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November 26, 2002 - 8,019 subscribers
Today's sponsor: EBIA's COBRA: The Developing Law

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

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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)
Audio Excerpt: Drug Costs Compared Online
Excerpt: "The state of Oregon and the AARP are trying to make it easier for patients to obtain the proper prescriptions at the best prices. The state and the senior citizen group are providing an online comparison of four different types of drugs: for pain, blood pressure, cholesterol and arthritis. Kristian Foden-Vencil reports. (Nov. 25, 2002)" (National Public Radio)

White Paper: Portability of Coverage--COBRA and HIPAA (PDF)
8 pages. Excerpt: "[W]hile workers usually have access to some form of coverage when they lose their jobs, there is no assurance that the options presented to them will be affordable. This brief describes the reach and limitations of recent federal and state initiatives to improve the portability of health coverage." (The Commonwealth Fund)

Wall Street Journal Examines Health Care Cost Shift From Employers to Workers
Excerpt: "The Wall Street Journal Nov. 26 examines the 'rude awakening' faced by many employees at large companies that have asked them to 'take a hit' in their health insurance and retirement account benefits. Many large companies, faced with 'meager profits and a sputtering economic recovery,' have moved to reduce labor costs, such as health coverage." (KaiserNetwork.org)

White Paper: Health Insurance Purchasing Cooperatives (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "This brief compares the expectations of health insurance purchasing cooperatives for small employers with the actual experiences of different co-ops and draws lessons about the potential for similar future purchasing efforts. physicians. Employee choice has particular value in an insurance market dominated by managed care plans, each with different treatment philosophies, expectations of enrollees, and panels of providers." (The Commonwealth Fund)

Health Insurers Test Tiered Coverage
Excerpt: "Some insurance companies are trying a new tactic to drive down health-care costs, using tiered medical coverage to steer patients from high-priced hospitals and doctors to less expensive ones. The new plans establish price categories for hospitals and doctors in the same way that many plans now are 'tiering' prescription drugs, requiring patients to pay more themselves for the costlier alternatives." (The Boston Globe)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

2001 Important Developments Report by American Bar Association's Tax Section (PDF)
32 pages. Well-written summaries of principal employee benefits developments during 2001, in the areas of legislation, regulations, cases and rulings. (American Bar Association, Section of Taxation)

IRS Reminds Taxpayers About Separate W-2 Reporting for Nonstatutory Stock Option Comp in 2003
Announcement 2002-108. Excerpt: "[C]onsistent with Announcement 2001-92, the reporting of compensation resulting from employer-provided nonstatutory stock options in box 12 of the Form W-2, using Code V, is mandatory for Forms W-2 issued for the year 2003 and subsequent years in accordance with the Form W-2 and its instructions." (Internal Revenue Service)

War Over Stock Options Heats Up
Excerpt: "Faced with a growing threat to the way it compensates its workers, the high-tech industry is making a last-minute push to better explain how its companies grant employee stock options. But some observers say the high-tech lobby appears poised to lose this fight ..." (The Boston Globe)

Opinion: In Defense of Stock Options
Excerpt: "Stock options, in fact, founded Silicon Valley. It was frustration over Fairchild Camera's unwillingness to share its wealth in the form of stock that led the employees of subsidiary Fairchild Semiconductor to depart en masse and start Intel, AMD, National Semiconductor and all of the other pioneering companies of Silicon Valley." (Michael S. Malone on ABCNews.com)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
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Benefit Directors: NYC Opportunities
for New York, New York
in NY

VP/Employee Benefits Business Development Officer
for Growth-oriented holding company in Northern Missouri
in MO

Retirement Consultant
for Palmer & Cay, Inc.
in MO

for Invesmart
in WA

Newly Posted Conferences
(Post Yours!)

Six Decisions To Take Control of Future Health Care
November 27, 2002
Hewitt Associates

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