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April 17, 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)

Overview: CMS Issues Medicare Part D Benefit Parameters for 2007
Excerpt: "The new parameters are important for group health plan sponsors in determining whether their plans' pres.cription drug coverage is creditable for 2007." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Legal Pitfalls in Managing Employee Wellness (PDF)
12 pages. Excerpt: "In [this] discussion, [the authors] focus on four specific employee health issues and the legal implications of employer regulation in these areas: .... [The paper begins with an 'Employee Wellness Quiz.']" (Powell Goldstein LLP)

'Fair Share' Bills Draw Opposition
Excerpt: "Several major companies and business groups have come together to fight against bills that would require Rhode Island's largest employers to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on health insurance for their workers each year, or else pay a penalty of at least $250,000." (Providence Business News)

Editorial: Mandatory Health Insurance
Excerpt: "The cornerstone of the [Massachusetts] program is a requirement that everyone have a health insurance policy or pay a financial penalty. States have long required drivers to carry liability insurance, but this is the first time any state has imposed a health insurance mandate." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Even If Life Insurance Policy Is Not a Voluntary Plan, It Still Might Not Be Subject to ERISA
Excerpt: "As this court explained, it is also possible that the policy is exempt because it does not have sufficient employer involvement to be considered established or maintained by the employer as part of the employment arrangement." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Not-So-Odd Couples: Insurers and Group Legal Plan Providers Forge Joint Ventures
Excerpt: "In an emerging trend, health, life, and even dental insurance companies are looking to carve out some of the benefits in legal plans and embed them in their packages." (Employee Benefit News)

Restaurants Add Banking to Employee Benefits Bill of Fare
Excerpt: "Restaurants nationwide have whipped up a new dish on the benefits menu for the 12.5 workers in their industry. In league with Wachovia and US Bank, the National Restaurant Association has concocted a discount banking program for its 41,000 member restaurant companies to offer to their employees." (Employee Benefit News)

Full-Time Equivalency Method Applied in Counting Part-Time Employees for Small Employer Exception
Excerpt: "The court pointed out that the full-time equivalency method 'allows employers flexibility in hiring part-time employees as opposed to full-time employees, without imposing upon them the concern of thereby becoming subject to COBRA.'" (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Colorado Legislation Would Publicize Health Facility and Health Care Delivery Data
Excerpt: "The Colorado Senate on Wednesday moved forward with two bills that would give residents additional access to health care information, the Denver Business Journal reports." (California HealthCare Foundation; one-time registration may be required)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

409A Makes Its Mark on Deferred Compensation Designs
Excerpt: "'In many ways, Section 409A added flexibility for companies,' according to William L MacDonald, chairman, CEO, and president of Retirement Capital Group. 'Prior to the adoption of this law, companies had to rely upon attorney opinions, and plan design depended, to a large degree, on how aggressive the company was willing to be. Now, we have codified plan design features such as the right to re-defer a payment so long as that decision is made in compliance with the rules.'" ( one-time registration required)

The Form 5500 Database Has Been Updated
The ERISA Form 5500 Filings database is one of many searchable databases on the site. (

Trends External to the Core Payment Process Are Requiring More from Service Providers
Excerpt: "Like payroll, the ability to produce and deliver participant payments -- whether in the traditional hardcopy check, or via an electronic transmission -- has long been a foundation assumption for service providers. You do it well -- generally 100% accuracy is the baseline -- or you lose the business." ( one-time registration required)

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

CIGNA HealthCare Expands Availability of Consumer-Driven Health Plans; HRA Plans Now Available to Businesses with 51-200 Employees
(CIGNA HealthCare)

Romney's Veto of Employer Contribution in MA Universal Health Care Law Will Mean Many Will Be Underinsured in 'Bare Bones' Policies
(Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Health & Welfare Group Leader
for Towers Perrin
in CA

Senior Global Total Rewards Consultant
for Hewitt Associates
in IL

Benefits Specialist
for Gevity
in FL

Design Consultant
for Hewitt Associates
in IL

Senior Benefits Support Analyst
for Gevity
in FL

COBRA Specialist
for Gevity
in FL

Retirement Plan Administrator
for CMC Retirement and Employee Benefits Specialists, Inc.
in CA

Defined Benefit Technician
for SunGard Relius
in FL

ERISA Counsel
for Alltel Communications
in AR

Regional 401(k) External Wholesaler
in DC, DE, MD, NJ, PA

Handy Links:

Copyright 2006, Inc.; except that you may reprint this newsletter in full (including this sentence) without obtaining our permission.

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