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March 8, 2006
Today's sponsor: Benefit Software Inc.

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for Benefit Software Inc.

Are you achieving your important employee benefits objectives?

According to a recent survey, most employers are falling short of their benefits objectives. We can help.

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Email sales@bsiweb.com or call 800-533-1388 to request more info.


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

Bush Advisers Make Clear Call for Pricing Transparency
Excerpt: "Any doubt that the White House is serious about requiring hospitals and other providers to publicly disclose prices for services was erased [yesterday] by key advisers to President Bush." (ModernHealthcare; one-time registration required)

Fidelity Estimates $200,000 Needed for Health Care in Retirement
Excerpt: "The average 65-year-old couple needs an estimated $200,000 to cover health care costs in retirement, Fidelity Investments announced [March 6]." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Blog: Emergency Health Insurance Continuation Coverage for Federal Employees
Excerpt: "If a FEHB health plan temporarily or permanently becomes incapable of providing services because of a Katrina-like disaster, federal employees will be granted the right to change health plan enrollment within 60 days of an emergency announcement by the Office of Personnel Management, under regulatory amendments proposed by OPM. [5 CFR 890, 71 FR 11287]" (Pensions & Benefits Weblog)

FAQ on Health Plans Reminding Enrollees about Availability of the Notice of Privacy Practices
Excerpt: "The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has posted a new Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) on its website, which reminds health plans that the Privacy Rule requires them to notify enrollees about the availability, and how to obtain a copy, of their Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP) no less frequently than once every 3 years." (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

Analysis: Congress to Gut State Privacy Laws? Build National Health Data System? (PDF)
4 pages. The implications for the public of the bill language of HR 4157, the Health Information Technology Promotion Act of 2005, sponsored by Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT), is charted by sections. (Citizens' Council on Health Care via CCH INCORPORATED)

Medicaid Plans Focus on AIDS Disease Management; Some Health Plans Follow
Excerpt: "[C]ommercial insurers are showing more interest in providing disease and therapy management for enrollees with HIV and AIDS, some executives say, as medication and care costs increase and companies gain greater confidence in DM models." (INSIDE DISEASE MANAGEMENT via AISHealth.com)

Missouri Hospital Markets Successful Asthma Disease Management Program
Excerpt: "Buoyed by success in improving asthma care through its intensive, physician-centric asthma disease management (DM) program, Children's Mercy Hospital and Clinics in Kansas City, Mo., is branching out by marketing pieces of its program to local health plans." (INSIDE DISEASE MANAGEMENT via AISHealth.com)

Pay Method Said to Sway Drug Choices of Oncologists
Excerpt: "Payment methods do not seem to affect whether doctors favor chemotherapy over other treatments, the study's authors said. But once they decide to use chemotherapy, the current payment system appears to prompt some doctors to use more expensive drugs, the study found." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

WellPoint to Use Savings on Generics to Finance New Biotech Agents
Excerpt: "WellPoint, Inc. is looking to the savings garnered from increased generic drug utilization rates to help support coverage of expensive new biotechnology agents." (DRUG BENEFIT NEWS via AISHealth.com)

Secret to the Success of the IBM Fitness Web Site: Cold, Hard Cash
Excerpt: "With all the right elements in place, the Virtual Fitness Center's real success came about when IBM began offering a cash incentive to employees who completed the 12-week program via the Web site. Starting in 2001, the company began awarding a $150 incentive to employees who completed the 10-out-of-12 week program of three 20-minute workouts a week." (Employee Benefit News)

Backers of Consumer-Directed Health Care Assess Two Years with HSAs
Excerpt: "HSAs, part of the Medicare reform bill signed into law by President Bush in 2003, celebrated their second birthday on Dec. 9. ICDC asked industry observers to comment on the effect health savings accounts (HSAs) have had on consumer-directed health (CDH) over the past two years and on the impact they could have on health coverage in the future." (INSIDE CONSUMER-DIRECTED CARE via AISHealth.com)

