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December 6, 2002 - 8,019 subscribers
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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)
Agency Publishes Extensive Q&As on Final HIPAA Privacy Regulations (PDF)
123 pages. Excerpt (at p. 122): "Q: HIPAA allows 'small health plans,' defined as health plans having annual receipts of $5 million or less, an additional year (in the case of the Privacy Rule, until April 14, 2004) to come into compliance. How should a health plan determine what receipts to use to decide whether it qualifies as a 'small health plan?'" (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Civil Rights)

Nearly 25% of Employers Planning to Eliminate Health Coverage for Future Retirees
Excerpt: "Faced with escalating health costs, more than half of employers plan to raise premiums and increase copayments for retirees over the next three years, and nearly a quarter say they are likely to eliminate health coverage for future retirees, a new survey shows." (Washington Post)

Clear Card Lets Employees Buy Now, Deduct from Paycheck in Four Installments
Excerpt: "Employers are signing up to offer their workers the Clear card, which allows employees to borrow money -- interest-free -- from future paychecks. For example, if a worker uses the card to buy a $100 pair of shoes, his next four weekly paychecks will be $25 lighter. Using the Clear card instead of a credit card allows the worker to avoid interest payments and late fees." (The Washington Times via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Benefit Integration Boosts Productivity and Profits
Excerpt: "By streamlining any combination of benefits such as health, disability, time-off, and workers' comp, unscheduled absences can be better managed. That saves time and money." (Note also the articles listed on the target page under the 'Feature Contents' heading.) (Workforce.com)

Selling Healthier Habits to High-Risk Workers
Excerpt: "Ten percent of employers consume the vast amount of health-care costs. But there are effective ways to get employees to improve their own health." (Note also the articles listed on the target page under the 'Feature Contents' heading.) (Workforce.com)

Despite Efforts, Medical Errors Remain Pervasive Problem
Excerpt: "Three years since a landmark report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) showed as many as 98,000 Americans die each year due to medical errors, little has been done to reduce medical mistakes, despite many high-profile efforts, experts say." (BenefitNews.com)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Treasury Secretary O'Neill Announces Resignation
Excerpt: "Paul O'Neill, whose outspokenness won him praise as a captain of industry but often landed him in hot water as President Bush's treasury secretary, announced his resignation in a letter to the president Friday morning." (Washington Post)

For Some Companies, New Stock Options Accounting Rule Might Raise Profits
Excerpt: "[A] little-noticed provision of the proposed rule could produce the opposite effect-- sharply higher profits-- for some companies. That anomaly comes from a thorny issue related to the tax windfall American companies receive when options are exercised. The companies receive a tax deduction equal to the profit realized by employees who exercise options. The rule proposed by the [IASB] would let companies report higher profits in the year they realized those tax benefits." (New York Times; free registration required)

FASB Tightens Accounting Rules For Loan Guarantees
Excerpt: "The Financial Accounting Standards Board issued Interpretation No. 45 to improve disclosure requirements for guarantees.... [C]ompanies must recognize liabilities for the obligations they assume under guarantees at the time they make the guarantees.... Critics say the changes overcompensate for damage done in a few cases." (AccountingWEB)

Audio Excerpt: Most ID Thefts Occur in Workplace, Report Says
Excerpt: "New research shows that identity theft -- one of the country's fastest-growing crimes -- is often an inside job, committed by employees at companies with access to troves of personal data. NPR's Chris Arnold reports." (Dec. 5, 2002) (National Public Radio)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Administrator: Defined Contribution Retirement Plans - Part or Full Time
for BSW Benefit Plans Plus, L.L.C.
in MO

Retirement Plan Business Development Sales Professional
for RSM McGladrey, Inc.
in NC

Pension Administrator
for Brady Ware
in OH

Employee Benefits Auditor
for KraftCPAs, an accounting and consulting firm based in Nashville
in TN

Pension Consultant
for Fidelity Investments
in MA

401(k)/Pension Administrator
for ERISA Consultants
in NY

Pension Administrator
for EBC, Inc.
in CA

Implementation Specialist
for ExpertPlan, Inc.
in NJ

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