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April 12, 2006
Today's sponsor: The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

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Experience a rich tradition in quality education

Join hundreds of trustees and administrators at these highly-focused, long-running institutes. Three side-by-side institutes-- Advanced Trustees, Administrators and New Trustees-- will get updated information on the trends and legislation impacting multiemployer plans. Health care, prescription drug, pension plan, Medicare Part D, communication and disaster preparedness are among the session topics. This program is offered along side the Benefit Plan Professionals Institute for attorneys and accountants. Exhibit and sponsorship opportunities are available.
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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)

Massachusetts Governor to Sign Health Bill
Excerpt: "With Massachusetts basking in the national spotlight for its sweeping proposal to require all citizens to have health insurance, Gov. Mitt Romney has signaled he will sign the bill into law -- with one change. At a lavish signing ceremony set for Wednesday, Romney was expected to veto or significantly alter a key portion of the bill: a $295-per-worker assessment for businesses that do not provide health insurance. Some critics call that a tax on businesses." (Newsday Inc.)

Opinion: Massachusetts 'Universal Coverage' Legislation Mimics Government Bureaucracy of 'HillaryCare' (PDF)
6 page chart. Excerpt: "Purpose: 'To expand access to health care for Massachusetts residents, increase the affordability of health insurance products, and enhance accountability of our state's health system.'" (Citizens' Council on Health Care)

Employers Beginning to Realize the Negative Effect that Debt Can Have on Their Workforces
Excerpt: "Personal debt may be a personal problem, but many employers now recognize the potential drag on their bottom line. Increasingly, companies are including basic financial education courses as part of their employee assistance programs." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)

Study Shows Employers Offering More Benefits in Tandem
Excerpt: "Employers are moving broadly across benefits program boundaries with new approaches to managing health, absence and disability, according to a new research report. Only two in 10 responding employers said they maintained isolated benefits-program silos, according to the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) report." ( one-time registration required)

Review: Impact of Health Information Technology on Quality, Efficiency, and Costs of Medical Care
Excerpt: "The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality asked [the authors] to systematically review evidence on the costs and benefits associated with use of health information technology and to identify gaps in the literature in order to provide organizations, policymakers, clinicians, and consumers an understanding of the effect of health information technology on clinical care ..." (Annals of Internal Medicine)

Opinion: The Pitfalls of Mandating Health Insurance (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "The ... paper explains why mandating health insurance coverage is not a model for reform and will in fact raise taxes, invade privacy and fail to address health care costs." (The Council for Affordable Health Insurance)

Overview: CMS Announces Indexed Medicare Part D Amounts for 2007
Excerpt: "On April 5, 2006, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the indexed Medicare Part D amounts for 2007. This Capital Checkup features charts comparing the 2007 numbers and the 2006 numbers." (The Segal Company)

Study Shows Pharma.ceutical Information Main Goal of Internet Health Information Searchers
Excerpt: "The majority of U.S. consumers accessing the Internet for health information say they do so specifically for pharma.ceutical information, finds the ePharma Consumer v5.0 study from Manhattan Research." (

Few Execs Believe They're Supplying Employees with Accessible, Understandable Health Quality Info
Excerpt: "Most executives at large U.S. companies say they are not doing an adequate job of providing employees with health care quality information to help them make informed treatment decisions, according to a study released Monday by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the AP/Long Island Newsday reports." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Editorial: Evaluating Doctors with Medicare Data
Excerpt: "The federal Medicare program is sitting on a trove of information that could help employers and patients decide which doctors provide the best service at the most reasonable cost. This is precisely the sort of information that President Bush has been urging the health care system to make available so that consumers can choose their doctors wisely. Yet the Department of Health and Human Services, relying on an old and dated court decision, has turned down a request for the data." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Opinion: Stop the Erosion of State-Enacted Health Insurance Consumer Protections
Excerpt: "S. 1955, the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization Act (HIMMA), was introduced by Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY) and has been approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. This legislation, if enacted, will strip away almost all state-enacted consumer protections for people buying insurance individually or through their employers." (Families USA)

