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September 20, 2002 - 7,276 subscribers
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House Democrats Unsuccessful in Using Procedural Move To Push Generic Drug Bill To Floor
Excerpt: "House Democrats on Sept. 19 unsuccessfully attempted to force consideration of the House version (HR 5272) of the Senate-passed generic drug access bill (S 812), CQ Daily Monitor Midday Update reports." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Kids Using Prescription Drugs More
Excerpt: "Use of prescription drugs is growing faster among children than it is among senior citizens and baby boomers, the two traditionally high consumer groups, according to a new study. Spending on prescription drugs for those under 19 grew 28 percent last year ..." (AP via Yahoo! News)

DC Health Plan Twists and the Legal Issues They Raise
13 pages of cutting-edge thinking by attorney Greta Cowart. Explores COBRA and HIPAA aspects of various types of defined contribution plan designs involving 'personal care accounts.' Includes list of 5 'tax dangers." (Greta E. Cowart, Esq. of Haynes and Boone, L.L.P., published by ABA Section of Taxation, Employee Benefits Committee)

Credit Where Credit is Due: Using Tax Breaks to Help Pay for Child and Dependent Care (PDF)
37 pages. Topics are 'Tax Breaks At-A-Glance,' 'Eligibility for These Tax Breaks,' 'Determining the Value of the Tax Breaks,' and 'How to Claim the Tax Breaks and Get More Information About Them and Similar State Tax Breaks.' Excerpt: "The following tables give you a general idea of how much the [dependent care tax credit, or DCTC] is worth to you by showing the amount of the DCTC available for individuals and couples at different income levels with varying child or dependent care expenses." (National Women's Law Center)

Questions and Answers About Dependent Care Assistance Programs
Excerpt: "Can a taxpayer claim the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit if he or she receives benefits through a DCAP? [Answer:] Sometimes. If a taxpayer receives child and dependent care benefits through a DCAP, the amount of the benefits must be subtracted from the child and dependent care expenses used to calculate the Child and Dependent Care Credit. For example, if a taxpayer sets aside $1,500 in a DCAP ... and incurs a total of $2,000 in child care expenses that year ..." (National Women's Law Center)

Recent COBRA Cases: May 2002
2 pages; summaries of 9 cases. (Greta E. Cowart, Esq. of Haynes and Boone LLP, published by ABA Section of Taxation, Employee Benefits Committee)

More Families Experience Runaway Babysitting Costs
Excerpt: "In a year of deflation fears, one consumer cost is growing fast-- child care. For many families it is outstripping housing, food and even a college education. Runzheimer International, a Rochester, Wis., relocation consulting firm, says child-care prices in 75 cities rose an average 6.4% last year, more than twice the consumer-price inflation rate ..." (CareerJournal.com)

Employers May Need to Restructure EAPs to Minimize Impact of Privacy Rules
Excerpt: "Employers should consider restructuring their employee assistance programs (EAPs) to minimize the impact of HIPAA's privacy rules. In addition, special protections may apply to employee communications made in the course of an EAP's mental health treatment." (Thompson Publishing Group)

Retiree Health Care Costs: Addressing the Growing Gap (PDF)
Excerpt: "Employer strategies need not be limited to two options-- to offer or not to offer a [retiree health] plan. As baby boomers get closer to retirement, employers may find it beneficial to offer retirees nonfinancial assistance with health care.... Many baby boomers in the 38 to 55 age group still have adequate time to plan for and fund their retiree medical expenses. Efforts to educate individuals and encourage savings can only help them achieve financial security in retirement." (Fidelity Employer Services Company)

Are Consumer-Directed Health Plans Good Medicine?
Excerpt: "However you choose to explain it ... managed care has played out its hand and brought us to a new day in health benefits.... The constituency that has been increasingly removed from the health care marketplace is now being seen as the potential solution to the industry's problems. Make no mistake-- 'consumerism' as it applies to health care is a euphemism for 'cost-shift.'" (Mercer Human Resource Consulting)

Making Sense of the HIPAA Privacy Final Regulation For Employers
4 typeset pages, originally published in BNA's Pension and Benefits Reporter. Excerpt: "The effect of these privacy rules on employers is the single most complicated and confusing element of the entire HIPAA Privacy Rule, which is an extraordinarily complicated rule in its entirety.... [T]his article attempts to make sense of this confusion." (Kirk J. Nahra of Wiley Rein & Fielding)

Transcript of Witness Testimony at Hearing on Preventing Medical Errors
Hearing held March 7, 2002, entitled 'Health Quality and Medical Errors.' Excerpt: "Not only do avoidable patient errors harm patients, they drive up health costs by requiring expensive medical interventions to correct subsequent problems. For example, adverse drug events and interactions in hospitals are prevalent and costly." (U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Health)



Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Opinion: Stock Options for All!
Excerpt: "Increased employee share ownership and less gravy for the greedy few will encourage what every company wants: motivated workers." (Business Week)

New Bearings for Compensation Committees
Excerpt: "Corporate directors should take heed, because they are at risk of public scrutiny and condemnation for lapses in their independent, thorough, monitoring of compensation matters within their purview. There is more at stake than bad press for directors who stumble-- see 'Duties and Liability' below. A few simple steps should nevertheless guide and protect prudent boards." (Mark Poerio, Esq. of Paul Hastings)

Weathering the Storm: a Study of Employee Attitudes and Opinions
Excerpt: "Corporate America has a problem. Unless it can resolve the crisis of confidence among its employees, it has no hope of restoring the trust and confidence of investors ... The WorkUSA® 2002 study results provide companies with a blueprint for responding to this crisis in confidence. To restore employee trust, the first step is knowing -- and understanding -- exactly what employees think." (Watson Wyatt)

Opinion: It's Time to Change the Way Stock Options Are Taxed
Excerpt: "Let the valuation that is calculated for options be used to value them for tax purposes as well. The company would get a deduction for the value of the option, and the employee would pay taxes on that value.... The current tax rules are perverse. Employees owe high ordinary income taxes on stock option profits, while companies that issue the options can get big tax deductions when options are cashed in." (New York Times; free registration required)




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

Senior Benefit Administrator (Client Delivery Specialist)
for Towers Perrin
in VA

Lead Implementation Analyst
for American Express is a leader among credit, travel, and financial mgmt Co.
in MN

Senior Benefits Communication Specialist
for National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
in DC, VA

Sr Benefits Analyst - 578HS
for Bausch & Lomb
in NY

Technical Specialist
for Edward Jones
in MO


Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)

Health Insurance Basics - Chicago
in IL
October 11, 2002
Lorman

Pension Plan Design and Administration - Indianapolis
in IN
October 22, 2002
Lorman

ERIC-Mercer 2002 Fall Benefits Conference
in DC
October 16, 2002
ERIC (The ERISA Industry Committee) and Mercer Human Resource Consulting

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