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September 27, 2002 - 7,276 subscribers
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Physicians, But Not Patients, Approved To Sue HMOs as Class
Excerpt: "An attempt to reform the nation's healthcare system through a class-action lawsuit against managed care companies was dealt a crushing but not fatal blow Thursday in Miami federal court. U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno rejected a bid to have 145 million subscribers in insurance plans certified as part of a class-action suit against the largest healthcare insurers in America but allowed a parallel action by physicians to go forward." (The Miami Herald)

NY Times Coverage: Class Action for Patients Rejected
Excerpt: "The rulings were the latest twists in three-year-old litigation that sets out a broad challenge to the methods used by managed care companies in trying to control health care costs." (New York Times; free registration required)

House Committee Approves Medical Errors Database Bill
Excerpt: "The House Energy and Commerce Committee [has] approved a bill to create a confidential, voluntary database that health care providers could use to report medical errors. The legislation now must be reconciled with a similar bill approved last week by another House committee ..." (; free registration required)

Insurer Properly Denied Benefits To Beneficiary Who Might Be Involved In Insured's Death
An insurance company properly refused to pay life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) benefits to a beneficiary under the policies' exclusion for suicide and because of the beneficiary's suspected involvement in the insured's death. This was the ruling of the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Phillips-Foster v. UNUM Life Insurance Company of America, et al. (Nos. 01-3570 and 01-3648). (Spencernet)

PBR's Talk of the Nation Addresses California's New Paid Family Leave Law
Sept. 26, 2002. Excerpt: "California is the first state to institute paid family leave. Many others are considering the idea. But what's the impact on employers? And what about workers who pay in, but don't plan to use it? Neal Conan and guests examine paid family leave." (National Public Radio)

Healthcare Costs' Sickening Surge
Excerpt: "If you think your health benefits are taking a big bite out of your paycheck, brace yourself. It's going to get worse. While just 56% of large companies charged employees more for their health plans this year, 78% say they'll likely raise rates in 2003, according to a new study ..." (Business Week via Society for Human Resource Management)

Tracking Health Care Costs: Growth Accelerates Again In 2001
Excerpt: "For the first time in more than a decade, health care spending per capita rose at a double-digit rate in 2001, growing 10 percent. Spending on hospital services (both inpatient and outpatient) surged by 12 percent in 2001, reflecting increases in both hospital payment rates and use of hospital services. Hospital spending was the key driver of overall cost growth ..." (Health Affairs)

Health Confidence Survey - 2002 Results
Excerpt: "This year's Health Confidence Survey (HCS) represents the fifth wave of an annual survey to assess the attitudes of the American people regarding the health care system in the United States.... Americans are more likely than in 1998 to identify health care as a critical issue for the nation (14 percent in 1998, 19 percent in 2002). This places health care behind terrorism and national security (29 percent) and about equal to education (18 percent) ..." (Employee Benefit Research Institute)

Text of DOL Regulatory Amendment Reflecting Mental Health Parity Act Extension Through 12/31/2002
Excerpt: "The Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 (MHPA) was enacted on September 26, 1996 ... On January 10, 2002, President Bush signed H.R. 3061 ... This legislation extends MHPA's original sunset date under ERISA, the Code, and the PHS Act, so that MHPA's provisions will not apply to benefits for services furnished on or after December 31, 2002." (U.S. Department of Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration)

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

Retirement Data Specialist
for Delaware Investments
in PA

Enrolled Actuary
for MetLife
in IL, MA

Benefits Paralegal
for Bristol-Myers Squibb
in NJ

Newly Posted Press Releases

Insurance Agents offering Web-Based HR Portal
(Benefit Software Inc.)

Technical Amendment Extends Mental Health Parity Act Regulatory Sunset Date to Dec. 31, 2002
(U.S. Department of Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration)

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