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April 5, 2006
Today's sponsor: The Center for Tax Law and Employee Benefits at The John Marshall Law School

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for The Center for Tax Law and Employee Benefits at The John Marshall Law School

Presents Two Programs on the Current State of Employee Benefits:

Please join us for The 4th Annual Employee Benefits Symposium" on April 7, 2006, from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and "Employer-Sponsored Health Plans: Problems, Choices and Solutions" on April 28, 2006 from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Both Programs will be held at the law school, 315 S. Plymouth Ct. in Chicago. For more information, or to register for either program, e-mail 6winicza@jmls.edu or click above for more information.

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

Massachusetts Bill Requires Health Coverage -- State Will Use Auto Insurance As a Model
Excerpt: "The Massachusetts legislature approved a bill Tuesday that would require all residents to purchase health insurance or face legal penalties, which would make this the first state to tackle the problem of incomplete medical coverage by treating patients the same way it does cars." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Sereboff Health Plan Subrogation Case
Excerpt: "U.S. Supreme Court justices focused on the difference between equitable and legal remedies during March 28 oral arguments for a health insurer subrogation case, say two legal observers. But neither expert was prepared to predict how the high court would rule." (MANAGED CARE WEEK via AISHealth.com)

Mandatory Health Screenings Reap Huge Rewards
Excerpt: "Cadmus Communications, a publishing services company in Richmond, Va., took a radical approach to employee wellness last year: It required employees to take a health risk assessment, blood pressure screening and cholesterol screening. Seventeen employees lost their health coverage this year because they didn't cooperate." (Employee Benefit News)

Draft: Accounting for Sabbatical Leave and Other Similar Benefits Pursuant to FASB Statement No. 43 (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "This draft abstract for EITF Issue No. 06-2, 'Accounting for Sabbatical Leave and Other Similar Benefits Pursuant to FASB Statement No. 43, 'Accounting for Compensated Absences,' addresses the following issue: Whether an employee's right to a compensated absence under a sabbatical leave or other similar benefit arrangement (a) that requires the completion of a minimum service period and (b) in which the benefit does not increase with additional years ...." (Financial Accounting Standards Board)

Website Tracks Medical Records -- Two Moms Launch Healthe-Tracks
Excerpt: "Two stay-at home mothers are trying to make it easier for families to keep track of medical information. HealthTracks LLC on [April 3] launched HealtheTracks, an online health record-keeping system." (The Denver Post)

Health Information Technology Gets into Gear
Excerpt: "HHS has seeded or promoted -- or greased the wheels of -- eight major initiatives that depend on physicians, hospitals, insurers, IT companies and government working together. Over the long term, Brailer anticipates that the adoption of electronic health records and transformation of business processes in physicians' offices and hospitals will improve the quality of health care, reduce medical errors and cut costs." (Government Computer News)

Company Doctor Is Back, Helping Workers Remain Healthy and Employers Reduce Health Care Costs
Excerpt: "Reminiscent of the 'company doctor' of years past, today's trend of providing on-site medical care is building rapidly, experts say, spurred largely by the fact that these on-site facilities enable employers to better manage -- and even scale back the growth rate of -- their health care expenses." (HR Magazine)

Consumer-Directed Health Plan Members Use More Services, Spend Less
Excerpt: "Both moderate and heavy utilizers of health care tend to have lower medical costs once they switch from a traditional managed care plan into an account-based consumer-directed health (CDH) plan, according to a study released Feb. 2 by CIGNA Corp." (INSIDE CONSUMER-DIRECTED CARE via AISHealth.com)

Cancer Drug Costs, Treatments and Concerns Continue to Increase
Excerpt: "With statistics showing that biotechnology medications for cancer or cancer-related conditions represent almost twice the number of drugs for all disease states combined in the pipeline, that trend isn't likely to slow any time soon." (Specialty Pharmacy News via AISHealth.com)

CMS Issues User Guide, Commonly Asked Questions, and Helpful Hints for Completing Disclosure Notice
Excerpt: "CMS has released two items of new guidance-a User Guide and a list of Commonly Asked Questions and Helpful Hints-to assist entities (including group health plan sponsors) in completing their Disclosure to CMS Forms." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

High-Deductible Health Plans, HSAs and Healthcare Providers: Market Strategies
Excerpt: "These types of plans, still in their infancy in the insurance market, give patients greater autonomy in choosing the providers from whom they seek treatments, and the health care costs that are incurred, than traditional insurance plans, where such choices have been driven by third party payers." (Faegre & Benson LLP)

