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May 10, 2006
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Are you achieving your important employee benefits objectives?

According to a recent survey, most employers are falling short of their benefits objectives. We can help.

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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)

Wall Street Journal Examines Pharmacy Benefit Managers' Mail-Order Business for Generic Drugs
Excerpt: "The Wall Street Journal [yesterday] examined how pharmacy benefit managers have become 'a hugely lucrative place in the food chain' of pres.cription drug sales because they 'have figured out how to use mail order to turn generics into a bonanza.'" (Kaiser Family Foundation)

The Skeptic's Guide to Health Savings Accounts
Excerpt: "If you are the kind of person who doesn't want to earn interest on your checking account, doesn't participate in an employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement plan, or refuses to accept rollover minutes from your cell phone company, then, yes -- HSAs are not for you. But for the rest of you, let's take a skeptic's view of Health Savings Accounts." (Insurance NewsNet)

Opinion: The Enzi Bill -- Bad Medicine for America (PDF)
12 pages. Excerpt: "S. 1955, the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act, sponsored by Senator Michael Enzi of Wyoming, will soon be brought to the floor of the U.S. Senate for debate and a vote. If this legislation becomes law, more than 85 million Americans will lose important consumer protections that now apply to their health insurance." (Families USA Foundation)

Overview: Medicare Part D Updated Disclosure Notices
Excerpt: "On April 26, CMS released updated guidance for required disclosure notices sent to Part D eligible individuals. Here [CCA Strategies overviews] the differences from the 2005 versions." (CCA Strategies, LLC)

Gov. Blagojevich of Illinois Extends Health Benefits to State Employee Domestic Partners
Excerpt: "Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich filed an administrative order ... extending health benefits to same-sex domestic partners of all state employees in the agencies directly within the governor's jurisdiction. Effective July 1, same-sex domestic partners will be afforded the same health benefits as those married employees and their dependants receive." (LINCOLNDAILYNEWS.COM)

Survey Results: Consumer Attitudes toward Health Care (PDF)
Excerpt: "Great-West Healthcare commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a survey gauging public attitudes about consumer-driven health care (CDHC). The findings are aimed at helping employers and brokers design consumer-friendly health plans and education programs." (Great-West Healthcare)

Evolution of State Health Information Exchange/ A Study of Vision, Strategy, and Progress (PDF)
83 pages. Excerpt: "This report addresses the current State HIE environment and analyzes State-specific HIE activities and initiatives." (The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality via Avalere Health LLC)

The New Massachusetts Health Care Law --- Promises, Parallels and Preemption (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "The new Massachusetts law enacts a novel 'individual mandate' under which those who can afford health insurance must obtain it. The Act establishes the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector ..., an entity designed to connect individuals and small businesses of 50 or fewer employees with health insurance products. In addition, the Act creates Commonwealth Care Health Insurance, a subsidized insurance program for those who earn less than 300% of the Federal Poverty Level ...." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

Can the Massachusetts Health Plan Work Elsewhere?
Excerpt: "The state health insurance plan hammered out on Beacon Hill is notable for its ambitions and its innovations. It's ambitious for trying to cover every resident in the state, where 460,000 are uninsured. It's innovative for its mandates on workers and employers, as well as for its mechanisms for connecting customers to cheaper insurance options." (

Close Attention Needed on Rx Plan Administration
Excerpt: "It is important for businesses to understand which drugs are best dispensed by retail, mail and specialty pharmacies, according to research from the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute." (BenefitNews Connect)

Abstract: Consumer-Directed Health Insurance Products -- Local-Market Perspectives
Excerpt: "During the past few years, health plans have focused product development on consumer-driven health plans. This paper examines how these products are faring in twelve Community Tracking Study (CTS) communities." (Health Affairs; subscription required to retrieve full-text)

Towers Perrin U.S. Legislative Tracking Charts - Health and Welfare -- Updated May 8, 2006 (PDF)
2 pages. These charts summarize selected federal legislation that would affect employee benefit programs. The bills included on the charts are based on judgments regarding the prominence of the issue, the likelihood of enactment, and the influence of the sponsors. (Towers Perrin)

