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June 30, 2006
Today's sponsor: www.ftwilliam.com

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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)

Compliance Assistance Guide: Health Benefits Coverage Under Federal Law (PDF)
Originally published September 2005. This one-page PDF document includes clickable links to a 24-page guide on HIPAA portability provisions; shorter guides on the Newborns' and Mothers' Health Protection Act, the Womens' Health and Cancer Rights Act, and the Mental Health Parity Act; a 26-page 'Self-Compliance Tool' (an extensive checklist); a 4-page chart of required notices; and a 13-page appendix of model notices. Impressive! (Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor)

Buck Consultants' Annual Consumer-Driven Health Survey, Including Insights Into Best Practices (PDF)
36 pages; these are slides from a webcast presented June 29, 2006. An archive of the webcast for viewing is available without charge at http://www.videonewswire.com/event.asp?id=34400 (Buck Consultants)

Report: The State of the Workplace for G.ay, Les.bian, Bise.xual and Transgender Americans, 2005-2006
37 pages. Excerpt: "The Human Rights Campaign Foundation's release of the 'The State of the Workplace 2005-2006' report shows that, for the first time, a majority of Fortune 500 companies, 253 (51 percent), offer domestic partner health insurance benefits." (Human Rights Campaign)

Survey Says Dog Lovers Willing to Compromise Work Routine
Excerpt: "The survey conducted in January asked employees what they would be willing to compromise to work in a dog-friendly environment. Two thirds (66%) said they would work longer hours and more than half (55%) said they would commute farther to work. .... A search tool, allowing job seekers to find jobs at dog-friendly companies can be found at www.SimplyHired.com/DogFriendly." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Overview: Sereboff v. Mid-Atlantic Medical Services Health Plan Subrogation Case
Originally published May 18, 2006. Excerpt: "The Court's decision goes a long way towards reconciling a number of conflicting decisions ... [but] the factual context of the case is likely to continue to spawn disputes over the circumstances that permit recovery.... [such as] situations where a segregated investment account does not exist or where the participant does not continue to hold the money." (SCOTUS blog, published by the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP)

Abstract of and Comments on 'Redefining Health Care: Creating Value-Based Competition on Results'
Excerpt: "The fundamental flaw in the health care sector is not competition, but the wrong kind of competition. Health care competition is not focused on delivering value for patients. Instead, it has become zero sum: the system participants struggle to divide value when they could be increasing it. Although health care offers tremendous value, the unnecessary costs of zero sum competition undermine and erode that value." (Physicians for a National Health Program)

Price Packaging and Price Transparency: 4 Things to Do Before the Government Mandates
Excerpt: "Package pricing comes from two approaches--additive and subtractive. Additive starts with a base model and then adds to it. Subtractive does the opposite. Which is more powerful? Research shows the subtractive model is better." (HealthLeaders News)

Authorized Generics Increase Competition, Lower Prices, Study Finds
Excerpt: "Authorized generics -- which are distributed by generic drug makers under agreements with brand-name manufacturers -- can boost competition and lower prices for consumers, according to a study commissioned by the Pharma.ceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and conducted by IMS Health, CQ HealthBeat reports." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

AT&T Contraceptive Coverage Suit Granted Class-Action Status
Excerpt: "The US District Court for the Western District of Missouri granted class-action status to a lawsuit claiming the exclusion of contraceptive coverage in a collective bargaining agreement between AT&T and union employees violated Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

GM's Health Plans Try to Save by Going Generic Route on Cholesterol Drug
Excerpt: "GM is the largest private provider of health insurance in the U.S., with 1.1 million beneficiaries among former and current employees. The automaker might be in a position to wrest the biggest savings from the end of patent protection for Zocor, a drug in use for 15 years, should enough people switch from pills costing as much as $4.50 each to 90-cent copies." (Chicago Tribune; one-time registration required)

Abstract: Strategies to Enhance Price and Quality Competition in Health Care: Tracking Local Markets
Excerpt: "In 2003 the Federal Trade Commission ... and the Department of Justice ... issued a report, Improving Health Care: A Dose of Competition, that summarizes findings from ... hearings and offers a set of recommendations to encourage more effective competition. In this article, researchers ... examine two of the recommendations in light of their experience studying local health care markets. .... Full text of this item is available, but may require a fee or registration." (Journal of Health Policy, Politics and Law via Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

