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August 9, 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)

House Passes Health Information Technology Bill: Legislation Now Awaits Reconciliation (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "Although Congress is currently in recess, staff-level negotiations have begun to work out differences between the House bill and legislation passed by the Senate last year (S. 1418). Enacting health IT legislation is a priority for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D. (R-TN), who has stated his desire to pass a compromise bill soon after Congress reconvenes in September." (Powell Goldstein LLP)

Ninth Circuit Rules Claimant Entitled to ERISA Disability Benefits
Excerpt: "In Silver v. Executive Car Leasing Long-Term Disability Plan, an ERISA decision released [August 7], the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the insurance carrier's decision to deny the claimant's disability benefits." (erisa on the web; posted by John Wood)

Court Holds Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Falls Outside ERISA Policy Limitation
Excerpt: "Many ERISA policies contain provisions limiting benefits for disabilities resulting from mental illnesses. There has been substantial litigation over these provisions, especially when it is unclear whether the claimant's impairment results from a mental or physical condition. In those cases, the exact language of the policy is often critical." (erisa on the web; posted by John Wood)

No Therapy for Patients on Antidepressants
Excerpt: "A huge study found that patients on antidepressants rarely get the psychiatric therapy needed right after they start the drugs, a time when risk of suicidal behavior can rise temporarily. Two-thirds of children and even more adults did not see a doctor or therapist for mental health care once within a month of beginning drug treatment, according to the study by Medco Health Solutions Inc., which manages prescription benefits for health plans." (AP via The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Physician Urges Employers to Get Connected to Telemedicine
Excerpt: "There are compelling reasons for employers to pay attention to telemedicine and, given their purchasing clout, to take a leadership role in advancing the field. Those that do will reap the benefits of improved employee health and cost-effectiveness of care . . . . Specifically, telemedicine can facilitate patient self-management, reduce the amount of time employees spend away from work and provide employees with peace of mind from home in monitoring elderly family members." (Employee Benefit News)

Delta Air Lines Begins Talks on Retiree Health Costs
Excerpt: "Delta is set to open talks this week with two retiree creditor committees on how to cut the company's cost of providing health insurance. Executives are meeting with court-appointed committees representing retired pilots today and with a similar committee representing ground employees and flight attendants Wednesday." (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; one-time registration required)

Commentary: Achieving a High Performance Health System (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "In their commentary, . . . The Commonwealth Fund's Anne K. Gauthier, Karen Davis, and Stephen C. Schoenbaum argue for a major transformation of current methods of health care financing and delivery in the United States." (The Commonwealth Fund)

Tool Aids Employers in Gauging Likelihood of Hospitalizations Among Workforce
Excerpt: "Most employers would like a crystal ball to foresee which workers were most likely to suffer from high-cost chronic conditions or require expensive hospitalizations. Absent such mystical orbs, however, predictive modeling technology can aid benefit managers in targeting employees vulnerable to developing health problems and providing preventive care." (Employee Benefit News)

Overview of and Comments on Callahan and Wasunna's 'Medicine and the Market: Equity v. Choice'
Excerpt: "[The authors'] reading of the literature and data on competition in health care allows only a soft conclusion: it may work here and there in bringing an increase in efficiency and cost control, but most likely only if coupled with strong government regulation designed to make it work. There is no consistent evidence anywhere that an unregulated competitive market can achieve those goals, much less do so while maintaining reasonably equitable access." (The Johns Hopkins University Press via Physicians for a National Health Program)

Unknown Benefits Lurk in Health Insurance Policies
Excerpt: "The problem: A UnitedHealthcare patient could have cancer for a year and still not know about the program [Cancer Resources]. Even experts -- including experts who've had cancer and spend all their time working on issues around cancer -- didn't know about these benefits because different insurers handle notification differently and sometimes leave it to employers to publicize details of health plans." (AP via The Washington Post; one-time registration required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Resolving the Judicial Paradox of 'Equitable' Relief Under ERISA Section 502(a)(3)
The target page provides several links to the full text of this 135-page article, published in 2006. Abstract: 'This Article reviews the state of federal law concerning equitable remedies under Section 502(a)(3) of ERISA and developes a statutory and policy-based theory to address what is appropriate equitable relief for the six categories of defendants and related claims that are possible under Section 502(a)(3)." (Prof. Colleen Medill in the John Marshall Law Review via SSRN.com)

