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November 12, 2002 - 7,906 subscribers
Today's sponsor: Benefit Software Inc.

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   Personalized Employee Benefit Statements from Benefit Software

   The average employer pays 38% over employees' gross salaries in
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   Benefit Software has nearly 25 years of experience helping thousands
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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)
For Federal Employees, Higher Premiums and Fewer Health Plans to Choose From During Open Season
Excerpt: "Federal employees and retirees will be able to switch health plans during the annual open season, which begins Monday and runs through Dec. 9.... During the 2003 open season, employees can use OPM's FEHBP Web site to compare health plans. Features on the site allow employees to enter their zip codes and get a list of the health plans available in their areas. This year, four new insurance plans are joining the program, while 11 are dropping out ..." (GovExec.com)

Court To Decide Whether To Hear Challenge to Class-Action Status in Doctors' Lawsuit vs. HMOs
Excerpt: "The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta within the next few days will decide whether to hear an appeal seeking to dismiss a class-action lawsuit against several of the nation's largest HMOs, a decision that carries with it 'high stakes' and the potential to 'change the way health care is delivered nationwide,' the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports ..." (KaiserNetwork.org)

How to Gift the Boss or a Special Co-Worker
Excerpt: "It's an age-old dilemma and it comes up several times each year. What do you do for that special boss or co-worker on their birthday, their company anniversary, their engagement, the birth of their child, or to celebrate the holiday season. Gift-giving occasions are endless-- and endlessly challenging." (About.com)

Analysis: Individuals Find Wide Price Spreads and Differing Benefits in Individual Health Insurance
Press release, with link to full text of report. Excerpt: "In the spring of 2002, the California HealthCare Foundation studied individual health insurance products offered by the five major insurers serving this market (Blue Cross of California, Blue Shield of California, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente, and PacifiCare). What the researchers found was a dizzying array of choices and prices, often difficult to understand and compare." (California HealthCare Foundation)

Large Massachusetts Employers, Health Plans To Pay Providers for Quality Care
Excerpt: "Beginning next year, several large employers and health insurers in Massachusetts will offer eligible physicians bonuses for providing high-quality health care in the hope that improving care now will lower costs in the long term, the Boston Globe reports." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Reviewing Direct-To-Consumer Drug Ads Should Top FDA Head McClellan's Agenda, Editorial Says
Excerpt: " Recently confirmed FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan should examine the agency's 'slowdown in actions against drug advertisements that provide false, misleading or inadequate information,' according to a Boston Globe editorial." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Drug Industry Poised to Reap Political Dividends
Excerpt: "Few industries campaigned harder than pharmaceutical manufacturers to elect Republicans to the new Congress, and few industries are better positioned to reap the rewards of the election returns, analysts said Thursday." (Los Angeles Times; free registration required)

Kinder and Gentler: Physicians and Managed Care, 1997-2001
Excerpt: "Despite the managed care backlash, an overwhelming majority of U.S. physicians continue to contract with managed care health plans.... [P]hysician practices moved away from using direct financial incentives to influence doctors' clinical decision making, but did experience an increase in the overall influence of treatment guidelines and other practices commonly associated with managed care." (Center for Studying Health System Change)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Employee Benefit Plan-Related Deadlines Are Looming
Excerpt: "As the end of the year approaches, so too do a number of deadlines and effective dates that may be important to your pension and welfare benefit plans.... [These are:] Updated SPD Content Requirements ... Updated Claims Procedure Rules [for welfare benefit plans] ... EGTRRA Good Faith Amendments [for retirement plans] ... Safe Harbor 401(k) Notice Requirement ... GAR Mortality Table [for defined benefit retirement plans] ..." (Deloitte & Touche Human Capital Advisory Services)

Bush's Way Is Clear to Press His Agenda for the Economy
Excerpt: "With his party in control and his political standing solidified, President Bush has new freedom to confront the weakened economy on his terms and has put his advisers to work developing an ambitious agenda for the next two years. It is sure to include making permanent the 10-year tax cut passed last year, securing new tax cuts for investors, holding down spending in areas other than national security and moving slowly toward overhauling the tax code and Social Security." (New York Times; free registration required)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Financial Transactions Specialist
for ExpertPlan, inc.
in NJ

Retirement Plan Sales Consultant
for Invesmart
in WA

Manager, Compliance
for Means & Associates, LLC
in CA

Benefits Attorney
for Intel Corporation
in CA

Senior Pension Administrator
for The Kagan Company
in CA

Counsel, Employee Benefits
for National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
in VA

Retirement Services Conversion Specialist
for SunTrust Bank - Atlanta, GA
in GA

Plan Specialist
for Transamerica-The Winning Organization
in CA

Plan Administrator
for Retirement Funding Corporation
in MI

Pension Administrator-Columbia, MD
for CBIZ Business Solutions, Inc.
in MD

Enrolled Actuary
for San Diego Pension Consultants, Inc.
in CA

Benefits Manager
for Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon
in IL

Health & Welfare Consultant
for Benefits Consulting Firm
in MA

Newly Posted Webcasts
(Post Yours!)

Top 15 Pitfalls of Plan Administration
on November 20, 2002
presented by ASPA

Elections 2002: Congress and the States
on November 7, 2002
presented by Kaiser Family Foundation

Impact of the November Elections on U.S. Tax Policy
on November 13, 2002
presented by Clark/Bardes Consulting

Newly Posted Conferences
(Post Yours!)

Consumer-Driven Healthcare Winter Symposium
in FL
November 21, 2002
Global Business Research, Ltd.

Tiered Networks & Variable Co-Pays for Medical Services
in CA
December 12, 2002
Global Business Research, Ltd.

Health Reimbursement Arrangements - New Solutions for Consumer-Directed Healthcare
in TX
December 3, 2002
Employers Council on Flexible Compensation

Consumer-Directed Health Care: Are HRAs an Answer for Both Employers and Employees
in DC
March 13, 2003
Employers Council on Flexible Compensation

16th Annual Cafeteria Plan Symposium
in IL
August 13, 2003
Employers Council on Flexible Compensation

Pension & Retirement Savings Plans Fundamentals
in NY
November 12, 2002
New York Metropolitan Area Chapter - ISCEBS

Making Retirement Income Last a Lifetime...a marketing research study
in NY
November 14, 2002
New York Metropolitan Area Chapter - ISCEBS

Disease Management Summit
in FL
January 23, 2003
The Center for Business Intelligence

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

SEPP Calculation Software Now Available
(ImagiSOFT, Inc.)

ORTEC Financial Writers Named Winners of the 2002 Dietz Award by the Journal of Performance Measurement
(ORTEC International)

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