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March 14, 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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(Please visit our sponsors. We try to make sure their products and services will be of interest to you. Thanks! --Editor)

Failure to Provide Severance Plan Document Proves Costly
Excerpt: "The US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has awarded a statutory penalty of $20 per day for 511 days to an employee whose employer failed to respond to his request for a copy of its severance plan document." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Compliance Deadlines for Health Plans Coming Up Fast (PDF)
2 pages. (von Briesen & Roper, s.c.)

Health Plans: Spring Deadlines, March 2006 (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "The [target document] is a brief reminder of upcoming notice deadlines for group heath plans." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

Bush Administration Expected to Announce Plan to Increase Transparency of Health Care Prices
Excerpt: "The Bush administration on Tuesday likely will announce plans to make public the prices federal programs pay for certain medical procedures as part of an effort to 'push to inject more free-market principles into health care,' the Wall Street Journal reports." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Governors on Divergent Paths to Control Health Costs
Excerpt: "From coast to coast, Democratic and Republican governors are pursuing divergent policies to control healthcare costs and expand access to services. In the process, they are grappling with the same basic question facing Washington: Should government attempt to reinforce the existing system under which most Americans receive health insurance as part of large groups, or tilt the nation toward an approach that shifts more control, but also more financial burden and risk, to individuals?" (Los Angeles Times via BlueCross BlueShield Association)

U.S. Supreme Court to Review Health Plans' Subrogation Rights under ERISA
Excerpt: "The U.S. Supreme Court on March 28 will hear oral arguments in a case testing whether a health insurer can assert the right of subrogation to collect accident-related damages paid to an enrollee by a third party. If the insurer loses, the result could be higher health insurance premiums and fewer employers offering coverage, business and health insurance groups warn." (MANAGED CARE WEEK via AISHealth.com)

Pres.cription Drug Plans Should Expect 'Give and Take' with CMS on 2007 Formularies
Excerpt: "Medicare Advantage pres.cription drug plans (MA-PDs) can expect 'a little bit of give and take' on how CMS will review their 2007 Medicare formularies starting within the next several weeks, according to a former CMS official who helped build the Medicare formulary and review processes for the Part D benefit." (Medicare Advantage News via AISHealth.com)

HealthCast: Where Are HSAs and High-Deductible Health Plans Headed?
Excerpt: "This briefing, co-sponsored by the Alliance for Health Reform and Kaiser Family Foundation, addresses health savings accounts and high-deductible health plans. These questions and others are answered: What impact do HSAs have on the individual and group health insurance markets? How much would these proposed changes encourage the purchase of high-deductible plans paired with HSAs? How would this affect overall health spending?" (Alliance For Heatlh Reform and Kaiser Family Foundation)

Comments Submitted to Hearing: Taking a Checkup on the Nation's Health Care Tax Policy: A Prognosis
Excerpt: "Section I [of the comments] identifies some of the key objections and hurdles that employers face when making decisions regarding the HSA/HDHP design. Identifying these issues helps one evaluate the impact of the President's proposals, which is found in Section II. Section III addresses the potential impact the proposals might have on retirement plan savings." (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

R.W. Garrett Agency Announces Nation's Largest Annual Health Plan Survey
Excerpt: "The annual UBA surveys provide the nation's employers with a single source to address their most critical benefits benchmarking needs. The resulting savings in employer time from participating in a single set of surveys, as well as the improved benchmark data and drill-down capability inherent in a much larger database, will allow employers to significantly improve their strategic intelligence in this critical area of their business." (LINCOLNDAILYNEWS.com)

Nine Keys to Choosing the Right Health Plan
Excerpt: "Here are the vital questions to ask that will help you [choose among] your health-care options wisely." (MSN Money)

GAO Report Shows Whistle-Blowers Get Their Biggest Rewards in Health Care False Claims Cases
Excerpt: "Whistle-blowers' most popular targets are the health care and defense industries, and they collect the biggest rewards in health care false claims cases, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report." (Report on Medicare Compliance via AISHealth.com)

Commerce Clause and Health -- Commentary by FTCR President Jamie Court, March 13, 2006
Excerpt: "Last week, the House of Representatives passed legislation stopping states from having food-warning labels that are tougher than federal standards. This Wednesday, a Senate committee will vote on a bill that allows health insurers to ignore state benefit requirements." (Marketplace Radio Program (NPR) via The Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights)

White House Advisor Says HSA Legislation Is Likely to Be Introduced Soon
Excerpt: "Legislation based on President Bush's proposals to expand health savings accounts (HSAs) will likely be introduced this month, according to Roy Ramthun, special assistant to the president for economic policy and the senior advisor to the president on health policy." (INSIDE CONSUMER-DIRECTED CARE via AISHealth.com)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Text: Description of Revenue Provisions Contained in the President's Fiscal Year '07 Budget Proposal (PDF)
322 pages. Excerpt: "This document ... provides a description and analysis of the revenue provisions modifying the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (the 'Code') that are contained in the President's fiscal year 2007 budget proposal, as submitted to the Congress on February 6, 2006." (Joint Committee on Taxation)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

401(k) Plans
in Massachusetts on April 25, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

401(k) Plans
in Oregon on May 9, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

401(k) Plans
in Illinois on May 16, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Cafeteria Plans
in Massachusetts on April 26, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Cafeteria Plans
in Oregon on May 10, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Cafeteria Plans
in Illinois on May 17, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in Massachusetts on April 28, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in Oregon on May 12, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in Illinois on May 19, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in Massachusetts on April 27, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in Oregon on May 11, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in Illinois on May 18, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HIPAA Portability, Privacy & Security
in Massachusetts on April 28, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HIPAA Portability, Privacy & Security
in Oregon on May 12, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HIPAA Portability, Privacy & Security
in Illinois on May 19, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Houston Employee Benefits Society Sponsors Seminar on the Future of Consumer Driven Healthcare
in Texas on March 23, 2006
presented by Houston Chapter of the International Society of Certified Employee Benefits Specialists

HSAs, HRAs, and Consumer-Driven Health Care
in Massachusetts on April 27, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HSAs, HRAs, and Consumer-Driven Health Care
in Oregon on May 11, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HSAs, HRAs, and Consumer-Driven Health Care
in Illinois on May 18, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

NIPA Members Now Eligible to Receive CFP Board-Approved CE Credit
(National Institute of Pension Administrators)

Alger Funds Added to CPI Retirement Platform
(CPI Qualified Plan Consultants, Inc.)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Attorney – Group Healthcare
for Great-West Corporate
in CO

Relationship Manager II
for Wachovia Corporation
in NC

Sales Support Specialist
for Union Bank of California
in CA

Manager of Health & Welfare
for Gaylord Entertainment
in TN

Retirement Plan Administrator
for ERISA Services, Inc.
in TN

Benefit Analyst
for Ameriprise Financial
in MN

Benefit Service Representative
for Leggette Actuaries, Inc.
in TX

Investment Advisor/Communications Specialist
for Invesmart, Inc.
in MA, ME

Relationship Manager
for EPIC Advisors Inc
in NY

Corp. Transaction Consult/ERISA Attorney
for Hewitt Associates
in NJ




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

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