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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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July 8, 2002 - 6,490 subscribers
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Comparison of Health Reimbursement Accounts to Flexible Spending Accounts (PDF)
3-page chart prepared by McGuireWoods LLP; thanks to Jeffrey R. Capwell of the firm for this contribution! (McGuireWoods LLP)

COBRA Subsidy Bill for Entertainers Passes New York Assembly Unanimously
Excerpt: "The bill will allow many members of the entertainment industry who are unable to afford COBRA, which can cost over $350 for an individual and over $1,000 for a family, to purchase it." (Backstage.com via Yahoo! News)

Companies Adding Benefits for Care of the Elderly
Excerpt: "For employers, geriatric care benefits make increasing sense. Corporate America loses around $11 billion a year because of absenteeism, turnover and lost productivity among full-time employees who care for elderly people, according to a 1997 study ..." (New York Times; free registration required)

Survey: Childcare Benefits Continue to Evolve
Excerpt: "Childcare resource and referral services are a recent addition to the range of childcare benefits that employers offer their employees. Because these services are more affordable than childcare itself, they are offered to a higher percentage of employees." (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Employee Costs and the Decline in Health Insurance Coverage
Working paper available from SSRN.com for $5. Excerpt: "This paper examines why health insurance coverage fell despite the lengthy economic boom of the 1990s. I show that insurance coverage declined primarily because fewer workers took up coverage when offered it, not because fewer workers were offered insurance or were eligible for it." (National Bureau of Economic Research)

Prescription Drug Coverage for Contraceptives Increasing
Excerpt: "More employers are balancing coverage for contraceptive drugs and devices in their pharmacy benefit plans in response to a growing number of state mandates and court cases that find unequal coverage unfairly discriminates against women." (BenefitNews.com)

What Must An Employer Sponsoring a Self-Funded Health Plan Do To Comply With HIPAA's Privacy Rules?
Excerpt: "There are basically two levels of disclosure to the plan sponsor specifically permitted by the privacy rules: (1) certain disclosures of summary health information ([protected health information, or PHI] from which 18 specific identifiers have been removed) and enrollment information; and (2) disclosures of PHI for 'plan administrative functions.'" (EBIA Weekly (Question of the Week))

A Review of Michigan's Health Insurance Complaint System
Excerpt: "With the passage of Michigan Public Act 251, the Patient's Right to Independent Review Act, the state's residents gained access to an external appeals process for resolving disputes over covered health insurance benefits. This study examines the new review process and the results of cases brought to it during the first 16 months of the program which began in October 2000." (AARP)

Professional Sports Leagues Seek Exemption From HIPAA Privacy Rule
Excerpt: "A law firm working for the Cincinnati Bengals football team has asked HHS to exempt professional sports teams from provisions of the HIPAA medical privacy rule, the New York Times reports." (iHealthBeat.com; free registration required)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General
(These items appear in both editions of the BenefitsLink Newsletter)

Overview: Newly Proposed Regulations Address Taxation of Split-Dollar Life Insurance Arrangements
Excerpt: "The proposed regulations provide two mutually exclusive regimes ... -- the economic benefit regime or the loan regime-- and provide rules that determine which tax regime would apply. Under the economic benefit regime, the owner of the life insurance contract would be treated as providing economic benefits to the nonowner of the contract.... Under the loan regime, the nonowner of the life insurance contract would be treated as loaning premium payments to the owner of the contract." (tax.CCHGROUP.com)

Corporate Lobby Group Urges Stock Option Reforms
Excerpt: "The Business Roundtable, an association of U.S. chief executive officers from leading corporations, on Monday urged the Securities and Exchange Commission to implement proposed reforms in a bid to restore investor confidence.... The group ... supported shareholder approval of all company stock option programs to help restore confidence in compensation systems ..." (New York Times; free registration required)

Commentary: How Stock Options Contributed To Corporate Debacles
Excerpt: "Although options didn't play a direct role in the accounting misstatements at Enron, WorldCom, Xerox, Rite Aid and a host of other companies, there's a growing belief they played an indirect role by motivating executives to focus on short-term earnings at the expense of long-term results." (San Francisco Chronicle)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Pension Administrator for Means & Associates, LLC
in CA
Pensions/401(k) ERISA Compliance Specialist for Dayton Group Ltd
in NJ, NY

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)
Great Lakes Area IRS/ASPA Benefits Conferencein IL on May 1, 2003
presented by IRS
Great Lakes Area IRS/ASPA Benefits Conferencein IL on April 29, 2004
presented by IRS

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