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October 8, 2002 - 7,425 subscribers
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Study Explores Why Employers Do, Don't Provide Workers With Health Insurance
Press release. Excerpt: "America's 6 million employers largely determine the number of insured-- and uninsured-- Americans, and new research by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) examines how and why employers make their health plan decisions. Most Americans under age 65 receive health coverage through employers. Yet, about 16 percent of this population was uninsured in 2000." (Employee Benefit Research Institute)

Durham, N.C. Council Approves Domestic Partner Benefits for City Employees
Excerpt: "Durham will become the third city in North Carolina to offer health and dental benefits to employees' domestic partners after a 4-3 vote by the City Council Monday.... [U]nmarried and otherwise unrelated heterosexual and homosexual partners who live with and share expenses with city employees would be eligible for city health and dental coverage." (The [Durham, N.C.] Herald Sun)

Court Awards Interest on Improperly-Delayed ERISA Benefits, Relies on Knudson Case
Parke v. First Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co., No. 99-1039 (JRT/FLN) (D. Minn., 9/25/02). Excerpt: "Here is more fallout from Great-West v. Knudson ... [T]he court found that the participant sought an equitable remedy ... This case continues a line of decisions holding that interest on improperly-delayed benefit payments may be recovered under ERISA Section 502." (EBIA Weekly)

Commentary: District Court 'Bad Faith' Decision Renews Debate on Scope of ERISA Preemption
Excerpt: "On July 31 ... a [federal district] judge in Philadelphia ... said a disabled worker has the right to sue not just for benefits owed, but also for damages.... The legal issue at stake here involves something known as ERISA preemption [of state common-law 'bad faith' claims].... Two other Pennsylvania judges ruled recently on similar cases, and both held positions opposite to Newcomer's ruling." (The Philadelphia Business Journal via; free registration required)

Commentary: Paid Caregiver Laws Attracting Honest Support
Excerpt: "Have you ever called in sick when the real reason you had to stay home was to care for a seriously sick child or other family member? ... [I]n the Golden State, paid leave applies only to private-sector employees and is financed entirely by employee payroll deductions. The employer pays nothing. Deductions ... average $27 a year and workers get 55 percent of their salary up to $728 a week. And workers can take up to six weeks of paid leave to care for a family member." (Chicago Tribune; free registration required)

Analysis: 2002 Not a Cut-Off Year For Archer MSAs, But MSA Program Still Scheduled to Close at 2003
Excerpt: "Despite the reprieve given by this Announcement, the Archer MSA program is still scheduled to close at the end of 2003." (EBIA Weekly)

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Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Labor Department, IRS Announce Joint Project for Finding Delinquent Form 5500 Filers
Press release. Excerpt: "Under the project, the agencies are conducting research of various databases to identify potential non-filers. Beginning in December 2002, the agencies will mail letters of inquiry to those identified as potential non-filers.... Plan administrators who have been notified by PWBA about a delinquent filing are not eligible to participate in the [Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance] program." (U.S. Department of Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration)

Analysis: DOL and IRS Issue Rules for the Use of Electronic Media; New Plan Records Rule Kicks In (PDF)
Excerpt: "The final rules for disclosure of plan information to participants and beneficiaries using electronic media will become effective on October 9, 2002. However, the rules for the maintenance and retention of plan records will become effective with the first day of the first plan year beginning on or after October 9, 2002." (CIGNA's Pension Analyst)

Commentary: Harvey Pitt's Headache
Excerpt: "[A]n embarrassing public row erupted over the new Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), which is being set up under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to replace the ineffective, industry-dominated Public Oversight Board ... [H]e has been forced to admit publicly that John Biggs, an economist and [TIAA-CREF] pension-fund manager who had been due to become the board's chairman, had not been offered the job after all." (The Economist)

Analysis: DOL Revises Voluntary Fiduciary Correction (VFC) Program (PDF)
8 pages. Excerpt: "Plan fiduciaries and their legal counsel should decide whether to review plan transactions to determine if they meet all ERISA standards. If violations have occurred, the individuals responsible should discuss the VFC Program with their legal counsel to determine if it is an appropriate option for their situation." (CIGNA's Pension Analyst)

WorldCom Might Revoke Former CEO's $1.5 Million Annual Pension
Excerpt: "The plan to sell assets and possibly cancel some payments to Ebbers is aimed at helping the second-biggest U.S. long-distance phone company emerge from Chapter 11." (Bloomberg News via the [Denver] Rocky Mountain News)

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

Retirement Plan Coordinator
for American Funds
in IN, TX

Pension Administrator
for FBD Consulting, Inc.
in KS

Corporate 529 Plan Sales
for The Prospect Institute for Educational Finance
in CA, GA

Corporate 529 Plan Marketing Assistant
for The Prospect Institute for Educational Finance
in MA

Pension Administrator
for MetLife/New England Financial
in IL

Qualified Plan Consultant
for MetLife
in MO

Group Benefits Analyst
for Small But Growing Insurance Agency Specializing In Group Benefits
in NY

Newly Posted Press Releases

CNA Trust Announces Launch of PlanStat, a Web-Based Plan Administration System
(CNA Trust)

Labor Department, IRS Announce Joint Project for Failing to File Form 5500 Returns/Reports
(U.S. Department of Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration)

Still River Releases Updated 72(t) Calculations Reflecting IRS Rev. Ruling 2002-62
(Still River Retirement Planning Software, Inc.)

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