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August 10, 2006
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Administration Aims to Set Health Care Standards
Excerpt: "The Bush administration will soon launch an ambitious effort to require that all providers of federally financed health care adopt quality-measurement tools and uniform standards for their information technology, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said [August 6]." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

San Francisco Mandates Health Services Extension
Excerpt: "San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has signed into law an employer mandate that aims to extend health care access to an estimated 82,000 uninsured residents. The law signed Tuesday provides for the formation of an advisory council to determine the scope of the benefits provided, set membership rates and monitor the program." (Business Insurance)

PPA of 2006 Part III: Health And Welfare Plan Provisions
Excerpt: "This third in a series of articles examines provisions of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) relating to health and welfare plans." (Spencer's Benefits Reports)

Overview: Final HSA Comparability Regulations and the Cafeteria Plan Loophole (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "The regulations are complex, but happily most employers won't have to worry about them even if the employers make contributions to their employees' HSAs. That's because the rules don't apply to employer contributions to HSAs as long as employees have the opportunity to make pre-tax contributions to their HSAs, through the employer's cafeteria plan." (Lockton Benefit Group)

11th Circuit Upholds Denial of ERISA Disability Benefits
Excerpt: "ERISA plans often deny claims for disability benefits based on a lack of objective evidence. The plans argue that claimants must provide objective test results or verifiable data to establish their impairments. This issue becomes more complex, however, when a medical condition cannot be readily confirmed by a test result." (erisa on the web; posted by John Wood)

Please Don't Make Me Go on Vacation
Excerpt: "Ambition, fear of being fired, feeling indispensable and self-imposed getaway guilt all help to explain why workers do not use all of their vacation days and why many prefer to take respites that are shorter than two weeks, even if they have banked significantly more vacation time." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Overview: IRS Approves Use of Advance COBRA Waiver
Excerpt: "In a recent Private Letter Ruling (PLR) on a narrow issue relating to the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC), employer bankrup.tcy, and renegotiated union benefit coverage, IRS provided additional guidance on the use of COBRA coverage waivers." (Infinisource, Inc.)

Ohio Residents To Compare Hospitals Online
Excerpt: "Ohio Gov. Bob Taft (R) on Wednesday will sign into law a bill that will let consumers compare online Ohio hospitals' costs and quality of care, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports." (California HealthCare Foundation)

HMOs Account for One Quarter of Insurance Market
Excerpt: "New research shows that HMOs account for 25% of the market. HealthLeaders-InterStudy annual survey shows that 74 million people in 2006 are in traditional HMOs." (The Advisor)

Experts Say Shop for the Best Deal, but Hospitals Give Patients Scant Information
Excerpt: "[B]asic data about what services cost generally aren't available. Medical providers and insurers consider this to be highly sensitive competitive information, and their contracts require that it remain secret." (Chicago Tribune; one-time registration required)

Merck Zocor Rebates Complicate Blues Plan Prescription Formularies
Excerpt: "Can a brand-name blockbuster drug end up on the lowest-cost tier of a pharma.ceutical formulary? Yes, say WellPoint, Inc. its pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST) while other Blues plans stand firm in always promoting generic drugs first." (The AIS Report on Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans via AISHealth.com)

Health Plans Try New Tactics to Spur Generic Drug Utilization
Excerpt: "As blockbuster medications lose patent protection this year, some insurers are employing a variety of strategies to boost generic drug uptake -- such as waiving copayments for specific drug categories or moving medications that are about to get generic equivalents onto preferred formulary lists with lower copays. But others have shied away from drug-specific tactics and are instead focused on lower copays to encourage generic use." (MANAGED CARE WEEK via AISHealth.com)

Consumer-Directed Health Plans Boost Demand for Drug Price Comparisons
Excerpt: "The recent growth in consumer-directed health (CDH) plans is exposing more and more patients to the real costs of prescription drugs -- a reality that is driving demand for new comparative Rx pricing tools, say PBMs, health insurers and others." (DRUG BENEFIT NEWS via AISHealth.com)

