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March 15, 2006
Today's sponsor: Lockton Benefit Group

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Optimizing Employee Design

Lockton is the nation's largest privately owned insurance brokerage and employee benefits consulting firm. Our private ownership allows us to deliver the most innovative and outstanding service with unwavering integrity. With 15 offices in 8 states and the District of Columbia, we are nationally positioned to meet our clients' every need. Our success is measured in our client retention rate, among the very highest in the industry. We live service!

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

Cancer Leading Cause of Long-Term Absences, According to Study
Excerpt: "Cancer was the leading cause of long-term workplace absence in the United States during 2005, according to UnumProvident Corp." (Business Insurance)

Limits on Limited Medical-Leave Policies
Excerpt: "Dealing with prolonged health-related absences and the uncertainties that often accompany them is a significant problem for most employers. Covering an absent employee's work often imposes hardships on other workers and sometimes requires hiring a temporary employee to fill in for the absent employee. [Originally published Autumn 2005]" (Employment Relations Today via Kilpatrick Stockton LLP)

Overview: HIPAA Triple Play: Privacy, Security and Enforcement (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "Now, with the finalization of the HIPAA enforcement rule, the Department is empowered to assess civil monetary penalties for HIPAA violations. The penalty of $100 per violation may reach $25,000 per year for violations of an identical requirement or prohibition." (Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP)

How Are Firms Addressing HIPAA Compliance?
Excerpt: "The recent HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) Privacy and Security survey conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans ... reveals how HIPAA regulations are affecting organizations." ( one-time registration required)

A Decade of Tracking Health System Change at the Center for Studying Health System Change
Excerpt: "The decade saw the rapid rise and hard fall of tightly managed care and a great deal of delivery system organizational change in response to both developments." (Center for Studying Health System Change)

The Business Case for Nurse Staffing (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "[E]ven with renewed interest in the field, it is unlikely there will be enough registered nurses to meet projected future needs. As a result, U.S. health care providers increasingly turn to recruitment of nurses from other parts of the world. Complicating the issue, research has shown an association between low hospital nurse staffing and quality of care." (AcademyHealth)

Competition for Profitable Services Drives Specialty Hospital Boom (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Health services researchers from HSC investigated the upswing in specialty hospitals to identify what factors were driving the trend, assess the potential cost and quality of care implications, and provide information for policymakers." (AcademyHealth)

Cross-Border Plan Offered by Health Net
Excerpt: "Health Net of California is expected today to announce the state's first private insurance plans for people who want to see doctors either in Mexico or the United States. The company said several new plans costing as little as $75 a month would be offered directly to individuals and families, rather than through employers." (Los Angeles Times; one-time registration required)

Health Insurance Bill Gains Traction in Congress
Excerpt: "After years of setbacks, the Bush administration and the small-business lobby are making progress on a top priority: A federal law that would override some state insurance regulations to let small companies band together to offer their workers scaled-back, low-cost health-insurance policies." (The Wall Street Journal via The Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights)

2006 Bills in the States on Universal Health Care Coverage
Excerpt: "While the legislative trend in the states is to fill in the gaps public and private systems leave behind, some states are still considering a single-payer, universal health insurance system that would cover every citizen within their borders. Thus far in 2006, at least seven states are considering universal health care systems and seven other states have commissioned studies to look at the possibility of such a system." (National Conference of State Legislatures)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Blog: Final Open Issues of FASB Pension/OPEB Project Phase 1 Include Tax-Exempts
Excerpt: "At it Board meeting [today], the Financial Accounting Standards Board will discuss the final remaining issues toward issuance of an exposure draft of new financial accounting standards under phase 1 of its project on employers' accounting for pensions and other post-employment benefits (OPEBs)." (Pensions & Benefits Weblog)

Benefits Perspectives -- Current Issues in Employee Benefits, Winter 2005-2006 (PDF)
12 pages. This issues includes articles on Medicare Part D, global pension plans, and reducing retirement plan benefits. (Milliman)

2006 Reporting & Disclosure Calendar for Benefit Plans
Excerpt: "The Segal Company's 2006 Reporting & Disclosure Calendar for Benefit Plans summarizes compliance requirements for qualified, single employer benefit plans. [A] brief description of each requirement and information about such details as the plan(s) affected, filing requirements and due dates [is provided]. An easy-to-print, multiple-page PDF version of this calendar is available on the following Web page:" (The Segal Company)

Few Companies Planning Executive Compensation Changes in Light of SEC Proposals
Excerpt: "In spite of the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) recent proposal requiring better disclosure of executive pay programs, most US companies are not planning any changes to theirs, according to a recent survey." ( one-time registration required)

An Analysis of the President's Budgetary Proposals for Fiscal Year 2007 (PDF)
71 pages. Excerpt: "The most significant changes involve provisions of EGTRRA and JGTRRA, the alternative minimum tax (AMT), the research and experimentation tax credit, tax deductions for certain premiums paid for health care plans with high deductibles, and various types of savings accounts. [p. 18]" (U.S. Congressional Budget Office)

What's the Biggest Change Facing Business in the Next 10 Years? A Look at the Future by 10 Experts
Excerpt: "Fewer and fewer people will want to be employees of corporations, because corporations don't have anything to offer. Corporations don't provide security and provide fewer and fewer benefits. People may find new ways to sell their skills. I can imagine eBay or the equivalent of eBay being in the business of letting people bid on work all day long. Office buildings may turn into housing, or maybe individuals will rent office space as you would rent a hotel room. [Avram Miller]" (Fast Company)

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Benefit Advisors Network Members Shine in Industry Benchmarking Survey
(Benefit Advisors Network)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Plan Administrator
for Third Party Administration Firm
in FL

Financial Specialist
for Wachovia Corporation
in PA

Client Communications Consultant
for The Newport Group, Inc.
in FL

Senior Pension Administrator
for Pen-Cal
in CA

Defined Contribution Business Analyst
for New York Life Investment Management LLC
in MA

Defined Benefit Client Account Manager
for New York Life Investment Management LLC
in MA

Plan Administrator
for The Newport Group, Inc.
in FL

Marketing Manager
for New York Life Investment Management LLC
in MA

Assistant Administrator
for So. Calif. UFCW Unions & Drug Employers Trust Funds
in CA

Benefits Analyst
for Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia
in GA

Funds Management Supervisor
for First Mercantile (SunTrust Bank)
in TN

Handy Links:

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