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December 27, 2002 - 8,030 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)
States Dropping and Changing Struggling Prepaid Tuition Programs
Excerpt: "States are considering major changes in prepaid college tuition programs-- raising prices, restricting participation or scrapping them-- as they grapple with financial woes. Nationwide, families will likely have to pay more to participate, or accept that they might not cover tuition when children go to college." (USA Today)

IRS Rejects New Variations on Reimbursement Account Double-Dipping
Rev. Rul. 2002-80. Excerpt: "In Situation (1), although [the employer] purports to treat the 'advance reimbursements' as payments for uninsured medical expenses, those amounts are paid to the employee regardless of whether the employee incurs expenses for medical care or suffers a personal injury or sickness during the year. Under § 1.105-5(a), M's 'advance reimbursement' plan is therefore not an accident or health plan ..." (Internal Revenue Service)

Analysis: IRS Slams Door on Double Dip Hybrid
Excerpt: "A year ago, the IRS addressed the merits of a questionable 'double-dipping arrangement' in Rev. Rul. 2002-3.... In its new ruling, the IRS strikes down an arrangement that purports to provide tax-free 'advance reimbursements' of potential future unreimbursed medical expenses, as well as one under which employees receive 'loans' that are either offset by unreimbursed medical expenses or forgiven." (EBIA Weekly)

DC Health Plans and the Legal Issues they Raise After Revenue Ruling 2002-41 and Notice 2002-45
Excerpt: "Many of the defined contribution health plans being marketed involve a higher deductible indemnity type of coverage either with or without a network of managed care providers (the 'Policy') accompanied by a 'personal care account' or 'PCA' which is funded either by employer, employee or both contributing to the PCA." (Greta Cowart, Esq. of Haynes and Boone)

Overview: One-Year Extension of MHPA's Expiration Date
Excerpt: "Legislation, which President Bush signed into law on December 2, 2002, extends the Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA) to December 31, 2003." (The Segal Company)

Summary: Final Regulations on Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information
Excerpt: "A summary of the final [HIPAA] regulations on the standards for privacy of individually identifiable health information issued December 28, 2000 as modified by the final regulations issued on August 14, 2002." (Greta Cowart, Esq. of Haynes and Boone)

Corrected Link: IRS Releases 2002 Version of Pub. 970, 'Tax Benefits for Education'
Contains description of changes for 2002, including modifications to qualified tuition programs, provisions for early withdrawals from IRAs, and extension of the tax-free status of employer-provided educational assistance programs. (Internal Revenue Service)

Corrected Link: IRS Releases 2002 Version of Pub. 503, 'Child and Dependent Care Expenses'
Includes description of changes becoming effective in 2003: 'The credit can be as much as 35% (increased from 30% in 2002) of your qualified expenses.... The dollar limit on the amount of qualifying expenses will increase to $3,000 for one qualifying individual and $6,000 for two or more qualifying individuals." (Internal Revenue Service)

Corrected Link: IRS Releases 2002 Version of Pub. 969, 'Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs)'
Explains Archer MSAs and Medicare+Choice MSAs, which were scheduled to end December 31, 2002 but have been extended to December 31, 2003. (Internal Revenue Service)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: SEC Proposes Rules for Insider Trading Prohibitions During Blackout Periods
Excerpt: "The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently published proposed rules under [the insider trading] provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which are scheduled to apply to blackout periods that begin on or after January 26, 2003. This Compliance Alert summarizes key aspects of the SEC's proposed rules." (The Segal Company)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Document Compliance Analyst
for Automatic Data Processing
in NJ

Defined Contribution Ongoing Project Manager - LK-020430-004
for Hewitt Associates
in IL

Retirement Plan Consultant
for Invesmart
in OH
Newly Posted Conferences
(Post Yours!)

2003 ASPA Annual Conference
in DC
October 26, 2003

Group Health Plan Claims Procedures: Implementation in 2003-- Are You Ready?
January 9, 2003
ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits; Other Organizations
Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

NCPERS Offers Proposals for Responding to Soaring Health Care Costs
(National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems)

Handy Links:

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