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September 26, 2002 - 7,276 subscribers
Today's sponsor: NCEO

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   Our Bookstore now carries books published by the NCEO!

   The National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), a nonprofit
   membership and research organization that provides information on
   broad-based employee stock plans, now has over a dozen of its
   most popular publications available for purchase in the
   BenefitsLink bookstore. Topics range from employee stock
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   purchase plans (ESPPs).

(Help BenefitsLink to provide this newsletter at no charge to you -- our sponsors pay your way. Remember to visit them periodically; we try to make sure their products and services will be of interest to you. Thanks! --Editor)

House Commerce Committee To Consider Medical Errors Database Bill Today
Excerpt: "The House Energy and Commerce Committee today will review a bill designed to create a voluntary medical errors reporting database that patient-safety organizations (PSOs) would monitor and use to develop recommendations on ways to improve patient care." (iHealthBeat.com; free registration required)

HIPAA Causing Confusion Among Sports Teams; Some Schools Shut Out Media
Excerpt: "Injury reports inform fans of developments with their teams. They also are seen as a way to counteract the influence of gamblers who could be seeking an edge through inside information.... Last weekend, confusion over the legislation led to unusual occurrences during televised college football games when injury information became scarce to viewers." (USA Today)

Retiree Health Care Costs: Addressing the Growing Gap
Click on 'Reports and Publications' link. 24-page PDF document. Excerpt: "Rising retiree health care costs are one of the biggest issues facing the United States. The Fidelity report... provides perspective on the trends and costs surrounding this very important issue, including steps that employees can take now to be prepared." (Fidelity Workplace Services)

Freelance Worker Ineligible for Disability Benefits; Court Finds Plan's Exclusion Language is Clear
Jaeger v. Matrix Essentials, Inc., No. 1:01CV0544 (N.D. Ohio 8/29/02). Excerpt: "One plan excluded 'all independent contractors and all other individuals whom the Employer does not treat as its employees for federal income and employment tax purposes, even if it is subsequently determined by a court or the Internal Revenue Service that such individuals should be, or should have been, properly classified as common law employees of the employer.'" (EBIA Weekly)

Analysis: Sixth Circuit Case Threatens Typical Early Retirement Incentive Programs
Excerpt: "Pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, an employer eliminated fully paid retiree health benefits but grandfathered employees who were fifty and over as of a specified date. Employees between the ages of forty and forty-nine claimed this grandfather violated their age discrimination rights -- and won. Cline v. Dynamics Land Systems, Inc...." (Nixon Peabody LLP)

Opinion: In Moran Preemption Decision, Supreme Court Delivers Blow to Uniformity
Excerpt: "Uniformity ... is being sacrificed as courts reach out to embrace state laws where they assist in reaching desired results, such as giving HMOs their comeuppance for aggressively controlling medical costs. In a recent 5-to-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court appears to embrace this attitude. Rush Prudential HMO, Inc. v. Moran ..." (Nixon Peabody LLP)

Employee Who Never Enrolled in Plan May Sue, But His Benefit Claim Under Estoppel Theory Fails
Kamler v. H/N Telecom. Servs. (7th Cir. 2002). Excerpt: "The issue in this case was whether a newly-hired employee had been sufficiently informed about the need to affirmatively enroll in his employer's insured group health plan.... The court's principal problem with the employee's estoppel claim was that there was no direct misrepresentation-- no one had told the employee that he did not have to enroll." (EBIA Weekly)

Even Honest Misstatements Can Breach Fiduciary Duty
James v. Pirelli Armstrong Tire Corp. (6th Cir. 2002). Excerpt: "[T]he court stated that the test for fiduciary breach is whether the information is materially misleading regardless of the fiduciary's intent or negligence.... This case is a cautionary tale about what can go wrong when incentive programs, developed at corporate headquarters, are implemented at the plant level--even in situations where, as here, the plan documents reserve the employer's right to amend or terminate benefits." (EBIA Weekly)

Hearing Transcript: the Rising Cost of Health Care: How Are Employers and Employees Responding? (PDF)
143 pages; possible a long download (3.1 Mb). Transcript of hearing held June 18, 2002. Excerpt: "Last year, employers' cost for health care benefits increased an average of 13 percent. This alarming trend is expected to continue for some time ... This hearing is designed to answer two questions: One, why are costs increasing so dramatically, and, two, what do the increases mean for employers and employees, and how will they respond." (U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Education and the Workforce, Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations)