HSA Congressional Hearing Turns to Cap on Group Health Deductibility
Excerpt: "Lawmakers talked [earlier this week] about capping deductibility of employer health insurance expenditures during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on health savings accounts." (National Underwriter Life & Health; free one-time registration or paid subscription required)

Moody's Outlines the Pluses and Minuses of HSAs
Excerpt: "Health savings accounts may have long-term benefits for consumers and not-for-profit hospitals, but they also pose potential risks, including a decline in inpatient volume, an increase in bad debt and additional administrative expenses, Moody's Investors Service said in a special comment." (modernhealthcare.com; one-time registration required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Same-Gender Marriage Developments Force Benefit Plan Sponsors to Reconcile Conflicting Messages
Excerpt: "Federal and state courts, legislatures, and voters in the United States have recently weighed in on the debate surrounding the legal recognition of same-gender marriage. Unfortunately, those voices give employers a number of mixed messages with respect to how they should treat same-gender couples under their benefit plans." (McDermott Will & Emery)

Stock Options Possibly Mishandled at Apple
Excerpt: "Without providing details, the Cupertino, Calif.-based maker of personal computers and the iPod music player said [yesterday] its own internal investigation had uncovered ''irregularities'' in employee stock options issued between 1997 and 2001. The problem threatens to raise questions about the accuracy of past financial statements." (AP via The New York Times; one-time registration required)

IRS Clarification: No Signature Required on Form 5558 (Form for Extension of Form 5500 Deadline) (PDF)
Reader Chris Trapatsos of Benefits Management, Inc. (Fairport NY) points out that, at page 3 of the most recent edition of IRS Employee Plans News, the IRS clarifies that no signature is required on a Form 5558, which is the form used to obtain an extension of the deadline for filing Form 5500 ('Annual Return/ Report of Employee Benefit Plan') or Form 5500-EZ. A signature is required if the extension is for the filing of Form 5330 ('Return of Excise Taxes Related to Employee Benefit Plans'). (Internal Revenue Service)

More Companies Ensnared in Options Furor
Excerpt: "In expanding investigations, at least 51 public companies are under scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Justice Department for possible manipulation of options grants to boost their value to the recipients." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Fall Forum 2006
in Illinois on September 18, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Fall Forum 2006
in Georgia on October 2, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Fall Forum 2006
in Maryland on October 23, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Fall Forum 2006
in California on November 13, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Health Law Compliance Seminar August 2 and 3 in Des Moines, Iowa
in Iowa on August 2, 2006
presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Qualified Plan Document Issues-- Keeping Plans Current (and Qualified) Under the New IRS Procedures
in Georgia on July 27, 2006
presented by ABC of Atlanta

Web/Telephone Seminar: 403(b) Plans
Nationwide on August 31, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: Advanced Distribution Issues and Plan Loans
Nationwide on August 23, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: Amending and Restating Qualified Plans for EGTRRA
Nationwide on August 30, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: Comparing Roth and Traditional IRAs
Nationwide on August 10, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: Coverdell Education Savings Accounts
Nationwide on August 8, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: General Traditional IRA Distributions
Nationwide on August 22, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: Introduction to Qualified Retirement Plan Distributions
Nationwide on August 9, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: IRA Beneficiary Distributions
Nationwide on August 17, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: IRA Required Minimum Distributions
Nationwide on August 16, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: Roth IRA Distributions
Nationwide on August 15, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees of Small Employers (SIMPLE) Plans
Nationwide on August 29, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) Plans
Nationwide on August 24, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

News from USW: New Benefit Is Latest Innovation in USW's Continuing Commitment to Retirees' Security
(United Steelworkers of America (USWA))

Employee Fiduciary Corp. Offers Free Plan Design Analysis
(Target Marketing Solutions, Inc.)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Retirement Rotation Advisor
for Merrill Lynch
in NJ

EAS Executive Trading Plans Manager
for Merrill Lynch
in NJ

Pension Compliance Analyst (9830)
for Securian Financial Group
in MN




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