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September 16, 2005
Today's sponsor: Hay Group, Inc.

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for Hay Group, Inc.

Free Hay Group Web Seminar on Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D crunch time is here. Are you ready for the September 30 2005 deadline? There is still time to act! Hay Group's actuarial consultants can help you decide how to best take advantage of the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. Register today for a free 1-hour webinar, in which we'll explain in plain English if your retiree plan qualifies for the federal subsidy, what your options are, and how much you can expect to save.

Click above for more information


(Please visit our sponsors. We try to make sure their products and services will be of interest to you. Thanks! --Editor)

Teamsters Local Extends Health Coverage to Spouse of Les.bian Who Married in Can.ada
Excerpt: "In a decision g.ay rights advocates say is a first in New York, a les.bian couple from Bohemia has gained recognition for their Canadian marriage from a chapter of the Teamsters Union, which has extended health coverage to the retired employee's partner of 25 years." (Newsday Inc.)

There's a Lot More to the Federal Employee Health Premium Outlook than a 6.6 Percent Increase
Excerpt: "There are probably 279 ways to look at health insurance premiums in the federal employee and retiree program, because that's how many different options will be offered in 2006. The Office of Personnel Management announced an average premium increase of 6.6 percent for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program next year. .... But FEHBP enrollees will see a wide range in premium increases, from 2.5 percent to 15 percent, as they choose their coverage for next year, ...." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Fact Sheet: Employer and Employee Time Line for Continuing Health Coverage Under COBRA (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, commonly referred to as COBRA, allows many workers to continue their employment-based health insurance coverage after they leave a job, and establishes a time line for workers to exercise that option. .... Here are the deadlines that apply after a worker with health insurance coverage leaves a job: ...." (Employee Benefit Research Institute)

Who Has $400 Billion to Build a National Health Information Network?
Excerpt: "A national health information network (NHIN) will cost almost $400 billion dollars over five years to build, according to a recent study. But the savings hospitals, physicians, and insurers achieve through operating efficiencies could substantially offset, if not cover, the expense. Given that, who should foot the upfront costs?" (The Commonwealth Fund)

CEOs, and Government Officials Meet to Discuss Proposals to Reduce Health Care Costs
Excerpt: "Government officials and business leaders ... attended a summit meeting in Washington, D.C., to discuss ways to control health care costs and improve health care coverage, CQ HealthBeat reports. Participants at the summit included Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D); Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R); Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.); and executives from Verizon, Costco, Pittney-Bowes, Starbucks and Honeywell (CQ HealthBeat, 9/14)." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Rising Health Insurance Premiums Threaten Job-Based Health Coverage
Excerpt: "Insurers blame doctors, hospitals and consumer demand for new medical technology for escalating rates. 'Prices are going up, especially for hospitalization,' said Chris Ohman, president of the California Assn. of Insurers, a trade group. But consumer advocates question why premium increases are needed as insurance industry profits rise. 'What the HMOs can't explain is why premiums are increasing twice as fast as hospital and physician costs,' ...." (Los Angeles Times via Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights)

Large Companies Want Employees to Share Health Care Cost Burden
Excerpt: "Efforts to make employees shoulder more of the health insurance burden by managing their own health care spending and becoming tougher consumers has not yet resulted in significantly reduced costs, according to a new study. The annual survey of employer health benefits found that premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose by 9.2 percent in 2004, a lower increase than the two previous years but a rate at which health costs outpaced inflation and wage increases." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)

Overview: Deadline Looms for Medicare Part D Notices of Creditable Coverage (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "Any employer providing pres.cription drug coverage to Medicare-eligible beneficiaries (retirees and employees) must provide such beneficiaries 'Notices of Creditable Coverage' before November15, 2005, regardless of whether the employer seeks the 28% subsidy from the government. Employers seeking subsidies must hire actuaries to assist in preparation of Notices of Creditable Coverage, and all employers providing pres.cription drug coverage to Medicare-eligible ...." (Dechert LLP)

