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May 25, 2006
Today's sponsor: ASPPA • Working for America's Retirement™

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Don't miss the 2006 Western Benefits Conference!

The famed Bellagio Hotel is the site of this year's WBC, held July 16-19. Sponsored by the Western Pension & Benefits Conference and ASPPA, there are more than 50 educational sessions on retirement, health, welfare, fiduciary issues and more plus networking activities such as an exhibit hall, golf outing, Sunday reception and entertainment on Monday evening.

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

Overview: IRS Proposes Regulations for Dependent Care Expense Credit
Excerpt: "Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has proposed regulations regarding the credit for expenses for household and dependent care services necessary for gainful employment. According to the publication, the credit was initially enacted as section 44A of the Internal Revenue Code in 1979. The proposed regulations incorporate many of the rules of 44A, but are renumbered, restructured, and revised to improve clarity." ( one-time registration required)

Next Steps for Plan Sponsors Contemplating Medicare Part D
Excerpt: "The initial open enrollment period for Medicare Part D ended May 15, 2006. Throughout this period, plan sponsors have faced questions from Medicare-eligible beneficiaries and their relatives about how the plan's retiree health benefits interact with Medicare's benefits. Now, plan sponsors need to begin thinking about their 2007 benefit plan design and how best to coordinate with the new Medicare program." (Employee Benefit News)

Report Shows Mixed Bag of Disability Numbers for 2005
Excerpt: "The number of employers offering LTD and STD increased 4% between 2004 and 2005, but the number of participants fell by two percentage points in LTD programs and five percentage points in STD plans." (The Advisor)

The Check Is Not in the Mail -- Health Insurance Claims and Payment
Excerpt: "Tardiness or refusal to pay what doctors consider legitimate medical claims may add as much as 15 to 20 percent in overhead costs for physicians, forcing them to pursue those claims or pass along the costs to other patients, according to Jack Lewin, a family doctor who is chief executive of the California Medical Association, a professional group of 35,000 physicians." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Insurers' Congestive Heart Failure Programs Add Pharmacy Tools and Broaden Eligibility
Excerpt: "Health insurers are expanding their heart failure disease management programs to include more patients in earlier stages of the condition and add medication compliance and other pharmacy management services." (INSIDE DISEASE MANAGEMENT via

House Subcommittee Approves Bill to Promote Use of Health Care Information Technology
Excerpt: "The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health [yesterday] voted 8-5 to approve a bill (HR 4157) that would promote the use of health care information technology and establish national standards on privacy and implementation of electronic health records. The legislation, sponsored by subcommittee Chair Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) and Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.), would codify the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology within HHS and ...." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Health Plans Launch Specialty Pay-for-Performance Programs Despite Lack of Consensus on Standards
Excerpt: "The standards used in health insurers' pay-for-performance (P4P) programs focusing on primary care physicians (PCPs) are fairly well established. But there still is very little consensus around specia.list P4P measures, because of factors including the smaller number of accepted evidence-based medicine standards for specia.list care, the relatively small number of practitioners in any given payer's network and the sheer number of medical and surgical disciplines." (MANAGED CARE WEEK via

The Level of Health Expenditures over Time: Estimates for the U.S. Population, 2002-2003 (PDF)
8 pages. Excerpt: "Using information from the Household Component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS-HC) for 2002 and 2003, this report provides detailed estimates of the persistence in the level of health care expenditures over time. Studies that examine the persistence of high levels of expenditures over time are essential to help discern the factors most likely to drive health care spending and the characteristics of the individuals who incur them." (U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)

House Subcommittee to Mark Up Rep. Johnson's Health Care Information Technology Legislation
Excerpt: "The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee on Wednesday will mark up a bill (HR 4157) that would promote the use of health care information technology and establish national standards on privacy and implementation of electronic health records, CQ HealthBeat reports." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Recipe for Small Business Success Includes Health Plan Modification
Excerpt: "A majority of small business decision-makers are concerned that ever-rising health care costs will compromise their ability to attract and retain workers, prompting many, according to Aflac, to modify their benefit packages." (The Advisor)

Opinion: Health Insurance -- Limited-Benefit Plans
Excerpt: "As limited-benefit plans grab a growing share of the health insurance market, the debate over their effect on hospitals' balance sheets is intensifying. Once sold almost exclusively to low-wage workers in the fast-food and retail industries, limited-benefit plans have become an option for a rising number of employers struggling to contain their share of healthcare's escalating costs." (HealthLeaders News)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Comments and Recommendations on the 2006-2007 IRS Guidance Priority List
Excerpt: "The Employee Benefits portion of the Guidance List comprehensively lists important guidance areas, but does not include three areas of particular concern to ASPPA members: (1) issuing an updated IRC §402(f) notice, (2) providing governmental 457(b) plan correction guidance, and (3) provide guidance regarding the distribution of settlement proceeds from a terminated plan." (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Advanced 401(k) Conference - Last Chance!
in Massachusetts on June 27, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Code Section 409A Workshop
in Minnesota on June 15, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Code Section 409A Workshop
in District of Columbia on July 12, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Code Section 409A Workshop
in New York on July 13, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Dependent Care-- What Expenses Qualify for Reimbursement?
Nationwide on June 22, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Estate Planning Considerations for Qualified Plans and IRAs
in District of Columbia on July 13, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Estate Planning Considerations for Qualified Plans and IRAs
in New York on July 14, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

New! Fundamentals of 401(k) and Other Qualified Plans
in Kansas on July 19, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

New! Fundamentals of 401(k) and Other Qualified Plans
in Illinois on July 19, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Pension Consultants/Administrators
for Northern NJ Mid-Size Pension Consulting Firm
in NJ

Health Insurance Account Manager
for Great-West Healthcare
in CA, MI, NJ, OH

ERISA Attorney - Health and Welfare
for Eggertsen & Associates, P.C.
in MI

ERISA Paralegal
for Eggertsen & Associates, P.C.
in MI

Employee Benefits Associate
for Lewis, Overbeck & Furman, LLP
in IL

Senior Communications Consultant
for New York Life Investment Management LLC
in NJ

Health Insurance Sales Executive for Insurance Carrier
for Great-West Healthcare
in MI

Retirement Plan Consultant
for Nicholas, Hicks & Farmer, Inc
in TX

Compliance Associate
for The 401(k) Company
in TX

Retirement Specialist
for AON [A Fortune 250 company]
in FL

Director of Benefit Outsourcing
for A Leading Global Insurance Brokerage Firm
in PA

Defined Contribution Administrator
for Merit Benefits Group, Inc.
in IL

Plan Specialist - Plan Sponsor Desk
for Transamerica
in CA

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