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March 9, 2006
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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)

Annuity / LTC Combos: The Total Is Greater than the Sum of the Parts
Excerpt: "If enacted, H.R. 2830 will help to clarify the tax treatment of annuity and long term care insurance (LTCI) combination products. Although the passage of legislation is never certain, experts seem to be optimistic. H.R. 2830 has the potential to turn a niche product that has been around for a while but which never really achieved industry success into a primary tool for delivering LTCI." (National Underwriter via Milliman)

Health Plan Disease Management Enrollment Techniques Are Evolving Rapidly
Excerpt: "Health plans, faced with the fact that the vast majority of people who are asked to enroll in a disease management program will resist, are tackling the problem with a combination of tenacious, carefully scripted phone and mail contacts, publicity, and high-tech efforts such as automated telephone calls that then transfer the member to a nurse." (INSIDE DISEASE MANAGEMENT via AISHealth.com)

Opinion: Health Care Delivery Price Transparency
Excerpt: "The importance of price transparency continued to dominate the health policy discussion this week. The centerpiece, at least from our perspective, was a packed briefing on Capitol Hill that we hosted ... with the Center for Health Transformation. Our goal was to educate congressional staffers about the importance of consumers being able to see up front the prices for medical services, which is key to engaging consumers in spending decisions." (Galen Institute)

New York Legislature Considering Bills to Require Most Businesses to Offer Workers Health Benefits
Excerpt: "Under legislation unveiled in the New York state Legislature on Tuesday, many employers would be required to provide workers health insurance, the New York Times reports. The Fair Share for Health Care act is based on a proposal by the Working Families Party, according to the Times." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Carrier Facilitates Small Biz Group Coverage
Excerpt: "Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield recently waived a long-standing rule requiring 50% of all employees to sign up for insurance before the carrier would offer a group insurance plan to the business. Instead, Anthem has adopted a rule that says 75% of net eligible employees must participate." (BenefitNews Connect)

Hearing Testimony: Taking a Checkup on the Nation's Health Care Tax Policy: A Prognosis
Excerpt: "In this testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, Len Burman summarizes the latest data on who has health insurance and who doesn't, outlines the various tax subsidies that exist for health insurance, examines how those subsidies affect the market for health insurance and employment, and briefly comments on some reform options." (Urban Institute)

O'Neill Proposes Health Care System Fix at Senate Hearing
Excerpt: "Former Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill told senators yesterday that the Bush administration and Congress should stop 'tinkering at the edges' of America's health care problems with tax policy, and instead outlined a proposal that he believes would dramatically improve the nation's health care quality." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Opinion: Richard D. Quinn Interviews Himself about the American Health Care/Insurance System
Excerpt: "For several years now, I have been writing articles for Employee Benefit News and venting my opinions on BenefitNews.com without anyone asking for all of these good ideas (well, ideas, anyway). Recently, I said to myself, 'Self, what do you really think? Have you ever reflected on how all the stuff you talk about comes together into one cohesive formula for a reasonable employer and national policy on financial security for Americans?'" (Employee Benefit News)

Retiree Medical Benefits -- Past, Present and Future
Excerpt: "With the best of intentions, beginning in the 1950s, U.S. companies extended health benefits to retirees to encourage retirement and, after the adoption of Medicare in 1965, to fill in the gaps in the coverage that Medicare provided. Employees and retirees valued these benefits for obvious reasons - they made it possible to retire before age 65 and provided coverage for pres.cription drugs, which Medicare did not include." (Sylvester J. Schieber via Employee Benefit News)

Overview: 2007 Budget Would Expand HSAs and Calls for Pension Reform
Excerpt: "President Bush sent Congress his budget proposal for fiscal year 2007 on February 6, 2006. The budget puts renewed emphasis on health care initiatives, proposing to expand health savings accounts (HSAs), encourage greater transparency about health care cost and quality, authorize association health plans (AHPs) and improve health information technology." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

Grassley Doubtful on Health Savings Account Action
Excerpt: "The Senate's top tax writer cast doubt Wednesday that lawmakers can enact President Bush's proposals to expand health savings accounts during this election year." (AP via The Washington Post; one-time registration required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

A Second Look at the Effects of Phase 1 of FASB's Accounting Change Proposal
Excerpt: "To evaluate the effects of changes to FAS 87 and FAS 106, [Watson Wyatt] looked at the difference between a plan's funding position -- calculated as the projected benefit obligation (PBO) minus the market value of assets -- and the net amount recognized on the balance sheet." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

Options and the Deferred Tax Bite -- Just When You Thought It Couldn't Get Any More Complicated
Excerpt: "Implementation of FASB Statement no. 123(R) goes beyond selecting a method to value employee stock options. CPAs also must help companies make the necessary tax accounting adjustments to properly track the tax benefits from stock-based compensation." (Journal of Accountancy via The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants)

Overview: SEC Proposes New Disclosure Rules for Executive Compensation
Excerpt: "The SEC has also proposed narrative disclosure of material information regarding termination payments payable upon the resignation, severance, retirement or other termination of an NEO, a change in responsibilities, or a change in control of the company." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

Overview: SEC Proposed Changes to Executive Compensation and Related Party Disclosure (PDF)
11 pages. Excerpt: "While the Proposed Rules are not expected to be effective with respect to companies that file their proxy statements during the spring 2006 'proxy season,' recent events that heightened the perceived need for more disclosure related to executive compensation have caused many public companies to review their executive compensation disclosure practices in connection with the 2006 proxy season (please refer to the 'Considerations for the 2006 Proxy Season' section)." (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP)

Hewlett-Packard Shareholders Sue over CEO Severance
Excerpt: "Shareholders in four pension plans have filed suit against Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP), alleging the Board of Directors violated its own policy by approving a more than $42 million severance package to former CEO Carleton 'Carly' Fiorina." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

"What's Going on with ERISA these Days?" Jeffery Mandell, The ERISA Law Group, P.A., Boise, Idaho
in Idaho on March 21, 2006
presented by Western Pension & Benefits Conference -- Boise Chapter


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

401 (k) Administrator
for Compliance/Administration Company
in NJ

Health and Welfare Account Management
for Charles W. Cammack Associates, Inc.
in NY

Actuary
for The Benefit Practice
in NY

Benefits Analyst
for The Angell Pension Group, Inc.
in RI

Senior Consultant, Testing & Reporting Services
for Fidelity Investments
in KY

Defined Benefits Standards and Control Administrator - PA
for Vanguard
in PA




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