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Welfare Plans
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November 27 - December 2, 2002 - 8,019 subscribers
Today's sponsor: EBIA's ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans

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   ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans is an authoritative
   resource for employers, administrators and advisors. Written by
   leading employee benefits attorneys, this manual has all the
   information you need to bring your welfare benefit plans into
   compliance with ERISA. You'll also get the current eBook version
   of the entire manual on CD!

   Click above to learn more about this valuable treatise, which is
   always kept current through periodic updates.

(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)
COBRA Provisions of PHSA Do Not Preempt State Continuation Coverage Law Applicable to Municipalities
State ex rel. Orlofske v. City of Wheeling (W. Va. 2002). Excerpt: "This case is consistent with the one published federal circuit court case to analyze the issue of PHSA/COBRA preemption of state law claims relating to state and local governmental plans: Radici v. Associated Ins. Companies ... (9th Cir. 2000). Both conclude that, because the PHSA lacks a preemptive provision comparable to ERISA's Section 514(a), there is no basis to find a non-conflicting state law preempted." (EBIA Weekly)

ABA Tax Section's Employee Benefits Committee Publishes COBRA Subcommittee Meeting Materials
Includes materials entitled COBRA Subsidy for Trade-Displaced Workers; Update of Recent Cafeteria Plan and Health FSA Issues; Update of Recent COBRA Cases; Defined Contribution Health Plans-- A Green Light For HRAs; and Final HIPAA Privacy Regulations Issued-- Implications for Employers. (American Bar Association, Section of Taxation, Employee Benefits Committee)

Plan Language Permitted Participant's Will to Change Life Insurance Plan's Beneficiary Designation
Liberty Life Assurance Co. v. Kennedy (N.D. Ga. 2002). Excerpt: "[A]s this case illustrates, the case law is mixed on whether a plan may honor an otherwise proper beneficiary designation when a conflicting claim is made.... [A]dministrators and insurers should keep in mind that the interpleader procedure used in this case can protect a plan facing conflicting claims." (EBIA Weekly)

Plan's Failure to Respond to Appeal Was "Deemed Denial" Not Entitled to Deferential Review by Court
Jebian v. Hewlett-Packard Co. Employee Benefits Organization Income Protection Plan (9th Cir. 2002). Excerpt: "The Ninth Circuit [held] that the less deferential, de novo standard of review should have been applied [to the long-term disability determination] because the plan decision before the court was a deemed denial that had not involved an exercise of discretion." (EBIA Weekly)

Voluntary Benefit Plans May Fall Under ERISA
Excerpt: "A strict interpretation of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) regulations could cause problems for voluntary benefits brokers and their clients and end up changing the way voluntary plans are marketed." (BenefitNews.com)

Analysis: SB 1661 Establishes California Family Temporary Disability Insurance Program (PDF)
Excerpt: "This bill provides for disability compensation to be paid to California employees who take time off work to care for a new child or a sick or injured family member. SB 1661 establishes a Family Temporary Disability Insurance ('FTDI') program to be administered by the California State Disability Insurance program ('SDI'). The bill has an effective date of January 1, 2004. Benefits will be payable for FTDI leaves that begin on or after July 1, 2004." (Trucker Huss, ERISA and Employee Benefits Attorneys)

Pfizer-Run Disease Management Program Said to Save Millions for Florida Medicaid Program
Excerpt: "Pfizer funding pays for about 60 'care managers' -- including registered nurses and respiratory therapists -- who work with 11,000 high-risk Medicaid patients with asthma, diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure at 10 safety-net hospitals across the state.... The goal is to give patients the tools and education they need to manage their own care." (Reuters Health via Medscape; free registration required)

Health Plans Eye Allergy-Drug Savings as Claritin Goes Over-The-Counter
Excerpt: "Health plan sponsors anticipate saving millions as over-the-counter Claritin becomes readily available at drugstores nationwide and the prescription market for Claritin is eliminated, industry experts said ..." (Reuters Health via Medscape; free registration required)

Final Report to Canadians: the Future of Health Care in Canada
357 pages. Recommendations include encouraging a national personal electronic health record system. (Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada)

Expanding Health Insurance: the American Medical Association Proposal for Reform (PDF)
31 pages. Excerpt: "The existing tax exclusion for employer expenditures on health insurance should be replaced with a refundable, advanceable tax credit to all individuals or families who purchase health insurance.... Under the AMA's proposed system, employer contributions to health insurance would be reported as taxable compensation and individuals would subtract health insurance tax credits ..." (American Medical Association)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: the Fiduciary Exception to the Attorney-Client Privilege (PDF)
At page 2 of 5. Excerpt: "In Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Superior Court ... the California Supreme Court held that a trustee [under a non-ERISA plan] may assert the attorney client privilege against trust beneficiaries, even as to matters of trust administration.... While acknowledging that the federal courts, including the Ninth Circuit, apply a fiduciary exception for matters of trust administration, the Court emphasized California's statutory basis for the privilege and refused to restrict it." (Trucker Huss, ERISA and Employee Benefits Attorneys)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
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Pension Administrators
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in CA

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401(k) Client Services Representative
for Decimal, Inc.
in CA

Pension Department Manager
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in IL

Technical Specialist - Retirement Ops - Qualified Plan Service Team
for Edward Jones
in MO

Newly Posted Webcasts
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Health Care Costs: How to Keep From Getting Swamped
on December 9, 2002
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

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