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June 26, 2006
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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)

The Generic Drug Onslaught
Excerpt: "The downside [to a lower cost for the generic version of Zocor] is that health plans could intrude too much into medical decisions. [Two doctors interviewed for this article] say they are worried that the drug will be pushed for patients who have had recent heart attacks and suffer from chest pain, where the data back a higher-powered drug." (Forbes)

Wellness Incentives: Designing an Effective Strategy (PDF)
At pp. 3-4 of 8-page document. Includes a 'wellness incentives decision matrix." (Aon Consulting)

Employers Buy 'Wellness' to Save on Health Care
Excerpt: "Wellness programs have been around for decades, but historically employers have been unwilling to pay for them, partly because there's been no proven return on investment, said Marty Andrews, employee benefits division vice president at insurance and investment-management firm Kibble & Prentice, in Seattle. Recently, though, credible studies showing investment returns for wellness programs are making them more and more believable ..." (Puget Sound Business Journal via MSNBC)

Overview: No Deference to Administrator When Discretionary Authority Given in SPD but Not Plan
Excerpt: "[T]he following plan language failed to confer discretion on the insurer as plan administrator: '[w]e may request that you send proof of continuing disability, satisfactory to [the insurer], indicating that you are under the regular care of a doctor.' However, the court determined that the plan was in conflict with the SPD, which did grant the insurer discretionary authority.' The case is Schwartz v. The Prudential Ins. Co. of America, 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 14387 (7th Cir. 2006). (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

IRS Approves Collectively Bargained Educational Assistance Program
Excerpt: "This PLR offers a refresher course on the requirements that a plan must meet in order to qualify as an educational assistance program under Code Section 127.' The ruling is Priv. Ltr. Rul. 200624059 (Feb. 24, 2006). (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Court Addresses DOL Requirement That Different Individuals Decide Initial Claims and Appeals
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: To the extent that the court is reading the DOL regulations to prevent a plan-appointed claims administrator from having one of its employees decide an initial claim and a second employee decide the appeal, we disagree with the court's interpretation.' The case is St. Joseph's Hospital of Marshfield Inc. v. Carl Klemm Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27246 (W.D. Wis. 2006). (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

ADA's Application to Wellness Programs Addressed by EEOC Staff
Excerpt: "EEOC staff indicated that if a program requires employees to answer disability-related inquiries or submit to medical exams, participation must be voluntary.... EEOC staff [also] observed that conditioning enrollment in the health plan on an employee's participation in a health risk assessment 'might well render participation in the assessment involuntary, making unlawful any disability-related inquiries or medical examinations that are part of the assessment.'" (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

States Make Own Plans for Health Insurance Coverage
Excerpt: "Directly or indirectly, the states pick up much of this tab. Uninsured individuals flood state-subsidized clinics and emergency rooms. States also bear the treatment costs for chronic illness among the uninsured. And a population that is not well cannot function to full capacity, hampering a state's productivity." (Los Angeles Times; free one-time registration required)

San Francisco Businesses Gird for Fight Over Mandatory Health Insurance
Excerpt: "Business lobbyists are talking with Mayor Gavin Newsom and city supervisors, hoping to elicit their support in derailing a proposed law that calls for businesses to pay up to $275 per month per employee for health care." (San Francisco Business Times via bizjournals.com; one-time registration required)

Washington Post Coverage: Maryland 'Wal-Mart Bill' Assailed Before Judge
Excerpt: "At issue was whether the state legislation is preempted by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which sets minimum standards for private companies' voluntary pension and health plans. The state law was enacted earlier this year despite a veto attempt by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr." (Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Maryland Law Requiring Wal-Mart to Provide Health Insurance Is In Oral Arguments
Excerpt: "A U.S. District Court in Baltimore on Friday heard oral arguments on a challenge by a retail trade group to a Maryland law that requires employers with at least 10,000 employees in the state to spend an amount equal to least 8% of payroll on group health care benefits." (Business Insurance; one-time registration required)

Financial Columnist Says HSAs Should Be Considered by Consumers
Excerpt: "They won't magically solve the problem of rising health care costs, and they won't work for everyone. But more Americans should become familiar with health savings accounts, or HSAs for short." (Salt Lake Tribune)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Action Items and Common Concerns Over Proposed GASB Post-Retirement Benefit Accounting (PDF)
At pp. 6-7 of 8-page document. Excerpt: "The proposed changes constitute 'Phase 1' of FASB's two-phase review of accounting for pension and other post-retirement plans. Phase 2, which is expected in two-three years will require additional changes and could reverse some of the changes required by Phase 1. Some employers may want to wait for Phase 2 to make major changes based on accounting requirements." (Aon Consulting)

FASB to Hold Public Roundtable on Proposal to Improve Accounting for Postretirement Benefit Plans
Excerpt: "The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) will hold two public roundtable meetings on June 27, 2006 to discuss the Board's proposal to improve the accounting for postretirement benefit plans, including pensions. In line with the Board's due process, the roundtable, which is open to the public, will provide a forum for the Board to listen to the views of and obtain information from constituents ..." (Financial Accounting Standards Board)


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Retirement Income Industry Association (RIIA) Unveils Solution to Solve Financial Advisors' Income Planning Education Needs
(Retirement Income Industry Association)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

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

Retirement Analyst - Retirement Service Center
for Mercer Human Resource Consulting
in KY

Retirement Service Center Team Leader
for Mercer Human Resource Consulting
in KY

Sr. Coordinator, 401(k) Recordkeeping
for NRECA
in VA

401(k) Recordkeeping Associate
for NRECA
in VA

Install/Conversion Consultant
for Wachovia
in NC

Operations Delivery Leader
for Fidelity Investments
in NC

Account Manager
for Preferred One Administrative Services, Inc.
in MN

Director of Operations
for Dyatech
in MS

Benefit Specialist
for Bergelectric Corporation
in CA

Senior Counsel
for Nationwide Insurance
in OH

EBS Actuarial Analyst
for EBS Benefit Solutions
in NY

Document Specialist
for Benefit Administration, Inc.
in WI

Vice President of Compliance
for CitiStreet
in MA

Benefits Data Analyst 4247BR
for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
in NC

Financial Analyst - Pension and Benefits Programs
for Aerojet - Sacramento
in CA

Defined Contribution Administrator
for Creative Plan Designs, Ltd.
in FL, NY

Pension Analyst
for The Paragon Consulting Group, Inc.
in MD




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