ERIC, AFL-CIO Write Joint Letter to Legislators, Seeking Clarity on Erie County ADEA Decision
(We've also received reports that temperatures near the Earth's core are edging towards the low 30's! -- Editor.) Excerpt: "[ERIC] joined forces with organized labor, older American and other business organizations ... In a letter sent to key members of Congress, the groups asked members to clarify present law on employer sponsored retiree health benefits, especially in light of a recent circuit court decision that clouds the intended laws." (ERISA Industry Committee)

Analysis: HHS Defines How to Determine a Small Health Plan for HIPAA Compliance (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "'[A]nnual receipts' include the premiums paid during the plan's fiscal year, whether the 'check' comes from the group health plan or the employer or other sponsor of the group health plan. We reach this interpretation because it is the group health plan that has the legal obligation to furnish the benefits due the plan enrollees, hence, the legal obligation to pay the premiums for the insurance that covers the benefits." (Michael Best & Friedrich)

Health Spending Rose 10% in 2001, Mostly Because of Hospital Costs, Study Says
Excerpt: "Health care spending in the United States increased 10% during 2001, the largest jump in more than 10 years, according to a study published Sept. 25 on the Web site of the journal Health Affairs, the Contra Costa Times reports." (KaiserNetwork.org)



Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: Sarbanes-Oxley Act Bites Benefits
Excerpt: "Benefit plans will be doing their bit to halt corporate corruption in its tracks thanks to the Corporate and Auditing Accountability, Responsibility and Transparency Act of 2002." (Nixon Peabody LLP)

Analysis: Split-Dollar Life Insurance - No Give in the IRS Assault
Excerpt: "The newest chapter in the IRS crusade against split-dollar life insurance is the release of proposed regulations, regulations which differ little from the Service's earlier pronouncements.... The new regs are aimed at realigning the tax burdens of split-dollar with the economic benefits. Under them, all split-dollar policies, whether equity or otherwise, must be treated for tax purposes under one of two mutually exclusive regimes ..." (Nixon Peabody LLP)

Overview of Accelerated Insider Securities Reporting Requirements, With Sample Memo and Forms
Excerpt: "Under the new law and the SEC rule changes, transactions that are subject to the two-day filing deadline include: option exercises; most purchases or sales of stock, regardless of whether the transactions occurs in the open market or between you and the Company; and grants of stock options and restricted stock and certain other accruals of stock or stock units that may occur under executive or director compensation plans." (Proskauer Rose)




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

Pension Account Manager
for CNA TRUST
in CA

Manager, Defined Benefits Plan
for Trinity Health
in MI

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Plan Design Consultants, Inc.
in CA

Treasury Director
for Marshfield Clinic
in WI

Sales Manager
for Metavante 401(k) Services
in ALL STATES

Pension Administrator
for Redwood Administrators, Inc.
in NJ

Pension Administrator
for Prestigious Long Island Benefit Firm
in NY


Newly Posted Webcasts (Post Yours!)

Tracking Health Care Costs
on September 25, 2002
presented by Kaisernetwork.org


Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in OR
October 11, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in MN
October 18, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in OH
October 25, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in MD
November 8, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in CA
November 15, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in TX
November 22, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in CA
December 6, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

HIPAA Portability & Privacy
in OR
October 10, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

HIPAA Portability & Privacy
in MN
October 17, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

HIPAA Portability & Privacy
in OH
October 24, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

HIPAA Portability & Privacy
in MD
November 7, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

HIPAA Portability & Privacy
in CA
November 14, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

HIPAA Portability & Privacy
in TX
November 21, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

HIPAA Portability & Privacy
in CA
December 5, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in OR
October 10, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in MN
October 17, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in OH
October 24, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in MD
November 7, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in CA
November 14, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

20th Annual Fall Conference on Employee Benefits
in CA
October 29, 2002
Western Pension & Benefits Conference, San Francisco Chapter

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in TX
November 21, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in CA
December 5, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

Cafeteria Plans
in OR
October 9, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

Cafeteria Plans
in MN
October 16, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

Cafeteria Plans
in OH
October 23, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

Cafeteria Plans
in MD
November 6, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

HRAs: New Solutions for Consumer-Directed Healthcare
in CA
October 8, 2002
The Employers Council on Flexible Compensation and Fidelity Investments

Cafeteria Plans
in CA
November 13, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

Cafeteria Plans
in TX
November 20, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

Cafeteria Plans
in CA
December 4, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

401(k) Plans
in OR
October 8, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

401(k) Plans
in MN
October 15, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

401(k) Plans
in OH
October 22, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

401(k) Plans
in MD
November 5, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

401(k) Plans
in CA
November 12, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

401(k) Plans
in TX
November 19, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

401(k) Plans
in CA
December 3, 2002
Employee Benefits Institute of America LLC (EBIA)

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