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April 13, 2006
Today's sponsor: Benefit Software Inc.

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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)

Dell to Provide Employees with Electronic Health Records
Excerpt: "Dell employees will soon have personal health records that use insurance claims to automatically fill in information about pres.criptions, doctor visits and medical conditions. The PC manufacturer said the service will help employees take charge of their own health, and make better decisions about how to access health care." (Ziff Davis Internet via

Mass. Marks Health Care Milestone -- Insurance Required of All Residents, but Funding Isn't Final
Excerpt: "In a Colonial-era hall, with a fife-and-drum corps marching in with him, Gov. Mitt Romney (R) signed a bill Wednesday requiring all Massachusetts residents to purchase health insurance -- portraying the measure as a historic solution to health-care costs, even as questions emerge about whether the state can afford it." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Overview: The Massachusetts Universal Health Coverage Law (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "The new law mandates that all residents obtain health insurance coverage individually, through various free or subsidized state programs, or from an employer-sponsored plan. It also permits portability of insurance under certain circumstances as individuals move from job to job. Today's new law covers all employers except those with 10 or fewer employees." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

Medicare Part D PDP Option Boosts Subsidies and Reduces GASB Liability for Public Sector Employers
Excerpt: "2007 will likely see most public sector employers shift to one of Medicare Part D's PDP alternatives to take advantage of the reduced costs under the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA). Additionally, the move to PDP will have significant accounting advantages under GASB 43/45." (CCA Strategies, LLC)

Retired Executives at Many Large Companies Receive Lifetime Health Benefits
Excerpt: "Retired executives at many corporations are continuing to receive partial or full lifetime health coverage, despite the trend of reducing or eliminating health benefits for other retirees, the Wall Street Journal reports." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Kessler on Paid Family Leave in American Law Schools
Excerpt: "[N]o recent study examines the family leave policies and practices in American law schools. This study seeks to fill that gap." (Workplace Prof Blog)

As COBRA Turns 20, Common Employer Mistakes Persist
Excerpt: "From an employer's perspective, April 7, 2006, marked a not-so-happy 20th birthday for COBRA. No cause for celebration, no gifts, no cake or ice cream either. It is well established that COBRA participants cost plans considerably more than their nonCOBRA counterparts. And yet, after two decades of educating more than 250,000 agents, employers and administrators, we continue to see recurring mistakes that cost them even more." (Infinisource, Inc.)

Evidence Report/Technology Assessment: Costs and Benefits of Health Information Technology (PDF)
154 pages. Excerpt: "Objectives: An evidence report was prepared to assess the evidence base regarding benefits and costs of health information technology (HIT) systems, that is, the value of discrete HIT functions and systems in various healthcare settings, particularly those providing pediatric care." (U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)

Increasing Health Costs Can't Explain Earnings Dip for Low-Wage Workers
Excerpt: "President Bush's Council of Economic Advisors has argued that rising health insurance costs have squeezed workers wages across the income scale. As a practical matter, however, health insurance costs cannot explain the recent decline in wages for the lowest-paid workers because so few of them are covered by health insurance." (Economic Policy Institute)

Tennessee Governor Seeks Health Benefits for Small Biz Workers
Excerpt: "Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen has unveiled a plan to help small businesses offer health insurance. It would enable the state to pay $50 per month on a $150 monthly premium for eligible employees. The employer would kick in another $50. If passed, the plan would take effect in January." (BenefitNews Connect)

Opinion: A Collection of Articles on Disease Mongering
PloS Medicine provides links to 11 articles examining 'corporate sponsored creation of disease,' by turning lifestyle problems into medical issues; portraying mild issues as serious illnesses requiring medication; and framing little-known conditions as being common. (PLoS Medicine)

Options to Replace Current U.S. Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance System Limited
Excerpt: "'If employers pull out of the health and pension business, who takes their place?' Wall Street Journal columnist David Wessel writes in a Journal opinion piece, adding, 'Ultimately, there are three options, all with problems.'" (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Steelworkers Sue Alcoa over Retiree Health Coverage Cutbacks
Excerpt: "The United Steelworkers of America (USW) has sued Alcoa, Inc., over the aluminum giant's planned cutbacks in some retiree health care coverage." ( one-time registration required)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: Change in Pension and Other Post Employment Benefit Accounting Principles (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Under current accounting rules, actuarial gains and losses and gains and losses from prior service costs are amortized as a portion of the net periodic benefit cost, but disclosed in full in the footnotes to the financial statement. The exposure draft moves the full amount of these items from the footnotes to the accumulated other comprehensive income section of the shareholders' equity portion of the balance sheet while ...." (Powell Goldstein LLP)