Overview: FASB Issues Proposed FASB Staff Position on Share-Based Payments (PDF)
5 pages. The newsletter also covers the FASB meeting of July 26, 2006, and the discussion on postretirement benefit obligations, including pensions. (Grant Thornton)

Overview: FASB to Implement Postretirement Benefit Accounting Reform in 2006
Excerpt: "The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is moving ahead with the first phase of its proposed changes to postretirement benefit accounting, which involves recording a plan's underfunding or overfunding on the corporate balance sheet." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

Despite Claims Procedure Violations, Limitations Began When Employee Had Reason to Know of Denial
Excerpt: "A suit for benefits under ERISA must be filed within a certain period of time, called the statute of limitations. This case addresses the issue of whether flawed claims procedures prevent the statute of limitations from starting." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Court Remedies Failure to Provide SPD by Ordering Payment of Plan Benefits
Excerpt: "Although the court concluded that the employer breached its fiduciary duty by not timely providing an SPD to the spouse, it did not frame its remedy under ERISA Section 502(a)(3) (through which participants and beneficiaries can claim 'appropriate equitable relief' for breach of fiduciary duty). Instead, it relied on Section 502(c)(1), which allows penalties where a plan administrator fails to respond to requests for information required under ERISA." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Statutory Penalty Liability for Failure to Furnish All Docs Relevant to Participant's Benefit Claim?
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: Other courts have also rejected the analysis of DOL Advisory Opinion 96-14A, refusing to impose statutory penalties for claim document failures. (As this court held, the views of enforcing agencies like the DOL are entitled to considerable weight, but a DOL advisory opinion is not binding on a court and does not deserve judicial deference where, as here, it 'does violence to the statute itself.')" (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Overview: SEC Finalizes Revised Executive Compensation Proxy Disclosure Rules
Excerpt: "The [target page describes] how the final rules affect executive compensation disclosures and the accompanying narrative." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

Overview: Executive Compensation Provisions Found in Pension Reform
Excerpt: "The Pension Protection Act addressed not only qualified retirement plans, but the funding of nonqualified plans as well. In this article, we address the potential consequences of some of those funding decisions, after the passage of PPA." (CCA Strategies LLC)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

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

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

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

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

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Essentials
in Louisiana on September 12, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Essentials
in Minnesota on September 12, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Essentials
in Florida on September 14, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Essentials
in Ohio on September 19, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Essentials
in Ohio on September 21, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Essentials
in Texas on September 26, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Essentials
in South Dakota on September 26, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Essentials
in Texas on September 26, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Essentials
in Texas on September 28, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Essentials
in Kentucky on September 28, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Update: A seminar for serious IRA professionals
in Texas on February 27, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Update: A seminar for serious IRA professionals
in Louisiana on September 13, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Update: A seminar for serious IRA professionals
in Minnesota on September 13, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Update: A seminar for serious IRA professionals
in Florida on September 15, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Update: A seminar for serious IRA professionals
in Ohio on September 20, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Update: A seminar for serious IRA professionals
in Ohio on September 22, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Update: A seminar for serious IRA professionals
in Texas on September 27, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Update: A seminar for serious IRA professionals
in South Dakota on September 27, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Update: A seminar for serious IRA professionals
in Texas on September 27, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Update: A seminar for serious IRA professionals
in Kentucky on September 29, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Update: A seminar for serious IRA professionals
in Texas on September 29, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Cash Balance Plans: What Is Left After the Litigation (and Legislation)?
Nationwide on August 30, 2006
presented by American Bar Association (ABA)

Options Backdating: Is Your Company at Risk? - Teleconference Briefing
Nationwide on August 15, 2006
presented by Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Pension Protection Act of 2006: What's in It for 401(k) Plans?-- Help for 401(k) Plan Employers, Advisors, and Administrators
Nationwide on September 14, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Special Insights into Retirement Plan Fee Structures - Webcast
Nationwide on August 31, 2006
presented by International Foundation for Retirement Education (InFRE)

What Pension Reform Does for Pensions and Their Sponsors: Defined Benefit Plan Issues in the Pension Protection Act of 2006
Nationwide on September 14, 2006
presented by American Bar Association (ABA)


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Pension Decision Increases Employer Confidence
(ERIC (ERISA Industry Committee))


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
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Operations Delivery Leader
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in NH

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in OH

Sr. Benefits & Compliance Consultant
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in OH




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