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March 29, 2006
Today's sponsor: The International Foundation

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Celebrate National Employee Benefits Day and Give Yourself a Pat on the Back

Pat Yourself on the Back Monday

On Monday, April 3, the International Foundation encourages you to take pride in the critical role you play to ensure benefits coverage for plan participants. As a trustee, administrator, advisor, broker or benefits manager, your duties are complex and carry significant gravity. By continually providing the best in benefits education, we hope that the International Foundation has been able to make your duties as a fiduciary a little easier. For more on National Employee Benefits Day, visit www.ifebp.org/benefitsday


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

Health Practice Council Practice Note 2006-3 on the Medicare Part D Subsidy (PDF)
19 pages. Final Practice Note on Actuarial Equivalence Attestations for Plan Sponsors Seeking a Medicare Part D subsidy. (American Academy of Actuaries)

Ohio State Supreme Court Rules Against Medical Privacy Fear
Excerpt: "The Cincinnati Health Department must disclose the addresses of homes and businesses that are ordered to remove potentially hazardous lead paint, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Friday. The decision ends a two-year court battle ... over whether releasing the addresses would violate a federal law intended to protect personal medical records. The court's ruling, believed to be the first of its kind in the country, means Ohio's open records law takes precedence over the federal law." (The Enquirer)

Most ER Patients Are Insured, Study Says
Excerpt: "Challenging a common notion that uninsured patients are clogging hospital emergency rooms, a new study has found that the vast majority of adults who turn up there frequently have health insurance and regular doctors." (Los Angeles Times; one-time registration required)

Few U.S. Residents Would Pay More for Higher-Quality Health Care, Poll Finds
Excerpt: "Many U.S. residents support higher reimbursements from health insurers for hospitals and medical groups that provide higher-quality care, but few would pay higher premiums for such care, according to a recent WSJ.com/Harris Interactive poll, the Wall Street Journal Online reports." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Spitzer Report Finds Health Plan Billing Complaints Rising
Excerpt: "Improper billing of consumers by health plans was the most frequent health care problem New Yorkers complained to state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's office about between July 2004 and July 2005. [The 66-page report is at http://www.oag.state.ny.us/press/2006/mar/Corel%20Office%20Document.pdf.]" (The Business Review (Albany) via bizjournals.com; one-time registration required)

Overview: CMS Issues More Guidance on Retiree Drug Subsidy—Employer Action Required Soon (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "As a precondition to requesting subsidy payments, all plan sponsors must complete this form and submit it to CMS. A form must be submitted for each plan sponsor identification number." (Hewitt Associates)

What Are the Public Health Effects of Direct-to-Consumer Drug Advertising?
Excerpt: "Background to the debate: Only two industrialized countries, the United States and New Zealand, allow direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of pres.cription medicines, although New Zealand is planning a ban [1]. The challenge for these governments is ensuring that DTCA is more beneficial than harmful." (PLoS Medicine)

New York Bans Health, Disability Discretionary Clauses in Policies
Excerpt: "Empire State insurance regulators have joined their California colleagues in trying to get discretionary clauses out of health and disability insurance policies and subscriber contracts." (National Underwriter Life & Health; free one-time registration or paid subscription required)

Group Health Plan Sponsored by Foreign Embassy Found Subject to ERISA
Excerpt: "This decision addresses the threshold question of whether the plan was subject to ERISA or whether, instead, it fell within the ERISA Section 4(b)(4) exclusion for plans that are (1) maintained outside of the United States and (2) primarily for the benefit of persons substantially all of whom are nonresident aliens." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

U.S. State Regulators Warn of Fake Health Insurance
Excerpt: "The National Association of Insurance Commissioners said [yesterday] it is launching a campaign to warn businesses and employees about frauds offering fake health insurance." (Reuters via Medscape)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Cautionary Tales: Penalties for Failure to Timely Provide Requested Documents
Excerpt: "ERISA requires a plan administrator to furnish certain plan documents within 30 days after a written request by a participant or beneficiary; a plan administrator that fails to comply may be liable in an amount up to $110 per day from the date of the failure or refusal." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Text of EBSA Advisory Opinion 2006-03A of February 28, 2006
Excerpt: "[DOL was asked] for an advisory opinion concerning the applicability of Prohibited Transaction Exemption (PTE) 92-6, as amended,(1) to a transfer from an employee benefit plan of a second to die life insurance contract to the husband and wife whose lives are insured under the policy and who are both participants in the plan." (U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)

Suit over Fiorina Severance Questions Pay Practices
Excerpt: "Four union pension funds have filed a lawsuit alleging that Hewlett-Packard breached its company policy to seek shareholder approval before authorizing the payment of executive severance benefits." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)

Overview: New Deferred Compensation Rules -- Traps for the Unwary (PDF)
Pages 1, 4, and 6 of 6 pages. Excerpt: "While Code Section 409A applies to 'deferred compensation plans,' the definition of what constitutes a plan is very broad and, as such, applies to arrangements most of us would not generally consider to be deferred compensation plans." (Reish Luftman Reicher & Cohen)

Transcript: Nonqualified Deferred Comp -- Validating a Section 409A Transition and Compliance Plan (PDF)
31 pages. A 90-Minute Webcast Sponsored by the Corporate and Securities Law Committee Of the Association of Corporate Counsel, February 22, 2005 (Association of Corporate Counsel via Kilpatrick Stockton LLP)

Overview: 409A Funding Rules -- IRS Issues Additional Guidance
Excerpt: "The IRS has just released Notice 2006-33, which addresses the Code Section 409A rules regarding offshore trusts and payment restrictions affecting nonqualified deferred compensation." (SunGard Corbel)

409(a) Rules Not Expected Until Fall
Excerpt: "After getting flooded with public comments regarding Section 409(a) rules on non-qualified deferred compensation plans, federal officials now caution not to expect final regulations until fall 2006." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

2006 Spring Conference
in Arizona on May 11, 2006
presented by Western Pension & Benefits Conference - Phoenix Chapter


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Sr. New Business Representative
for BISYS Retirement Services
in MN

Pension Analyst
for T Rowe Price
in MD

Sr Pension Analyst
for T. Rowe Price
in MD

Plan Administrator
for The Pension Alliance, Inc.
in PA

FASCore Service Delivery Associate
for Great-West Financial Services
in CO

Wachovia Retirement Solutions Relationship Manager II
for Wachovia
in PA




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