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September 23, 2002 - 7,276 subscribers
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California Governor Will Sign Bill Requiring Employers to Provide Paid Family Leave
Excerpt: "Gov. Gray Davis has decided to sign legislation allowing most California workers to take paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child or to care for sick family members, administration officials said Sunday." (Los Angeles Times; free registration required)

California Governor Signs 4 Bills Curbing HMOs
Excerpt: "The laws ensure that health maintenance organizations will not deny drugs to patients with serious illnesses; give the state Department of Managed Health Care authority to regulate HMOs' quality of care; provide health coverage through a state insurance program for those with existing conditions; and require HMOs to accept patient grievances over the Internet." (Los Angeles Times; free registration required)

CMS Provides Informal Guidance on Definition of 'Small Health Plan' for HIPAA Purposes
Excerpt: "How should a health plan determine what receipts to use to decide whether it qualifies as a 'small health plan?'" (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)

Wellness Program for Small Employers in Cleveland Area Aims to Keep Workers Healthy, On the Job
Excerpt: "While workplace wellness programs are not new to large businesses (over 80 percent of businesses with more than 50 employees have a wellness program in place, according to the Wellness Councils of America), small businesses typically lack the money, time and personnel to offer these programs." (The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer via the Society for Human Resource Management)

Manufacturer's Van Pool for Nearby Employees Retains Workers
Excerpt: "Janet Scott, SHURflo's vice president of human resources, said the company wasn't just being beneficent. The program was also good for business. Without it, she was looking at the prospect of losing dozens of longtime workers who had proven skills and experience in making the diaphragm pumps the company manufactures ..." (The Orange County Register via the Society for Human Resource Management)

Eldercare Benefits Expand as Number of Caregivers Rises
Excerpt: "Statistics show nearly one in four adults currently cares for an elderly loved one, and caregiver numbers are growing annually.... As more employees postpone retirement, working seniors may find themselves caring for elderly parents." (

Payroll Deduction Card Builds Up Employees' Credit
Excerpt: "A new voluntary employee benefit aimed at helping Americans better manage their finances is bringing new meaning to the term corporate card.... [T]he 'Clear' card is a payroll deduction card that extends employees a credit line based on their annual salary.... All purchases are interest-free and are paid through four installment paycheck deductions over two months, allowing consumers to avoid high interest charges and late fees associated with traditional cards." (

Most of U.S. Healthcare System Still Lagging on Quality
Excerpt: "While health plans have made dozens of specific quality-of-care improvements in the past year, America's healthcare system remains largely unaccountable, exposing patients to sub-optimal care, a major health plan accreditation outfit reported [last week]. More than 6,000 deaths and 13 million sick days could have been avoided annually if all US healthcare providers and organizations adopted the best practices of the top health plans, it said." (Reuters via Medscape; free registration required)

Sharp Cuts Are Forecast for Retiree Health Programs
Excerpt: "Employers' financial support for retiree medical benefits will shrink to less than 10 percent of total retiree medical expenses by the year 2031, under plan provisions already adopted by many employers, according to a study produced by Watson Wyatt ..." (

Mental Health Care Could Slip Through Cracks, But Costs for Parity Remain Major Concern
Excerpt: "Entering an already stressed health insurance arena is the proposed federal Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act of 2002 (MHETA). The proposed bill is a continuation of efforts initiated last year to expand provisions of the federal Mental Health Parity Act of 1996.... The 1996 law is now set to expire at year-end, and the Wellstone-Domenici proposal, in the form of MHETA, is back in play." (Cincinnati Business Courier via; free registration required)

ERIC Says Wellstone Legislation Will Contribute to Impending Retiree Health Crisis
Excerpt: "The 'Emergency Retiree Health Benefits Protection Act,' the Senate equivalent of H.R.1322, prohibits employers from canceling, decreasing or limiting the amount, type, level, or form of any benefit or option provided in their plan to retirees. The bill also prohibits increased out-of-pocket costs or modifications to the manner by which medical services are delivered ..." (ERISA Industry Committee)