Opinion: Individual Mandates for Health Insurance -- Slippery Slope to National Health Care (PDF)
12 pages. Excerpt: "Proposals for achieving universal health insurance coverage are once again receiving serious attention. Among the ideas attracting bipartisan support is an individual health insurance mandate, a legal requirement that every American obtain adequate private health insurance coverage." (Cato Institute)

Health Savings Accounts -- What Is a Qualified Medical Expense?
Excerpt: "Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) offer a new way to help manage the skyrocketing costs of health care. HSA contributions are tax deductible, and HSA distributions are tax free when used to pay qualified medical expenses. This article will look at the definition of qualified medical expenses and provide links to a variety of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance on the subject." (Wolters Kluwer Financial Services)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Nonqualified Advisor: A Resource for Plan Sponsors and Consultants of Nonqualified Plans and BOLI (PDF)
2 pages. The March 2006 edition contains articles titled: IRS Suspends Nonqualified Plan Reporting; SEC Proposes Overhaul of Executive Pay and Nonqualified Disclosures; and, Banks Encouraged to Re-Assess BOLI and Benefit Plans. (Executive Benefit Solutions)

Overview: DOL Final USERRA Regulations (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "These regulations finalize the proposed regulations released on September 20, 2004, and the interim final rule governing notice requirements released on March 10, 2005. The final regulations are now effective." (Employee Benefit Plan Review via Gardner Carton & Douglas LLP)

Tax Expenditures and Employee Benefits: Estimates from the FY 2007 Budget (PDF)
Pages 8-10 of 12 pages. Excerpt: "The federal government supports the provision of employee benefits through preferential tax treatment in the Internal Revenue Code. The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-344) requires that a list of 'tax expenditures' (federal tax revenue forgone due to preferential provisions) be included in the budget." (Employee Benefit Research Institute)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Legal Discrimination: Using Nonqualified Plans to Move Beyond Qualified Plans
in Pennsylvania on May 11, 2006
presented by PEBA --Penjerdel Employee Benefits & Compensation Assn.

One-Day Seminar
in Pennsylvania on April 27, 2006
presented by Central Pennsylvania Chapter - ISCEBS

The "Silver Lining" of 409A: Planning Opportunities in the Transition Rules
Nationwide on April 19, 2006
presented by Retirement Capital Group

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

2006 Retirement Confidence Survey: Many Americans' Retirement Hopes Are Filled With Holes Adverse News Apparently Had No Impact on Workers' Confidence
(Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI))

Generation X Lacks Confidence in Social Security and Pensions; Personal Savings Will Fund Its Retirement, AICPA/Harris Poll Suggests
(American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA))

Labor Department Unveils Retirement Planning Resource For Hispanic Americans
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration)

U. S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao Appoints 2006 ERISA Advisory Council and Leadership Posts
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration)

Presidium Retirement Advisers Joins 401k Advisors USA
(Target Marketing Solutions, Inc.)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

ERISA/Benefits Attorney
for Parker, Poe, Adams & Bernstein L.L.P.
in NC

Pension Account Technician
for Alerus Retirement Solutions
in MN

Health Care Research
for 1199SEIU Benefit and Pension Funds
in NY

401(k) Account Analyst
for BWD Group LLC
in NY

Quality Control / Pricing Administrator (Mutual Funds)
for The Newport Group, Inc.
in NC

Sr. Benefits Specialist
for Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation
in NJ

Benefits Coordinator
for CoAdvantage
in FL

Health & Welfare Benefits Service delivery Manager
for ACS
in NJ

Human Resources Specialist III (Benefits Specialist)
for Montgomery County Government
in MD

Plan Document Specialist
for Louis Kravitz & Associates
in CA

Human Resources Manager - Consulting
for ADP TotalSource
in MA, NH

Associate Attorney
for HaynesHitesman PC
in MN

401 (k) Plan Administrator
for Polycomp Administrative Services
in CA

Compliance Consultant
for Vanguard
in AZ

Compliance Administrator
for Vanguard
in AZ

Public Policy Analyst
for National Business Group on Health
in DC

Handy Links:

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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Fax: (407) 644-2151

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