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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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June 19, 2002 - 6,490 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)

Kennedy Pushes for More Healthcare Coverage; Business Group Pushes Back
Excerpt: "Kennedy said he was introducing legislation to require every business with more than 100 workers to provide health insurance for employees and their dependents. The coverage would have to be as good as that provided for federal employees.... Kate Sullivan [of] the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ... said businesses forced to provide more and better benefits, in a climate of rising health care costs, would end up cutting employee salaries or other benefits to make up the cost." (AP via Yahoo! News)

Health Reform Becomes Major Issue in Congress as Election Approaches
Excerpt: "While health initiatives such as a Medicare prescription drug benefit, a patient's bill of rights and expanded mental health parity face an uncertain future in Congress, there is currently 'intense congressional maneuvering' surrounding these issues that 'could help shape the midterm congressional elections,' the Los Angeles Times reports." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Healthcare Legislation Unlikely This Year
Excerpt: "Major health care legislation ranging from a patients' rights bill to prescription drug coverage for the elderly is stymied on Capitol Hill, the victims of politics and deep ideological differences within a Congress distracted by homeland security issues and re-elections, lobbyists and lawmakers say." (Boston Globe)

House Ways and Means Committee Backs Republican Medicare Plan
Excerpt: "Acting on a top priority in this congressional election year, a key House panel early on Wednesday passed a $350 billion 10-year Republican plan to add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare and boost payments to doctors, hospitals and other health care providers." (New York Times; free registration required)

Analysis: Options for Providing Uninterrupted Health FSA Coverage After an Asset Sale
Excerpt: "This Revenue Ruling contains good news for employers and administrators involved in an asset sale (the ruling does not apply to stock sales). When the parties' intent is to let the transferred employees' health FSA coverage continue uninterrupted through the end of the plan year, the parties will no longer will need to formulate strategies in a vacuum of official guidance." (EBIA Weekly)

Employers Concerned Over COBRA Tax Credit Proposal Under Trade Assistance Bill
Excerpt: "Although it is more 'tolerable' than an outright COBRA subsidy, employer groups are concerned over some 'troublesome' provisions in a tax-credit proposal for COBRA coverage and other health insurance in Senate-approved trade legislation." (Thompson Publishing Group)

Lawsuit Brought to Enforce Mastectomy Rights Arises Under ERISA, Not Directly Under WHCRA
Howard v. Coventry Health Care of Iowa, Inc. (8th Cir. 2002). Excerpt: "[B]ecause WHCRA is part of ERISA, [Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act] claims may properly be made under ERISA's enforcement provisions. The employee in this case did not bring her lawsuit under ERISA but as 'a common law cause of action derived from the legislative intent of the [WHCRA] statute itself.'" (EBIA Weekly)

Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Alleging HIPAA Violates Patients' Constitutional Rights
Excerpt: "A federal judge on June 14 dismissed a lawsuit filed by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and three patients charging that privacy regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act 'violate constitutional rights by requiring physicians to allow government access to records without patient consent,' the Houston Chronicle reports ..." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Overview: Federal Court Rules Florida Wrongful Death Statute Preempted by ERISA
Thomas v. Administrative Committee of the Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Associates' Health and Welfare Plan (No. 8:02-CV-86-T-17MSS, M.D. Fla. 2002). Excerpt: "This Court, therefore, holds that sections 768.16-768.27 of the Florida statutes interfere with the operation of an employee benefit plan to the extent that it may preclude operation of a reimbursement provision interpreted under an ERISA regulated employee benefit contract." (John M. Russell, Esq.)

United States Spends More Per Person on Health Services than Any Other Nation, Study Says
Excerpt: " The fact that the United States spends more money on health care than any other nation worldwide but does not 'substantially benefit' from the increased spending indicates underlying 'inefficiencies' with the U.S. health care system, according to a UCLA Anderson Forecast study released June 19, the Contra Costa Times reports." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Account Executive - Philadelphia for Transamerica
in PA
ERISA Consultant to $60K for Fanning Personnel
in MA
Employee Benefits Consulting for ABD Insurance and Financial Services
in CA
DC/DB/ESOP Plan Administrator for CB&H Pensions
in NC
Qualified Plan Administrator for DST Systems, Inc.
in MO
Plan Administrator for Santa Barbara Pension Consultants, Inc.
in CA
Employee Benefits Manager for Management & Training Corporation
in UT

Newly Posted Press Releases
PERFORMAX - The Last Healthcare Plan You'll Ever Need (PERFORMAX)
PERFORMAX Adds Vision Program Offering To Health And Benefit Plans (PERFORMAX)
Alexander Hamilton Institute Releases New Free Report: "Bullying: A Serious Workplace Problem" (Alexander Hamilton Institute)

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Editor and Publisher: David Rhett Baker, J.D.