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March 31, 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)

Managing the Impact of GASB Statement 45 (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "Although most governments provide some form of retiree health care, very few prefund these benefits. Until recently, governments did not have to recognize long-term retiree health care costs in their financial statements. However, recent actions by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) have changed all that. .... This article provides steps for facilitating a smooth process for complying with GASB standards." (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Overview: HIPAA Compliance Deadline Fast Approaching (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "Every plan sponsor subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ('HIPAA') has something to do during the next several weeks. Sponsors of small employer plans must meet their obligations by April 20, 2006. Sponsors of large employer plans must meet their obligation by April 14, 2006." (Briggs and Morgan)

Employees Lack Understanding of Disability Insurance
Excerpt: "Most Americans underestimate their chances of becoming disabled and overestimate the cost of protecting themselves from the impact of a disability, a new study (http://groupbenefits.thehartford.com/marketing/di_literacy_study.pdf) from The Hartford reveals." (BenefitNews Connect)

Overview: Final Enforcement Rules Released for HIPAA
Excerpt: "The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued 45 pages of its long-awaited final enforcement rule governing the HIPAA privacy, security and related rules, calling it a regulation with 'extremely broad implications' for healthcare. The final ruling was released on February 16, 2006 and it details how HHS will define violations, determine culpability and the steps that organizations may take to protect themselves." (Infinisource, Inc.)

Perspective -- Electronic Personal Health Records: Lessons from Abroad
Excerpt: "Electronic personal health records (ePHRs) allow individuals to manage their health information. AARP commissioned [a study of] approaches to this evolving technology in Australia, Can.ada, England, and New Zealand with the goal of identifying best practices and lessons that may be applicable to development of ePHRs in the United States." (AARP)

Mental Health Parity Would Not Raise Treatment Costs, NEJM Study Says
Excerpt: "The elimination of special caps on mental health coverage might not lead to increased spending, according to a study published on Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, 'lending new ammunition to a longstanding push' for mental heath parity legislation, the Wall Street Journal reports." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Group Purchasing Organizations Say Regulations Would Raise Health Care Costs
Excerpt: "Proposals to regulate group purchasing organizations represent 'a straitjacket approach' to oversight that would increase total U.S. healthcare spending by billions of dollars, the heads of nine of the largest GPOs in the hospital industry said." (ModernHealthcare; one-time registration required)

Outline: Current Health Plan Funding Opportunities (PDF)
7 page review of funding vehicles and the key tax issues. (Groom Law Group)

Most Poll Respondents Say No to Retiree Health Cuts
Excerpt: "The Grant Thornton news release said that two out of three (66%) finance executives also expect another double-digit increase in employee health care costs this year while 32% do not." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Pennsylvania Lawmakers Expected to Introduce 'Wal-Mart' Bill Next Week
Excerpt: "Pennsylvania state Reps. Kathy Manderino (D) and John Taylor (R) next week are expected to introduce a 'fair-share health care bill,' modeled after Maryland's law, that would require large employers to spend a certain amount of payroll on health benefits, ...." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Medicare Part D Could Be a Benefit for Insurers
Excerpt: "Critics who say the private insurance industry got too big a role in the new Medicare pres.cription drug program may not know the half of it. For patients, the program's rollout has had mixed reviews, with many happy customers but more than a few tales of woe. But for many big insurers, the new Medicare program is shaping up as a great opportunity." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Union Benefit Plan Files Suit Against Pfizer
Excerpt: "The Welfare fund of Teamsters Local Union 863 has filed a lawsuit against Pfizer Inc. over the company's off-label promotion of Lipitor, alleging that it has paid for billions of dollars of unwarranted use of the drug over the past five years." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Site to Fight Fraud and Educate the Public on Insurance
Excerpt: "The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has launched a campaign to fight insurance fraud and an online educational resource, Insure U (http://www.insureuonline.org/), for businesses and consumers." (BenefitNews Connect)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: FASB Exposure Draft of New GAAP for Pensions and OPEBs
Excerpt: "The Financial Accounting Standards Board has published its exposure draft of a new accounting standard for employers' accounting for defined benefit pension plans and other post-employment benefits." (Pensions & Benefits Weblog)

Text: FASB Exposure Draft to Improve Accounting for Postretirement Benefit Plans, Including Pensions (PDF)
115 pages. Exposure Draft: Proposed Statement of Financial Accounting Standards -- Employer's Accounting for Defined Benefit Pension and Other Postretirement Plans -- an amendment of FASB Statements No. 87, 88, 106, and 132(R) (March 31, 2006) (Comment period ends May 31, 2006) (Financial Accounting Standards Board)

Overview: USERRA Requires Health Coverage Options for Military Leaves
Excerpt: "More military personnel are being called to active duty, leaving their civilian jobs and families behind. What responsibility with regards to health care coverage does the employer have to the service personnel leaving their employ for a tour of duty?" (Infinisource, Inc.)

GAO Testimony: Social Security Numbers: More Could Be Done to Protect SSNs
24 pages. Statement of Cynthia M. Fagnoni, managing director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the Subcommittee on Social Security, House Committee on Ways and Means. Highlights are at http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d06586thigh.pdf. (U.S. Government Accountability Office)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Washington Legislative Update Media Advisory
in District of Columbia on May 22, 2006
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

PBGC Compels Renco Group To Pay Pensions At WCI Steel
(Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC))

New Academic Research Suggests That Different Advisory Services Appeal to Different Employee Segments; Offering Advice Through Multiple Channels Reaches Different Types of Investors
(Financial Engines, Inc.)

The Principal Financial Group Brings Employee Financial Resource Program to Field Force; Educational, Informative Financial Analysis Resources Help to Benefit Employers and Employees, Alike
(Principal Financial Group)

Cardinal Bank Named Trustee and Custodian for NADART
(NADART)

Newkirk Introduces The Required Minimum Distribution Solution
(Newkirk Products Inc.)

Legislation to Benefit Small Businesses Supported by Professional Employer Organization; H.R. 4985 Introduced by U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady
(National PEO)

Mutual Fund Performance 'Significantly Overstated' in 41 of 42 Morningstar Categories
(Savant Capital Management, Inc.)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

TPA Relationship Manager (Eastern Region)
for Transamerica
in MA

Benefits Administrator
for CCA Strategies
in CO, IL

Pension and Retirement Specialist
for Aerojet
in CA

Defined Benefit Calculation Developer
for Diversified Investment Advisors, Inc.
in MA

Product Manager
for Administaff
in TX

Manager, Processing Team
for Administaff
in TX

401k / DC Administrator
for Sentinel Benefits Group
in CT, MA, RI

Junior Attorney/Corporate Counsel
for Prudential Financial
in NJ




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