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October 16, 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)
Supreme Court To Determine Whether Doctors' Class-Action Suit Against HMOs Can Proceed
Excerpt: "The Supreme Court on Oct. 15 agreed to consider whether 600,000 doctors can jointly sue HMOs for violating federal racketeering laws or if they must settle their disputes through arbitration, the Washington Post reports." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Inflexible Spending Accounts
Excerpt: "Only a printer could love the annual benefits open-enrollment period bearing down on millions of employees. Instruction packets the size of a Sunday newspaper will clog your In box at work very soon, an oppressive reminder of how much you'll never know when it comes to deductibles, referrals and reimbursables ... Many won't read further than they must, which helps explain why so few-- just 12% of those given the option-- enroll in flexible-spending accounts (FSAs)." (Time magazine)

Ten More Companies Added to List of Gay-Friendly Employers
Excerpt: "The Advocate has compiled a list of 10 good places for gay men and lesbians to work, adding to a list of 44 companies the magazine has put together in the past three years.... To derive a score, points are assigned to seven criteria, such as whether the company has a written nondiscrimination policy covering sexual orientation, offers same-sex domestic-partner health care benefits ... The following is not meant to be a list of the 10 best places in the United States to work." (The Advocate)

Audio Excerpt: New California Worker Benefits Seen Hurting Businesses
RealAudio format. Excerpt: "New laws in California that guarantee paid family leave and other workers' benefits will add billions to the cost of doing business in the state at a time when its economy is already hurting. Russell Lewis of member station KPBS reports. Oct. 15, 2002." (National Public Radio)

Domestic Abuse Shows Up at Work
Excerpt: "As more women join the labor force, domestic violence is moving from the home into the workplace. And it's taking a toll. Roughly 20,000 employees are threatened or attacked in the workplace every year by spouses or partners ... A small number of employers are addressing the problem with innovative outreach efforts, educational programs and new policies -- a trend that victim advocates hope will spur other companies to get involved." (USA Today via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Conn. Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate: Allow Small Businesses To Buy into State Employees' Plan
Excerpt: "Connecticut gubernatorial candidate Bill Curry (D) on Oct. 11 unveiled an 'ambitious' health care plan that would allow small businesses, self-employed workers and uninsured state residents to join the health plan that covers state employees, a move that he said would help drive down the cost of coverage for thousands of people, the Hartford Courant reports." (KaiserNetwork.org)

High Drug Prices Return As Issue That Stirs Voters
Excerpt: "As several disparate forces converge, [the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America] could face the political equivalent of the perfect storm." (Washington Post)

Coupon Program for Generic Drugs in Michigan Saves Money
Excerpt: "An experiment aimed at enticing health plan members to give generics a try has saved Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan $3 for every $1 spent on the program. The six-month pilot program has been so successful that the Michigan Blues said it would expand it in 2003." (Reuters via Medscape; free registration required)

HHS Publishes HIPAA Privacy 'Frequently Asked Questions' (PDF)
8 pages; dated Oct. 2, 2002. Converted into a PDF document by BenefitsLink; original Word document found online at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/whatsnew.html (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights)

Most HMOs 'Quietly' Cover Medications Purchased Abroad
Excerpt: "While UnitedHealth Group's recent clarification that it covers drugs bought abroad 'made headlines,' many large HMOs 'quietly already pay for such drugs,' Reuters/Boston Globe reports ..." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Health Care Costs Will Increase By 15% In 2003: Towers Perrin
Health care costs for large employers will increase 15% in 2003, according to the 2003 Health Care Costs Survey recently released by consultant Towers Perrin. This will be the fourth consecutive year of double-digit cost increases, and the highest percentage increase in the history of the survey. Towers Perrin found that the average increase will be $830 per employee per year. (Spencernet)



Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: DOL Weighs In on Limitation of Liability and Indemnification Clauses
Excerpt: "ERISA plan fiduciaries may cause their plans to enter into contracts with actuarial firms and other service providers that include 'limitation of liability' and 'indemnification' provisions without necessarily violating ERISA's fiduciary standards, according to a recent [DOL] advisory opinion.... However, the advisory opinion cautions fiduciaries that it would be imprudent to agree to these provisions if they apply to fraud or willful misconduct by the service provider ..." (Deloitte & Touche Human Capital Advisory Services)

CalPERS to Challenge General Electric Over Executive Compensation Practices
Excerpt: "CalPERS also approved plans to file a shareholder challenge to 'excessive' executive compensation policies at General Electric Corp., demanding the company adopt a new policy that links pay to performance." (Reuters via Yahoo! News)




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

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

Defined Benefit Calculation Manager
for Northern Trust Retirement Consulting, L.L.C.
in GA

Pension Consultant/Administrator
for Third Party Administrators, Inc.
in NH

Pension Administrator
for White Plains law firm with expanding daily valuation department
in NY

Employee Benefits Trust Officer II
for Regions Financial Corporation
in AL

Employee Benefits Trust Officer I
for Regions Financial Corporation
in AL

Defined Contribution Manager
for Deloitte & Touche
in MN

Account Executive Director
for Principal Financial Group
in NY

Manager of FSA/MSA Administration
for Company Confidential
in DC, MD


Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)

PENSION PLAN AUDITS: Is Your Plan In Compliance?
in CA
November 21, 2002
Western Pension & Benefits Conference - Orange County Chapter

Advanced Writing and Editing for Lawyers: How To Be a Better Legal Writer and Editor
in PA
December 13, 2002
ALI-ABA


Newly Posted Press Releases (Post Yours!)

CNA Trust Hires Costantini As Regional Sales Director for Northwest
(CNA Trust)

Customized Benefits Newsletters To Help Strengthen Customer Relationships And Increase Sales
(Alexander Hamilton Institute - AHI's Benefits Alert)

Subscribe to the BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter, too (click)


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