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November 21, 2002 - 8,019 subscribers
Today's sponsor: EBIA's Group Health Plans:
Federal Mandates Other Than COBRA & HIPAA

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   Group Health Plans: Federal Mandates Other Than COBRA & HIPAA,
   covers QMCSOs, health coverage for adopted children, the Mental
   Health Parity Act, minimum hospital stays for newborns and mothers,
   the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act, federal employment laws
   affecting group health plans (ADA, ADEA, USERRA, etc.), Medicare
   Secondary Payer, HMO nondiscrimination requirements, etc.
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Workers Take Comfort In Their Colleagues
Excerpt: "The breakdown of typical support systems, such as the family and close-knit neighborhoods, has turned many workplaces into sources of emotional strength. Employees today put in longer hours, focus more on teamwork and face the stresses of downsizing and profit pressures together. The result: Colleagues respond like family when a tragedy strikes." (USA Today via Society for Human Resource Management)

Wall Street Journal Examines Regulatory Exemption Concerning Health Plans Offered by Associations
Excerpt: "The Wall Street Journal on Nov. 21 reports on the 'widespread abuse' of an exemption in insurance regulations that has allowed insurers or insurance agents to sell coverage through supposedly independent not-for-profit associations." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Taking Health Care In-House
Excerpt: "With most big U.S. employers getting hammered by soaring medical costs, Quad/Graphics, the country's largest privately owned printing company, is becoming a focus of attention for cost-containment experts nationwide. Quad/Graphics, based in Pewaukee, Wis., has taken a radical approach to cutting its employee medical costs without sacrificing quality of care -- and its plan is working remarkably well." (Business Week Online via Society for Human Resource Management)

Elections Give Pharmaceutical Industry New Clout in Congress
Excerpt: "Having spent more than $30 million to help elect their allies to Congress, the major drug companies are devising ways to capitalize on their electoral success by securing favorable new legislation and countering the pressure that lawmakers in both parties feel to lower the cost of prescription drugs, industry officials say." (New York Times; free registration required)

Consumer Group Opposes Moving Popular Drug from Prescription to Over-The-Counter Status
Excerpt: "The National Consumers League (NCL), the nation's oldest consumer organization, cautions that switching Clarinex to OTC status poses a risk to patient safety and increases consumers' out-of-pocket healthcare costs.... 'NCL believes that although insurers stand to save substantial amounts of money on physician visits and drugs from an OTC switch, their enrollees and other consumers would pay the price through reduced health insurance coverage and increased healthcare costs' ..." (Reuters Health via Medscape; free registration required)

Employers Use Variety of Tactics to Wrestle Down Health Premium Increases
Excerpt: "[I]ndividual employers and purchasing groups are trying a variety of techniques, including benefit redesigns and technology applications." (Managed Care Week via AISHealth.com)

Benefit Liabilities Threaten Retiree Medical
Excerpt: "Future retirees will be forced to shoulder most or all of their health care costs beyond what's covered by Medicare as the nation's largest employers cut back on medical benefits for retired workers, according to benefit researchers.... To avoid unlimited accounting liabilities, one-quarter of employers have capped the total amount they will pay for annual medical premiums for current retirees." (BenefitNews.com)

Qwest Retirees, Fearing Benefit Reductions, Make Voices Heard at Regulatory Hearing
Excerpt: "The retirees warned that a weakened Qwest -- or a new telephone company if Qwest sold its Minnesota operations -- might be unwilling to continue the noncontractual health benefits and life insurance the retirees now have. Without those benefits, retirees feared they suddenly might become poor." (StarTribune.com)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Stock Option Overhang Increased Beyond Optimal Levels in 2001, Watson Wyatt Study Finds
Press release. Excerpt: "Stock option overhang is defined as the number of stock options granted and outstanding, plus those remaining to be granted as a percent of a company's total shares outstanding. Watson Wyatt research consistently shows that there is an overhang 'sweet spot' or optimal level at which companies financially outperform their peers." (Watson Wyatt)

IASB Issues Exposure Draft on Equity Compensation
The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has issued its much-anticipated exposure draft on accounting for share-based pay. By law, European Union companies must comply with IASB standards by 2007, and Australian companies by 2005. Canada has indicated it will also require compliance with IASB standards. In the U.S., FASB is soliciting comments on the IASB proposal. (National Center for Employee Ownership)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Senior DC / 401(k) Administrators
for L.A. Area TPA with Ocean View
in CA

401(k) Implementation Specialist
for PFPC
in MN

Retirement Plan Consultant
for Primary Consulting, Inc.

Pension Administrator
for Howard Simon & Associates, Inc.
in IL

Benefits Analyst
for Emeritus Assisted Living
in WA

Newly Posted Conferences
(Post Yours!)

Online Class - CEBS Course 6, Financial Concepts and Practices
January 27, 2003

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

BenefitsAlert.Com Releases New Free Report: News And Views Abound On 401(k)s
(Alexander Hamilton Institute - AHI's Benefits Alert)

(HR Connections & Consulting LLC)

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