Opinion: The Mythology of Health Care Reform
Excerpt: "Health care is once again moving to the top of the national political agenda. The early evidence is that this debate will be dominated by misinformation and misconceptions. Advocates of a government-run, national health-care system will do everything they can to frighten Americans and discredit consumer-directed health care. But we would be advised to look at the facts and not the scare tactics." (Cato Institute)

CAHI Releases Updated Health Insurance Mandates in the States Publication (PDF)
8 pages. Excerpt: "Health insurance mandates are raising the cost of health insurance. While there were only a handful of mandates in the '60s, now there are 1,843 across America." (Council for Affordable Health Insurance)

Overview: Bush Administration's 2007 Budget -- Proposed Health Care Reforms (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "The administration's health care proposals include improvements to health savings accounts (HSAs), expansion of the health coverage tax credit, grants to states for innovative health care to the chronically ill, elimination of state insurance mandates, community health center expansion, Medicare reform, medical liability reform, and improvements in health care technology." (Buck Consultants)

Canadian Employers Feel the Health Care Burden Too
Excerpt: "Just as rising health care costs and the impending wave of baby boomer retirees have caused US employers to initiate cost-cutting changes for retiree health care coverage, a Hewitt Associates survey [Postretirement Health Care Benefits in Can.ada 2006] found that Canadian employers are considering changes too." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Measure Would Allow Tax-Free Employer Contributions to 529 Plans
Excerpt: "A House bill sitting in committee would let employers make tax-free contributions to 529 college savings plans and Coverdell accounts. Introduced by Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., H.R. 3585 was referred to the Ways and Means Committee. Meanwhile, lawmakers continue throwing their weight behind bipartisan bills, H.R. 2386 and S. 1112, to make permanent the federal tax treatment of 529 plans." (InvestmentNews.com)

2005 -- The Year in Review: Working Toward Clarity in Executive Compensation (PDF)
11 pages. Excerpt: "Whereas recent years brought sweeping framework changes such as stock option expensing and deferred compensation reform, legislative and regulatory developments in 2005 primarily sought to clarify and finalize these rules as companies worked to transition their programs and practices to ensure compliance. New proxy disclosure rules, proposed by the SEC in early 2006, are likely to take center stage this year." (Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc.)

Welcome to New BenefitsLink Advertiser Alsam Communications
Excerpt: "Benefit product and service providers---let buyers know what you have. Increase your market share -- send your sales message directly to proven benefit plan sponsors. Small to mid-size businesses (100-500 employees) are not aware of the providers in the marketplace, and what products and services you offer. Alsam Communications provides effective methods to reach such benefit plan sponsors by providing the most efficient links between you and the decision makers in these businesses." (BenefitsLink.com)

Form LM-10 -- Employer Reports -- Frequently Asked Questions
Excerpt: "[This] series of questions and answers responds to inquiries received by the Department of Labor on the Form LM-10 (Employer Report), a reporting and disclosure form issued by the Department of Labor pursuant to the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA)." (U.S. Department of Labor)

Advisory Regarding Filing of Forms LM-10 and LM-30
Excerpt: "Due to the short time remaining before the deadline for filing Forms LM-10 and LM-30 for the fiscal year that ended December 31, 2005, OLMS, pursuant to its enforcement discretion, issues this advisory." (U.S. Department of Labor)


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Troutman Sanders Teams With White Horse Advisors To Answer Questions A 401(k) Plan Fiduciary Should Be Asking
(White Horse Advisors, LLC)

White Horse Advisors Partners Speak To Institute Of Management Accoutants
(White Horse Advisors, LLC)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Benefits Supervisor
for Southern Wine & Spirits, Business Solutions Group
in FL

Director of Employee Benefit Sales
for CUNA Mutual Group
in WI

Health And Welfare Analyst
for Constantin Control Associates
in NJ

Director, Total Benefit Communications
for BISYS Retirement Services
in GA

Director of Business Development
for ADP~ Automatic Data Processing
in NJ

Human Resources Compliance Specialist
for Phelps Dodge Corporation
in AZ

Director - Retirement Services
for Merrill Lynch
in FL




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

Published by:

BenefitsLink.com, Inc.
https://benefitslink.com/about.html
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(407) 644-4146
Fax: (407) 644-2151

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

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