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January 25, 2006
Today's sponsor: Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

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

Disability Insurance Premiums Paid, but Claims Denied
Excerpt: "Thousands of other Americans have learned the hard way that employer-sponsored disability insurance - which covers illnesses and injuries sustained outside of work - can evaporate when it is most needed. It's a little-known problem, because the vast majority of the 50-million-plus workers covered by such plans never apply for long-term benefits." (Raleigh News & Observer via The Sacramento Bee; one-time registration required)

4th Annual Medical Cost Reference Guide: Facts and Trends to Support Knowledge-Driven Solutions
Excerpt: "The guide provides information on trends in the healthcare industry from nationally recognized data sources. To address these trends, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies offer a vision for the improvement of healthcare delivery-our BluePrint for the Future. The goal is to encourage knowledge-driven approaches that can lead to better, more affordable care for consumers." (Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association)

Issue Brief: Do Specialty Hospitals Promote Price Competition?
Excerpt: "In three Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) sites with significant specialty hospital development -- Indianapolis, Little Rock and Phoenix -- recent site visits found that purchasers generally believe specialty hospitals are contributing to a medical arms race that is driving up costs without demonstrating clear quality advantages." (Center for Studying Health System Change)

President Will Propose New Tax Breaks for Medical Expenses
Excerpt: "President Bush will propose that Americans be allowed to take tax deductions on more of their out-of pocket medical expenses, as part of an initiative the White House believes will rein in soaring health costs by shifting responsibility toward individuals, according to congressional and other sources familiar with the administration's thinking." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

More than Half of Seniors Stay Away from Part D, According to Study
Excerpt: "Recent research has found that 53% of senior citizens have no plans to enroll in Medicare Part D. However, the statistics may not be quite as ominous as they sound." (The Adviser)

Overview: New Medicare Part D Creditable Coverage Guidance (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "For entities with subsidiaries, one disclosure form may be submitted to CMS for the entire entity if the type of coverage and the plan year is the same for all subsidiaries. Each subsidiary may alternatively submit its own form with subsidiary-specific information." (Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP)

Employment-Based Wellness Programs Remain Prevalent
Excerpt: "Wellness programs and education initiatives are widespread and appear to be reaping rewards for employers, according to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, which surveyed 464 U.S. and Canadian employers." (BenefitNews Connect)

Are Adults Benefiting from State Health Coverage Expansions?
Excerpt: "Public coverage does increase as a result of states' program expansions, but sometimes at the expense of private coverage." (Health Affairs)

Dutch Government Shifts Health Care Burden to Private Sector
Excerpt: "Employers in the Netherlands are preparing for the new national health care system that will legally require all individuals to secure a minimum level of private insurance coverage beginning on January 1, 2006." (Towers Perrin)

Six Circuit Upholds Injunction Reinstating Health Benefits for Case Retirees and their Spouses
Excerpt: "The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld, January 17, an injunction issued by a federal district court that required employer-paid health insurance benefits be restored for thousands of Case Corp. workers who retired prior to Oct. 3, 1993 (Yolton v. El Paso Tennessee Pipeline Co., 6th Cir., No. 04-1182, 1/17/06)." (The ERISA Industry Committee)

Text of Advisory Opinion 2005-25A for the TICUA Benefit Consortium Health Plan
Excerpt: "[DOL was asked] whether the Plan is an 'employee welfare benefit plan' within the meaning of section 3(1) of ERISA that is maintained by a 'group or association of employers' within the meaning of section 3(5) of ERISA." (U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)

Text of Advisory Opinion 2005-24A for the WAICU Benefit Consortium Health Plan
Excerpt: "[DOL was asked] whether the Plan is an 'employee welfare benefit plan' within the meaning of section 3(1) of ERISA that is maintained by a 'group or association of employers' within the meaning of section 3(5) of ERISA." (U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

SEC Wants Executive Compensation Disclosure to Be One Number -- in Plain English
Excerpt: "In keeping with the post-Enron, post-Sarbanes-Oxley spirit of transparency, the rule provides for a 'one-number, bottom-line figure' for total annual compensation, including stock options and retirement payouts, for the top executives of publicly traded firms." (BenefitNews Connect)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Gasping for Air in a World of Benefit Plan Compliance!
in California on February 7, 2006
presented by Western Pension & Benefits Conference Los Angeles

Plain Talk: Safeguard Strategies to Avoid Employee Benefits Litigation - But How to Win if You Have To!
Nationwide on February 16, 2006
presented by IBF Conferences*International Business Forum

Retirement Plans: What Every Employer Must Know
in Michigan on March 22, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Retirement Plans: What Every Employer Must Know
in New Jersey on March 22, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Retirement Plans: What Every Employer Must Know
in Missouri on March 23, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Retirement Plans: What Every Employer Must Know
in Massachusetts on March 23, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

3100 Wal-Mart Employees on Medicaid; State Taxpayer Subsidy to Wal-Mart Over $9 million in 2004
(Center for a Changing Workforce)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

TPA Relationship Manager-Western Region
for Transamerica
in CA

Employee Benefits Professional
for Craford Benefit Consultants
in CA

Benefits Professional
for The Paragon Consulting Group, Inc.
in CA

Director of Sales and Marketing - ABRA
for CitiStreet - A State Street and Citigroup company
in MA

Chief Sales/Marketing Officer
for ASPPA - American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries
in VA

Defined Contribution Plan Administrator
for New York Life Investment Management LLC
in MA




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