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The BenefitsLink Newsletter -
Welfare Plans Edition
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September 6, 2002 - 7,257 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)

For 9/11, Time Out and Time Off at D.C.-Area Companies
Excerpt: "As the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks approaches, area companies are working with employees to design ways to commemorate the day. Many companies will acknowledge the day, some with a moment of silence, others by allowing employees to go to memorial services or simply to go home early." (Washington Post via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Radical Sabbaticals As Alternative to Layoffs
Excerpt: "Some large companies have been doing it for decades: finding innovative ways to cut costs without laying people off. But small companies, which have often felt they simply had fewer options, historically haven't been able to be so inventive. During the current downturn, however, some entrepreneurial businesses have come up with alternatives to layoffs that rival the creativity of their giant counterparts." (Inc. Magazine)

A Short Course in College Savings Plans
Excerpt: "As the plans gain widespread acceptance, they are increasingly becoming a must-have benefit for any company looking to offer a competitive benefits program. If you wish to attract and retain key employees, you should consider offering this program. As with any new benefit, however, there are pitfalls that informed human resource executives should be aware of." (

How to Deliver the Tough Benefit News
Excerpt: "[S]ome consultants believe it's a good idea to hold focus groups with employees early in the process, not only to decide what kind of benefit change would be most palatable to employees, but also to get input on the communication strategy.... Regardless of whether you decide to seek employee input on the changes or not, all benefits communication should answer four questions: ..." (

Businesses Could Implement Preventive Medicine Programs to Reduce Health Costs, Survey Says
Excerpt: "Businesses should implement preventive health care and other programs to help reduce the nation's 'spiraling' health care costs, and Congress should 'refrain from adding costly new mandates' such as patients' rights and mental health parity requirements, according to a National Association of Manufacturers report released Sept. 4, CongressDaily/AM reports." (

Despite Voluntary Guidelines Restricting Drug Marketing, Doctors Say Little Is Different
Excerpt: "Although the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America established voluntary guidelines earlier this year to restrict many of the sales practices that drug companies use to target physicians, some doctors have said that 'little has changed,' the Newark Star-Ledger reports." (

2003 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey: Preliminary Findings (PDF)
Excerpt: "Preliminary findings from the 2003 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey forecast cost increases at similar levels to 2002. Prescription drug coverage is expected to continue to increase at the highest rate: nearly 20 percent." (The Segal Company)

Health Benefits In 2002 and Beyond: Pay More, Get Less, and Get Used To It
Excerpt: "On average, you're now paying $38 per month for single-person health insurance, a 27 percent increase from 2001. If you have a family, you're paying $171 per month, a 16 percent increase from 2001. If those figures make you wince, imagine how your employer feels: Average annual health insurance premiums rose to $3,060 for single coverage (up from $2,650 in 2001) and $7,954 for family coverage (up from $7,053 in 2001)." (

HIPAA Deadline Approaches For Electronic Data Transmission
The next HIPAA deadline for complying with the electronic data interchange requirements is Oct. 15, 2002, less than two months away. The Administrative Simplification Compliance Act (P.L. 107-105) delays until Oct. 16, 2003, the implementation of electronic transmission standards under HIPAA, but only if covered entities submit a compliance extension plan to the Department of Health and Human Services by Oct. 15, 2002. (Spencernet)

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

Labor Department Solicits Nominations for ERISA Advisory Council
Press release. Excerpt: "The U.S. Department of Labor is soliciting nominations to fill five three-year vacancies on the Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans. The deadline for receipt of nominations is October 1, 2002. Also known as the 'ERISA Advisory Council,' the Council is bipartisan and has 15 members appointed by the Secretary of Labor to represent the groups and fields specified in the law that are involved in employee benefits." (U.S. Department of Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration)

Survey: Large Employers Believe Stock Option Expensing Is Inevitable
Mercer Human Resource Consulting press release. Excerpt: "U.S. employers hold wide-ranging views on the appropriateness of expensing stock options, but the vast majority (87%) believe that option expensing will be mandated in the U.S. within five years.... Despite the potential impact, only 37% have formally considered the issue at the executive or board level." (Business Wire via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

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

401(k)/Pension Administrator
for East Bay Third Party Administration Firm in CA

Director of Pension Operations
for Mand Marblestone & Danziger, P.C. in PA

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Mand Marblestone & Danziger, P.C. in PA

Benefits Analyst
for Lifetime Television in CT, NJ, NY

Conversion Consultant/ Relationship Manager
for Global Asset Management Firm in MO

Newly Posted Webcasts (Post Yours!)

How Are Rising Health Care Costs Affecting Employees?
on September 5, 2002
presented by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research and Educational Trust

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)

HR Technology Measurement
in AZ on October 23, 2002
presented by HRevents

Introduction to ESOPs
in PA on November 6, 2002
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Introduction to ESOPs
in MA on November 7, 2002
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Introduction to ESOPs
in LA on November 12, 2002
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Introduction to ESOPs
in TX on November 13, 2002
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Introduction to ESOPs
in AZ on November 14, 2002
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Introduction to ESOPs
in CA on November 21, 2002
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Opportunities & Challenges: Stock Options in Today's Economy
in WA on October 31, 2002
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Opportunities & Challenges: Stock Options in Today's Economy
in VA on November 5, 2002
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership/Beyster Institute

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