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December 5, 2002 - 8,019 subscribers
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Dealing With Injured or Sick Employees
Dec. 4, 2002. Excerpt: "Many employers don't understand that employees are their greatest assets, so they believe it's easier and cheaper to replace someone than to face lost productivity or take a hit on their medical insurance premiums. Wrong on both counts." (ABCnews.go.com)

Research Report (Full Text): Retiree Health Benefits: Time to Resuscitate?
Excerpt: "Future retirees will shoulder substantially more-- if not all-- of the costs of their health care in retirement.... [T]he level of employer financial support will drop to less than 10 percent of total retiree medical expense by the year 2031, under plan provisions already adopted by many employers. To avert this looming crisis, Watson Wyatt proposes that employers, employees and policymakers join in a concerted effort to preserve retiree medical benefits as follows ..." (Watson Wyatt)

Current State of Retiree Health Benefits: Findings from the Kaiser/Hewitt 2002 Retiree Health Survey
Excerpt: "The study is based on survey responses of 435 large private-sector firms (1,000+ employees) that currently offer retiree health benefits, and includes 36% of all Fortune 100 companies and 28% of all Fortune 500 companies. Information was collected on a variety of topics including costs, premiums, retiree contributions, benefit design, prescription drug benefits, recent changes and expected changes within next three years, and the implications of a Medicare drug benefit for employers." (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)

Impact of Health Plan Design and Management On Retirees' Prescription Drug Use and Spending, 2001
Excerpt: "Plans with aggressive cost sharing lowered health plan spending but cost retirees more, this study finds." (Health Affairs)

Health Risks of Obesity: Worse Than Smoking, Drinking, or Poverty
Excerpt: "Americans are getting fatter. One in five Americans is obese; three in five are either overweight or obese. The obesity rate has accelerated dramatically in the past 20 years, in conjunction with a national trend toward sedentary lifestyles.... Two RAND researchers, health economist Roland Sturm and psychiatrist Kenneth Wells, examined the comparative effects of obesity, smoking, heavy drinking, and poverty on chronic health conditions and health expenditures." (RAND)

Low Levels of Health Insurance Coverage Impede Access to Cochlear Implants
Excerpt: "Cochlear implants enable many severely to profoundly hearing-impaired people who cannot be helped by hearing aids to understand speech and environmental sounds and to communicate better. The treatment, including the cost of a cochlear implant device and required professional services, can cost more than $40,000. But studies by other organizations show that the benefits of using the technology generally outweigh the treatment costs." (RAND)

Bush Signs Bill Extending Mental Health Parity Act
Excerpt: "President Bush signed legislation Dec. 2 extending the existing Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA) provisions of ERISA and the Public Health Service Act until the end of 2003. The bill brings these laws into line with the analogous provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, which were extended through 2003 last March." (Thompson Publishing Group)

Staffing Issues Biggest Factor In Potentially Expensive Drug Errors
Excerpt: "Distractions, increased workload and other staffing-related issues, including inexperienced or temporary staff, were the most frequent factors contributing to medication errors in 2001, according to U.S. Pharmacopeia ..." (Modern Healthcare; free registration required)

Aon Fall 2002 Health Care Trend Survey
Excerpt: "Each Spring and Fall, Aon collects and analyzes health care trend data. This information will assist with evaluating health insurance premium renewals and developing projections for self-funded healthplan claims. Based on data provided by over twenty leading medical, dental, pharmacy and vision vendors, we are forecasting annual health care trend rates for rating periods starting October 2002 through March 2003." (Aon Consulting)

Pharmacy Benefit Managers Under Scrutiny
Excerpt: "As prescription drugs have come to play an ever-increasing role in the benefit and cost structure of medical plans, the importance of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) has also grown. Thus, recent media articles on possible irregularities in the PBM industry are a matter of importance and concern for employers." (Mercer Human Resource Consulting)

Opinion: Insurers, Not Malpractice Lawsuits, Drive Up Medical Costs
Excerpt: "There has been considerable publicity recently about trial lawyers being responsible for the high cost of health care, and especially the increased cost of medical malpractice insurance. The argument that frivolous lawsuits raise the cost 'hundreds of millions of dollars' is absolutely bogus." (The New Haven [Conn.] Register via ZWire.com)

Major Health Care Reform Under President Bush Remains Elusive
Excerpt: "According to Mark V. Pauly, professor of health care systems at Wharton, a prescription-drug plan is not the most vital health issue facing the country; insuring the uninsured is the most important, in his view. Yet he says the White House and Congress have little choice but to make a prescription plan their top priority." (The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania)

Physicians Still Linked To Managed Care, Though Fewer Than Half Use Capitation
Despite the general discontent with managed care, nine out of ten physicians continued to contract with at least one managed care plan between 1997 and 2001, according to a study recently released by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC). Furthermore, physicians' average number of managed care contracts grew from 12.4 in 1997 to 13.1 in 2001, 'probably reflecting health plans' efforts to broaden networks and give consumers more choice of providers,' HSC speculated. (SpencerNet)

More Americans Putting Family Ahead of Work
Excerpt: "Employees have long struggled to balance work and family, but the economic slowdown is now tilting the scales in favor of home. Making time for family isn't just important for a few employees ... it's a growing priority for many workers disillusioned by layoffs, corporate scandal and waning company loyalty." (USA Today)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

2003 Annual Reporting & Disclosure Calendar for Multiemployer Plans
Excerpt: "The Segal Company's 2003 Reporting & Disclosure Calendar for Multiemployer Plans summarizes compliance requirements for qualified, single employer benefit plans. To see a brief description of each requirement and information about such details as the plan(s) affected, filing requirements and due dates, click on any underlined item ..." (The Segal Company)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Senior Health Consultant/Public Sector
for Segal Company, employee benefits, human resources, compensation consulting
in OH

Newly Posted Webcasts
(Post Yours!)

Participant Loans After The Final Regulations
on December 18, 2002
presented by SunGard Corbel

Newly Posted Conferences
(Post Yours!)

Advanced Law of Pensions, Welfare Plans, and Deferred Compensation
in CA
July 7, 2003
ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Basic Law of Pensions, Welfare Plans, and Deferred Compensation
in MA
June 30, 2003
ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

ERISA Fiduciary Responsibility Issues Update
May 29, 2003
ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Executive Compensation: Strategy, Design and Implementation
in NY
June 19, 2003
ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Fundamentals of Employee Benefits Law
in LA
March 6, 2003
ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Retirement, Deferred Compensation and Welfare Plans of Tax-Exempt and Governmental Employers
in DC
September 4, 2003
ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Conference on Life and Health Insurance Litigation
in DC
May 1, 2003
ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Online Class - CEBS Course 2 - Employee Benefits: Design, Administration and Other Welfare Benefits
March 10, 2003

16th Annual Cincinnati Employee Benefits Conference
in OH
June 19, 2003
Cincinnati Bar Association, U.S. Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

SunGard Corbel Introduces 1099/W-2 Outsourcing Service with Relius(tm) Government Forms
(SunGard Corbel)

Search401k Retains 100% of Provider and Adviser Group Clients in 2002
(PlanAnalytics, Inc.)

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