Overview: Communicating New Medicare Pres.cription Drug Benefit
Excerpt: "The new drug benefit will be available to all Medicare beneficiaries, including post-65 employees and retirees, people with disabilities, and Medicare-enrolled dependents." (Towers Perrin)

Medicare Pres.cription Drug Coverage Marketing: Implications for Plan Sponsors and Communications (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "To avoid confusion and allay fears among retirees, plan sponsors should begin educating the Medicare-eligible population now, even if they have not yet decided whether and how to redesign retiree pres.cription drug coverage in light of Part D." (The Segal Company)

Overview of What You Need to Know about the Medicare Part D Pres.cription Drug Subsidy (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "[Y]our insurance carrier may charge a substantial fee to provide claims data and actually need to make the actuarial assessment. Therefore, as the approximate subsidy per participant is expected to be around $668, the application process may not be a worthwhile endeavor where a plan has only a small number of Medicare eligible individuals." (Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP)

GAO Report: Pres.cription Drugs Price Trends for Frequently Used Brand and Generic Drugs
29 pages. Excerpt: "GAO was asked to examine the change in retail prices and other pricing benchmarks for drugs frequently used by Medicare beneficiaries and other individuals with health insurance from 2000 through 2004. [Highlights are at http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d05779high.pdf.]" (U.S. Government Accountability Office)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Free, Important Webcast by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits: What to Do After Katrina
Excerpt: "This teleconference will explore the latest information about Hurricane Katrina disaster relief and issues being faced by employers and employee benefits plans, including the following topics: Hiring Displaced Workers; Elections, Loans and Hardship Withdrawals; Providing Meals, Housing and Other Disaster Assistance to Employees; Benefits Relief from IRS, DOL, CMS & PBGC; Dealing With Addresses and Banks That No Longer Exist; Converting Unused Vacation into Charitable Donations." (ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits)

SEC Emergency Order Provides Hurricane Katrina Relief (PDF)
8 pages. On Sept. 15, 2005, SEC announced the approval of an order providing emergency regulatory relief for those affected by Hurricane Katrina, including extensions of certain filing deadlines for affected parties." (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission)

Text: Technical Explanation of H.R. 3786, The Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005 (PDF)
30 pages. Excerpt: "This document, prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, provides a Technical Explanation of H.R. 3786, the Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005." (Joint Committee on Taxation via American Benefits Council)

Resources on H.R. 3768, Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005 (KETRA)
The target page has links to the following: Summary of the Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act; Bill Text of H.R. 3768; Revenue Estimate for H.R. 3768 (Joint Committee on Taxation); and, Technical Description of H.R. 3768 (Joint Committee on Taxation). (U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means)

U.S. Senate Bill Would Help with Katrina Victim Health Insurance Coverage
Excerpt: "The federal government would subsidize group health insurance premiums of plans sponsored by employers in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina under a measure unveiled Wednesday by two US senators." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

FASB to Clear Up Stock Option Grant Award Date Conflict
Excerpt: "The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is issuing additional guidance on the definition of grant date when awarding employee stock options. The concern has arisen since the issuance of FAS123 requiring companies to list employee stock option awards as expenses on their financial statements." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Non-Profit and Tax Exempt Newsletter, Summer 2005 Edition (PDF)
8 pages. This edition includes articles titled: Now is the time to act: review bonus, severance, and deferred compensation arrangements for compliance with section 409A; IRS to audit 501(c)(3) bonds; The panel on the nonprofit sector makes final recommendations; and, IRS audits executive compensation. (Dorsey & Whitney LLP)

