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April 19, 2006
Today's sponsor: The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

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Earn CE Credits-- CPAs and Attorneys

Accountants and attorneys working with multiemployer or public plans can focus on professional growth at this Institute. Current information on health and pensions will be presented exclusively for plan professionals. Topics include the actuarial function in light of funding problems, DOL initiatives, SAS update, FASB, IRS and OLMS developments, LM-10 and LM-30, prohibited transactions, and suspension of benefits. Offered along side the Trustees & Administrators Institutes. Exhibits and Sponsorships are available. For more information, visit

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

Dow Jones Newswires Examines Debate Over Association Health Plans Bill
Excerpt: "Dow Jones Business News on Thursday examined how a bill (S 1955) 'that would pre-empt state-mandated benefits is pitting advocacy groups ... against powerful small-business lobbies' (Gerencher, Dow Jones Business News, 4/13). The bill, sponsored by Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), would allow small businesses and trade associations to join together to offer group health coverage on a statewide or nationwide basis." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Putting a Band-Aid on Small Firms' Health Costs
Excerpt: "Small businesses are driven crazy by soaring employee health costs, an expense that surveys show has become the biggest headache and obstacle to growth. Now, a growing army of consultants and benefits experts are promoting new health plans and services aimed at owners desperate to rein in costs." (USA TODAY)

Public Employees' Health Benefits Survive Major Threats, So Far
9 pages. Excerpt: "Public-sector workers continue to receive benefits that help offset their more modest salaries compared with their private-sector peers." (Health Affairs)

Opinion: GASB Doesn't Want to Credit Medicare Reimbursement to Public Employers
Excerpt: "The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) does not want state and local government to be able to credit the reimbursement received for drug coverage of retirees under Medicare Part D to be used to reduce the long-term liability of government's health costs. Beginning next year, employers will have to account for these Other Postemployment Benefits (OPEB) as a long-term liability." (National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems)

Comcast Employees Tune Into Employee Assistance Program
Excerpt: "Comcast savvily recognizes that personal issues can bloat into time-consuming concerns, diminish productivity and depreciate human capital. Accordingly, with the help of EAP vendor ComPsych, Comcast offers employees a dizzying range of solutions to an equivalent range of problems." ( one-time registration required)

Sabbaticals Benefit Companies As Well As Employees
Excerpt: "Sabbaticals can help prevent costly employee burn out and attract the best workers, say Andrew E. Carr and Thomas Li-Ping Tang, professors at Middle Tennessee State University, whose study, 'Sabbaticals and Employee Motivation: Benefits, Concerns and Implications' was published last year in the Journal of Education for Business." (Employee Benefit News)

Benefits Threatened, Auto Workers Line Up for Elective Medical Procedures
Excerpt: "Hospitals, doctors and insurers have all noticed a surge in demand for elective surgery since last year when Rick Wagoner, the chief executive of General Motors, led a public relations campaign to prepare auto workers for health care cutbacks, and Delphi, the G.M. parts supplier, filed for bankrup.tcy protection." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Opinion: Government-Funded Care Is the Best Health Solution
Excerpt: "Under the Massachusetts approach, there will still be a maze of plans provided by any number of insurers. That multiplicity is the problem. Multiple insurers and multiple plans create layers of unneeded expense and bureaucracy related to billing, collections and the entire assembly line of middlemen between the service rendered and the payment." (Benjamin Brewer, M.D., The Wall Street Journal via Physicians for a National Health Program)

Law Professor Roger Baron Quoted in Article on Health Plan Reimbursement
Excerpt: "John Godfrey and Mark H. Anderson report (their article is quoted with permission of the authors) in Dow Jones Newswires on House efforts to make it easier for employer-sponsored health plans to obtain reimbursement when a third party pays for some or all of an insured employee's damages: ...." (Workplace Prof Blog)

Audio: Americans Paying for Medical Billing Errors
Excerpt: "The high cost of health care in America may be even higher than you think. Day to Day personal finance contributor Michelle Singletary speaks with Alex Chadwick about medical billing errors, and what consumers can do to make sure that they're not paying for those mistakes." (Day to Day via National Public Radio)

The Calculus of Taking the General Motor's Buyout Offer
Excerpt: "Consciously or not, the tens of thousands of General Motors workers who face decisions about the company's buyout offers before an early June deadline are getting a crash course in medical cost-benefit analysis." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Wal-Mart Offers to Help Fix Health Care
Excerpt: "Wal-Mart Stores Inc., at the center of debate over corporate responsibility for health care, said on Tuesday that it wants to use its cost-cutting expertise to help make the U.S. health care system more efficient." (Reuters via The New York Times; one-time registration required)

CEOs Called On to Join Cancer Prevention Initiative
Excerpt: "Six companies have so far signed on to a US-led initiative to urge corporate executives to do what they can to help employees and their families battle cancer. A news release said that those that have already signed on to the CEO Cancer Gold Standard initiative include the American Cancer Society, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis Pharma.ceuticals Corporation, and OSI Pharma.ceuticals." ( one-time registration required)

