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

June 3, 2002 - 6,419 subscribers
Today's sponsor: In Plain English

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


   Our CompFacts Report shows each employee how much your company
   pays for their salary, bonus, and benefits.  Clear, and
   easy-to-read, and customized on your letterhead.  For more
   information and our very affordable price, call 1-800-274-9645 or
   email Rwohl@InPlainEnglish.com.

   For more benefits communication ideas, click below:

(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)

American Benefits Council Analysis of Trade Bill's Tax Credit and COBRA Coverage Proposal (PDF)
Excerpt: "Among the most serious problems with the new health tax credit provision [in legislation passed by the Senate on May 23, 2002] is that employers and group health plans would be exposed to an extended COBRA election period, resulting in a costly requirement to pay retroactively for medical expenses individuals may have incurred before they decided to purchase COBRA coverage." (American Benefits Council)

5th Cir.: ERISA Does Not Authorize Declaratory Judgment Suit for Health Plan Reimbursement
Bauhaus USA, Inc. v. Copeland (5th Cir. 2002). Excerpt: "In the instant case, the settlement proceeds are in the registry of the Mississippi Chancery Court.... [T]he defendants in this case, like the Knudsons in Great-West, are not in possession of the disputed funds ... [W]e affirm the district court's dismissal of this suit for lack of federal jurisdiction because ERISA does not authorize this suit." (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit via Law.com)

New Legislation Expands Washington State's Family Care Act
Excerpt: "The new law becomes effective on January 1, 2003 ... Under the current version of the Family Care Act, employees are allowed to use 'accrued sick leave' to care not just for themselves, but also for their sick children under the age of 18. The recent amendments greatly expand the reasons for which an employee can use sick leave or other paid time off, and employers will soon have an obligation to allow paid leave for a number of different circumstances." (Davis Wright Tremaine LLP)

Connecticut Teachers No Longer Required to Use Mail-Order Pharmacy
Excerpt: "The State of Connecticut Teachers' Retirement Board (CTRB) recently scrapped a requirement that teachers send their prescriptions for maintenance medications to a mail order pharmacy." (Medscape; free registration required)

Despite Blue Cross Decision in California, Few Health Plans Shedding 'Tiers'
Excerpt: "Blue Cross of California is the first health insurance company to drop plans to charge consumers extra for going to select, costlier hospitals. But don't expect other health plans to follow suit." (East Bay Business Times via bizjournals.com; free registration required)

California Legislature Might Halt New Mandated Health Benefits
Excerpt: "Worried about rising healthcare costs and the growing number of California residents without insurance, some state lawmakers want a moratorium on any new bills that require health plans or health insurance companies to cover new benefits." (Sacramento Business Journal via bizjournals.com; free registration required)

Policy Paper: a New Vision for Health Care-- a Leadership Role for Business (PDF)
64 pages. Excerpt: "We are not suggesting that 'doing more' means paying more, but rather that employers and their associations, where feasible, become smarter and more demanding purchasers on behalf of themselves and their employees. Business should bring its experience with quality improvement to the health care system in order to reduce widespread inappropriate care, medical errors, and billing mistakes." (Committee for Economic Development, Research and Policy Committee)

Do HIPAA Enrollment Rights Apply When COBRA-Covered Former Dependent Again Becomes a Dependent?
Excerpt: "If your plan limits mid-year enrollments to situations in which there are HIPAA special enrollment rights, your employee will have to wait until the next annual open enrollment to enroll his son as a dependent. That's because, as further discussed below, neither of the two situations that give rise to special enrollment rights under HIPAA are present here." (EBIA Weekly (Question of the Week))

Health Insurance Brokers Find Privacy Regulations Hinder Business
Excerpt: "Bush administration proposals to loosen impending employee privacy regulations have many in the benefits distribution community breathing a bit easier. But intermediaries still insist that, although consent requirements would be lifted for doctors, pharmacists and other medical professionals, the regs would continue to impede their ability to find the best insurance policies at the best prices for their clients." (BenefitNews.com)

American Medical Association Continues Push for Patients' Rights Bill
Excerpt: "The key roadblock to compromise continues to be the issue of caps on damage awards for patients who successfully sue their health plans.... The AMA contends that the issue of liability caps is one that should not prevent the two sides from reaching agreement on a compromise ..." (American Medical News)

Survey of Domestic Partner Policies for Latin American Employees of U.S. Corporations (PDF)
Excerpt: "The results of the survey illustrate that if a firm offers domestic partner benefits to its employees in the United States, it will likely offer those same benefits to an employee if he or she travels to the company's offices in Latin America. Additionally, the survey also revealed that a company is unlikely to offer domestic partner benefits to Latin American nationals working in the company's Latin American subsidiaries." (Guy Margalith; Senior Thesis at University of Pennsylvania)

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

Opinion: Time to Cry 'Enough!' to Stock Options Escalation
Excerpt: "[T]here is a kind of arms-race effect of companies' constantly bidding up pay. You could shrug that off as a marketplace in action, except that this marketplace doesn't have the usual restraints. After all, boards of directors aren't spending their own money, and many directors are themselves executives who profit from a rising tide in executive pay." (The [Philadelphia] Inquirer)

Loans for Executives Scrutinized
Excerpt: "Top executives of publicly traded companies have increasingly received loans from the businesses they head in the past few years, with more than one in four large companies granting them in 2000, according to Mercer Human Resource Consulting." (PoughkeepsieJournal.com)

CEOs Oppose Shareholder Approval for Broad-Based Stock Option Plan Implementation
Excerpt: "In a letter to NYSE Chairman Richard Grasso, a Business Roundtable official said shareholder approval should be required for stock option plans for directors or executive officers. But the organization opposes a blanket requirement, saying it would make the stock option plans more costly and difficult to set up for other employees." (Reuters via Yahoo! News)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Individual Consultant for TIAA-CREF
in NJ, NY
RFP CONSULTANT for Diversified Investment Advisors
in NY
RFP TEAM MANAGER for Diversified Investment Advisors
in NY

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
Understanding How to Deal With The Complexity of COBRA's 'Basic' Rules, as Well as its Special Notice and Election Provisionsin ALL STATES on June 11, 2002
presented by Thompson Publishing Group, Inc.
Form 5500 Workshopin NJ on June 12, 2002

Newly Posted Press Releases

Newly Posted Announcements of Promotions and New Personnel (Post Yours!)
Gerry Crews (Crews MacQuarrie & Associates, 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.