Opinion: Health Care's Political Fractures
Excerpt: "Congress is in the throes of its biannual attempts to fix a broken health insurance system, a top-priority concern for just about everyone. But rather than actually get something done, legislators have opted again for stalemate and partisan acrimony." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: IRC Section 409A: Transitional Relief for Offshore Trusts & Plans with Financial Triggers (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "The purpose of IRS Notice 2006-33 is to provide transitional guidance for amounts that would be includible in income because of an offshore trust or financial trigger. All deferred compensation plans, even if otherwise grandfathered under Section 409A, must comply with the offshore trust and financial trigger rules of Section 409A by December 31, 2007." (Gardner Carton & Douglas LLP)

Executives Use Company Planes as if Their Own
Excerpt: "Chief executives' salaries have risen sharply. On top of that, new government data show, shareholders are paying more for executives' personal travel on corporate jets, long criticized as a symbol of excess." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Milliman's Monthly Benefit News and Developments, May 2006 (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "The newsletter provides a summary of the previous month's legislative, regulatory, and judicial information on employee Benefits." (Milliman)

Towers Perrin U.S. Legislative Tracking Charts - Human Resources -- Updated May 8, 2006 (PDF)
10 pages. These charts summarize selected federal legislation that would affect employee benefit programs. The bills included on the charts are based on judgments regarding the prominence of the issue, the likelihood of enactment, and the influence of the sponsors. (Towers Perrin)

Overview: Changes to the Department of Labor's Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program
Excerpt: "The newly updated VFCP simplifies the correction process that was last revised in 2005 and creates an option that allows for corrections without the plan sponsor having to reverse certain transactions." (CCA Strategies, LLC)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

ERISA Litigation Now Available As Webcast
Nationwide on May 11, 2006
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

The Massachusetts Health Plan: How Did They Do It?
Nationwide on May 10, 2006
presented by Alliance for Health Reform

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Wood Honored as Recipient of NIPA Special Recognition Award
(National Institute of Pension Administrators)

DeSpain Honored as Recipient of NIPA Excellence in Education Award
(National Institute of Pension Administrators)

Wegesin Honored as Recipient of NIPA Lifetime Achievement Award
(National Institute of Pension Administrators)

Vaughn Honored as Recipient of NIPA Excellence in Education Award
(National Institute of Pension Administrators)

NIPA Honors Outstanding Volunteers at 2006 Annual Forum & Expo
(National Institute of Pension Administrators)

AARP, Senate Leadership and Health Care Insurance Industry Leaders Hold Press Briefing on Dangers of S. 1955

The ESOP Association Submits Testimony to Ways and Means Subcommittee Hearing
(ESOP Association)

Fleetwood Selects CitiStreet As 401(k) Administrator

UVEST Financial Services Launches Retirement Destinations: Program Provides Financial Institutions With Industry-Leading Retirement Planning Solutions
(UVEST Financial Services)

Health Savings Accounts May Pressure Health Care Organizations to Reduce Administrative Costs, Improve Efficiencies, Finds PNC Survey
(PNC Financial Services Group)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

401 (k) Administrator
for Compliance/Administration Company
in NJ

Tax Reporting Supervisor - PA
for Vanguard
in PA

for MassMutual Financial Group
in MA

Financial Planner
in DC

Assistant Manager-Marketing
for Great-West Financial Services
in CO

401(k) / Defined Contribution Administrator
for Economic Group Pension Services
in NY

Group Insurance Administrator
for Hanson Building Materials America
in TX

Relationship Manager
for MassMutual Financial Group
in MI

Benefits Supervisor
for First Indiana Bank
in IN

Employee Benefits Consultant - Tax
for BDO Seidman, LLP
in NY

Pension Manager
for Premier Recruiters & Associates
in IA, PA

Pension Analyst
for The Taylor Companies
in TN

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