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February 28, 2006
Today's sponsor: Benefit Software Inc.

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Do your employees know the value of their employer paid benefits?

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Benefit Software has over 25 years of experience helping thousands of employers communicate the full value of their benefits. From traditional personalized printed statements to secure 24/7 employee benefits communication portals, we have the right solution for your organization.

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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)

Insurers' Study Whitewashes Truth that Skimpy Coverage Causes Medical Bankrup.tcy, Researchers Say
Excerpt: "Researchers from Harvard Medical and Law Schools note that none of the data in their 2005 study showing that medical problems contribute to half of all bankruptcies have been questioned, despite an attack on their work commissioned by America Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), an insurance industry trade organization. Both the AHIP article and the Harvard response [appear] in the on line edition of Health Affairs." (Physicians for a National Health Program)

Medical Bankrup.tcy:Myth Versus Fact
10 pages. Excerpt: "This response to a widely cited paper by David Himmelstein and colleagues challenges the basis of its conclusions." (Health Affairs)

Federal Employee Policy on Telework and Dependent Care Unclear
Excerpt: "Government workers know all about the advantages of telework in relation to dependent care. Or do they?" (BenefitNews Connect)

Blog: 'Arbitrary and Capricious' Does Not Necessarily Mean Never Having to Say You're Sorry
Excerpt: "That appears to be the lesson from a recent 6th Circuit case, Brooking v. Hartford Life and Accident Ins. Co., 2006 WL 357881 (6th Cir. Feb. 16, 2006), dealing with the denial of disability benefits." (Workplace Prof Blog)

Short on Drivers, Trucking Companies Offer Perks
Excerpt: "With predictions from the association that the current shortage of 20,000 drivers will grow nearly fivefold within a decade, trucking companies are offering generous 401(k), stock option and health care packages to new recruits and cash bonuses and prizes to drivers who refer viable candidates." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Opinion: Comprehensive Reform of Health Care Chargemasters Requires a Single National Policy
Excerpt: "Hospital pricing is at center stage in the national debate over controlling healthcare costs, particularly with regard to President Bush's support for consumer-driven healthcare plans. The administration believes that the success of such plans depends on consumers' ability to make rational choices about seeking care based on how much it will cost. But administration officials don't seem to appreciate that there are steep barriers to fundamental pricing reform ...." (ModernHealthcare; one-time registration required)

Blog: New Jersey Wal-Mart Bill Most Employee Friendly Yet
Excerpt: "This bill seems to bridge the gap between the Maryland Wal-Mart bill and the 'pay to play' bills being considered in Illinois and Massachusetts." (Workplace Prof Blog)

Health 'Play or Pay' Proposals in Play in Twenty States, According to NCSL
Excerpt: "Proposed 'play or pay' laws that would require certain employers to provide a minimum level of health benefits to their employees are pending in twenty states, according to information compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)." (Deloitte's Washington Bulletin via

2006 Pres.cription Drug State Legislation Report
Excerpt: "This report tallies just over 400 bills and resolutions in 40 states, and includes all measures subject to consideration in calendar year 2006. 44 states are scheduled to hold regular legislative sessions during 2006; of those, 25 states provide for some continuation or 'carry-over' of bills filed in 2005." (National Conference of State Legislatures)

Higher Co-Pay Differentials Increase Generic Fill Rates
Excerpt: "If you want workers to opt for generic drugs, raise the co-payment differential in your pres.cription drug plan. That's the lesson learned from a new study ( of 2004 pres.cription drug claims by the pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts." (BenefitNews Connect)

AOL Founder Champions a Revolution -- Health Care, That Is
Excerpt: "Steve Case's new venture bets big on defined-contribution plans that reduce employer costs upfront, but could raise new problems for large companies." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)

New Jersey and Pennsylvania Extend Availability of Health Coverage for Dependent Children
Excerpt: "New Jersey and, on a narrower scale, Pennsylvania have recently enacted laws that may require health plans to offer coverage to certain dependent children beyond the otherwise limiting age." (Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP)