G.ays' Job Benefits Weighed -- Michigan's 2004 Marriage Law under Appeal
Excerpt: "The future of employment-related benefits for the same-sex partners of public workers in Michigan remains up in the air indefinitely as a challenge to the voter-approved 2004 marriage amendment works its way through the courts." (Detroit Free Press)

Comments on SEC's Proposed Amendments to Executive Compensation and Related Party Disclosure (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "The Society for Human Resource Management ('SHRM') submits these comments to the Securities and Exchange Commission ... in response to the notice on the proposed amendments to the rules that govern public company disclosures of executive and director compensation." (Society for Human Resource Management)

Editorial: A Cozy Arrangement -- Corporate Boards and Executive Compensation Consultants
Excerpt: "To fix something, first you have to understand what went wrong. That's especially true for a problem as complex yet pervasive as sky-high executive compensation." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Overview: Foreign Trusts and Section 409A Compliance
Excerpt: "Since the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 ('AJCA') added new restrictions on trusts associated with deferred compensation arrangements, U.S. taxpayers' participation in foreign sponsored deferred compensation arrangements has received significantly more attention than in the past." (Deloitte's Washington Bulletin via

Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide Updated as of April 11, 2006
Excerpt: "Hewitt's Federal Legislation Quick Guide provides short updates on federal legislation that is currently under active consideration by Congress or has recently been enacted into law regarding health and welfare benefit plans, retirement plans, and human resources and employment law." (Hewitt Associates)

Overview: 2005 Plan Year Form 5500 Filing Requirements for Pension and Welfare Benefit Plans
Excerpt: "This article discusses the changes to the 2005 Form 5500: ...." (CCA Strategies, LLC)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

401(k) Plan Workshop
in Washington on May 2, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

401(k) Plan Workshop
in Iowa on May 3, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

401(k) Plan Workshop
in Georgia on May 4, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

401(k) Plan Workshop
in Kansas on May 4, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

401(k) Plan Workshop
in Minnesota on May 5, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

401(k) Plan Workshop
in Texas on May 5, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Form 5500 Workshop
in Iowa on May 2, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Form 5500 Workshop
in Georgia on May 3, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Form 5500 Workshop
in Kansas on May 3, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Form 5500 Workshop
in Texas on May 4, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Form 5500 Workshop
in Minnesota on May 4, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

HIPAA Special Enrollment-- Who's Entitled, Who's Not, and What Documents Are Needed
Nationwide on May 4, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Houston ISCEBS Sponsors Retirement Plan Update Seminar
in Texas on April 20, 2006
presented by International Society of CEBS - Houston Chapter

Individual Health Insurance Policies in the Workplace-- Avoiding Pitfalls and Limiting Employer Obligations
Nationwide on April 6, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Interim Plan Amendments: the New IRS Requirements Webcast
Nationwide on April 20, 2006
presented by American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

Subchapter S ESOPs: Key Issues in Washington, D.C.
Nationwide on May 31, 2006
presented by Employee Owned S Corporations of America

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

UnitedHealthcare, Hewitt Associates, Optima Health and Exante First to Offer Quicken for Health Care; Intuit and Ingenix Set to Develop Products That Will Revolutionize Health Care for up to 40 Million Americans
(Intuit Inc.)

New Report Shows More Government Workers Engaged in Retirement Planning
(Nationwide Financial)

Milliman: Defined Benefit Pension Plans Gain For Third Year
(Milliman USA)

Major Employer Group Urges Appeals Court to Uphold Cash Balance Plans: Cash Balance Plans Are Not Age Discriminatory, Says The ERISA Industry Committee
(ERISA Industry Committee)

White Paper: Employee Obesity is Number One Factor in Productivity Loss
(Leade Health)

Steelworkers File Lawsuit to Reverse Alcoa's Unilateral Change in Retiree Health Care
(United Steelworkers)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Investment Manager
for W.W. Grainger
in IL

ERISA Attorney
for Perkins Coie LLP
in WA

Client Benefit Representative - Health & Welfare
for ADP TotalSource
in NH

Retirement Plan Consultant
for Bolton Partners, Inc.
in MD

VP, Employee Benefits Manager
for Bank of the West
in CA

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