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April 21, 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 An Informative Program on the Current State of Employee Benefits

Please join us for "Employer-Sponsored Health Plans: Problems, Choices and Solutions" Seminar on April 28, 2006 from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. The programs will be held at the law school, 315 S. Plymouth Ct. in Chicago. For more information, or to register for the program, 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)

Creditable Coverage Guidance and Model Notices for Use After May 15, 2006
Excerpt: "[C]ertain entities offering pres.cription drug coverage, including employer and union group health plan sponsors [must] disclose to all Medicare eligible individuals with pres.cription drug coverage under the plan whether such coverage is 'creditable.'" (U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)

Employers With Retiree Drug Benefits Charting Different Courses for 2007
Excerpt: "A number of employers sponsoring post-65 retiree medical programs are rethinking their pres.cription drug strategies for 2007, and there's greater interest in approaches that do not involve taking the Medicare Part D subsidy, according to a nationwide survey developed by Towers Perrin and conducted by the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specia.lists (ISCEBS)." (Towers Perrin)

Overview: Health Alert: Massachusetts Enacts Landmark Health Care Reform Bill
Excerpt: "The Act imposes on employers with 11 or more full time employees (FTEs) who are not 'contributing employers' an obligation to make an annual 'fair share employer contribution,' which is capped at $295 for each FTE. (The requirement is pro-rated for employers with seasonal or part-time employees.)" (Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo P.C.)

Overview: COBRA and Health Care Continuation Rights under USERRA
Excerpt: "This advisory focuses on the USERRA rules governing health care continuation rights and their coordination with the health care continuation requirements of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)." (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.)

Overview and Comments: The Non-Existent Mommy Wars
Excerpt: "The New Republic has an interesting editorial (subscription required) in its May 1st issue questioning the hype surrounding the so-called 'Mommy Wars.' .... [On another note, under a] newly-introduced 'Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act,' federal workers would be guaranteed six weeks of paid leave to care for newborns or adopted babies. " (Workplace Prof Blog)

Increased Maternity Leave May Be Adopted in Can.ada
Excerpt: "Maternity and parental leave could double to two years in Can.ada if Mississauga South Liberal MP Paul Szabo's private member's bill is adopted by the House of Commons." (

Delta Workers Asked to Clean Planes -- For a Free T-Shirt
Excerpt: "[T]he nation's No. 3 airline is asking its 50,000 employees to volunteer to clean aircraft at night on their own time. Their reward: a free T-shirt, reward points good for merchandise and a chance to show their pride in the airline." (The Cincinnati Enquirer)

Health Advisors Will Facilitate Consumer Decision-Making
Excerpt: "As we move toward a health care system that gives people more power and control over health care decisions, many experts worry that consumers will be bewildered by so many complex financial and medical choices. Some argue against consumer-directed health care because they don't believe that people can or should be left to make these difficult decisions." (Galen Institute)

Opinion: Observing Health Care -- Time to 'Double Up,' Not Cut Health Care Spending
Excerpt: "There has been little mention of what employers might lose, for example, by cutting their support of employee health, in terms of productivity declines due to absenteeism, presenteeism, and similar effects of employees unable to afford needed healthcare." (HealthLeaders News)

One Solution for the Small Group Market -- List Billing (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "If employees without employer-provided coverage were given the option to obtain coverage in the less-expensive individual market -- where about 16 million Americans currently are covered -- many would take it. Is there a model for that approach? Yes, 'list billing,' and it is something many states allow." (Council for Affordable Health Insurance)

Generics May Save Health Plans Billions
Excerpt: "Consumers and health plans could save more than $26.4 billion over the next five years by using cheaper generic versions of 14 brand-name drugs that are scheduled to lose their patent protection by 2009, according to a study ...." (The Miami Herald; one-time registration required)

Firm Builds Medical, Fitness Complex for Employees
Excerpt: "Garden mega-giant Scott's Miracle Gro has shelled out $5 million to build a medical and fitness complex on its main campus in Ohio. Employees and their spouses have free access." (BenefitNews Connect)

Experts Debate Effectiveness of Consumerism
Excerpt: "President Bush and administration officials promoted health care consumerism and expanded HSAs, but other politicians criticized that approach at the World Health Care Congress in Washington, D.C. yesterday." (BenefitNews Connect)

Public-Private Deal Could Help Solve Health Care Issues, Rep. Murphy Says
Excerpt: "U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy issued his own state of the union on health care yesterday. In a 61-page report, Mr. Murphy argued that Congress and the private sector could reduce health care costs in the United States by $300 billion if they teamed on initiatives such as forcing a full transition to electronic medical records, encouraging preventative care and limiting the number of patients that get infections when they visit hospitals." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Fast Food Chain Saves Big Bucks with HSA
Excerpt: "Wendy's put the kibosh on its medical inflation by offering a health savings account. The fast-food chain started offering the HSA as the only coverage option for workers last year." (BenefitNews Connect)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Board Compensation Committees and CEOs Disagree Over Executive Pay, According to Survey
Excerpt: "Compensation committee members say the excessive pay to chief executives is more ubiquitous than CEOs claim is the case, according to a survey conducted by Steven Hall & Partners, an independent executive compensation consultant." ( one-time registration required)

Wachovia Shareholders OK Union-Generated Executive Pay Petition
Excerpt: "Wachovia Corp. shareholders have narrowly approved a nonbinding resolution by a union-administered mutual fund to require that bank severance packages worth three times more than the executive's salary be shareholder approved." ( one-time registration required)

Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide Updated as of April 18, 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)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

U. S. Labor Department Sponsors Seminars To Help Plan Professionals Comply With Federal Pension Law
in Maryland on May 18, 2006
presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

What's New for the Form 5500 Webcast
Nationwide on May 3, 2006
presented by ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Labor Department Announces Final Rules to Help Workers In Abandoned 401(k) Plans
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA))

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Defined Benefit Technician
for SunGard Relius
in FL

Associate Account Manager, Retirement Plan Consulting
for Charles W. Cammack Associates, Inc.
in NY

Principal Trade Review Representative
for ING US Financial Services
in IA

Pension Administrator
for C.H. Dean, Inc. - Dean Pension Consulting
in OH

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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.