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November 6, 2002 - 7,906 subscribers
Today's sponsor: NCEO

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

   Our Bookstore now carries books published by the NCEO!

   The National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), a nonprofit
   membership and research organization that provides information on
   broad-based employee stock plans, now has over a dozen of its
   most popular publications available for purchase in the
   BenefitsLink bookstore. Topics range from employee stock
   ownership plans (ESOPs) to stock options to employee stock
   purchase plans (ESPPs).

(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)
EGTRRA Offers Dependent Care an Unexpected Benefit
Excerpt: "Under the 2002 tax rules, it was generally felt that an employee whose adjusted gross income was less than approximately $24,000 would, in most cases, be better off claiming the Dependent Care Tax Credit [rather than using a Dependent Care Spending Account, or 'DSCA'.]... [After EGTRRA, some] advisors have suggested that only employees with family income of at least $39,000 will be better off with the DCSA." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

Supporters Mobilizing for COBRA Subsidy in New York State for Out-of-Work Entertainers
Excerpt: "Supporters of the COBRA health-care subsidy bill have organized a letter-writing campaign to Joseph Bruno, the Republican majority leader of the New York State Senate-- seen as the key legislator to the bill's passage in the upper house.... The bill will allow many members of the entertainment industry who are unable to afford COBRA, which can cost over $350 for an individual and over $1,000 for a family, to purchase it." (backstage.com)

When Vanpooling May Be a Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit
IRS Information Letter 2002-0113 (Sept. 30, 2002). Excerpt: "In this Information Letter, the IRS discusses the circumstances under which vanpooling may qualify as a transportation fringe benefit under Code Section 132(f). [It] notes that transportation in a commuter highway vehicle (e.g., vanpool transportation) between the employee's residence and place of employment is one of the three qualified transportation fringe benefits that may be excluded from an employee's gross income ..." (EBIA Weekly)

Parking of Single-Occupancy Vehicles May Be Qualified Parking Under Code Section 132(f)
IRS Information Letter 2002-0117 (Sept. 30, 2002). Excerpt: "This IRS Information Letter responds to an inquiry regarding whether parking a single-occupancy vehicle at or near an employer's place of business is qualified parking that may be subject to pre-tax compensation reductions under Code Section 132(f).... [Q]ualified parking is not limited to multiple-occupancy vehicles but may also include single-occupancy vehicles, so long as the applicable requirements for qualified parking are met." (EBIA Weekly)

Pilot Program Boosts Generic Dispensing Rate
Excerpt: "A two-year pilot program aimed at driving increased use of lower-cost generic drugs has wildly exceeded the expectations of its sponsor, Medco Health Solutions, yielding nearly $1 million in savings for its clients in 2001 alone." (Reuters via Medscape; free registration required)

U.S. Physicians Tend to Downplay Problem of Medical Errors
Excerpt: "Although US physicians are concerned about medical errors, a survey shows, most do not believe that the problem is as significant as the 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine indicates. The public, however, seems to have a different take." (Reuters via Medscape; free registration required)

Health Insurers' Increase in Profits Attracts Attention
Excerpt: "Big gains in profits at the Tristate's three biggest health insurers are causing some raised eyebrows among employers, hospitals and medical groups. But insurers say their profit margins remain thinner than many people would suspect." (The Cincinnati Enquirer)



Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

GOP Captures Control of Senate
Excerpt: "Republicans on Wednesday morning took control of the U.S. Senate, breathing new life into President George W. Bush's tax-cut priorities for the next session of Congress." (Dow Jones Newswires via Yahoo! News)

ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits Publishes Exchange of Q&As with IRS EP Officials (PDF)
13 pages; 28 questions and answers. Excerpt: "[The Q&As are based] on a meeting with [IRS and Treasury Department] staff May 11, 2002 ... The responses reflect the unofficial, individual views of the government participants as of the time of the discussion, and do not necessarily represent agency policy." Includes Q&As on cafeteria plans, 401(k) plans, qualified transportation fringe benefits, new comparability regs, ESOPs, anti-cutback rules, and more. (ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits)

2002 Report of the Subcommittee on Reporting and Disclosure
23 pages; originally published February 2002. Includes discussion of recent case law on interpretation of plan documents and summary plan descriptions, application of ERISA penalty provisions for failure to provide requested documents, case law on failure to provide COBRA/HIPAA notices, more. (American Bar Association, Section of Labor and Employment Law, Employee Benefits Subcommittee)

2002 Report of the Subcommittee on Jointly Administered (Taft-Hartley) Plans
25 pages; originally published February 2002. Includes discussion of recent case law on employer contribution obligations, contract interpretation issues, piercing the corporate veil, more. (American Bar Association, Section of Labor and Employment Law, Employee Benefits Subcommittee)

2002 Report of the Subcommittee on Public Plans and Plans Sponsored by Tax-Exempt Organizations
21 pages; originally published February 2002. Includes discussion of recent case law on issues particularly affecting governmental plans and plans sponsored by tax-exempt organizations, summary of EGTRRA changes affecting such plans, and summary of new IRS rulings and regulations affecting such plans. (American Bar Association, Section of Labor and Employment Law, Employee Benefits Subcommittee)

2002 Report of the Subcommittee on Fiduciary Responsibility
22 pages; originally published February 2002. Includes discussion of recent case law on fiduciary status, duties of prudence and diversification, liability of fiduciaries and non-fiduciaries for breaches, prohibited transactions and statutes of limitation. (American Bar Association, Section of Labor and Employment Law, Employee Benefits Subcommittee)

2002 Report of the Subcommittee on Ethics
29 pages; originally published February 2002. Includes discussion of recent case law on attorney-client privilege issues in representing benefit plan fiduciaries. (American Bar Association, Section of Labor and Employment Law, Employee Benefits Subcommittee)

Welcome to new BenefitsLink advertiser Mike Pavlicek
Excerpt: "Mike Pavlicek, who became a partner in Nisen & Elliott in 1996, practices in the areas of employee benefits, executive compensation, ERISA and taxation. He has drafted (and advised clients regarding) qualified plans, non-qualified executive compensation plans, flexible benefit plans and welfare plans. Mike Pavlicek has frequently advised clients regarding the employee benefit aspects of mergers and acquisitions, including evaluation of benefit ."




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

Pension Administrator
for Means & Associates, LLC
in CA

Director/Global Retirement Plans
for MasterCard International
in NY

Retirement Plan Sales Consultant
for Invesmart
in KY

Senior Regulatory Support Officer
for American Express Financial Advisors
in MN


Newly Posted Conferences (Post Yours!)

Employee Benefits Litigation
in CA
January 16, 2003
ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Representing the Professional and Closely Held Business: Qualified Plans, Welfare Benefits, and Tax Planning
in AZ
February 13, 2003
ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Complying with Labor and Employment Laws of the NAFTA Countries
in FL
March 6, 2003
ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Pension, Profit-Sharing, Welfare, and Other Compensation Plans
in CA
March 19, 2003
ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Health Plans, HIPAA, and COBRA Update
in
March 27, 2003
ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Annual Spring Employee Benefits Law and Practice Update
in
April 3, 2003
ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Expensing Stock Options - Is It Inevitable? So What's Next?
in CA
December 3, 2002
Bingham McCutchen LLP and Certified Equity Professional Institute


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