Conferencein ALL STATES on May 29, 2002
presented by Thompson Publishing Group, 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.