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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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August 23, 2002 - 7,007 subscribers
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DOL Launches New Program To Help Small Businesses Avoid Health Benefit "Scams"
Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao has announced that the Department of Labor has launched a new program to help small businesses protect their employees when purchasing health insurance. According to Ms. Chao, 'The Administration recognizes that employers want to provide access to affordable quality health benefits for workers and their families. Unfortunately, operators of insurance scams continue to prey on small businesses who are lured by offers of cheap coverage." (Spencernet)

Pain Conditions Cost $80 Billion Annually in Lost Productivity
Excerpt: "Pain from common conditions such as backache costs U.S. employers about $80 billion a year in lost productivity, according to a report presented here at the 10th World Congress on Pain. The bulk of the loss, about $64 billion, occurs not when workers take sick days but rather when they are on the job but in too much pain to perform up to par, the researchers reported." (Reuters via Medscape; free registration required)

Bethlehem Steel Proposes to Give Retirees a Voice in Decisions on Benefit Reductions
Excerpt: "The bankrupt steelmaker has asked a federal bankruptcy court judge to create a six-member panel that would represent the interests of 75,000 retirees, plus 20,000 spouses and dependents. A hearing is set for Sept. 12. A group representing Bethlehem salaried retirees, the Retired Employees' Benefit Coalition, likes the idea, but argues that the committee proposed by Bethlehem would shortchange former salaried employees." (The Buffalo Daily News via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Flu Prevention Shots Make Good Economics, Study Shows
Excerpt: "The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, concluded that a person who comes down with the flu misses 2.8 days of work -- each day accounting for $142.10 in lost wages. 'But that's extremely conservative and some people are prone to stay home a lot longer,' said Dr. Patrick Lee ..." (Los Angeles Daily News via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

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

Opinion: Only Thing Stopping CEO Pay is the Outrage Constraint
Excerpt: "The high pay of America's C.E.O.'s reflects intense competition among companies for the best managerial talent. Stock options and other typical forms of executive compensation are designed to provide incentives for performance. These incentives align the personal interests of managers with those of shareholders. Nothing in the preceding paragraph is true. That's the message of an extraordinary research paper ..." (Paul Krugman in the New York Times; free registration required)

Relink: Executive Compensation in America: Optimal Contracting or Extraction of Rents?
Here's the working paper described in Paul Krugman's column today in the New York Times, linked on BenefitsLink in December 2001 and now relinked (I just made up that word) for your convenience --Ed. (National Bureau of Economic Research)

Commentary: Investment Advice Paid by Employer is the Best Benefit You're Not Getting
Excerpt: "A law that took effect in January (part of last year's massive tax cut measure) allows employers to offer not just education related to your company plan but also broader 'retirement advice' to you and your spouse individually, as a fringe benefit. This means your employer could take a tax deduction for the cost, and you wouldn't have to pay taxes on the value of the advice/benefit you receive." (Business Week)

Stock Options: a Little Honesty Goes a Long Way in the Market
Excerpt: "You might think investors would punish companies that have decided to expense stock options. After all, most of corporate America has been battling for years to avoid such a fate ... And yet, as a small but growing band of big-name companies makes the switch, investors have for the most part showered them with love." (

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings - Post a Help Wanted Ad

401(k) /Pension Administrator
for Great Lakes Pension Administrators, Inc. in MI

401k Client Relationship Manager
for Great West Life & Annuity in MN, NC, WA

Operations/Administration Management
for INVESCO Retirement, Inc. in GA

Pension Administrator
for FBD Consulting, Inc. in KS

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)

Retirement Plans in the Wake of Enron
in AZ on September 19, 2002
presented by Western Pension & Benefits Conference - Phoenix Chapter

Minimum Distributions, Beneficiary Designations & Estate Planning
in AZ on September 24, 2002
presented by Western Pension & Benefits Conference - Phoenix Chapter

DataPath Annual Conference
in ALL STATES on September 24, 2002
presented by DataPath Software Solutions

Newly Posted Press Releases

Bill Rasmussen Join Benefit Management Group
(Benefit Management Group)

Online Training & Certification Courses for HR Professionals
-- Including COBRA, HIPAA, FMLA, and others -- Now Available!


Ameritrade Corporate Services and SunGard Announce Agreement to Provide Self-Directed Brokerage Accounts
(SunGard Corbel)

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