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April 7, 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 a Program on the Current State of Health Plans:

Please join us for Employer-Sponsored Health Plans: Problems, Choices and Solutions on April 28, 2006 from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the law school, 315 S. Plymouth Ct. in Chicago. For more information or to register, e-mail 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 Health Care Bill Passes with Employer Support
Excerpt: "The state's employers that do not provide health insurance will be required to pay into a new state fund." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)

Overview: Massachusetts' Health Care Initiative
Excerpt: "Another state is making some benefits history. Massachusetts has passed legislation (House No. 4850) that would require most of its citizens to purchase health insurance. The legislation would also require employers with 11 or more employees to contribute towards the cost. I am sure that the legislation will give rise to a lot of discussion over ERISA preemption issues just as the Maryland legislation did when it was passed late last year ...." (Attorney B. Janell Grenier via

Onsite Summer Camps Take Heat Off Working Parents
Excerpt: "[38%] of working parents spend more than 12 hours planning their children's care and activities for the summer, a 2005 survey by EAP provider ComPsych found. That adds up to a potentially large drain on productivity. That's why some employers step in to lighten the load with onsite summer camps, camp fairs, or employee discounts on camp tuition. They also contract with EAPs that provide summer camp referrals, online camp locators and general tips ...." (Employee Benefit News)

Is Military Disability Compensation Adequate? (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "This research brief compares military and civilian disability compensation systems and discusses the need for a way to measure the economic loss from a military-related injury and to assess the effect of a military disability on civilian earnings." (RAND)

Court Upholds Benefits Denial Based on Job Description
Excerpt: "The US District Court for the Eastern District of New York has ruled that a disability benefit plan administrator acted reasonably by depending on an employer's job description to terminate disability benefits." ( one-time registration required)

Spirituality Programs Offer Chicken Soup for the Employee Soul
Excerpt: "Every employer wants employees to feel fulfilled and healthy inside and outside of the workplace. The steady growth of work/life benefits, employee assistance programs and wellness plans are a testament to that. Some employers, however, have gone a step beyond mental and physical health by developing programs that target employees' spiritual well being." (Employee Benefit News)

States' Health Care Costs May Dwarf Pension Expense
Excerpt: "U.S. states may find that what it costs them to provide medical care for retired state employees will dwarf how much they pay for their retirement benefits, according to a new report." (Reuters via The New York Times; one-time registration required)

HIPAA Administrative Simplification -- Regulation Text (PDF)
101 pages. This is the Unofficial Version, as amended through February 16, 2006. (U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services)

ASOs: An Alternative to Mandatory Enrollment of Individuals with Disabilities into Managed Care?
Excerpt: "Administrative services organizations (ASOs) are loosely-defined managed care entities. Without bearing any financial or medical risk, ASOs can be designed to coordinate services for high-risk populations and publicly-funded health plans." (National Health Law Program)

Survey Finds Health Care Cost Concerns Still Problematic
Excerpt: "A news release about the biannual PNC Economic Outlook survey said that of those who offer health insurance, nearly six out of 10 said they are likely to reduce their employees' coverage in the future." ( one-time registration required)

Segal Survey of Multiemployer Health Funds' Response to the Initial Availability of Medicare Part D (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "In January and February, Segal gathered information about whether and how its multiemployer health fund clients decided to modify their pres.cription drug coverage for retirees in 2006 in light of the initial availability of Medicare Part D coverage. Segal also compiled information about the options plan sponsors are considering for 2007 and beyond." (The Segal Company)

AARP, Delta Dental Seek to Extend Benefits to Mature Market
Excerpt: "Employers offering retiree health benefits are a rare breed, but those giving post-employment dental benefits are an even more exotic species." (Employee Benefit News)

Opinion: Health Savings Accounts -- It's All Good
Excerpt: "HSAs are not a silver bullet but one tool in stabilizing our health sector by helping to reduce the number of uninsured people." (The Orange County Register via Galen Institute)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Companies Still Want Investors to Pretend There's No Cost for Paying Employees with Stock Options
Excerpt: "Nearly a third of the Standard & Poor's 500 have yet to revise their public earnings forecasts to reflect the payroll expense of employee stock options even though most will be required to report their first-quarter earnings that way later this month. More broadly, almost 500 major-exchange traded companies also haven't made the switch, judging from the latest analyst forecasts compiled by Thomson Financial." (AP via The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Trucker Huss Benefits Report, March 2006 (PDF)
6 pages. This edition contains two articles titled: Proposed Executive Compensation Proxy Disclosure Rules: What to Do Before the Rules Become Final and DOL Provides New Guidance Regarding IRA Investments and the Prohibited Transaction Rules (ERISA Opinion Letter 2006-01A)." (Trucker Huss)

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Deadline Nears For Companies To Enter National Employee Benefits Recognition; Prestigious Judging Panel Unveiled for The Principal 10 Best Companies 2006
(Principal Financial Group)

The U.S. House Of Representatives Has A Chance To Protect Older Workers
(Pension Rights Center)

FASB Emerging Issues Task Force Invites Public Comment On Three Draft Abstracts
(Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB))

'Retirement Planning is a Woman's Issue' States New York Life's Executive Vice President Ted Mathas at AARP Women's Leadership Circle Launch
(New York Life Insurance Company)

Labor Department Expands Exemption for Interest-Free Loans to Employee Benefit Plans
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration)

Health and Technology Leaders Release the Connecting for Health Common Framework for Initiating Private and Secure Health Information Sharing
(Connecting for Health)

Senior Finance Executives Want Stronger Pension Rules Than Congress
(Grant Thornton LLP)

GM's Motion-to-Dismiss ERISA Suit Denied
(Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP)

Pioneering Health Insurer Kicks Off Another Revolution With Industry Firsts in Affordable Coverage
(American-Community Mutual Insurance Company)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Operations Specialist III
for AST Trust Company
in AZ

External Wholesaler, North Carolina
for Transamerica
in NC

Benefits Administrator
for Independent Benefit Services
in MD

for Basil Castrovinci Associates, Inc.
in NJ

Regional Sales Consultant
for Benetech, Inc.

401k Plan Administrator
for Consulting Actuarial Group, Inc.
in IL

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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.