If the headlines in this newsletter aren't clickable for you,
please use the online, clickable version at:
(click or copy-and-paste the above address into your web browser)

Welfare Plans
To BenefitsLink home page Fill your job openings fast by advertising on BenefitsLink

December 13, 2002 - 8,136 subscribers
Today's sponsor: The BenefitsLink Newsletter

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

   Find New Customers By Sponsoring the BenefitsLink Newsletter

   Whether your market is retirement plans or health and welfare
   plans, the BenefitsLink Newsletter gives you the opportunity to
   reach a sophisticated, target audience-- including in-house
   benefit administrators, HR directors, administration consultants,
   third-party administrators, trust officers, attorneys,
   accountants, investment managers and highly-paid employee-owners.

IRS Declines to Extend Tax-Free Treatment of Leave-Based Donation Programs
Excerpt: "This notice informs taxpayers that Notice 2001-69, 2001-2 C.B. 491, will not be extended to payments made on or after January 1, 2003. Notice 2001-69 provides interim guidance regarding the tax treatment of an employer's payment to an organization described in § 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code, in exchange for vacation, sick, or personal leave that the employee elects to forgo ('leave-based donation payments')." (Internal Revenue Service)

Online Wellness Programs: Healthy, Wealthy, Wise and Web Based
Excerpt: "Like traditional wellness programs, Web-based programs -- which in many cases can supplement a company's existing initiative -- aim to improve health by reducing risks and managing controllable diseases. But online versions offer advantages over traditional wellness programs, enabling companies to lower administrative, printing and mailing costs by delivering relevant, personalized health information via the Web." (IndustryWeek Magazine via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Structure Your Benefits to Cut the High Cost of Absenteeism
Excerpt: "[T]he average per-employee cost of absenteeism climbed to an all-time high of $789 per year in 2002, up from $755 in 2001, while the absenteeism rate declined slightly to 2.1 % from 2.2% in 2001." (IOMA's Report on Managing Benefits Plans via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Saving for College with 529 Plans and Other Options
Click on 'PDF version' on the target page. Excerpt: "In this article the authors analyze saving with 529 plans and several other options, in light of the 2001 tax law changes.... In addition, they use a Monte Carlo approach to simulate asset accumulations in a 529 plan, mutual funds and the recently renamed Coverdell Education Savings Account.... [T]heir Monte Carlo approach allows for random asset returns in simulating possible future outcomes." (Journal of Retirement Planning via the TIAA-CREF Institute)

Study Finds Benefit in Faster Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer
Excerpt: "A new study has found that receiving chemotherapy every two weeks instead of the usual three significantly delays relapses and improves the survival rate of women with breast cancer." (New York Times; free registration required)

Checking Up on Medical Mistakes
Excerpt: "The study, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, is the first effort to quantify the public's experience with medical mistakes as well as its opinions about how to prevent them." (Washington Post)

FDA Decision To Approve OTC Sale of Claritin Raises Questions for Health Plans with Rx Coverage
Excerpt: "[E]ffective December 14, 2002, Claritin (generic name Loratadine) and non-branded versions of Loratadine will not require a prescription and will typically not be covered by most benefit plans." (The Segal Company)

Preventable Medical Errors: a Newsmaker Interview
Excerpt: "Medscape's Laurie Barclay interviewed Robert J. Blendon, ScD, lead author of the New England Journal of Medicine article and a professor of health policy and political analysis ... Dr. Blendon: There is some unawareness by both patients and doctors about the magnitude of the problem.... The practicing doctors are going to have to be convinced that educational and other measures recommended by the national physicians' groups will be effective." (Medscape; free registration required)

As Drug Companies Spend More on Marketing, Profits Decrease, Analysis Says
Excerpt: "The profits earned from each dollar spent on pharmaceutical companies' marketing have fallen, in part because of the rapid increase in promotional spending for medicines over the last four years, according to a new report from market analysis company Datamonitor, the New York Times reports." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Federal Judge in Miami Halts Cigna Settlement
Excerpt: "A federal judge halted a settlement Cigna reached in an Illinois lawsuit that opponents said would block a larger legal action against managed care companies. The proposed settlement had the preliminary approval of a federal judge in Illinois, but a Miami federal judge assigned to handle similar lawsuits stepped in Thursday." (AP via New York Times; free registration required)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Legislative Wrap-Up: Highlights, Accomplishments and Postponements
Excerpt: "During the 2001-2002 term, Congress focused on a range of benefits-related issues. It enacted important retirement security provisions as part of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA) and an economic stimulus package that provided funding and premium relief for defined benefit plans. Congress also passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act ..." (Watson Wyatt's Insider)

When Boomers Become Seniors: Where They'll Be Living in USA
Nifty interactive online chart. (Forbes.com)

Tax Court Has Jurisdiction To Determine Whether Workers Are "Employees," Amount of Taxes
The U.S. Tax Court has held that it has jurisdiction over additional individuals whom the Internal Revenue Service classified as 'employees' rather than independent contractors and related additional tax liabilities, even though the IRS did not originally raise those issues at trial. The case is Evans Publishing, Inc. v. Commissioner (Docket No. 8278-00. 119 T.C. No. 14). (SpencerNet)

Forbes Presents Online, Free Versions of Corporate Annual Reports
Excerpt: "Welcome to The Annual Reports Service, a FREE Service provided by WILink and Forbes.com. The Annual Reports Service provides you with quick access to annual reports and other information on select companies. Use the following search options to find the information in which you are interested." (Forbes.com)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Pension Administrator
for White Plains law firm with expanding daily valuation department
in NY

Associate - Plan Services
for Mullin Consulting, Inc.
in CA

Product Support-Project Manager
for Transamerica-The Winning Organization
in CA

Health & Welfare Supervisor
for NY/NJ area
in NJ, NY

Pension Plan Administrator
for Thomas F. Barrett, Inc.
in MD

Manager - Plan Administrator
for Gleeson, Sklar, Sawyers & Cumpata LLP
in IL

Employee Benefits Attorney
for Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC
in DC
Newly Posted Webcasts
(Post Yours!)

Medical Errors TeleConference
on December 11, 2002
presented by Kaisernetwork.org
Newly Posted Conferences
(Post Yours!)

HIPAA Privacy
in MA
January 15, 2003
Massachusetts Metrowest Chapter of WEB Worldwide Employee Benefits Network

HIPAA and Other Health Benefits Laws: Compliance Assistance Seminar
in DC
January 23, 2003
U.S. Department of Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration and District of Columbia Department of Insurance
Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

ERNST & YOUNG LAUNCHES eAdvisorPlus, CONNECTING EMPLOYEES TO FINANCIAL ADVICE -- LIVE AND ONLINE Leader in employee financial education offers personalized guidance and advice through high- touch, high- tech application
(Ernst & Young, LLP)

Handy Links:

Feel free to send this email to friends, colleagues or clients, if you copy or forward this email in its entirety (including this boilerplate part). Copyright 2002 BenefitsLink.com, Inc.

Published by:

BenefitsLink.com, Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park FL 32789
(407) 644-4146
Fax: (407) 644-2151

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