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November 25, 2002 - 8,019 subscribers
Today's sponsor: WorldatWork

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Lockheed Changes Policy to Benefit Gays
Excerpt: "Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corp., the nation's largest defense contractor, reversed course and added sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination policy, and said it plans to offer health benefits to the domestic partners of its gay employees." (Washington Post)

The Role of Long-Term Care Insurance in a Financially Secure Future
Excerpt: "Age and financial resources are the two primary factors in deciding whether someone should buy LTC insurance. While there are no hard and fast rules, CPAs can use the $50,000 average annual cost of a nursing home stay as a starting point.... What can ruin a well-planned retirement faster than a declining stock market? The answer for many is an uninsured catastrophic illness or infirmity." (Journal of Accountancy, published by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants)

Employees Should Not Deliver Ex-Spouses' COBRA Notices
Excerpt: "It was 'unreasonable' for an employer/plan administrator, when notified of a divorce, to give the COBRA election notice to an employee to deliver to his ex-spouse, a federal district court in New York ruled." (Thompson Publishing Group)

Problem of Lost Health Benefits Is Reaching Into the Middle Class
Excerpt: "According to recently released Census Bureau figures, 1.4 million Americans lost their health insurance last year, an increase largely attributed to the economic slowdown and resulting rise in unemployment. The largest group of the newly uninsured-- some 800,000 people-- had incomes in excess of $75,000." (New York Times; free registration required)

Clear Expectations Crucial to Telecommuters
Excerpt: "As statistics worsen on commuting times across the country, many employers have instituted telecommuting programs to put employees on a stress-free work path. However, poor maintenance and lack of communication around such programs can lead to a dead end in employee productivity and satisfaction." (BenefitNews.com)

Consumer-Driven Health Plans: Are They More Than Talk Now?
Excerpt: "Consumer-driven plans are catching on and could be in the mainstream of health care in a few years." (Health Affairs)

California Governor Wants HMOs to Give Workers Notice if Plans Are Canceled
Excerpt: "Gov. Gray Davis asked state HMO regulators Wednesday to require health plans to notify workers when their job-based insurance coverage is canceled because their employer stopped paying the premium." (The Sacramento Bee via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Unions Protest Wal-Mart; Health Benefits Are Issue for Company's 1 Million Employees
Excerpt: "Labor unions led a nationwide protest against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. [on Nov. 21, 2002], demanding that the world's biggest retailer provide better pay and health benefits and clear the way for unions to organize its nearly 1 million workers." (Newsday via Society for Human Resource Management)

NPR Examines Oregon Program That Compares Safety, Efficacy of Prescription Drugs
Excerpt: "NPR's 'Morning Edition' on Nov. 25 reported on Oregon's prescription drug guide, an initiative implemented by Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) to address rising prescription drug costs." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Increase In Uninsured Is Due To Erosion of Employment-Based Health Care Benefits: EBRI
In 2001, 62.6% of Americans were covered by employment-based health care benefits, down from 63.6% in 2000. This decline is the beginning of a new trend, according to research recently conducted by EBRI. The November issue of EBRI Notes reports that coverage cutbacks were caused by the weak economy and rising health benefit costs, continuing trends that have hit small employers particularly hard, leading them to either drop health benefits or require workers to pay more for them. (SpencerNet)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Commentary: Is Litigation an American Blight, or Built In?
Excerpt: "[A] growing number of political scientists are arguing that America's famous litigiousness isn't rooted in plain and simple greed but is rather the logical response to America's distinctive distribution of power and to a historical distrust of big government." (New York Times; free registration required)

Keeping Ghosts Off the Payroll
Excerpt: "Ghost employees: This term refers to someone on the payroll who doesn't actually work for the victim company. The ghost frequently is a recently departed employee, a made-up person or a friend or relative of the fraudster, who can cash the paycheck by forging the endorsement or by having an accomplice deposit the proceeds into his or her bank account." (Journal of Accountancy, published by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants)

Why Corporate Compensation Committees Need the Help of CPAs
Excerpt: "CPAs can add value to compensation committees in these four areas: helping to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations, setting performance goals and benchmarks for the incentive portion of executive pay packages, calculating the value of stock options where companies treat options as expenses on income statements and evaluating alternatives to traditional stock option payouts." (Journal of Accountancy, published by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants)

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