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November 5, 2002 - 7,839 subscribers
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Health Insurance Premiums to Rise for General Motors Salaried Retirees
Excerpt: "More than 160,000 General Motors Corp. salaried retirees, who until recently paid little or nothing for health care benefits, will see their premiums jump by as much as $51 a month next year.... Some workers' premiums will double from this year and quadruple from just two years ago. The average increase will be about $25 a month. Some increases will be as low as $9." (Detroit Free Press via NewsAlert.com)

Audio Excerpt: Insurance Costs Soar for Small Business
Excerpt: "Small businesses face sharply higher premiums for property, liability and health insurance. A trade group says the average cost of business insurance has jumped by 30-percent. NPR's Scott Horsley reports." (National Public Radio)

Health Plan Participant Uses ERISA Sec. 510 to Keep Health Coverage in Corporate Transaction
Excerpt: "In Lessard v. Applied Risk Management, No. 01-15648 (9th Cir. October 3, 2002), the court held two companies violated ERISA section 510 when, pursuant to an asset purchase agreement, the buyer automatically hired the seller's active employees and provided them with health insurance coverage, but refused to provide coverage for the seller's employees on extended leaves of absence until they returned to work." (Deloitte & Touche Human Capital Advisory Services)

Higher Education Perk Seeing Slow Demand
Excerpt: "Although more employers have been adding college-savings plans to their benefit offerings, employees have been slow to sign up.... The confusion stems in part from the array of options investors have when considering 529 plans, named after the Internal Revenue Service code that governs them. All 50 states now offer or plan to offer their own versions, and most are open to non-residents." (Indianapolis Business Journal via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Health Reimbursement Accounts Promise To Change Consumer Health Care Purchasing
Health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) will revolutionize the way that consumers purchase health care, speakers asserted at a recent seminar cosponsored by the Employers' Council on Flexible Compensation (ECFC), FlexBen Corporation, and Hewitt Associates. This past June, the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance concerning the tax treatment of employer-funded HRAs used for the payment of unreimbursed medical expenses, and allowing unused amounts to be rolled over to subsequent plan years. (SpencerNet)

Overview: CMS Describes HIPAA Issues for Association Plans
Excerpt: "How association health plans are affected by the guaranteed availability and renewability provisions under Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was explained in a series of recent bulletins from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Generally, an association health plan is one in which an entity offers health insurance to a collection of employers and/or individuals." (Thompson Publishing Group)

Surprise Contender in Oregon: Health Care for All
Excerpt: "Oregon [might become] the first state to guarantee medical coverage for everyone. Oregonians -- who already are voting by mail -- will decide by Tuesday whether to adopt Measure 23. Because it calls for new taxes, Measure 23 faces long odds. But with roughly 13% of Oregon residents without health insurance (close to the national uninsured rate of 14.6%), frustration over health care runs deep in the state." (Los Angeles Times; free registration required)



Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Securing Executive Benefits in an Insecure Time (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "This article outlines rabbi trusts, secular trusts and numerous trends in modern [executive compensation] plan design, such as call features, short-term deferral provisions and participant ability to modify distribution dates and streams, that offer heightened security to plan participants." (Robert J. Birdsell of Clark/Bardes Consulting and David L. Wolfe, Esq. of Gardner Carton & Douglas)

DOL Assistant Secretary Ann L. Combs Announces Record Enforcement Results
Press release. Excerpt: "Last fiscal year, the PWBA restored a record $832.4 million for plans and participants through enforcement actions. The agency closed a record 4,925 civil cases, with 1,940 cases resulting in monetary recoveries for plans. The largest proportion of cases closed with monetary results was 401(k) plan investigations." (U.S. Department of Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration)

Letter to Company's Benefits Coordinators Was Sufficient Request for ERISA Documents (PDF)
7 pages. Romero v. SmithKline Beecham, No. 01-3273 (3d Cir. Oct. 30, 2002). Excerpt: "[T]he District Court held that because [plaintiff] Romero addressed her requests for information to [benefits coordinators] Nelson and Ubil, not [the named plan administrator,] Serocca, she could not recover the civil penalty. We believe ... the 30-day period [begins to run when] the request is actually received either by the administrator or those under the administrator's supervision." (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, via FindLaw.com)

Corporate Loans to Former WorldCom CEO Used Personally, Report Discloses
Excerpt: "Bernard J. Ebbers, the former chairman and chief executive of WorldCom, used millions of dollars in loans from the company for purposes that were never properly disclosed to shareholders, including the construction of a new home and gifts and loans to his friends and family, according to an interim report filed by a federal bankruptcy examiner yesterday." (New York Times; free registration required)

Facing the Bear: the 2002 Chief Financial Officers Compensation Survey
Excerpt: "Much of the consequent reshuffling of CFO pay packages will likely involve rethinking the use of stock options, which have become a singular focus of reform efforts. But CFOs have already felt the pain of the bear market in their short-term pay, according to the 2002 compensation survey, conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting." (CFO.com)

Employee or Independent Contractor? 20 Questions to Ask
Excerpt: "While contingent staffing may seem like a logical way to get the work done (and keep headcount and associated employment costs such as taxes and benefits down), think twice before engaging the services of a so-called 'independent contractor.' ... When determining whether an individual is more appropriately classified as an employee or IC, ask yourself the following questions:" (SmartPros)




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Document Compliance Analyst
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Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)

Employers Blaze New Trails With Consumer-Driven Health Care
in ALL STATES
November 13, 2002
Hewitt Associates

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