Television May Be Handing Employers a Solution to Their Health Care Concerns
Excerpt: "Weight-loss contests are the bread and butter of popular reality TV shows like 'The Biggest Loser,' 'Weighing In' and 'Celebrity Fit Club.' Some viewers have been fascinated by the dramatic, on-screen transformations and inspired to try the premise at work. Their enthusiasm has given rise to a variety of workplace weight-loss contests modeled or named after those hit TV shows." (Employee Benefit News)

Attention Health Care Shoppers
Excerpt: "Scores of experts believe consumer-directed healthcare will revolutionize the industry. But where are the consumers?" (HealthLeaders News)

Several States Criticize the Enzi Health Insurance Bill
Excerpt: "Insurance commissioners and other officials from several states are criticizing legislation sponsored by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), that they say would strip states of their ability to set minimum coverage requirements for health insurance plans." (The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights)

Assessing Quality-Based Benefit Design
Excerpt: "Overall, the paper found only partial evidence in support of quality-based benefit design strategies and limited evidence of return on investment for such tactics. An executive summary of the paper's findings is provided under Document Downloads ..., along with the full [96-page] report and [the] bibliography." (PricewaterhouseCoopers via California HealthCare Foundation; one-time registration may be required)

Thompson and Shalala Trade Ideas on Health Care and Insurance
Excerpt: "The two former Health and Human Services secretaries met as part of a discussion series dubbed 'Ceasefire on Health Care,' sponsored by American University's Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies with a grant from drug giant Pfizer Inc." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Integrating Benefit Claims Processing Appears Popular
Excerpt: "A whopping 80% of employers integrate or coordinate their benefit programs, according to a new Integrated Benefits Institute survey ( of 624 employers." (BenefitNews Connect)

New edition of Equity-Based Compensation for Multinational Corporations
The NCEO presents excerpts from the new edition of Equity-Based Compensation for Multinational Corporations. Now in its eighth edition, the book features a country-by-country overview for 45 countries, plus extensive coverage of implementing plans, maintaining compliance, and communicating plans to employees worldwide. It also includes a case study. Most of the material is on stock options and related plans, but the book also includes a chapter on phantom stock and SARs. (National Center for Employee Ownership)

Wachovia Holders Seek Severance Pay Control
Excerpt: "Wachovia Corp. shareholders want the right to sign off on any severance packages worth three times more than the departing executive's annual salary and bonus, according to a nonbinding proposal approved during the bank's annual meeting Tuesday." (AP via The New York Times; one-time registration required)

UnitedHealth Chief Seeks End to Options
Excerpt: "William W. McGuire, the chairman and chief executive of the UnitedHealth Group, said on Tuesday that he had asked his board to stop awarding new stock options to senior executives." (AP via The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

2006 SPARK National Conference
in District of Columbia on June 11, 2006
presented by SPARK -- Society of Professional Asset-Managers and Record Keepers

Current Pension and Employee Benefits Law and Practice
in Massachusetts on July 3, 2006
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Fiduciary Education Seminar: Getting It Right - Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities
in California on May 11, 2006
presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration

Focus on Health and Welfare Plans 2006
in Virginia on May 9, 2006
presented by Capital Chapter ISCEBS

New! - Fundamentals of 401(k) and Other Qualified Plans
Nationwide on June 7, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

White Horse Advisors, LLC puts on Educational Workshop for CPAs
in Georgia on May 3, 2006
presented by White Horse Advisors, LLC

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Freezing a Pension Plan May Not End Cash Drain, Cautions a New Mellon Financial Corporation Analysis
(Mellon Financial Corporation)

Former Co-Founder of AWLP and CEO of Mulberry Child Care Centers Joins Workplace Options
(Workplace Options)

CitiStreet Launches Brokerage Account for Small Professional Firms

Updated: Labor Department Updates Voluntary Fiduciary Compliance Program
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration)

2nd Podcast Now Available: The New Retirement Mindscape(SM) In The Workplace
(Ameriprise Retirement Services)

ICMA-RC Pushes for Permanency of Reforms Enacted in 2001

Medica Launches myHealthManager(SM) Online Health Management Tool; Rewards Healthy Behavior; Designed to Help Hold Down Health Care Costs

CEOs Unite to Fight Cancer in the Workforce in Far-Ranging Initiative to Save Employee Lives
(CEO Cancer Gold Standard)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Pension Administrator
for Long Island Employee Benefits Group, Ltd.
in NY

401k TPA Account Executive
for Thesco Retirement Planning Services LLC - TPA
in NJ, NY

Employee Benefits Associate
for Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly LLP
in MN

Relius Administration Sales Representative
for SunGard Relius
in FL

Retirement Plans Associate
for RG Wuelfing & Associates
in NC

Benefits Financial Analyst
for BeneTemps, Inc, a Human Resources Placement Firm
in NY

E.B. Trust Administrator
for BB&T (Branch Banking and Trust)
in NC

Retirement Plans Administrator
for AutoNation, Inc
in FL

Internal Wholesaler
for ePlan Services
in CO

Direct Sales
for ePlan Services
in CO

Benefits Supervisor
for St. Mary's/Duluth Clinic Health System
in MN

Senior Due Diligence Analyst
for Vanguard
in PA

401k Administrator - PA
for Vanguard
in PA

Data Project Administrator - PA
for Vanguard
in PA

Director Retirement Plans
for BNSF Railway Company
in TX

Handy Links:

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