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July 25, 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)

Eight States Consider Paid Leave Programs for Employees Who Serve as Caregivers
Excerpt: "Illinois and Washington might establish health insurance programs; Hawaii and Minnesota might revise the definition of sick leave; Massachusetts and New Jersey might establish a paid leave benefit; New York might allow employees to defer their paychecks tax-free; and Pennsylvania might offer tax credits to employers that offer paid leave." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Senators Introduce Bill to Limit Agreements on Authorized Generic Medications
Excerpt: "Several senators on [July 20] introduced a bill (S 3695) that would limit the marketing of authorized generic drugs, saying the practice raises drug prices for consumers by reducing competition in the pharma.ceutical market, the Los Angeles Times reports (Yi, Los Angeles Times, 7/21)." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Feingold Unveils Health Proposal: Pilot Projects Would Help States Provide Universal Coverage
Excerpt: "Under Feingold's bill, the federal government would set up a program that would allow selected states to design their own health coverage plans. Feingold estimates the legislation would cost $32 billion over 10 years, and two or three states could participate, or groups of states could apply together." (AP via Pioneer Press; one-time registration required)

Tax Case: Funding Retiree Health Benefits
Excerpt: "Is an employer responsible for fully funding its retirees' lifetime health benefits? The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed a district court's decision that, indeed, an employer does have such a responsibility [Yolton v. El Paso Tennessee Pipeline, 435 F2d 571 (CA-6)]." (Journal of Accountancy)

Overview: Court Rules that Maryland's Fair Share Act Is Preempted by ERISA
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: The Supreme Court's guidance on ERISA preemption is less than crystal clear, but state efforts to address health care costs are likely to provide a continuing stream of cases to test and perhaps clarify the analysis. This case will undoubtedly be appealed to the Fourth Circuit -- the parties agreed to expedited handling to get the case to the Fourth Circuit before the Act is scheduled to take effect -- so stay tuned." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

PEO's Health Plan Is a MEWA, Subject to State Regulation
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: State power to regulate MEWAs is broader than state power to regulate single employer ERISA plans, and PEOs would usually prefer to avoid the extra layers of state insurance regulation that can make it more expensive for them to offer health benefits to their clients. However, federal law controls in determining whether an arrangement is a MEWA for purposes of ERISA." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

A Question of the COBRA Administrator, the Employer, and the Indemnification Provision
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: This case highlights the importance, for both the employer and the COBRA administrator, of maintaining records and having appropriate procedures in place to assist in proving proper handling of COBRA premiums." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Trends Signal a Return to the Physician-Hospital Dynamics that Predated the Rise of Managed Care
7 pages. Excerpt: "Hospitals and physicians are developing and marketing discrete and profitable specialty-service lines. Although closely affiliated specialist physicians are central to hospitals' service-line products, other physicians compete directly with hospitals via physician-owned specialty facilities." (Health Affairs)

Thoughts on the Sereboff Decision
Excerpt: "The decision defers to another day the role the doctrine of equitable subrogation, the 'made whole rule,' has in ERISA. Unfortunately, as with so many ERISA decisions, the analysis is muddled, almost incoherent in spots. Sereboff raises many questions. Its purpose was to clarify the law relating to ERISA's equitable remedies provision but it offers little assistance on that point." (ERISA Law Blog; posted by Brian S. King)

Alleged Post-Claims Health Insurance Underwriting Spurs California Lawsuits and State Probes
Excerpt: "California regulators are investigating Blue Shield of California, Blue Cross of California and Kaiser Permanente over alleged post-claims underwriting -- a practice used to deny coverage to enrollees who have high medical costs -- and are considering investigations into other insurers' practices." (Managed Care Week via AISHealth.com)

The Most Affordable Cities for Children's & Family Health Insurance (PDF)
8 pages. Excerpt: "The research was conducted in March, 2006, examining 5,000 health insurance plans from 140 health insurance companies in the 100 most populous cities in America, using www.ehealthinsurance.com as the source of premium information in all cities except Boston, MA; and San Juan and Bayamon, Puerto Rico." (eHealthInsurance via The Miami Herald; one-time registration required)

PBMs Medco and Caremark Agree to New Purchasing Model
Excerpt: "Caremark Rx and Medco Health Solutions, two large pharmacy benefit managers, have agreed to participate in a new purchasing model under which they will disclose to clients the amount that they spend to purchase retail and mail-order prescriptions, as well as the amount of price rebates that they receive from pharma.ceutical companies, the Wall Street Journal reports." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Pharma.ceutical Purchasing Coalition Transparency in Pharma.ceutical Purchasing Solutions (TIPPS) (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "The Pharma.ceutical Purchasing Coalition . . . is one of several reform initiatives being undertaken by the [HR Policy Association] to ascertain the feasibility of a more transparent model for purchasing pharma.ceutical benefits for employees, retirees, and their dependents." (HR Policy Association)

The Work/Life Balance Sheet So Far
Excerpt: "A good way to start measuring ROI is by looking at what you're trying to achieve with your firm's work/life balance programs. If staff retention is your key concern, consider the example of on-site child care, which many firms now offer. Six-person Deborah Bailey Browne and Associates in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., gets better staff productivity because it chooses to accommodate emergency child care." (Journal of Accountancy)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

