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April 28, 2006
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Health Plans Design Pres.cription Drug Plans Tailored to 2007 Retiree Benefits
Excerpt: "With just a few months' experience with the Medicare Part D drug benefit under their belts, employers already are weighing options for providing retiree drug benefits in 2007.... Some employers are considering declining the subsidy next year because the program has proved to be an administrative burden ..." (Managed Care Week via AISHealth.com)

The Retiree Drug Subsidy: Just What Have You Promised? (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "As a condition of accepting [the 28%] subsidy, employers are required to sign an eight-clause RDS Plan Sponsor Agreement with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). While some of the employer promises seem obvious-- such as satisfying the general requirements for the subsidy, these agreements have created surprising new employer compliance obligations and pitfalls." (Whyte Hirschboek Dudek S.C.)

Text of Amendment to Mental Health Parity Regulations Reflecting Extension of Sunset Date
Excerpt: "Sunset. This section does not apply to benefits for services furnished after December 31, 2006." (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services)

Overview: Association Health Plan Bill Upsets States
Excerpt: "At least 39 state attorneys general, three governors and 16 state insurance regulators object to the legislation.... The controversial measure would let trade associations buy coverage from insurance companies and offer it to members and their employees nationwide, even if the plans didn't comply with individual state laws. The legislation would let existing small business plans avoid state regulations too, in order to make sure new plans don't have an unfair advantage." (Stateline.org)

National Federation of Independent Businesses Files Petition in Support of Association Health Plans
Excerpt: "The National Federation of Independent Businesses on Wednesday submitted to the Senate 450,000 signed petitions in support of a bill (S 1955) that would allow small businesses to form association health plans under certain conditions, CQ Today reports ..." (BCBSHealthIssues.com)

AARP: Association Health Plan Bill Threatens Access to Quality Care for Patients, Older Workers
Excerpt: "The bill would allow any insurer to sell health policies that bypass state consumer protections requiring coverage for cancer screenings and treatments, diabetes supplies and education, well-child care and immunizations, maternity care, emergency services, and mental health care." (AARP)

Testimony on Health Savings Accounts, Mandated Benefits by Council for Affordable Health Insurance (PDF)
13 pages. Excerpt: "[E]ven though HSA plans are more affordable than traditional coverage, Congress can make them even more affordable by expanding the tax treatment of HSAs.... In 1965, only seven benefits were mandated by the states; today, the Council for Affordable Health Insurance has identified 1,843 mandated benefits and providers nationwide.... Americans could be paying between roughly 20 percent to 50 percent more for their policies because of state-imposed mandates." (Council for Affordable Health Insurance)

Opinion: Is Consumer-Driven Healthcare a Good Idea?
Features a point-counterpoint exchange. (Family Practice News)

Welcome to new BenefitsLink advertiser Form 5500 Direct
Excerpt: "Specializing in the preparation of Form 5500 for health plans. We prepare filings for individual plan sponsors and insurance brokers looking to provide value-added services." (BenefitsLink.com)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview of Changes in Restated DOL Voluntary Fiduciary Compliance Program
Excerpt: "The finalized VFCP made the following additions and modifications to the April 6, 2005 proposed changes to the VFCP program ..." (McKay Hochman Co., Inc.)

Pfizer Shareholders Reject Call for Ouster of Directors Who Approved $83 Million Pension
Excerpt: "Hank McKinnell, Pfizer's chairman and chief executive, will qualify to collect the pension if he retires in 2008 at age 65, according to the company's most recent proxy statement. His annual pension benefit would be $6.5 million, but McKinnell could opt for a lump-sum payment of more than $83 million." (Washington Post; one-time registration required)

A Campaign To Tighten Executive Pay
Excerpt: "After years of complaining about sky-high executive pay packages, this year shareholder activists are finally getting some traction in their efforts to do something about the issue." (Washington Post; one-time registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

"What Every Employer Needs to Know about ERISA"
in Idaho on May 24, 2006
presented by The ERISA Law Group, P.A.

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Indiana on May 23, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Maine on May 23, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Idaho on May 24, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Michigan on May 24, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in New Hampshire on May 24, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Minnesota on May 25, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Missouri on May 25, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Advanced IRA Seminar
in Massachusetts on May 25, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Utah on May 23, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Iowa on May 23, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Minnesota on May 24, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Beginner IRA Seminar
in Michigan on May 25, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

COBRA Traps: Ten Common Problems and How to Address Them-- Lessons for Employers, Administrators, and Advisors
Nationwide on April 20, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Orphan Plans - The Final Rules Are In
Nationwide on May 17, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Practical Guidance for Retirement Plan Beneficiary Designation
in Illinois on June 12, 2006
presented by ASPPA Benefits Council of Chicago

Sal Tripodi Workshop
in Illinois on May 17, 2006
presented by ASPPA Benefits Council of Chicago

Three HIPAA Deadlines: Portability (1/1), Privacy (4/14), and Security (4/20)-- What You Need to Do to Comply
Nationwide on February 23, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

PBGC Assumes Pensions Of Aloha Airlines
(Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC))

UnitedHealth Group Board of Directors to Address Executive Compensation Issues
(UnitedHealth Group)

UnumProvident Rolls Out Web-Based Claims Monitoring Service
(UnumProvident)

ARAG Appoints Daniel Montgomery VP of Claims
(ARAG)

Hitachi Division Adds DFA Funds - Selects Presidium Retirement Advisers, Inc. to Assume Fiduciary Role
(Target Marketing Solutions, Inc.)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Health & Welfare Associate
for Towers Perrin
in CT, GA, NJ, NY

Administrator - Pension Services
for Aris Corporation of America
in PA

Compliance Site Manager
for Merrill Lynch / Princeton Retirement Group
in GA

Assistant Client Services Manager
for Zenith Administrators
in CA

Assistant Client Services Manager
for Zenith Administrators
in WA

Paralegal - Business/Executive Compensation
for Perkins Coe LLP
in IL

Health and Welfare Practice Leadership
for Charles W. Cammack Associates, Inc.
in NY

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Chicago Pension Firm
in IL




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

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