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September 16, 2002 - 7,276 subscribers
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Federal Lawmakers Tout Insurance Exemptions For Small Business
Excerpt: "Lawmakers and the Bush Administration renewed a push on Friday for a controversial federal law [that] would exempt groups of small businesses that form organizations to buy low-cost health coverage from state insurance laws, subjecting them instead to federal regulation. The exemptions could make it cheaper for the organizations, known as association health plans (AHPs), to purchase health insurance for workers." (Reuters via Medscape; free registration required)

House Judiciary Subcommittee Considers Legislation on Genetic Privacy
Excerpt: "A House subcommittee on Sept. 12 heard testimony on legislation that would prevent genetic discrimination against people in the United States by their employers and insurers, the AP/St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Privacy advocates [said] that employers could use genetic information as the basis for hiring, firing or promoting a worker, while insurance companies might use such information to determine charges for specific services or to deny coverage for particular illnesses." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Statement of Cato Institute at Hearing on Privacy Concerns About Genetic Information
Sept. 12, 2002; Tom Miller, Director of Health Policy Studies. Excerpt: "[T]here is little, if any, evidence that health insurers are using or likely to use presymptomatic genetic information in their medical underwriting. Evidence that employers try to obtain, let alone use, such information generally is limited to isolated anecdotes." (U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution)

Statement of Health Privacy Project Leader at Hearing on Privacy Concerns About Genetic Information
Sept. 12, 2002; Joanne L. Hustead, J.D., Institute for Health Care Research and Policy, Georgetown University. Excerpt: "This hearing correctly focuses on both collection and use of genetic information, because collection and use are inextricably linked. The best way to protect individuals from inappropriate uses of their genetic information is to prevent collection of their genetic information in the first place." (U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution)

Statement of Aetna CEO at Hearing on Privacy Concerns About Genetic Information
Sept. 12, 2002; John W. Rowe, M.D. Excerpt: "I will review the current status of genetic testing as I see it, including some facts and myths regarding the insurance industry, and finish by iterating the guidelines that Aetna recently proposed as a standard for the industry in this area.... Health insurers aim to facilitate the cost effective utilization of the scientific method to enhance the health status of individuals." (U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution)

Statement of Deborah C. Peel, M.D. at Hearing on Privacy Concerns About Genetic Information
Sept. 12, 2002; testifying on behalf of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the Mental HealthCARE Foundation. Excerpt: "The use, sale, and sharing of highly sensitive identifiable genetic and medical information for non-medical purposes is widespread, because our federal, Constitutional, and common law rights have been increasingly ignored." (U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution)

Statement of the Hon. Steve Chabot at Hearing on Privacy Concerns About Genetic Information
Sept. 12, 2002. Excerpt: "This morning the Subcommittee on the Constitution convenes to explore the privacy concerns raised by the collection, use, and exchange of genetic information by employers and insurers.... Genetic discrimination is the use of genetic information to judge an individual with a predisposition to a certain disease or condition based on the possibility that he or she might one day develop that disease or condition." (U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution)

What New Laws and Regs Take Effect January 1, 2003 for Our Company's Welfare Benefit Plans?
Excerpt: "Our company sponsors a cafeteria plan with two major medical options (one insured and one self-funded), a health FSA and a DCAP. We also offer adoption assistance benefits. We know that when the law changes, the revised rules usually become effective on the first day of the plan year, which is January 1 for us. What new laws and regulations become applicable for our benefits on January 1, 2003?" (EBIA Weekly (Question of the Week))

Commentary: Health Insurance Door Opens, But Only a Crack
Excerpt: "The trade bill signed last month by President Bush contained some good news for workers who lose their jobs each year because of foreign competition: a 65 percent tax credit to help cover health insurance premiums.... But considering how hard it was for Republicans and Democrats to reach agreement on coverage for a tiny group of workers ... it's probably too soon to give up your day job and assume that you'll be able to buy your health insurance on the cheap." (New York Times; free registration required)

Controversial Study Says Pill-Splitting Saves Money, Is Safe
Excerpt: "The study has drawn much attention due to the fact that a pill-splitting lawsuit against Kaiser Permanente charges that the company endangers some patients' health solely to enhance the HMO's profits by forcing patients prescribed smaller-dose pills to accept and cut in half the larger-dose pills. Kaiser says the lawsuit is without merit and says that pill splitting is purely voluntary and only encouraged for a handful of drugs ..." (insure.com)

'Benefit Professional of the Year' Uses Good News To Sell Benefits Redesign
Excerpt: "Reys decided to eliminate the meetings and send benefits information and enrollment kits directly to employees at home ... Employee surveys charted a significant change in attitudes toward the company benefit plans. Even with the 25% health care premium increase, 75% of employees were satisfied with the cost and quality of their benefits, compared to 25% the previous year." (BenefitNews.com)

By 2031, Employers Will Pay Less Than 10% of Retirees' Health Expenses
Excerpt: "Employers are paying less and less of retirees' health insurance costs, and many companies have eliminated plans for retirees altogether, according to a [Watson Wyatt] study scheduled to be released Sept. 16, the Wall Street Journal reports." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Medical Interpreters May Improve Quality, But Who Should Pay?
September 16, 2002 issue. Excerpt: "As immigrant communities have grown in recent years, so has the demand for medical interpreters. In California 40 percent of its roughly 5 million patients on Medi-Cal, the publicly funded insurance program for low-income residents, speak languages other than English.... A bill currently on Governor Gray Davis's desk would mandate that health plans that contract with the Healthy Families and Medi-Cal programs ensure access to translation services." (California HealthCare Foundation)