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Wants Tax Credit for Health Insurance
Excerpt: "Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine is trying to bring a federal tax credit program to Georgia that would help people who have been laid off due to foreign competition buy health insurance. It could also help some pension recipients who face losing their pension benefits due to an employer's financial woes. The Health Coverage Tax Credit would let those people get a federal tax credit that would pay for 65 percent of their health insurance premiums." (Atlanta Business Chronicle via bizjournals.com; one-time registration required)

Lawmakers Balk at HSA Expansion Price Tag
Excerpt: "President Bush's effort to expand health savings accounts may have stalled just weeks after he introduced his proposal, thanks to Capitol Hill resistance to the price tag." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)

Overview: Form 5500 Filing Requirements for 'Wrap' Welfare Plans
Excerpt: "For many years, a common technique for reducing the number of Forms 5500 an employer needed to file was for the employer to wrap its welfare plans (e.g., health, dental, medical reimbursement, etc.) into a single plan. Generally, the plan of choice for wrapping was a cafeteria plan." (SunGard Corbel)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Federal Worker Employee Buyouts on the Rise
Excerpt: "Buyouts -- cash incentives of up to $25,000 for employees to voluntarily leave their jobs in order to reshape the workforce -- are increasingly common in federal agencies, government auditors have found." (National Journal Group Inc. via GOVEXEC.com)

Multinational Employers Adapting Pay and Benefit Strategies to Suit Regional Trends
Excerpt: "Employers operating in multiple nations are learning the importance of 'doing as the Romans do' when it comes to structuring pay and benefits for employees spanning the globe, new research from Towers Perrin shows." (Employee Benefit News)

Military Leave Compliance May Make Your Head Spin, But It's in Service of a Higher Purpose
Excerpt: "While the DOL presents the regulations in a question-and-answer format to make them accessible and understandable, they are still painfully complicated in some areas. This article teases out some of the tangles for employers and suggests ways to craft straightforward compliance policies. Not a primer on USERRA generally, the article assumes a general understanding of USERRA and some familiarity with the regulations." (HR Magazine)

An Introduction to the IRS's EP CPE Texts
Excerpt: "Have you discovered the IRS's EP CPE texts? The Employee Plans Division of IRS annually publishes a series of articles known as the Employee Plans Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Technical Instruction Program, which are apparently written and designed for training of IRS personnel." (Attorney B. Janell Grenier via BenefitsBlog.com)

Overview: New Mailing Address for DFVC Program
Excerpt: "The Department of Labor (DOL) issued a news release in which it provided a new address for plan sponsors filing under the Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance (DFVC) program." (SunGard Corbel)

New Accounting Rules Raising Cost of Stock Options, Other Equity-Based Incentives Offer Alternatives
Excerpt: "While most companies aren't expected to ditch options entirely, HR professionals have a number of alternatives for employees' long-term incentives. The most popular include time-vested restricted stock, performance shares and long-term cash incentive plans." (HR Magazine)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Texas on May 2, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Texas on May 3, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Georgia on May 3, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Illinois on May 4, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Illinois on May 2, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Louisiana on May 2, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Illinois on May 3, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in New Mexico on May 3, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Colorado on May 4, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Georgia on May 4, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Texas on May 4, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Health and Welfare Plan Fundamentals - A One Day Seminar
in New York on May 25, 2006
presented by New York Metropolitan Area Chapter - ISCEBS

LM-10/LM-30 Update - Teleweb
Nationwide on April 20, 2006
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

Washington Legislative Update
in Ohio on April 18, 2006
presented by ASPPA Benefits Council of Cleveland


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

PensionOnline.com Announces Powerful New Software Tool For Complying With GASB 45 - OPEB Liabilities
(PensionOnline)

The Principal Financial Group is Filling the Demand for Consumer Driven Dental; A National Tour Educates Brokers on New Plans for the Consumer Driven Market
(Principal Financial Group)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Enrolled Actuary
for National Retirement Services, Inc.
in CA, NC

Senior Benefits Administrator
for Aerojet
in CA

Pension Administrator / Consultant (Gaithersburg MD)
for Martin Retirement Services, Inc.
in DC, MD, VA

ERISA Transactional Associate
for Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P., an AmLaw 100, International Law Firm
in MO

ERISA Litigation Associate
for Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P., an AmLaw 100, International Law Firm
in MO

Attorney - Counsel: Retirement Plans
for Transamerica
in CA

Retirement Plan Consultant
for Benefit Consultants
in AL

Senior Benefits Compliance Representative
for Aerojet
in CA




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