Time Running out on Employers for HIPAA Compliance
Excerpt: "Employers as Plan Sponsors and/or Plan Administrators must determine which 'bucket' they fit into in order to determine what their compliance obligations are under the Privacy Rule. The type of plan, its administration, and certain other factors determine whether the employer's bucket is 'full' of compliance obligations or whether there are 'minimal' compliance obligations with respect to HIPAA." (

Consumer-Oriented Healthcare Web Site Debuts:
A project of the National Health Law Program with funding from various foundations. Topics include 'What if My Insurance is Terminated?', 'How Do I File a Grievance in my Health Plan?' and 'Get Your Health Plan to Deal with Your Illness or Health Condition.' (National Health Law Program)

Participant Committed Fraud By Allowing Former Spouse To Remain Covered As a Dependent
A participant in a health care plan committed fraud when he allowed his former wife to remain covered under the plan as a dependent for five years following their divorce. This was the decision of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Trustees of the AFTRA Health Fund v. Biondi (No. 00-3598). (Spencernet)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Benefit Plans and Deals: Applying ERISA's Fiduciary Standards to Business Combinations (PDF)
25 pages; originally published July, 2001. Excerpt: "Once the negotiations are concluded and the decisions are being communicated to the participants and, in some limited instances, implements, the fiduciary standards take a major role. This article covers the application of ERISA's fiduciary standards to the negotiation process, the implementation issues and fiduciary rules in specific contexts as well as a general overview of these standards." (Thomas R. Hoecker, Esq. of Snell & Wilmer L.L.P.)

ERIC, Other Groups Urge Caution on Bill Regulating Use of Social Security Numbers (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "The undersigned organizations urge you to carefully consider the unintended consequences of legislation being currently pending before the House Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Financial Services committees. Without amendment, the Social Security Number Privacy and Identity Theft Prevention Act of 2001 (H.R.2036) could unintentionally hinder the delivery of benefits from, and the efficient administration of, public and private employee benefit plans." (ERISA Industry Committee)

Opinion: Talk About Overcompensating
Excerpt: "In July 1981, an unhappy employee at Conoco Inc. coined the phrase 'golden parachute' to describe the severance deal the company's chairman Ralph E. Bailey received to protect himself in case he lost out in a hostile takeover. The amount: about $5 million in salary plus stock options worth another $8.3 million after a takeover fight broke out. Compared to today's send-off packages, that golden parachute looks more like a canvas backpack." (Washington Post)

AARP Work and Career Study Shows Benefits Sought by Older Workers
Excerpt: "Overwhelmingly, 45+ workers say their ideal job would feature: a friendly work environment; respect from co-workers and their supervisors; and opportunities to use their skills and talents, do something worthwhile, learn something new, help others and pursue something they've always wanted to do. Not as high on their list of priorities, though important nevertheless, are so-called 'hard benefits'." (AARP Research)

What Makes a Company Great for Older Workers?
Excerpt: "Take a look inside nine of the companies on AARP's 'Best Companies for Workers over 50' list to see what sets them apart." (My Generation, published by AARP)

AARP Names Top Employers for Workers Over Age 50
Excerpt: "The AARP recognized the companies for recruiting, promoting and training older or former workers, as well as for offering high quality compensation and benefits packages." (CBS Marketwatch)

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

Technical Specialist - Retirement - QPA
for Edward Jones
in MO

District Marketing Manager
for Brandywine Benefits Corporation
in DE

Pension Administrator
for Howard Simon & Associates, Inc.
in IL

Retirement Resources Consultant
for RSM McGladrey, Inc.
in MN

Daily Valuation Pension Technician
for RSM McGladrey, Inc.
in IL

Retirement Plan Sales Consultant
for Invesmart
in WA

ERISA Compliance Specialist
for CitiStreet
in NJ

Senior Defined Benefit Plan Administrator
for MRPortland

Sr. Documentation/Compliance Analyst-LLY
for MRPortland

Plan Administrator
for Associated Pension Services, Inc.
in IL

Implementation Specialist
for Northern Trust Retirement Consulting, L.L.C.
in GA

Retirement Planning Consultant
for Retirement Capital Group, Inc.
in CA

Newly Posted Press Releases

SunGard Corbel Introduces New Document Services
(SunGard Corbel)

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