The Last Samurai: The End of Executive Retirement Plans in Japan
Excerpt: "[I]ncreased scrutiny of executive pay practices in Japan . . . has prompted many companies to examine a significant component of the compensation of their executives, namely, their retirement plan. In this article, [Mercer explores] the implications of this emerging trend and describe[s] the issues companies should take into account as they set about reengineering their executive retirement programs." (Mercer Human Resource Consulting LLC and Mercer Investment Consulting, Inc.; one-time registration required)

Federal Workforce Overview: FY 1994 -- FY 2004 -- Employment Through Retirement (PDF)
18 pages. Excerpt: "Baby boomers heading toward retirement from the Federal workforce are a concern for many human capital managers and planners. Using time series modeling techniques, it is projected that nearly 61,000 non-seasonal full-time permanent Federal employees will retire in FY 2008. It is further predicted that the numbers of retirements will peak around 2008 to 2010." (U.S. Office of Personnel Management)

Options Backdating: Is Your Company at Risk? (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "[T]his Alert provides information on issues relating to the timing of option grants, possible pitfalls a company may encounter and some proactive ways in which companies can address or avoid such pitfalls." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

Overview: Excise Taxes/Disclosure Rules with Respect to Potentially Abusive Tax Shelter Transactions (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "The Internal Revenue Service ('IRS') issued Notice 2006-65 on July 11, 2006 to ensure that affected entities are aware of the new TIPRA provisions and is seeking comments on the new excise tax and disclosure requirements by August 11, 2006. Additional guidance is expected to be issued promptly." (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP)

Overview: Advance Form 5500 Released for Reporting on 2006 Plan Year
Excerpt: "[EBIA hopes] the IRS will issue additional guidance regarding the apparent elimination of Schedule P for 2006 plan year reporting. Under current IRS guidance (which continues to apply to 2005 plan year reporting), Schedule P is an optional item but, as a practical matter, must be filed for 401(k) and other retirement plan trusts to start the running of the three-year statute of limitations under Code Section 6501(a) (under which the IRS can assess taxes for plan disqualification)." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

ERISA Benefits Litigation: Who Can Be Sued? (PDF)
12 pages. Excerpt: "There has been a surprising lack of consensus by the courts regarding whom a participant should sue under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to recover benefits due under terms of a plan. The article reviews the courts' varying treatment of the subject and proceeds to look at the structure, words, and history of the statute. The article concludes that an employee benefit plan is the only proper party defendant to an ERISA benefits lawsuit." (Benefits Law Journal via Groom Law Group)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Eligibility and Participation in Qualified Retirement Plans
Nationwide on November 30, 2006
presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

In-Service Withdrawals From Qualified Plans
Nationwide on November 8, 2006
presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

Introduction to Retirement Plans
Nationwide on November 6, 2006
presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

Introduction to Retirement Plans
Nationwide on November 13, 2006
presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

Participant Loans
Nationwide on October 18, 2006
presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

Pension, Profit Sharing, Welfare, and Other Compensation Plans
in District of Columbia on October 5, 2006
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Pension, Profit Sharing, Welfare, and Other Compensation Plans
in California on March 28, 2007
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Pension, Profit Sharing, Welfare, and Other Compensation Plans - Webcast
Nationwide on October 5, 2006
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Pension, Profit Sharing, Welfare, and Other Compensation Plans - Webcast
Nationwide on March 28, 2007
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Plan Amendment Update
Nationwide on August 1, 2006
presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

Representing Professional and Closely Held Businesses
in Illinois on September 28, 2006
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Representing Professional and Closely Held Businesses - Webcast
Nationwide on September 28, 2006
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

ASPPA Fall 2006 Proctored Examination Window
(ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries))

Richard H. Macy Named PBGC Chief Operating Officer
(Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC))

Article Details EBRI-AARP Conference on Pensions
(Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI))

Pension Rights Center Launches Revamped Web Site
(Pension Rights Center)

Transamerica Implements Online 401(k) Plan Adoption and Acceptance Agreement for Multiple Employer Plans
(Transamerica Retirement Services)

HR Policy Association Certifies Ten Pharmacy Benefit Managers Willing to Provide Full Transparency in Drug Contracting
(HR Policy Association)

Dallas-Fort Worth Business Group on Health Releases Report on the State of Diabetes in Texas
(Dallas-Fort Worth Business Group on Health)

RESOLVE National Survey Finds Employers Covering Infertility Treatment Experience No Significant Increase in Cost
(RESOLVE)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

401(k)/Defined Contribution Valuation Processor
for National Retirement Services, Inc.
in CA, NC

Defined Benefit Pension Administrator
for RSM McGladrey
in AZ

Account Manager
for Zenith Administrators
in NV

ERISA Counsel
for Windstream Communications
in AR

Director of Actuarial Consulting
for RSM McGladrey Retirement Resources
in IL

Retirement Compliance Testing Administrator
for Vanguard
in PA

Divisional Sales Director - Midwest Division
for Citigroup - Smith Barney
in IL

Compliance Analyst
for Great-West Retirement Services
in WI

Group Benefits Account Manager
for Standard Insurance Company
in PA

Employee Benefits Product Manager
for Wachovia
in NC

401(k) Defined Contribution Administrator
for DR Pension Services, LLC
in NY

Actuarial Benefit Consultant
for Fidelity Investments
in MA, NC, NY

Senior Benefits Compliance Representative
for Aerojet - Sacramento
in CA




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