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February 21, 2006
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Proposed Staff Tech Bulletin to Clarify Reporting of Medicare Part D Pymts to State and Local Govts (PDF)
11 pages. Excerpt: "This Technical Bulletin clarifies the application of existing standards of accounting and financial reporting to payments that an employer or a defined benefit other postemployment benefit (OPEB) plan receives from the federal government under Medicare Part D in relation to pres.cription drug benefits, pursuant to the provisions of the Medicare Pres.cription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003." (Governmental Accounting Standards Board)

Benefits Denied for Employee Who Failed to Elect Voluntary Benefits before His Untimely Death
Excerpt: "In this case, employees in the benefits office made the mistake and the court upheld the plan administrator's fix." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Disability Insurance Buyers Complain Claims Not Always Honored
Excerpt: "Disability claims are treated as an administrative matter under the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act, known as ERISA. That means a policyholder who wins a dispute against an insurer can collect only the benefits he was supposed to get all along, and possibly some attorney fees, but no punitive or compensatory damages. " (RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER via Inside Bay Area)

Company Town Relies on General Motors Long After Plants Have Closed
Excerpt: "The company's generous medical plans, pres.cription drug coverage, dental care and pension checks are a lifeline for the 10,000 G.M. retirees and an untold number of surviving spouses and other family members who still live in the Anderson area. They in turn help to prop up the doctor's offices, hospitals, buffet restaurants and shopping centers that might otherwise vanish along with the G.M. plants around the city that are fast becoming rubble." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Report: Retiree Health Care -- A Growing Cost for the Government of California (PDF)
22 pages. Excerpt: "This report discusses health benefits provided to retired public employees, focusing on state retirees. We find that the current method of funding these benefits defers payment of these costs to future generations. Retiree health liabilities soon will be quantified under new accounting standards, but state government liabilities are likely in the range of $40 billion to $70 billion -- and perhaps more. This report describes actions that the Legislature could take ...." (California Legislative Analyst's Office)

California Accountability Group Suggests Pre-funding Retiree Health Care for State Employees
Excerpt: "California's Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) has issued a report on the state's retiree health care funding crisis, suggesting pre-funding as an answer." ( one-time registration required)

Late Enrollment of New Baby Means No Special Enrollment and No Retroactive Coverage
Excerpt: "Under HIPAA's special enrollment provisions, most group health plans must allow a participant at least 30 days to request special enrollment of a new dependent, and special enrollment of a new baby must be effective as of the date of birth. But HIPAA does not specify what constitutes a request for enrollment-that's left to the plan's terms." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Overview: Final HIPAA Civil Money Penalty Enforcement Rule Effective March 16, 2006
Excerpt: "The discussion of violations in the context of compliance with addressable security implementation specifications is a helpful guide to the process that covered entities must follow when considering how to go about complying with the security rule. With the small plan security compliance deadline of April 20 approaching, this is a helpful reminder." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Bush Plan to Expand HSAs for Chronically Ill Could Benefit Disease Management
Excerpt: "Because the Bush administration's proposal is skimpy on details, it's not clear what would be considered a 'chronic disease' or even whether a business could pick and choose to decide which diseases it would pay extra for. Thompson notes that many of these issues would be resolved in regulations implementing the program." (INSIDE DISEASE MANAGEMENT via

