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October 9, 2002 - 7,425 subscribers
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(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)

DOL Publishes Revised Guide: MEWAs Under ERISA-- a Guide to Federal and State Regulation (PDF)
79 pages; revised September, 2002. Excerpt: "The first part of this booklet ... focuses on what constitutes an ERISA-covered plan and the regulatory and enforcement authority of the Department of Labor over such plans. The second part ... focuses on what is and what is not a MEWA and the extent to which states are permitted to regulate MEWAs that are also ERISA-covered welfare benefit plans." (U.S. Department of Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration)

Drug Spending by Employees Falls as Health Plan Co-Payments Rise
Excerpt: "American workers spend less money on prescription drugs when their employer-sponsored health insurance plans raise co-payments for these medications, according to a study published [Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2002] in the Journal of the American Medical Association." (The Washington Post)

Making the Business Case for Improving Mental Health Care: How to Maximize Corporate Resources (PDF)
20 pages. Excerpt: "Evidence indicates that early detection, appropriate treatment, and workplace accommodation of mental disorders improves performance and reduces absenteeism, turnover, and disability. Employers are increasingly seeking ways to address the mental health concerns of their employees for the benefit of individuals as well as businesses... [T]he National Health Care Purchasing Institute (NHCPI) commissioned this monograph to address four broad areas of action for employers: ..." (National Health Care Purchasing Institute)

Research Shows Jump in Number of Overweight Adults
RealPlayer audio format. Excerpt from NPR's link: 'New studies show that two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight -- a sharp increase from the last survey eight years ago. One-third are so overweight they're considered medically obese and at high risk of heart disease. Hear NPR's Vicky Que. Oct. 8, 2002." (National Public Radio)

Mercer Uses National Health Plan Survey Results to Create Benchmark Wizard, Available for a Fee
Excerpt: "Wondering why your health plan costs are different from the national averages in Mercer's National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans 2001? Sometimes all you have to do is look at results for your industry or region and your costs fall right into line. But when they don't, the Benchmark Wizard may have the answer.... [Y]ou can access the Wizard ... through mercerHR.com, for a cost of US$500 for a 10-day unlimited-use license." (Mercer Human Resource Consulting)

High Court Refuses to Hear Connecticut's ERISA Case Challenging HMO's Formulary
Excerpt: "The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal of a case brought by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal against a unit of Health Net Inc. for limiting prescription drug coverage. The high court let stand a lower court decision to dismiss the action against [the HMO]. [The suit] maintained that Physicians Health Services violated its duties under [ERISA] by denying members access to necessary medications." (Reuters via Medscape; free registration required)

Employees With Monocular Vision Were Not "Disabled" Under the ADA, Ninth Circuit Rules
Employees with monocular vision did not qualify as 'disabled' under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because that impairment did not 'substantially' limit their major life activity of seeing. This was the ruling of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. United Parcel Service, Inc. (Nos. 01-15410, 01-15976, and 01-15977). (Spencernet)

A Guide to Understanding 529 Plans (PDF)
15 pages. A bit thin, but a useful checklist appears on pages 11 and 12. --Editor. (Investment Company Institute)

Employers Are Eliminating Or Reducing Retiree Health Benefits: Watson Wyatt Report
Retiree health benefits have become economically unsound for many employers due to public policy and rising medical costs, according to a recent study by Watson Wyatt. The study, Retiree Health Benefits: Time To Resuscitate?, found that many employers have already reduced or eliminated retiree health benefits, and the trend will only accelerate as health care costs continue to climb. (Spencernet)



Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Tyco Sues to Recover $45 Million Severance Payment to Former CFO
Excerpt: "Tyco International filed a claim to recover $45 million in severance damages from Mark Swartz, the former chief financial officer ..." (The Washington Post)

Buying Underwater Options to Buoy Morale
Excerpt: "With the Nasdaq at six-year lows, technology workers ... face the stark prospect that the yawning gap between the strike prices of their options and their companies' falling stock prices will never close. That does not make for a happy worker.... On Sept. 30, 3,420 Siebel employees decided to take the company up on its late August offer to pay them roughly $21 million in cash and stock for their options." (TheDeal.com)




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

Senior Recordkeeper
for Wachovia Corporation
in NC

ERISA/Benefits Attorney
for DeMark, Kolbe & Brodek, S.C.
in WI

Compliance Officer
for American Express Financial Advisors
in MN

Pension (Defined Benefit) Administrator
for Matthews Benefit Group, Inc.
in FL

Benefits Assistant
for Valley National Bank
in NJ


Newly Posted Webcasts (Post Yours!)

Navigating Your Way Through New DOL Claims Regulations?
on October 24, 2002
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

Latest Legislative Initiatives
on October 21, 2002
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans


Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)

Sarbanes-Oxley Act: What Does it Mean for Executives and Executive Compensation
in
October 23, 2002
Thompson Publishing Group

Safety Seminar (Employee Compliance)
in OH
October 24, 2002
The Cardinal Group

HRA: New Solutions for Consumer-Directed Healthcare
in IL
October 24, 2002
Hewitt Associates and ECFC

HRA: New Solutions for Consumer-Directed Healthcare
in GA
October 15, 2002
ECFC and Marsh Advantage America

HRA: New Solutions for Consumer-Directed Healthcare
in MA
October 23, 2002
ECFC and Crosby Benefit Systems


Newly Posted Press Releases (Post Yours!)

Work & Family Benefits Inc. Pioneers Innovative Benefits Delivery Model, Providing "Big Business Benefits" to Small and Medium Sized Companies
(Work & Family Benefits Inc.)

Standard Insurance Company Introduces Participant Data Management Tool to Retirement Plan Sponsors
(Standard Insurance Company)

International Foundation Announces Winners of Creative Excellence in Benefits Award
(International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

New Guide Helps Multiemployer Trustees Select Fiduciary Liability Insurance
(International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)


Newly Posted Announcements of Promotions and New Personnel (Post Yours!)

Michael Wilson (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

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