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June 1, 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)

Ford/UAW Retirees Spar in Court Over Health Insurance Cuts
Excerpt: "Dozens of Ford Motor Co. union retirees were in federal court Wednesday to ask a judge to reject an agreement between the automaker and the United Auto Workers that would cut their health benefits to help ease Ford's financial troubles." (The Detroit News)

Maine Governor Signs Emergency Responder Retiree Health Subsidy Bill
Excerpt: "Maine Governor John Baldacci has signed into law a measure requiring the state to pay 45% of the cost of health insurance for eligible retired police officers and firefighters." ( one-time registration required)

Blues Plans Add New Features and Services to Electronic Health Records Initiatives
Excerpt: "Three Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans are expanding efforts to develop electronic health records (EHRs) for members and providers, working with other health industry stakeholders to improve access and add new features such as e-prescribing services and interoperable records." (The AIS Report on Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans via

Vote Expected in the California Assembly on Out-of-Pocket Health Care Expense Limits
Excerpt: "The Assembly is expected this week to vote on legislation (AB 2281) that would limit the amount high-deductible health insurance plans could require people to pay out-of-pocket for medical treatment and hospitalization, the Modesto Bee reports." (California HealthCare Foundation; one-time registration may be required)

Low Payments by U.S. Raise Medical Bills Billions a Year
Excerpt: "Employers and consumers are paying billions of dollars more a year for medical care to compensate for imbalances in the nation's health care system resulting from tight Medicare and Medicaid budgets, according to Blue Cross officials and independent actuaries." (The New York Times via BlueCross BlueShield Association)

States' Public/Private Partnerships on Health Reform Get Mixed Reviews from Insurers
Excerpt: "In the wake of the Massachusetts health care reform law enacted in April, two more state legislatures this month approved bills aimed at expanding health coverage to the uninsured through public/private partnerships." (MANAGED CARE WEEK via

Reducing Corporate Health Care Costs -- 2006 Survey (PDF)
Excerpt: "Survey data represents, in most cases, responses as to program design in 2006. In some cases, respondents were asked to provide historical data for 2005 and 2004 as well. Comparisons are frequently drawn with the responses to the Deloitte Consulting LLP 2003 Employer Health Care Strategies Survey, which was published in 2003." (Deloitte Consulting LLP)

Survey Shows Employer Group Medical Costs Continue to Rise
Excerpt: "The spring Employee Benefits Market Survey by The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers found that all sizes of employers continued to experience rising costs for group medical coverage on account renewals during the past six months." ( one-time registration required)

Study: Rx Drug Benefit Caps Do Not Lower Insurers' Costs -- Can Result in Expensive Complications
Excerpt: "Medicare beneficiaries with caps on pres.cription drug coverage spend 31% less on medications than those without caps but are more likely than those without caps to skip doses of treatments, visit hospital emergency departments and die, according to a study published on Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, ...." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: Corporate Governance & Fiduciary Responsibilities -- Board & Compensation Committee (PDF)
7 pages. Excerpt: "Public companies should seek the assistance of experienced counsel in drafting annual proxy statements, including executive compensation disclosures updated for best practices. Critical issues in the executive compensation area include: Code Section 162(m), New FAS 123R, Compensation Committee reports, The trend toward much more fulsome disclosure of executives' total compensation, and The impact of ISS and its policies on the foregoing." (The Cochlan Group, Inc.)

Considerations In Selecting Your COLI Insurance Carrier (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Because of the long term nature of COLI (sometimes insurance may stay in place for 40 years or more), appropriate due diligence should be performed in making the selection of an insurance carrier. This article will outline the areas that should be covered in such a review." (The Cochlan Group, Inc.)

Overview: Further IRS Section 409A Guidance and Possible Impact on 2006 Amendment Deadline (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "As you may know, further IRS guidance is necessary before employers can fully implement Internal Revenue Code Section 409A. .... The next round of IRS guidance is expected to deal with the distribution requirements of Section 409A among many other things. Senior IRS representatives have consistently predicted that such guidance would be published 'this summer.'" (Gardner Carton & Douglas LLP)

Overview: A New Landscape for Executive Deferred Compensation Plans (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 was signed into law on October 22, 2004, adding a new Code Section-- § 409A. The new Section deals with both the taxation of executive deferred compensation arrangements, as well as reporting and disclosure of such compensation. The new rules are radically different than the prior rules, and reduce the flexibility, security and appeal of executive deferred compensation arrangements." (The Cochlan Group, Inc.)

Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide Updated as of May 30, 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)

Investors Should Get Fit on When to Exercise Options
Excerpt: "Despite their lower public profile since the height of the dot-com era, stock options and equity compensation still are widely used. According to April 2005 estimates by the National Center for Employee Ownership, there were 10 million participants controlling several hundred billion dollars of paper wealth in more than 4,000 broad-based company stock options plans." (The Journal Gazette)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

HIPAA Special Enrollment-- Who's Entitled, Who's Not, and What Documents Are Needed
Nationwide on May 4, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

MBGH's Learning Network Seminar: Creating a Culture of Health in your Workforce
in Illinois on August 16, 2006
presented by Midwest Business Group on Health

MBGH's Learning Network Seminar: Diabetes and Your Workforce
in Illinois on November 8, 2006
presented by Midwest Business Group on Health

MBGH's Learning Network Seminar: The Benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery: Best practices in Obesity/Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery
in Illinois on September 13, 2006
presented by Midwest Business Group on Health

MBGH's Learning Network Seminar: The Many Faces of Depression: Identifying and Managing Your Workforce during the Holiday Season
in Illinois on December 6, 2006
presented by Midwest Business Group on Health

Midwest Business Group on Health's 26th Annual Conference -- Extreme Makeover: Health Benefits Edition
in Illinois on July 27, 2006
presented by Midwest Business Group on Health

Webcast: Retirement, Deferred Compensation, and Welfare Plans of Tax-Exempt and Governmental Employers
Nationwide on September 7, 2006
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

MetLife's Employee Benefits Benchmarking Report and Companion Web Tool Provide Peer Comparisons by Size, Industry and Geography

AK Steel to Modify Current AEIF Retiree Health Care Benefits
(AK Steel)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Employee Benefits Manager
for Catholic Health Initiatives
in KY

Annual Plan Reporting Services Manager - PA
for Vanguard
in PA

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Northern California Retirement Plan Administration and Consultancy Firm
in CA

401(k) Plan Administrator
for E.I.P., Inc.

Conversion Specialist
for Professional Capital Services
in PA

Pension Administrator
for Howard A. Feinstein & Associates, Inc.
in IL

Enrollment Specialist
for The Newport Group, Inc.
in FL

Project Management
for Randstad USA
in DC

Sales/Business Development
for Retirement Alliance, Inc.
in FL, GA

ESOP Administrator
for Matthews, Gold, Kennedy & Snow, Inc.
in AZ

Account Executive
for Valley Forge Enteprises, Ltd.
in DE, NJ, PA

New Business Review Specialist ~ Financial Services
for CitiStreet
in NJ

Client Services & Administrative Officer
for Fulton Financial Corporation
in PA

Defined Contribution Pension Plan Administrator
for Angell Pension Group, Inc.

Defined Benefit Pension Administrator
for RSM McGladrey
in AZ

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