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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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July 26, 2002 - 6,490 subscribers
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Laid-Off WorldCom Workers Lose Severance Pay
Excerpt: "About 5,000 former WorldCom employees' severance packages will be affected by the company's bankruptcy filing, a spokeswoman said. Employees who were told they would receive a specific payment, including some insurance coverage, found out they will receive nothing for now." (Washington Post)

House-Senate Conferees Agree on Trade Bill, Including Health Benefits for Trade-Displaced Workers
Excerpt: "The compromise bill, which would allow President Bush to present trade agreements to Congress for straight up-or-down votes without amendments, would provide uninsured trade-displaced workers with a tax credit to cover 65% of the cost of their health insurance premiums. The workers could use the tax credits to purchase health insurance through COBRA ..." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Amicus Brief of AAHP and Employer Groups Requesting S. Ct. Review in Byrnes Fiduciary Duty Case (PDF)
24 pages, filed by American Association of Health Plans, American Benefits Council and the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America in connection with a petition for a writ of certiorari to the 2nd Circuit (Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield v. Byrnes). Excerpt: "The Court should grant the petition to clarify that ERISA's duty of loyalty requires a fiduciary not to lie or affirmatively mislead plan participants, but not more ..." (American Benefits Council)

Senate Still Working on Compromise for Medicare Drug Benefit
Excerpt: "Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) on July 25 'reiterated his vow' to continue debate on a Medicare prescription drug benefit until a consensus emerges, CongressDaily reports." (KaiserNetwork.org)

House Approves Bill To Allow Tax Deductions for Long-Term Care Insurance Costs
Excerpt: "The House on July 25 passed a bill (HR 4946) that would allow middle-income people to take a tax deduction for the cost of their long-term care insurance premiums, the AP/Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports.... [I]ndividuals would have to pay at least half of the plan premium to be eligible for the deduction." (KaiserNetwork.org)

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

Text of Corporate Accountability Bill, With Hypertext Links to Benefits-Related Provisions
As approved by both the House and the Senate and sent to President Bush for signature. Includes a provision banning corporate officers and directors from trading employer stock during plan blackout periods and requiring 30 days' advance notice of plan blackout periods; another provision prohibits loans to certain executives; another section increases penalties for white-collar crimes that are willful violations of ERISA. (Congress of the United States)

Benefits Account For 28% of Total Compensation Costs
Employer-provided benefits costs for civilian workers in private industry and state and local governments in March 2002 averaged $6.39 per hour worked, accounting for 27.6% of total compensation costs, which averaged $23.15 per hour worked. (SpencerNet)

Compliance Issues Drive TPA Activity
Third party administrators are scrambling to comply with recent regulations, including those of the Department of Labor dealing with claims (which are effective this year) and requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act for electronic data interchange (EDI) and privacy of protected health information. (SpencerNet)

Welcome to new BenefitsLink advertiser Stanley, Hunt, DuPree & Rhine, Inc.
Excerpt: "Stanley, Hunt, DuPree & Rhine, Inc. (SHDR) was one of the first firms in the South to provide professional counseling in the field of employee benefits. Today, we have developed into the largest organization headquartered in the South offering complete Actuarial and Employee Benefit Services, with clients ranging from small professional and closely held corporations, to large public corporations."

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
PENSION ADMINISTRATOR for Small Third -Party Administration/Consulting Firm
in VA
Retirement Plan Services Relationship Manager for Strong Financial Corporation
in WI
Senior Auditor Benefit Plans for Crowe Chizek
in IL
Pension Paralegal for NJ TPA Firm
in NJ
Pension Administrator for Suburban PA Pension Consulting Firm
in PA
Retirement Plan Specialist for Giant Food
in MD
Processing Analyst for Suburban Pension Consuting Firm
in PA

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