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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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May 20, 2002 - 6,398 subscribers
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A Road Map for Employer Compliance With HIPAA
Excerpt: "Employers need to assess current operations, determine HIPAA's applicability, and develop a plan for HIPAA compliance. To assist with the compliance process, this article sets forth a basic framework for that assessment, as well as highlights the important provisions of HIPAA as they pertain to employers." (Davis Wright Tremaine LLP)

New York State Will Require Coverage of Treatment for Infertility
Excerpt: "The Legislature and the governor acted [on May 16, 2002] to require health insurance plans to cover most infertility treatments, bringing an abrupt, surprising end to three years of wrangling.... New York's new requirement, which takes effect Sept. 1, applies only to people between the ages of 21 and 44, with certain kinds of health insurance-- about two million New Yorkers, experts estimated." (New York Times; free registration required)

Opponents Say Association Health Plans Can Be Risky
Excerpt: "[M]any, including North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Jim Long, are urging restraint, because what at first seems to be savings for small businesses could be costly in the long run. Because it would not be subject to state regulation, Long said, the association plans would have no consumer protections, no solvency requirements and no oversight." (The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area via bizjournals.com; free registration required)

American Academy of Actuaries Comments on Proposed Legislation Liberalizing Association Health Plans (PDF)
Letter to Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert, dated April 9, 2002. 6 pages. Excerpt: "These provisions are designed to expand access to affordable health insurance by promoting the use of AHPs. We support efforts to increase the availability, affordability, and access to health insurance. However, as currently written, the AHP language in H.R. 2563 may have unintended negative consequences that would hinder the intent of this legislation." (American Academy of Actuaries)

NPR Poll Indicates 'Affordable' Health Care, Medicare Drug Benefit Top Voters' Concerns
Excerpt: "Although poll participants cited terrorism and national security as 'the most important issue facing the United States,' domestic issues, including 'affordable' health care and Medicare reform, will be a large factor in the fall congressional elections, NPR reports." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Kaiser Permanente HMO Gave Bonuses To Phone Reps Who Limited Doctor Visits
Excerpt: "Telephone clerks at [California's] largest HMO were given bonuses for keeping calls with patients brief and limiting the number of doctor appointments scheduled, a program some opponents argue was deceitful and harmful to patients with serious medical problems." (AP via The San Francisco Chronicle)

Genetic Tests Abound; Why Won't Insurers Pay?
Excerpt: "Researchers have already identified genetic links to thousands of diseases like breast and colon cancer, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and heart disease. They have more than 900 tests available, including multiple tests for some diseases. But just because there is a genetic test for a disease does not mean that health insurance will pay for it." (New York Times; free registration required)

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

Beyond Age 50: Summary Tables and Charts, Including Pension and Health Coverage Information
Excerpt: "Through its analysis of both the status quo and developing trends, 'Beyond 50: A Report to the Nation on Economic Security' provides readers with an in-depth look at the well-being of more than one-quarter of Americans-- the 76 million people age 50 and older in 2000." (AARP)

ERIC Submits Comments on Federal Bill re Use of Social Security Numbers (PDF)
Excerpt: "Thank you for the opportunity to provide input and recommendations on the Social Security Number Privacy and Identity Theft Prevention Act of 2001 (H.R.2036). We submit these comments on behalf of public and private employers in their role as sponsors of comprehensive retirement, savings, health, and other benefit plans." (ERISA Industry Committee)

Aspen Publishers Acquires Charles D. Spencer & Associates, Inc.
Excerpt: "The acquisition further strengthens Aspen Publishers extensive pension and benefit product line. Aspen offers a market-leading series of single-volume books on pension and benefit topics written by industry experts, including The Pension Answer Book. This line will be augmented by Spencer's in-house authored, loose-leaf subscription products.' Aspen Publishers is part of Wolters Kluwer North America, as is CCH. (Charles D. Spencer & Associates, Inc.)

Opinion: Which CEO's Greed Scared Off Warren Buffett?
Excerpt: "The most interesting message Warren Buffett delivered ... last week was that his outrage toward CEOs was growing fast.... Then Buffett and [his associate, Charlie] Munger let slip an interesting fact: They had dumped their shares in some company after they saw what the CEO was paid. 'We felt we couldn't stomach it,' Buffett said.... [It is] astonishing that an investor who has this kind of power felt powerless to do anything but sell his shares and go quietly into the night." (Michael Lewis on Bloomberg.com)

Corporate Relocations to Bermuda May Mean Higher Compensation for Executives
Excerpt: "Spokesmen for Cooper Industries, Ingersoll-Rand and Weatherford International all said that increased pay for executives was the inevitable result of packages that reward executives for lowering costs, including taxes, and increasing share prices." (New York Times; free registration required)

EEOC Makes Second Accusation Against Allstate in Handling Employees Who Became Contractors
Excerpt: "A federal agency has accused Allstate Insurance Co. of unlawfully intimidating 650 life insurance agents who lost health and pension benefits when they were switched from Allstate employees to independent contractors." (AP via Lycos)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Retirement Sales District Manager for ADP, Inc
in IL, PA, WA
401(k) ERISA Compliance Consultant for Pinnacle Financial Services, Inc.
in FL
Sr. 401K Benefits Analyst for Tenet HealthSystem
in TX
ERISA Attorney for Tofias PC
in MA
Sr. Benefits Analyst for Barclays Global Investors
in CA
Retirement Plan Manager for Metavante 401(k) Services
in AZ
Employee Benefits Account Manager for Corporate Benefits, Inc.
in NC, SC
Manager, Retirement Client and Educational Services (Req 6194) for Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co.
in NE
Health & Welfare Benefits Analyst for Oglebay Norton Company
in OH
Actuarial Analyst for Hunt, DuPree, Rhine and Associates
in SC

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
Fiduciary Responsibility and Risks: Where Are We Headed?in ALL STATES on May 23, 2002
presented by Hewitt Associates

Newly Posted Press Releases
Conquering Open Enrollment with Fringe Facts(R) Online (Benefit 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.