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November 22, 2002 - 8,019 subscribers
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Large Employers Eyeing Retiree Medical Accounts as Alternative to Traditional Plans
Press release. Excerpt: "With employer cutbacks in retiree health care benefits expected to accelerate, a small but increasing number of companies have started to introduce retiree medical accounts as an alternative to their traditional retiree medical benefits, according to a recent Watson Wyatt study. With a retiree medical account (RMA), an employer contributes a fixed dollar amount to an account, which the retiree uses to purchase health insurance." (Watson Wyatt)

Eleventh Circuit Allows HMOs to Appeal Doctors' Class-Action Suit
Excerpt: "A U.S. appeals court on Thursday granted health maintenance organizations permission to appeal a lower court ruling certifying a class action on behalf of some 600,000 doctors who accused the HMOs of routinely cutting physicians' fees to save money.... Defendants in the provider-track case include Aetna, CIGNA, Humana, Foundation Health Systems, now known as Health Net Inc., UnitedHealth Group Inc., PacifiCare Health Systems Inc. and WellPoint Health Networks Inc." (Reuters via Medscape; free registration required)

Tax Break Prompts Few Employers to Offer Child Care
Excerpt: "It seemed like yet another creative solution to help the U.S. child-care crisis: Offer corporations generous state tax credits to support on-site day care or child-care subsidies. But a report released [Nov. 19, 2002] by the National Women's Law Center in Washington, D.C., found only a small number of U.S. companies cashed in these credits offered by 26 states nationwide, largely because they already had so many tax write-offs that they didn't need the perk." (The Boston Globe via the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Downsized Companies Use Team-building Exercises To Boost Morale, Stem Worries
Excerpt: "Downsizings can sap the morale of the remaining employees, who often are left with increased workloads and anxieties about their own job security. To combat that, tech companies across the country are trying to devise creative ways to keep workers feeling motivated and upbeat." (The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Injecting Laughter, Joy Into the Office Fosters Loyalty, Productivity
Excerpt: "On average, a child will laugh 300 times more a day than an adult. Although fingerpainting and making macaroni necklaces isn't part of an average adult's workday, some experts are asking, why not? Studies have shown and many experts agree that the amount of laughter and fun in the workplace is directly related to a company's productivity." (Baltimore Business Journal via bizjournals.com; free registration required)

Public Employee Retirement Organization Summarizes Presentations from Pros on Health Care Benefits (PDF)
Excerpt: "I want to personally thank NCPERS President Elmer Khal for his support in creating this national task force on health care benefits. I also want to commend him for appointing such a highly qualified, diverse group of individuals who will be meeting here ... It is appropriate for NCPERS, The Voice for Public Pensions, to take a leadership role in addressing this destructive issue facing our public pension plans, employers, active members and retirees across the nation." (National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems)

Foundation's Ad Campaign Succeeds at Getting Folks to Walk More; Goal is Health Improvement
Excerpt: "To see how 'Wheeling Walks' inspired a surprising number of residents to rediscover the rewards of physical activity, please follow the links in 'Inside This Special Report.' ... Telephone surveys indicate 14 percent of residents took up walking a half-hour or more a day, five days a week." (The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

States Combat Drug Costs
Excerpt: "As drug prices continue to climb--a 12.8 percent increase is projected for next year--and as Congress has failed to provide a Medicare drug benefit for seniors, states are increasingly taking matters into their own hands." (Consumer Reports)

Study Urges Single-Payer Health System for Rhode Island Citizens
Excerpt: "The study estimates that it would cost an additional $1 billion to cover all the people who have no insurance or whose insurance doesn't pay for all their needed care. But those additional costs can be more than offset by savings in a newly structured system.... Additionally, the report says, cost savings could be realized if the state negotiated discounts on drugs for all its citizens and if doctors were charged with managing care responsibly." (The Providence Journal)

