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October 31, 2002 - 7,839 subscribers
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Is Your Company Ready for a Consumer-Driven Health Plan?
Online survey tool. Excerpt: "Buck's survey will gauge your company's readiness for consumer-driven health care. After completing the following questionnaire, click Get Survey Results to view an assessment of your company's readiness, along with a chart showing your answers relative to those of other employers who have taken the survey." (Buck Consultants)

In Rev. Proc. 2002-70, IRS Provides Inflation-Adjusted Figures for 2003 (PDF)
Includes figures relevant to qualified transportation fringe benefit plans under IRC 132(f), adoption assistance programs under IRC 137, and medical savings accounts under IRC 220. (Internal Revenue Service)

Almost Half of All Workers Would Participate in 529 Plan at Work
Press release. Excerpt: "With the rapidly increasing popularity of the 529 College Savings Plan as an effective tax management and higher education savings tool, a recent survey revealed that 43 % of working Americans, who are currently saving or have plans to save in the future for higher education costs, would participate in a 529 College Savings Plan if offered through payroll deduction." (ADP)

State Lawmakers' Group Proposes Nonprofit Pharmacy Benefit Management Firm
Excerpt: "Fed up with soaring prescription drug prices, an association of state legislators in six states and the District of Columbia [has] announced a plan to create the nation's first nonprofit pharmacy benefit manager (PBM). Vermont State Senator Peter Shumlin ... said he would present a business plan detailing the PBM proposal at the group's next meeting on December 6 in New York." (Medscape; free registration required)

Institute of Medicine Panel Urges U.S. Government to Reward Better Care
Excerpt: "The federal government should use its influence as one of the largest purchasers of healthcare to spur improvement by paying hospitals and doctors more money when they provide better care, said a committee of government advisers Wednesday." (Medscape; free registration required)

ERIC Comments on HIPAA Privacy Regs from Perspective of Employers Sponsoring Group Health Plans (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "Of the many issues vexing employers, outlined below, the most pervasive problem is the utterly unworkable preemption rule contained in the regulation and its underlying statutory provision.... For the foreseeable future, the government should concentrate on educating covered entities about how to come into compliance, and providing ample opportunities for self-correction, rather than seeking to penalize non-compliance." (ERISA Industry Committee)

Medical-Tech Boom, Hospital Consolidation Fuel Health Inflation
Excerpt: "While pharmaceuticals remain a major driver of healthcare cost inflation, a new report released by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association ... traces much of the explosive growth to rapid proliferation of medical technology and rising provider consolidation.... The real drivers of the nation's $1.5 trillion healthcare tab are hospital and physician costs, accounting for 79% of the overall increase in healthcare costs between 1998 and 2001, the report noted." (Medscape; free registration required)

Opinion: It's Time for Pharmacy Benefit Managers to Step Up to the Plate
Excerpt: "[O]ur industry must find ways to better educate those buying prescription drug benefits on the value of programs such as managed formularies, disease management, and mail-order pharmacy. The PBM industry has the solutions to today's problems." (Medscape; free registration required)

California Healthcare Consortium Announces Criteria for Quality-Based Physician Bonus Program
Press release. Excerpt: "Under the program, the six participating health plans, covering eight million HMO enrollees, will provide bonus payments to physician groups based on a common set of performance measures. The Pay for Performance program also will include a consolidated performance scorecard for each physician group." (Integrated Healthcare Association)

Health-Care Costs: the Painful Truth
Excerpt: "Milliman USA's Steve Cigich explains why consumers will have to bear a bigger share of soaring medical expense." (BusinessWeek Online)

Opinion: Universal Healthcare Vote in Oregon is Beaver State Bolshevism
Excerpt: "[In 1918 Russia, Lenin's] goal was to replace the market economy with government control of prices, wages and industry.... The Soviet dream came to a disastrous end ... But none of this seems to have registered on Democrats, Greens and the NAACP in Oregon, where they have put on the ballot in next week's election a Leninist plan for health care under which the government and only the government would provide, deliver, regulate and finance medical services to Oregonians." (OpinionJournal.com)

Bank of America to Limit Executives' Severance Pay
Excerpt: "Bank of America Corp., yielding to the demands of activist shareholders, will restrict the severance pay offered to departing executives, the Teamsters union said. The third-biggest U.S. bank's highest-paid executives won't be able to pocket more than double their salary and bonus if they decide to quit, unless shareholders give prior approval ..." (Los Angeles Times via Society for Human Resource Management)

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

Non Qualified Plan Recordkeeper
for Vinings Management Corporation
in GA

Plan Administrator
for weaver partners, inc.

Pension Actuary
for Actuarial Designs & Solutions, Inc.
in ME

Pension Administrator
for Chambers Benefit Group
in NM

Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)

What's Driving the Rapid Rise in Health Care Costs ?
in MA
December 5, 2002
Greater Boston Chapter, Intl Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists

Newly Posted Press Releases

Fisher Vista's HR Marketer(tm) Service Now Available Through HR.com
(Fisher Vista)

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