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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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July 29, 2002 - 6,490 subscribers
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House Approves Fast-Track Trade Bill, Including Health Benefits for Trade-Displaced Workers
Excerpt: "The House on July 27 voted 215-212 in favor of a compromise trade bill that includes provisions to help American workers displaced by international trade purchase health insurance, the New York Times reports." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Plan Sponsors Are Going To School on Section 529 Programs
Excerpt: "Here's how sponsors can avoid getting heartburn from the hottest new item on the benefits menu." (PLANSPONSOR.com)

Florida Suspends American Medical Security's License to Sell Insurance
Excerpt: "Alleging unfair and deceptive underwriting practices, Florida Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher has banned American Medical Security (AMS) Group Inc. from selling new health insurance policies in Florida for one year. Policies marketed by AMS are underwritten by United Wisconsin Life Insurance Co., which is located in Green Bay, Wis." (insure.com)

Florida Eases HMO Caps for Small-Business Owners
Excerpt: "Florida state lawmakers quietly have loosened caps on how much HMO patients pay for care. The goal: Make health insurance plans more affordable to small businesses, and through them, help the estimated 1.5 million Florida workers who have no health coverage." (Atlanta Business Chronicle via bizjournals.com; free registration required)

Health Insurance Expansions and the Content of Coverage: Is Something Better than Nothing? (PDF)
42 pages, by Sherry Glied, Ph.D. Excerpt: "Prior research on health insurance expansions has ignored the content of coverage.... This paper [shows] that uninsured people are likely to value certain types of coverage more than others.... [F]ront-end coverage with a low benefit maximum is likely to be perceived as more valuable than catastrophic coverage by low income uninsured people. Some high deductible coverage may make uninsured people subjectively worse off." (National Bureau of Economic Research)

Employers Roll Out Healthcare Spending Accounts
Excerpt: "The way some American employers see it ... the managed-care system has trained employees to become a bit complacent -- even frivolous -- about their health-care habits.... Why worry about price, after all, when a comprehensive physical exam can be yours for a $10 co-payment?" (Washington Post)

Employee Costs and the Decline in Health Insurance Coverage (PDF)
45 pages, by David M. Cutler. 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. The reduction in take-up is associated with the increase in employee costs for health insurance." (National Bureau of Economic Research)

The Impact of Macroeconomic Conditions on the Health Insurance Coverage of Americans (PDF)
57 pages, by John Cawley and Kosali I. Simon. Excerpt: "The primary objective of this paper is to improve our understanding of the historical relationship between state and national macroeconomic climate and the health insurance coverage of Americans. The secondary objective of this paper is to use the historical findings to predict how rates of uninsurance may change during the current U.S. recession." (National Bureau of Economic Research)

Demand Effects of Recent Changes in Prescription Drug Promotion (PDF)
40 pages, by Meredith B. Rosenthal, Ph.D., Ernst R. Berndt, Ph.D., Julie M. Donohue, Arnold M. Epstein, M.D., M.A., and Richard G. Frank, Ph.D. Excerpt: "[W]e estimate that 9% to 22% of the recent growth in prescription drug spending is attributable to the effects of [Direct-To-Consumer Advertising]." (National Bureau of Economic Research)

Experts Say 'Medical Necessity' Clause Prevents Many Disabled Patients from Receiving Needed Care
Excerpt: "Overly-restrictive 'medical necessity' determinations made by private insurance companies are preventing many disabled persons from getting needed services, concludes a report released Friday by a federal advisory council." (Reuters Health via Yahoo! News)

Senators Agree on Scaled-Back Medicare Drug Benefit; Plan To Be Unveiled This Week
Excerpt: "Senate Democrats have 'drastically scaled back' their criteria for a Medicare prescription drug benefit in an effort to win enough Republican support to pass a plan early this week, the Washington Post reports." (KaiserNetwork.org)



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

Form 5558 Available to Extend July 31 Deadline for Filing Form 5500 by Calendar Year Plans (PDF)
Excerpt: "A plan ... may obtain a one-time extension of time to file Form 5500 (up to 2-1 /2 months) by filing Form 5558 ... on or before the normal due date (not including any extensions) of the return/report. You MUST file Form 5558 with the IRS. Approved copies of the Form 5558 will not be returned to the filer. However, a photocopy of the extension request that was filed must be attached to the Form 5500. File Form 5558 with the Internal Revenue Service Center, Ogden, UT 84201-0027." (Internal Revenue Service)

Text of IRS Proposed Regulations on Effect of Compensatory Stock Options on Section 482 Calculations
Excerpt: "[S]tock-based compensation must be taken into account in determining operating expenses under §1.482-7(d)(1) ... [These proposed regulations provides] rules for measuring stock-based compensation costs [and] clarify that stock-based compensation should be taken into account in comparability determinations pursuant to the comparable profits method under §1.482-5." (Internal Revenue Service)

Text of Treasury Department Press Release on New 482 Regulations Addressing Stock Options
Excerpt: "'The proposed regulations address a significant international tax issue-- the treatment of compensatory stock options as a cost to be taken into account by related taxpayers participating in a cost-sharing arrangement for the joint development of intangible assets,' stated Acting Assistant Secretary (Tax Policy) Pamela Olson." (The Department of the Treasury)

Venture Capitalist to D.C.: Don't Mess With My Stock Options
Excerpt: "[S]tock options are still considered the magic beans of the tech economy, the source of so much astounding growth and innovation. Although options have lost much of their luster in the current bear market, companies still dole them out in the hopes of motivating talented employees to stick around and as an alternative to paying higher salaries." (Business 2.0)




Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Pension Administrators for Polycomp Administrative Services, Inc.
in CA
Defined Benefit Consultant for Mellon HR Solutions
in IL, NC, NJ
Defined Contribution Project Manager - MJ-020416-002 for Hewitt Associates
in GA
Benefits Assistant for YCS
in NJ
Programmer/Analyst for SunGard Corbel
in FL
Systems Analyst for SunGard Corbel
in FL
Regional Sales Representative - Qualified Retirement Plan Sales for Metavante 401(k) Services
in ALL STATES



Newly Posted Press Releases (Post Yours!)
AHI's BENEFITS ALERT RELEASES NEW FREE REPORT: Myths And Mistakes: Snaking Your Way Through COBRA Notification And Record-Keeping Traps (Alexander Hamilton Institute - AHI's Benefits Alert)

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