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March 23, 2006
Today's sponsor: Benefit Software Inc.

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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)

U.S. Supreme Court Turns Away Allstate ADEA Case
Excerpt: "The nation's high court has rebuffed efforts to appeal a ruling that Allstate Insurance did not commit age discrimination during a 1999 corporate reorganization." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Blues Plans Use Bariatric Surgery Centers for Obesity Disease Management
Excerpt: "Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans increasingly are making bariatric centers of excellence a component of their disease management (DM) strategy for managing obesity. The centers typically educate patients thoroughly and often require them to diet before agreeing to the surgery -- in effect performing most or all the functions of a strong morbid obesity DM program, right down to data collection." (The AIS Report on Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans via AISHealth.com)

Health Plans Developing Low Back Pain Disease Management Programs
Excerpt: "Health plans, facing both huge bills for the care of low back pain patients and increasing pressure from benefit plan sponsors for better quality control in that care, increasingly are turning to disease management (DM) programs as a way to both improve quality and control costs in low back pain care." (INSIDE DISEASE MANAGEMENT via AISHealth.com)

Health Insurance Companies to Use IT to Influence Doctors and Patients
Excerpt: "A new report released by First Consulting Group predicts that health insurers are using health IT to expand their influence over doctors and patients. Increasingly, health plans will use the Internet to reach out to patients directly with tips for staying healthy and keeping costs down." (eWeek.com)

Why It's Important to Audit New Electronic Medical Records Systems
Excerpt: "With electronic medical records (EMRs), coders and clinicians no longer struggle to read illegible physician handwriting, and that should reduce both medical and coding/billing errors. But even with that advantage, it turns out that tweaking is necessary, underscoring the importance of auditing newly implemented EMR systems." (Report on Medicare Compliance via AISHealth.com)

Health Plans Design Pres.cription Drug Plans Tailored to 2007 Retiree Benefits
Excerpt: "With just a few months' experience with the Medicare Part D drug benefit under their belts, employers already are weighing options for providing retiree drug benefits in 2007." (MANAGED CARE WEEK via AISHealth.com)

A Renewed Move to Boost Small Businesses' Health Coverage
Excerpt: "Legislation to allow small businesses to pool health-insurance purchases across state lines through Association Health Plans has passed the House a half-dozen times only to die in the Senate. But now a bill ready for full Senate consideration would let small firms band together, based on trade-association memberships, to buy health insurance free of state regulation." (Scripps Howard News Service via The Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights)

Companies Preparing Worldwide for Avian Flu
Excerpt: "Multinational companies are taking steps in many parts of the world to plan for the possibility of an avian flu outbreak, a new survey by Watson Wyatt Worldwide has found." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Best Practices in EBP Audits
Excerpt: "The Department of Labor (DOL) requires all employers with more than 100 eligible benefit plan participants and certain smaller plans to conduct EBP audits." (Journal of Accountancy via The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants)

Overview: Mergers and Acquisitions and Employee Benefit Issues
Excerpt: "[S]mall and midsized employers, when contemplating the sale of their business or the purchase of another, often either ignore the employee benefits issues or regard them as something to be dealt with after the fact. For both practical and legal reasons, the issues related to retirement plans need to be resolved before the terms of the agreement are finalized." (Reish Luftman Reicher & Cohen)

GAO Report: Definitions of Insurance and Related Information (PDF)
59 pages. Excerpt: "[GAO] looked at a variety of sources to identify a definition of insurance and found that, while most definitions differed because they were developed for specific purposes or had changed over time, the definitions shared key elements of risk transfer and risk spreading. Definitions of insurance are developed for various purposes such as different fields of study, categories of insurance, and state or federal statutes." (U.S. Government Accountability Office)

What Happens When the Press Blasts Your CEO for Excess Compensation? Apparently Not Much
Excerpt: "Wharton accounting professors Wayne Guay and John Core, and Stanford accounting professor David Larcker, ... study executive compensation. What they conclude from their most recent research is that the most relevant information does not necessarily make headlines. They also find that in general, the media's focus on excessive compensation does not substantively change corporate behavior with regards to pay packages." (Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania)

IRS Issues Guidance on Offshore Rabbi Trusts
Excerpt: "The Internal Revenue Service has released IRS Notice 2006-33 that provides transitional relief to nonqualified plans whose assets are held in certain off-shore trusts or whose provisions contain a financial trigger that would provide additional protections to participants ...." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide Updated as of March 21, 2006
Excerpt: "Hewitt's Federal Legislation Quick Guide provides short updates on federal legislation that is currently under active consideration by Congress or has recently been enacted into law regarding health and welfare benefit plans, retirement plans, and human resources and employment law." (Hewitt Associates)

Delphi, General Motors Offers Get Mixed Reception
Excerpt: "Buyout deals being offered to UAW members at General Motors Corp. and auto parts supplier Delphi Corp. are getting a favorable reception from some workers." (AP via The New York Times; one-time registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Who's a Dependent and Why Does It Matter? -- What Employers Need to Know for Medical Plans, Cafeteria Plans, and DCAPs
Nationwide on March 14, 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)

NIPA Members Receive Discount for McKay Hochman eSeminars
(National Institute of Pension Administrators)

PBGC Executive Director Bradley D. Belt Announces Departure
(Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC))

Automated Sales Presentation Platform Saves Financial Advisors' Time
(Metrics Partners)

White Horse Advisors Hires New Team Member
(White Horse Advisors, LLC)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Benefits Manager
for Knowledge Learning Corporation
in OR

Senior Sales Consultant
for New York Life Investment Management LLC
in NJ

Junior Pension Plan Administrator
for Robin S. Weingast & Associates, Inc.
in NY

Senior Account Manager ~ Financial Services
for CitiStreet
in NJ

Retirement Services Provider Consultant
for Deloitte Consulting LLP
in MA

Retirement Services Provider Consultant
for Deloitte Consulting LLP
in NY

Retirement Services Provider Consultant
for Deloitte Consulting LLP
in MN

Group Annuity Administration Representative
for The Standard Insurance
in OR




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

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