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Welfare Plans
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October 18, 2002 - 7,425 subscribers
Today's sponsor: EBIA's ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)


   ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans is an authoritative
   resource for employers, administrators and advisors. Written by
   leading employee benefits attorneys, this manual has all the
   information you need to bring your welfare benefit plans into
   compliance with ERISA.

   Click above to learn more about this valuable treatise,
   which is always kept current through periodic updates.

(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)
Questioning Quality: Why Health Care Ratings Have Little Impact On Consumer Choice
Excerpt: "A recent Harris Interactive survey found that 26% of adults had seen information that rates hospitals, up from 22% just a year earlier. But that's the good news. In the Harris survey, only 1% of adults said they had actually made a change in their selection of hospitals based on published quality ratings--even worse than the 2% who said the same in 2001." (iHealthBeat.com; free registration required)

Employer Breached Its Fiduciary Duties By Providing Misleading Information About Benefits
An employer breached its fiduciary duties under ERISA by providing misleading information to employees as to the status of their health care benefits following retirement under an early retirement incentive program. This was the decision of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in James, et al. v. Pirelli Armstrong Tire Corporation (No. 00-6475). (SpencerNet)

Feeling Ostracized, Childless Workers Join Forces
Excerpt: "When Gov. Gray Davis signed the country's first paid family leave bill last month, not everyone cheered. Some Californians who don't have children saw the legislation as just another example of how they miss out on the perks that parents often receive in the workplace." (The [San Jose] Mercury News)

Pressed Bosses Cutting Into Their Staffers' Time Off
Excerpt: "Welcome to the era of the Incredible Shrinking Leave. Leaves from work for family, medical and other reasons are eroding, as employers and co-workers find clever and creative ways to keep people toiling away, often by using remote-office technology. In other cases, the pressures of a high-speed workplace are causing employees to cut their leaves short." (CareerJournal.com)

Study: More Workers Taking Sick Days For Personal Reasons
Excerpt: "More workers are taking sick days for family and personal reasons rather than illness, at a rising cost to employers, a study says. Only a third of unscheduled days off are because of illness, according to the survey by CCH Inc." (USA Today)

Defined Contribution Health Plans: Threat or Fad?
Originally published March 2002. Excerpt: "Sensing an invasion of their territory, [managed care organizations] are jumping into a market forged by a group of upstarts. The development renews a fundamental debate about the juxtaposition of consumer involvement, cost containment, cost shifting, and quality of care." (Managed Care magazine)

California Nixes Kaiser's Bid For $500 Cap On Drug Coverage
Excerpt: "Saying 'AIDS, heart disease, and cancer drugs promote life, not lifestyle,' the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) has rejected a request by Kaiser Permanente, the state's largest HMO, to set caps as low as $500 on coverage for prescription drugs in some health insurance policies." (insure.com)

Employer Attitudes and Practices Affecting Health Benefits and the Uninsured
Executive summary of new Issue Brief from EBRI. Excerpt: "This Issue Brief presents the findings of a study of what employers think and do about providing health benefits for their own workers and what they think about covering the population without health benefits.' Full text available for purchase from EBRI at http://www.ebri.org/store/ebriib.htm (Employee Benefit Research Institute)

News Media Feature Oregon Universal Health Ballot Measure
Excerpt: "Several newspapers this week examined Measure 23, an initiative on the upcoming November ballot in Oregon that would institute a universal care system." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Employee Stock Options, Corporate Taxes and Debt Policy
Working paper; available from SSRN.com for $5. Excerpt: "We find that employee stock option deductions lead to large aggregate tax savings for Nasdaq 100 and S&P 100 firms and also affect corporate marginal tax rates.... [O]ption deductions are important nondebt tax shields that can affect corporate policies." (John R. Graham, Mark H. Lang, Douglas A. Shackelford, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research)

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

Benefits Advisor
for U.S. Department of Labor/Pension & Welfare Benefits Administration
in DC

Pension Analyst
for L.I. Employee Benefits Group, LTD
in NY

Principal Administrative Analyst, Job#: 1820-02
for University of California Office of the President
in CA

Compliance Assistant
for Transamerica Retirement Services
in CA

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)

Long-Term Care Benefits: Medicare...Medicaid...or Insured?
in PA
October 23, 2002
Futurecare Associates, Inc.

Accumulate Wealth with New Roth IRA Conversion Opportunities
in PA
October 23, 2002
James Langes, Esq., CPA James Lange Law Offices

Pay Taxes Later: Tax Savvy Planning for IRAs and Retirement Plans
in PA
October 23, 2002
James Langes, Esq., CPA James Lange Law Offices

How to Respond to the Market Downturn
in PA
October 23, 2002
Ted Bovard, Senior V.P. and Partner, Fort Pitt Capital Group, Inc.

Improve Your Company's 401(k) Plan
in OH
November 13, 2002
Everhart Financial Group, Inc.

Improve Your Company's 401(k) Plan
in OH
November 14, 2002
Everhart Financial Group, Inc.

The New Global Environment--2002 Global Equity Compensation Conference
in CA
November 11, 2002
National Ctr for Employee Ownership & WorldatWork

in NY
November 14, 2002
NYC Chapter of WEB

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Editor and Publisher: David Rhett Baker, J.D.