Comparison of Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Provisions in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (PDF)
121 pages. (Congressional Research Service via von Briesen & Roper)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

A Roadmap for Convergence between IFRSs and US GAAP - 2006-2008 (PDF)
4 pages. A Memorandum of Understanding between the FASB and the IASB, 27 February 2006, recognizes employers' accounting for pensions and other postemployment benefits as viable projects. (Financial Accounting Standards Board)

Opinion: Hiring Older Workers: A Solid and Sound Investment Proposition
Excerpt: "Mature workers are inflexible, not up-to-speed with today's technology and most importantly, they're too expensive. But are they really? The Business Case for Workers Age 50+: Planning for Tomorrow's Talent Needs in Today's Competitive Environment attempts to address the specific issue of cost. The study highlights the need for employers to consider costs with a broader lens and demonstrates that hiring 50+ workers is a solid and sound investment proposition." (AARP)

Overview: New York City Domestic Partner Law Preempted by ERISA
Excerpt: "This decision is the result of the Mayor of New York City's refusal to enforce the Equal Benefits Law that was adopted, over the Mayor's veto, by the New York City Council." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Overview: SEC Provides Guidance on Definition of 'Perquisites' (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "While the SEC continues to take the position that it is not appropriate for the securities rules to give a bright line definition of perquisite, the SEC recently provided interpretive guidance as to what is and is not a perquisite and therefore required to be reported as an element of executive compensation." (Powell Goldstein LLP)

Obtaining Quality Employee Benefit Plan Audit Services (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "The AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center has prepared this document to assist plan sponsors and other stakeholders in the proposal and evaluation process to obtain quality audit services for employee benefit plans." (The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants)

Overview: DOL Final Rules Interpreting USERRA
Excerpt: "On December 19, 2005, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published final rules interpreting the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), 38 U.S.C. §§4301 et seq. The rules are the first issued regarding USERRA since it was enacted in 1994. They became effective on January 18, 2006. This advisory highlights key aspects of the new rules and the major rights and obligations created by USERRA." (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Cafeteria Plan Election Changes--What's Permitted, What's Not?
Nationwide on February 9, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

IRS Update and Enforcement Initiatives for 2006
in Massachusetts on March 15, 2006
presented by WEB Worldwide Employee Benefits Network MA Chapter

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

SunGard Introduces Relius Document Management Services
(SunGard Corbel)

CitiStreet Year Marked By Growth in Sales and Services

U. S. Labor Department Extends Filing Deadline for Annual Report Filers in Gulf Coast Region
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration)

Improved Productivity and Lower Employer Health Costs are Hallmarks of New Health Coaching Phenomenon
(Leade Health)

BellGroup L.L.C. Announces Formation of BellBenefits, New Employee Benefits Company For North Texas
(BellGroup L.L.C.)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Defined Benefit Pension Administrator
for RSM McGladrey Inc.
in AZ

Retirement Plan Consultant
for Pension Benefits Unlimited, Inc.
in CA

Pension Administrator I
for Flynn, Shojinaga & Associates, Inc.
in CA

Employee Benefits Administration
for Primary Consulting, Inc.

Marketing Consultant II
for Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
in AZ

Life & Health Agent - Group Benefits
for Hancock Insurance Agency
in LA, MS

Business Development - Retirement Coordinator
for BISYS Retirement Services
in PA

Retirement Plan Specialist
for Benefit Consultants Group
in NJ

Data Input / General Office Clerk
for Creative Benefit Strategies, Inc.
in OH

Retirement Services Manager
for National Telecommunications Cooperative Association
in NC

Senior Communications Consultant
for New York Life Investment Management LLC
in MA

Client Services Manager: Health & Welfare
for Fidelity Investments
in MA, NH

Defined Benefit Conversion Project Leader
for New York Life Investment Management LLC
in MA

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Copyright 2006, Inc.; except that you may reprint this newsletter in full (including this sentence) without obtaining our permission.

Published by:, Inc.
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Fax: (407) 644-2151

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