2006 Benefit Buying Trends Study Chartpack (PDF)
23 pages. Excerpt: "41% of respondents claim employers overwhelmingly rate consumer-directed health plans as the best way to impact medical costs, but only 29% are planning to offer them in the next year." (National Association of Health Underwriters and Chapter House via PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Lawmaker, Advocates, Businesses Debate Proposed Rules under New Massachusetts Insurance Law
Excerpt: "Under the proposed rules, drafted in June by the state Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, a company is considered a 'contributing employer' if at least 25% of its workers participate in an employer-sponsored health plan or if they pay at least 33% of the premium for individual coverage. The rules do not account for part-time employees, and businesses with fewer than 11 employees are exempt." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide Updated as of August 8, 2006, for Health and Welfare Plans (PDF)
29 pages. This 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. (Hewitt Associates)

LTC Sales Might Get Boost Out of Pension Bill
Excerpt: "[T]he House-approved version of pension reform allows for the tax-preferred purchase of LTC insurance by including it in an annuity or permanent life insurance policy. It lets insurance carriers charge the cost of the LTC care coverage against the life insurance or annuity cash value." (The Advisor)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: SEC's Significant Changes to the Disclosure of Executive Compensation and Related Matters
Excerpt: "A new Compensation Discussion and Analysis (CD&A) must address the objectives and implementation of executive compensation programs - focusing on the most important factors underlying each company's compensation policies and decisions. The CD&A will be considered filed and subject to certification by a company's principal executive officer and principal financial officer." (Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC)

Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide as of August 8, 2006, on Human Resources and Employment Law (PDF)
8 pages. This 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 human resources and employment law. (Hewitt Associates)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

2006 Pension Bill and Update Seminar
Nationwide on August 15, 2006
presented by Virchow, Krause & Company, LLP

2006 Pension Bill and Update Seminar
Nationwide on August 22, 2006
presented by Virchow, Krause & Company, LLP

Executive Compensation: First Look at the SEC's New Disclosure Rules - Webcast
Nationwide on August 15, 2006
presented by West LegalEdcenter

Life Insurance Company Products Conference; Featuring Current Securities, Tax, ERISA, and State Regulatory and Compliance Issues
in District of Columbia on November 16, 2006
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Life Insurance Company Products Webcast; Featuring Current Securities, Tax, ERISA, and State Regulatory and Compliance Issues
Nationwide on November 16, 2006
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Pension Reform Legislation: The New Retirement Landscape - Teleweb
Nationwide on August 24, 2006
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Resolution Introduced to Declare "National Save for Retirement Week"
(NAGDCA (National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators, Inc.))

President Looks Forward to Signing Pension Reform Legislation
(White House)

Newkirk Announces 2006 Tax Law Education Solutions
(Newkirk Products, Inc.)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

401(k) / Defined Contribution Administrator
for Pension Investors Corporation
in FL

401(k) Plan Administrator
for Benefits Consulting Group, LLC
in CT, MA

Pension Administrator
for De Boer, Baumann & Company, PLC
in MI

Defined Benefits Administration Analyst
for Lynchval Systems Worldwide Inc.
in VA

Assistant Pension Administrator
for Taylor/Webster
in TN

Attorney
for Kraw & Kraw Attorneys
in CA

Law Clerk
for Kraw & Kraw Attorneys
in CA

Senior Wealth and Investment Services Officer
for US Trust
in CA, NV, OR, WA

Senior Account Manager ~ Financial Services
for CitiStreet
in NJ

Trust Administrator - Employee Benefits
for Old Point Trust & Financial Services, N.A.
in VA

Benefits Analyst- 401(K)
for Harrah's Entertainment
in NV

Retirement Coordinator
for BISYS
in PA

Internal Wholesaler
for BISYS
in PA




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