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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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July 11, 2002 - 6,490 subscribers
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IRS Issues Proposed Regs on 419A(f)(6) Multiple Employer Welfare Benefit Trusts (PDF)
47 pages. Excerpt: "This document contains proposed regulations that provide guidance regarding whether a welfare benefit fund is part of a 10 or more employer plan. The regulations reflect changes to the law made by the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984. The regulations will affect certain employers that provide welfare benefits to employees through a plan to which more than one employer contributes." (Internal Revenue Service)

Overview: Prop. Reg Addresses Whether Welfare Benefit Fund Is Part of 10-or-More Employer Plan
Excerpt: "The proposal illustrates various ways in which a plan can violate the prohibition against maintaining experience-rating arrangements with respect to individual employers: (1) by adjusting an employer's contributions; (2) by adjusting the benefits for its employees; or (3) by adjusting both, based on the benefits experience or overall experience of the employees of that employer." (tax.CCHGROUP.com)

Senate Committee Approves Bill Requiring Insurers To Offer Colon Cancer Screenings
Excerpt: "The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee recommended the bill by a 16-5 vote after a lengthy debate. Some Republicans had argued that the proposal amounted to a mandate that would drive up already escalating health costs. They also feared it would open the door to mandating that insurers cover other health screenings." (AP via Yahoo! News)

Leased Employees Fighting for Health Benefits in Utah
Excerpt: "[Jill] Hills' case is the third proposed class-action suit in eight months to be filed in Utah federal court against professional employer organizations (PEO), a relatively new permutation of the staffing or worker-leasing industry, that take over the employees of a business, then 'lease' them back to the company." (The Salt Lake Tribune)

When Do Perks for Executives Cross the Line?
Excerpt: "Perhaps the most shocking thing about Dennis Kozlowski's $18 million New York crash pad, which was apparently paid for by--and never disclosed to--Tyco shareholders, is that his perk didn't really seem all that shocking. But was it legal? That's the key question to ask about rampant, over-the-top CEO giveaways." (Fortune.com)

Colon Cancer Screening Bill Advances in Senate Panel
Excerpt: "A Senate committee voted today to require all private health insurance plans in the United States to pay for screening tests to detect colon cancer in people who are 50 or older or have a high risk of developing the disease." (New York Times; free registration required)

What Is Fueling the Increase in Health Care Costs?
Excerpt: "Three major themes emerge from a unique study, 'The Factors Fueling Rising Health Care Costs,' released last month by analysts at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC). Unlike most research on rising costs, which focuses on where health dollars were being spent, the PWC analysis, commissioned by the American Association of Health Plans, examines the drivers behind new health spending ..." (Healthplan via Medscape; free registration required)

Wall Street Journal Investigates Customized Health Plans
Excerpt: "Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal on July 9 examined custom health plans, which allow members to 'design their health benefits the same way they customize their car insurance policies.' Under such a plan, subscribers choose varying levels of deductibles, copayments and prescription benefits, which affect the amount they have to pay in premiums." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Debra Moran's Supreme Court Victory Turns To Educating On Patients' Rights
Excerpt: "Moran, a Winfield [Illinois] resident, said she now wants to be an advocate for patients' rights and educate people on how to use them.... Moran admits she needs to brush up on Illinois' patients' rights law, which she lobbied for and legislators rewrote in 2000. But her hopes for the national Patients' Bill of Rights, now stalled in Congress, are that it's simple and enforceable." (SuburbanChicagoNews.com)

Bush Tax Credit Proposal Would Make Health Coverage Affordable for Uninsured, HIAA Study Says
Excerpt: "President Bush's proposal to provide tax credits to help low-income Americans purchase health insurance would make coverage more affordable than opponents of the plan have suggested, according to a new Health Insurance Association of America study, CongressDaily reports." (KaiserNetwork.org)

IRS Approval of Employer-Funded HRAs Will Spur Expansion of Defined Contribution Health Plans
The recent Internal Revenue Service ruling approving employer-funded health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) that meet certain requirements will aid the expansion of defined contribution/consumer-directed health care plans featuring the HRAs, proponents of such plans believe. The IRS approved HRAs in Rev. Rul. 2002-41. (Spencernet)

Group of Senators To Introduce Medicare Drug Benefit Legislation
Excerpt: "A group of senators is preparing to introduce legislation that would create a stand-alone prescription drug benefit for seniors and a new program 'designed to close gaps' in fee-for-service Medicare coverage, the AP/Baltimore Sun reports. The proposal, called the 'Option for Enhanced Medicare Benefits,' could reach the Senate floor as early as next week ..." (KaiserNetwork.org)

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

Loans To Corporate Officers Under Fire
Excerpt: "President Bush wants boards of directors to turn off their lucrative loan spigots for corporate officers." (Wall Street Journal via MSNBC.com)

Joint Committee Describes Additional Pension in Changes to Chairman's Mark of Senate Bill (PDF)
Excerpt: "The proposal would provide specific exclusions from FICA and FUTA wages for remuneration on account of the transfer of stock pursuant to the exercise of an incentive stock option or under an employee stock purchase plan, or any disposition of such stock. Thus, under the proposal, FICA and FUTA taxes would not apply upon the exercise of a statutory stock option." (Joint Committee on Taxation)

Commentary: Bush Failed to Stress Need to Rein In Stock Options
Excerpt: "In his 27-minute speech on corporate responsibility, Mr. Bush spent less than 30 seconds tackling the issue that many believe is central: the issuance of huge amounts of stock options to top executives. Until this problem is addressed, true change will be slow to come to boardrooms." (New York Times; free registration required)

SATIRE: Bush Vows Crackdown On Corporate Corruption Unless It Happened In 1990
Excerpt: "'Today, I am calling for a new ethic of personal responsibility in the business community,' [President Bush] said, 'an ethic that will increase investor confidence, regain the trust of the American people, and not be retroactive.'" (SatireWire.com)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Institutional Trust Support Officer I (JO#315) for a Trust Company in VA
in VA
ERISA Compliance Manager for FutureBenefits of America
in TN
Retirement Member Services Supervisor for San Diego County Employees Retirement Association (SDCERA)
in CA
Trust Employee Benefits Administrator for Associated Wealth Management
in WI
Daily Valuation Plan Specialist for First Trust Corporation
in CO
Employee Benefits Attorneys -- Sacramento, California for Chang Ruthenberg & Long PC
in CA
Business Development Position for Retirement Alliance Inc.
in GA

Newly Posted Press Releases
ARAG Group Acquires LegalWise (ARAG Group)

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