A.M.A. to Develop Measure of Quality of Medical Care
Excerpt: "The American Medical Association has signed a pact with Congress promising to develop more than 100 standard measures of performance, which doctors will report to the federal government in an effort to improve the quality of care." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Insurers Picking Up Recall Cost of Medical Devices
Excerpt: "When carmakers recall a vehicle, they provide a replacement part and cover the cost of the labor to install it. But producers of expensive medical devices have found a better way -- they often have others, like taxpayers and insurers, pick up the labor cost." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Military Retirees' Health Care Costs May Rise
Excerpt: "The Bush administration wants many military retirees to pay more for health care, a proposal that could force the Republican-run Congress to choose between savvy politics and budget discipline." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Tax Court -- Income Exclusion & Deduction for Medical Expenses of Sole Proprietor's Employee-Spouse
Excerpt: "This case illustrates the careful documentation needed to survive the close scrutiny applied for tax purposes when self-employed individuals hire their spouses as employees. The result is in stark contrast to other cases cited by the court in which taxpayers failed to substantiate that family members were bona fide employees ...." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Money and Medicine: Richer or Poorer, Health and Wealth Are Linked
Excerpt: "A new report issued last week adds support to the premise that poor people are in worse physical condition and have an increased risk for death compared with those who are better off. The findings, published last week in The Journal of the American Medical Association, examined more than 30,000 patients consecutively referred to the Cleveland Clinic for stress testing." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Arkansas 'Any Willing Provider' Law Could Boost Health Plan Competition
Excerpt: "The new law -- formally known as the Patient Protection Act of 1995 -- requires health insurers to accept any medical provider into its network as long as the provider agrees to the insurer's terms and conditions." (The AIS Report on Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans via

Ruling Has Can.ada Planting Seeds for Private Health Care
Excerpt: "The cracks are still small in Can.ada's vaunted public health insurance system, but several of its largest provinces are beginning to open the way for private health care eventually to take root around the country." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

With Federal Momentum, States Mulling Health Savings Accounts
Excerpt: "Last year, five states enacted legislation exempting HSAs from state income taxes, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization of conservative state lawmakers: ...." (CongressDaily via National Center for Policy Analysis)

You Think 401(k)'s Are Hard to Manage? Try Health Savings Accounts
Excerpt: "The basic problem is the lack of consumer information. Imagine trying to decide which mutual fund to buy without a clue about the price until after the purchase. Most people find out the price of a medical test or procedure only after receiving an 'explanation of benefits' and then only if they can decipher it." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Bill Pushes Flexible LTC Financing
Excerpt: "Insurance industry trade groups are voicing strong support for legislation introduced in the Senate that will provide employees with greater flexibility in paying for long term care insurance." (National Underwriter Life & Health; free one-time registration or paid subscription required)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Blog: IASB Proposes Changes to Stock Compensation Accounting
Excerpt: "The International Accounting Standards Board has proposed changes to international accounting rules relating to two common aspects of stock compensation. [Exposure Draft of Proposed Amendments to IFRS 2 Share-based Payment: Vesting Conditions and Cancellations; Press Release, 2/2/06] The two issues were previously considered by the International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee, which was unable to reach a consensus." (BeneBlog)

Workers Employed through Staffing Agency Are Not Eligible for ERISA Benefits, According to Court
Excerpt: "Because of the clearly worded exclusions in this case, the court did not have to address whether the workers were in fact common-law employees of the company." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Overview: President Bush's 2007 Budget -- Health Care and Retirement Plan Issues (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "On February 6, President Bush sent to Congress his administration's fiscal year 2007 budget proposal which includes, among many items, retirement, health care and other employee benefits provisions. .... Even though the package is considered a blueprint, because it contains no legislative language, it nevertheless provides insight into the President's thinking and priorities for the year." (Buck Consultants)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
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401(k) Client Relationship Manager
for The Douglas Group
in NJ, NY, PA

Accounting Manager
for 1199SEIU Benefit and Pension Funds
in NY

Defined Contribution Pension Plan Administrator
for Philadelphia Based Benefits Consulting Firm
in PA

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Independent Retirement Plan Administration Company
in FL

Senior Vice President, Customer Contact Center
for CitiStreet - A State Street and Citigroup company
in MA

Certified Financial Planner
for Alliance Benefit Group-MidAtlantic, LLC
in MD

Client Relationship Manager
for Freedom One Financial Group
in MI

ERISA Health Attorney
for Groom Law Group, Chartered
in DC

ERISA Fiduciary Responsibility Attorney
for Groom Law Group, Chartered
in DC

ERISA/Employee Benefits Litigation Attorney
for Groom Law Group, Chartered
in DC

Financial Advisor
for TD Banknorth Wealth Management
in ME

Retirement Product Specialist
for Trustar Retirement Services
in DE

for Retirement Alliance, Inc.
in NH

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