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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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August 15, 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)

Full Text of Complete HIPAA Privacy Regulations, Showing Changes Under Final Rules (PDF)
58 pages. (With thanks to the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich! Your work in preparing this document and making it available on the Internet will be very much appreciated by plan sponsors and benefits practitioners.) (Michael Best & Friedrich)

Overview: Final Privacy Rule Amendments Issued; Compliance Date is April 14, 2003 (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "The most significant changes from the [changes proposed on March 27, 2002] are in the regulation of marketing and the addition of a 'limited data set' of protected health information that may be disclosed for research, public health, or health care operations under a 'data use agreement.'" (Michael Best & Friedrich)

Kennedy, House Democrats Consider Bill To Amend HIPAA Privacy Rule
Excerpt: "Democratic members of Congress have criticized the Bush administration's changes to the final privacy rule, particularly the elimination of the prior consent requirement, which would have required patients' written consent for use or disclosure of personal health information before treatment, payment or health care operations.... Kennedy plans to amend the medical privacy rule when Congress returns from its August recess, CongressDaily reports." (iHealthBeat.com; free registration required)

Overview: IRS Issues Guidance for New Health Reimbursement Arrangements
Excerpt: "The HRA and health FSA plan documents should spell out the order in which expenses are reimbursed. Some employers may want the HRA to pay first; others will want it to pay last. The terms of the HRA can provide that HRA amounts do not become available until health FSA amounts are exhausted, so the HRA will pay last." (Watson Wyatt)

Opinion: Companies Benefit From Helping With Child Care
Excerpt: "Obviously, not every business can afford to pay for its own day care program as Mentor Graphics, Cisco and some other companies have. But there are dozens of ways to improve day care resources without each company making a huge expenditure." (San Jose Mercury News via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Retiree Health Bill Slated for Introduction in Senate
Excerpt: "U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) this fall is expected to introduce a Senate companion to H.R. 1322, the Emergency Retiree Health Benefits Protection Act of 2002, according to a retiree activist group.... The hotly fought for bills prohibit canceling or changing retiree health care benefits once a person is retired." (PLANSPONSOR.com)

Are Pharmacy Benefit Managers and Managed Care on the Same Side?
Excerpt: "For years, PBMs have described themselves as partners of health care plans and self-insured employers in the management of their respective prescription drug benefits.... Recently, however, a different side of the PBM has begun to emerge-- that of profitmaker.... [T]he way they make money is not always in the best interest of the managed care customer." (Issues in Drug Benefit Management via Medscape; free registration required)

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

American Benefits Council Points Out Broad-Based Nature of Many Stock Option Programs (PDF)
Excerpt: "The American Benefits Council, in the points discussed below, wishes to clarify the known data surrounding stock options, and in so doing, we reaffirm our belief that stock option ownership is broad-based." (American Benefits Council)

Accounting Board Proposes a New Rule on a Hot Topic: Stock Options
Excerpt: "The Financial Accounting Standards Board said yesterday that it would propose requiring that the values of options be disclosed in the footnotes of every quarterly financial statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission." (New York Times; free registration required)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad
Senior Relationship Manager/Retirement Plan Services for Large Midwestern Bank
in NE
Group Medical Sales for i2 Advisors
in IN
Retirement Plan Analyst - Compliance for Invesmart
in TX
Benefits Administrator for Coty & Bruce Benefits, Inc.
in CA
Inside Sales Desk Manager for BISYS Retirement Services
in PA
Actuary for Benetech, Inc.
in CA
Senior Health Benefits Analyst for Segal Company, employee benefits & human resources consulting
in NY

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