Overview: What's on the Agenda of Your Compensation Committee?
Excerpt: "Directors serving on compensation committees have a full plate these days. While committee members have always played an important role, it has increased with the growing scrutiny of compensation, benefits and employment contracts for executives, as well as the process used to establish pay packages. [H]ere, in no particular order, is [Towers Perrin's] 'Top 10' list of the most pressing issues concerning compensation committees today." (Towers Perrin)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Advanced IRAs: The Ever-Changing IRA
in California on November 2, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Advanced IRAs: The Ever-Changing IRA
in Oklahoma on November 2, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Advanced IRAs: The Ever-Changing IRA
in Mississippi on November 2, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Advanced IRAs: The Ever-Changing IRA
in Kansas on November 4, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Advanced IRAs: The Ever-Changing IRA
in Kentucky on November 4, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Advanced IRAs: The Ever-Changing IRA
in California on November 4, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Advanced IRAs: The Ever-Changing IRA
in Texas on November 9, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Advanced IRAs: The Ever-Changing IRA
in Ohio on November 9, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Advanced IRAs: The Ever-Changing IRA
in Massachusetts on November 9, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Advanced IRAs: The Ever-Changing IRA
in Pennsylvania on November 11, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Advanced IRAs: The Ever-Changing IRA
in New Jersey on November 11, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Advanced IRAs: The Ever-changing IRA
in Alabama on November 30, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Annual Fall Employee Benefits Law and Practice Update
Nationwide on November 17, 2005
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Basic IRAs
in California on November 1, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Basic IRAs
in Oklahoma on November 1, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Basic IRAs
in Mississippi on November 1, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Basic IRAs
in Kentucky on November 3, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Basic IRAs
in California on November 3, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Basic IRAs
in Kansas on November 3, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Basic IRAs
in Texas on November 8, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Basic IRAs
in Ohio on November 8, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Basic IRAs
in Massachusetts on November 8, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Basic IRAs
in New Jersey on November 10, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Basic IRAs
in Pennsylvania on November 10, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Basic IRAs
in Alabama on November 29, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Establishing IRAs and IRA Amendments Telephone Seminar
Nationwide on November 10, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Fall Forum
in Georgia on September 26, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Fall Forum
in Minnesota on October 10, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Fall Forum
in Massachusetts on October 24, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Fall Forum
in California on November 14, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

IRA Beneficiary Distributions Web/Telephone Seminar
Nationwide on November 17, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

IRA Required Minimum Distributions Web/Telephone Seminar
Nationwide on November 15, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

IRA Required Reporting Web/Telephone Seminar
Nationwide on November 29, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

IRA Update Web/Telephone Seminar
Nationwide on November 2, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Roth IRA Distributions Web/Telephone Seminar
Nationwide on November 3, 2005
presented by BISYS Retirement Services


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

EDSA Announces Sarbanes-Oxley's Impact on Retirement Plans
(EDSA Group, Inc.)

Statement Of PBGC Executive Director Bradley Belt On Airline Bankruptcy Filings
(Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC))

Retirement Plans Can Make Loans, Hardship Distributions to Katrina Victims
(Internal Revenue Service (IRS))

Press Release - ICC Plan Solutions Offers New Square Bound Enrollment Kits
(Metrics Partners)

U. S. Labor Department Action Helps Hurricane Victims Access 401(k) Plans
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Defined Contribution Plan Administrator
for CBIZ Actuarial & Benefit Consultants
in AZ

Retirement Plan Services
for Professional Staffing of St. Louis
in ANY STATE

Senior DC Tiered Plan Administrator
for The Pension Group, Inc.
in CA

Operations Manager
for Employee Benefits Consulting Firm
in NC

Retirement Specialist
for Administaff
in TX

Technical Support Retirement Services Manager
for RSM McGladrey Retirement Resources
in NC

Client Services Team Lead - Project Manager
for Mercer HR Services
in IL

Call Center Supervisor
for Mercer HR Services
in IL

Operations Supervisor (Health Claims/Customer Service)
for Zenith Administrators
in AZ

Senior Marketing Analyst
for Keenan & Associates
in CA

Client Manager - Health and Welfare Group Practice
for Alliance Benefit Group
in MN




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Copyright 2005 BenefitsLink.com, Inc.; except that you may reprint this newsletter in full (including this sentence) without obtaining our permission.

Published by:

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Editor and Publisher: David Rhett Baker, J.D.
davebaker@benefitslink.com

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