Study: Health Insurance Premiums Rose More Than 30 Percent Between 1996 and 2000
Excerpt: "The average annual health insurance premium in 2000 was $2,655 for single coverage and $6,772 for family coverage in private-sector establishments, an increase of 33.3 percent and 36.7 percent respectively since 1996, according to new data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)." (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)

13 Ways to Cut Your Personal Healthcare Costs
Excerpt: "There are realistic ways to improve both your health and cut your health care costs that have nothing to do with who your parents are. Here are just 13 of them." (insure.com)

Health Insurance Coverage Eroding for Retired Workers
Excerpt: "Future retirees should expect to cover substantially more, if not all of the costs of their health care not covered by Medicare as employers increasingly reduce retirement medical benefits." (AP via New York Times; free registration required)

Health Premium Increases Generate 25 Percent Boost In Insurer Profits
Excerpt: "Double-digit health premium increases helped the nation's health insurers enjoy a 25 percent increase in profits in 2001, says research by a Florida company that tracks the industry.... Health insurers ... like to point out their profit margins are slim compared to many industries. In 2001, for example, Cigna's margin was 5.2 percent, followed by UnitedHealth Group, at 3.9 percent; Anthem, 3.3 percent ..." (Business First of Columbus via bizjournals.com; free registration required)

No Health Insurance Coverage Changes Foreseen for Hormone Therapy
Excerpt: "Hormone replacement therapies, including such drugs as the 38-year-old Premarin and the more recently created Prempro, originally were created to prevent perimenopausal symptoms ... [D]uring 2000, doctors wrote 46.8 million prescriptions for Premarin, making it the second most-prescribed medication ... [Pharmacy benefit management] executives and health care experts do not see any reason either to reclassify the drug or eject it from the formulary altogether." (BenefitNews.com)



Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Former GE CEO Gives Up Perks, But SEC Is Investigating
Excerpt: "General Electric said Monday it has received an informal inquiry from the Securities and Exchange Commission into the compensation of former Chairman and CEO Jack Welch. The news came hours after Welch said he had given up free use of company planes, a company apartment and other generous benefits in his retirement agreement after facing withering criticism since the perks were revealed." (USA Today)

Opinion: Time To End Excuses For Executive Excesses
Excerpt: "Cutting executive pay is possible. Last month, travel and real estate giant Cendant Corp. renegotiated CEO Henry Silverman's contract by terminating his right to annual stock option grants. Cendant instead offered an incentive bonus tied to the company's pretax earnings. The result? Silverman will refocus on improving earnings and stop trying to prop up the company's stock price." (St. Petersburg Times)

Opinion: No More Stock Options? Try Union Dues
Excerpt: "Union membership has declined over the last two decades, but that might be changing as more young professionals accept unions.... Perhaps no one could benefit from unionization more than so-called free agents, the 8.6 million independent contractors and 1.2 million temporary workers who have become a pivotal part of the working world." (New York Times; free registration required)




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

Retirement Services Internal Wholesaler
for Transamerica
in CA

Senior Conversion Specialist
for First Trust Corporation
in CO

Retirement Software Sales Manager
for Schwab Retirement Technology
in NC

ESOP-- Administrative Services Manager
for RSM McGladrey, Inc.
in IA

Financial Control Specialist
for CNA Trust
in CA

Executive Benefits
for Clark Bardes Consulting-CRG
in ALL STATES

Account Executive Director
for Principal Financial Group
in WA

Benefits Specialist
for Howard University Hospital
in DC

Attorneys-- Employment Benefits and Compensation - Philadelphia
for PricewaterhouseCoopers
in PA

Health and Welfare Consultant - Boston
for PricewaterhouseCoopers
in MA

Benefits Financial Manager
for Zurich North America
in IL


Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)

INTRODUCTION TO 401(k) PLANS (2-day seminar) 11 locations; November-December
in CA, CO, GA, IL, IN, MN, MO, NC, OH, PA, TX
November 7, 2002
SunGard Corbel

INTRODUCTION TO 401(k) PLANS (2-day seminar)
in CO
November 7, 2002
SunGard Corbel

INTRODUCTION TO 401(k) PLANS (2-day seminar)
in CA
November 7, 2002
SunGard Corbel

INTRODUCTION TO 401(k) PLANS (2-day seminar)
in OH
November 14, 2002
SunGard Corbel

INTRODUCTION TO 401(k) PLANS (2-day seminar)
in MO
November 14, 2002
SunGard Corbel

INTRODUCTION TO 401(k) PLANS (2-day seminar)
in NC
November 21, 2002
SunGard Corbel

INTRODUCTION TO 401(k) PLANS (2-day seminar)
in IL
November 21, 2002
SunGard Corbel

INTRODUCTION TO 401(k) PLANS (2-day seminar)
in MN
November 21, 2002
SunGard Corbel

INTRODUCTION TO 401(k) PLANS (2-day seminar)
in GA
December 5, 2002
SunGard Corbel

INTRODUCTION TO 401(k) PLANS (2-day seminar)
in PA
December 5, 2002
SunGard Corbel

INTRODUCTION TO 401(k) PLANS (2-day seminar)
in TX
December 12, 2002
SunGard Corbel

INTRODUCTION TO 401(k) PLANS (2-day seminar)
in IN
December 12, 2002
SunGard Corbel

A DOL Presentation with the Latest on Audits, Correction and Compliance Programs
in OH
September 25, 2002
The Central Ohio Chapter, ISCEBS

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