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September 13, 2002 - 7,257 subscribers
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DOL Secretary Releases Report Supporting Association Health Plans for Small Employers (PDF)
14 pages. Excerpt: "In a voluntary health benefits system, how can small employers be encouraged to offer coverage? ... Preemption of 50 state insurance regulatory regimes under federal ERISA law has allowed large employers and unions to provide cost-effective health benefits. A federal structure for small employers would bring stability, uniformity and lower costs for health care coverage." (U.S. Department of Labor)

More Health Insurers Using Computer Technology To Determine Risk, Raising Privacy Concerns
Excerpt: "Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal on Sept. 12 examines 'predictive modeling' technology programs, which an increasing number of health insurers use to determine which patients may have future health problems.... Several large health insurers -- such as Aetna, UnitedHealth Group and Cigna -- use the systems, and analysts expect expanded use in the future." (

Advocates Argue Over Genetic Privacy
Excerpt: "As scientists make daily advances with the human genetic code, Congress should act now to prevent Americans from facing genetic discrimination from employers and insurers, privacy advocates say." (New York Times; free registration required)

Workers Say Goodyear's Employee Grading System Discriminates Against Older Workers
Excerpt: "The lawsuit says the Akron, Ohio-based company's evaluation system discriminates against older workers, giving them a disproportionate number of low grades and depriving them of raises or causing them to be fired.... According to Dow Jones, Goodyear spokesman Keith Price said Thursday that the company doesn't discriminate, but it is revising the evaluation system to address workers' concerns." (

SHRM Says ERISA Supersedes "Any Willing Provider" Laws
Excerpt: "The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) filed a friend-of-the-court brief yesterday urging the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) trumps a Kentucky law requiring a health insurer to admit any provider in the plan's geographic area who is willing to meet the insurer's terms for participation in a managed care network." (Society for Human Resource Management)

TPAs Can Make Mixed Eligibility/Treatment Decisions That Subject Them to State-Law Challenges
Excerpt: "A federal district court ruled that third-party administrators (TPAs) can be subject to state-law claims if they use health care providers to make medical necessity determinations; such determinations would be classified as mixed eligibility and treatment decisions." (Thompson Publishing Group)

10 Tips for the Leader About Building Employee Motivation and Morale at Work
Excerpt: "Other than the decisions individuals make on their own about liking their work, you are the most powerful factor in employee motivation and morale. By your words, your body language, and the expression on your face, as a manager, supervisor, or leader, you telegraph your opinion of their value to the people you employee." (

Some Patients Paying More in Drug Copays than PBMs Pay for Medications
Excerpt: "Some copayments for prescription drugs are higher than what pharmacy benefit managers actually pay for the medications, the Wall Street Journal reports. More than 200 million people have their medications covered by a PBM ... PBMs have been 'so aggressive' in negotiating discounts that they now pay prices for medications that are sometimes lower than customers' copays, the Journal reports." (

GAO Urges Postal Service to Improve Disclosure of Postretirement Health Benefits
Excerpt: "We believe decisionmakers' ability to fully consider the impact of these obligations is hindered by the current lack of recognition and disclosure of them in USPS's financial statements. In our view, the aim of accounting and financial reporting should be to reflect economic reality and provide all stakeholders with the soundest and most transparent basis for decision making." (U.S. General Accounting Office)

Medical Mistakes Bill Approved by U.S. House Subcommittee
Excerpt: "Under the bill, physicians, hospitals and nursing homes would report errors to newly created 'patient safety organizations,' which would, in turn, analyze the data and provide recommendations about systems changes that could avoid such errors it the future. But Democrats said they still have serious concerns with the bill, particularly the fact that it allows reports to be made anonymously and kept confidential." (Reuters via Medscape; free registration required)

Soaring Rates Cause Employers to Eye Self-insurance
Excerpt: "Self-funded insurance puts the employer in the underwriter's seat. Instead of paying an insurance carrier, the employer and staff pay premiums into a trust fund, which pays the claims when employees go to doctors. The fund also buys catastrophic coverage, called 'reinsurance,' for major medical expenses. If the employee pool is healthy enough, the fund could break even or have reserves." (The Gazette via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Witness List and Prepared Testimony for Hearing on Legislation to Reduce Medical Errors
Held September 10, 2002. Witnesses included Lucian Leape, M.D., Harvard School of Public Health; Michael B. Wood, M.D., Mayo Foundation; Kenneth T. Segel, Pittsburgh Regional Healthcare Initiative; Herbert Pardes, M.D., New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System; and Jill Rosenthal, National Academy for State Health Policy. (U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee On Health On Legislation To Reduce Medical Errors)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

DOL Secretary Testifies to Committee About ERISA Enforcement, Compliance Assistance
Testimony of Assistant Secretary Ann L. Combs before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations, September 10, 2002. (U.S. Department of Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration)

Benefits Canada's 26th Annual Pension and Benefits Consultants Report (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "Many of the senior consultants in the industry are at the leading edge of the baby boom and are going to be retiring in the next five to 10 years. The race is on to replace them." (Benefits Canada)

New York Fed President Calls on CEOs to Cut Pay
Excerpt: "New York Federal Reserve president William McDonough yesterday called on U.S. corporate executives to take pay cuts, saying their salary packages are bloated and morally hard to justify.... His remarks were the strongest denunciation yet by any public official of chief executive pay, which McDonough said has swollen in publicly traded companies to 400 times that of production workers on average from 42 times two decades ago." (Boston Globe)

Accelerated Section 16 Reporting of Stock-Related Transactions in Deferred Compensation Plans
Excerpt: "[T]he Sarbanes-Oxley Act amended ... the Securities Exchange Act to require accelerated Form 4 reporting of most transactions in an issuer's equity securities by the issuer's directors, officers and ten percent plus shareholders.... [This includes] routine deferrals of director or officer compensation under a nonqualified deferred compensation plan where the deferrals are credited to an investment account whose value is derived from the value of the sponsoring company's stock." (Faegre & Benson LLP)

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

Senior Defined Contribution Administrator
for Longaker, Rimkus & Associates, Inc.
in NY

Office Manager
for Principal Financial Group
in CA

Account Executive/Client Relationship Manager
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in MI

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