Madison Ave. Plays Growing Role in Drug Research
Excerpt: "Madison Avenue-- whose television ads have helped turn prescription medicines like Viag_ra, Allegra and Vioxx into billion-dollar products-- is expanding its role in the drug business, wading into the science of drug development. The three largest advertising companies-- Omnicom, Interpublic and WPP-- have spent tens of millions of dollars to buy or invest in companies like Scirex that perform clinical trials of experimental drugs." (New York Times; free registration required)

Audio Excerpt: Drug Industry a Major Contributor to GOP in 2002
Excerpt: "The pharmaceutical industry was one of the biggest contributors to Republican campaign coffers for the 2002 midterm elections, a new report shows. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, drug makers gave $14 million to Republicans, and just $5 million to Democrats. NPR's Snigdha Prakash reports. (Nov. 21, 2002)" (National Public Radio)

More High-Income Individuals Go Without Health Insurance
Excerpt: "Because higher income groups have more political power, their mounting numbers among the uninsured could renew stalled debate about what to do.... Some [individuals] are starting businesses and can't afford extra expenses. Some are victims of the weak economy, laid off and uninsured. Some are healthy and willing to take a chance they'll stay that way. Then there are those who got sick-- even with mild conditions-- and can't find an insurer willing to offer them a policy." (USA Today)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Accounting for Pensions and Other Postretirement Benefits 2002
Excerpt: "Watson Wyatt Worldwide analyzes disclosures under Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Statements 87 and 106 (FAS 87 and FAS 106), as amended by FASB Statement 132 (FAS 132).... The report summarizes the assumptions used by companies in the calculation of pension expense and obligations, the disclosure of pension assets and obligations under FAS 87, and disclosures regarding postretirement benefits other than pensions, primarily health and life insurance benefits." (Watson Wyatt)

Legal and Institutional Impediments to Partial Retirement and Part-Time Work by Older Workers
Link to executive summary, which contains link to full 111-page report. Excerpt: "[T]here are a large number of legal and institutional barriers to more flexible employment arrangements for older workers.... While it was often not appropriate to erect these barriers then, now the imminent, drastic change in demographic conditions creates a much more urgent need for reform.... One of the most important barriers to longer work comes from privately negotiated defined benefit pension plans." (Rudolph G. Penner, Pamela Perun, C. Eugene Steuerle, published by the Urban Institute)

Links to Full Text of IASB Documents on Accounting for Stock Options
Excerpt: "Here are links to the recently released IASB proposals on Share Based Payments. Entire report ... Basis for conclusions ... [and] Draft implementation guidance ..." (National Association of Stock Plan Professionals)

Announcement of Option Expensing Has No Impact on Share Price, Towers Perrin Study Finds
Press release. Excerpt: "The study provides substantial support for the view that accounting portrayal of incentives does not influence stock prices." (Towers Perrin)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Group Benefits Analyst
for Small But Growing Insurance Agency Specializing In Group Benefits
in NY

Senior Pension Administrator/Consultant
for Accrued Benefit Administrators, Inc. ["ABA"]
in CA

Sales Account Executive
for Neighborhood Health Plan
in MA

Account Executive
for Principal Financial Group
in TX

Retirement Administrator
for Harrah's Entertainment, Inc.
in NV

Pension Administrator
for Providence Health System
in WA

Senior Plan Administrator
for Matthews Benefit Group, Inc
in FL

Product Marketing Manager #12172BR
for American Express
in MN

Issues Resolution Associate
for ICMA Retirement Corporation
in DC

Newly Posted Webcasts
(Post Yours!)

Pension Funding: Weathering the Current Crisis
on December 18, 2002
presented by Watson Wyatt and Financial Executives International

Prescription Drugs: Effective State Approaches to Extending Coverage and Controlling Costs
on November 18, 2002
presented by Kaisernetwork.org

Pitfalls, Perils and New Approaches to Making Health Insurance More Affordable
on November 18, 2002
presented by Kaisernetwork.org

Newly Posted Conferences
(Post Yours!)

Davis Bacon Plans e-Seminar
December 12, 2002
McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

Online Class - CEBS Course 9, Health Economics
January 27, 2003

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