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August 18, 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)

Hewitt's 52-Page Report on the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PDF)
Side-by-side columns: a description of a provision of present law, a description of how PPA affects that provision, and Hewitt's comments on the change made by the PPA. (Hewitt)

Insurer's Decision to Deny ERISA Benefits Held Arbitrary and Capricious
Excerpt: "In assessing the claim, the insurance carrier . . . obtained 'peer review' reports from a physician within its medical department [who] opined that there was no 'objective medical information or documentation' to support Fischer's disability claim. After [the insurer] denied his claim, the case ended up in federal court [which] ruled for Fischer, finding that [the insurer] acted arbitrarily and capriciously. The court blasted the carrier's assertion that there was no objective . . . ." (ERISA on the web; posted by John Wood)

Impact of Health Care Benefits Paid by Teacher Retirement System of Texas on Texas Business Activity (PDF)
185 pages. Excerpt: "The study revealed that the payments lead to substantial gains in economic activity in addition to providing for the health and well being of active and retired teachers across the state. This report highlights key findings from TPG's analysis of the state, regional, and metro area impacts of TRS health care benefit payments." (The Perryman Group via National Council on Teacher Retirement)

Vote Delayed on Copays and Premiums under Massachusetts Health Law
Excerpt: "A key element of Massachusetts' health reform law -- premiums and copayments for state-subsidized health plans for the uninsured -- will remain undecided until next month. A vote on the matter, scheduled for today, was delayed until Sept. 1 after advocates for the uninsured and the Massachusetts Hospital Association criticized as too high the premiums and copayments proposed by the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector." (Modern Healthcare; one-time registration required)

Wisconsin Governor Proposes Tax Deduction for Employees' Share of Health Premiums
Excerpt: "Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (D) on Wednesday announced a plan that would provide a tax deduction for individuals who with their employers share the responsibility of paying their health insurance premiums, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Guidelines for Gauging ROI in Health Programs
Excerpt: "It's a perennial question for benefit managers: Are my efforts in health management paying off? Mercer recently released a study that analyzes ROI measurement practices and offers guidelines to improve upon them." (BenefitNews Connect)

Opinion: Inject Competition Into Health Care Market
Excerpt: "For a good portion of the uninsured, lowering insurance costs would help. However, a growing number of people don't feel health care is a good value for their money, simply because they can't tailor their coverage to their needs. That may change if the Health Care Choice Act, versions of which have been introduced in both the House and the Senate, becomes the law of the land." (The Baltimore Sun; one-time registration required)

Former, Current White House Economic Advisers Discuss Ways To Address Rising Health Costs
Excerpt: "Three current or former members of the White House Council of Economic Advisors last week discussed the issue of health care costs at a forum sponsored by the American Risk and Insurance Association 'in terms that suggest the coming national debate over health care entitlement programs might be less hidebound than in years past,' CQ HealthBeat reports." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Generics Lowering Workers Compensation Prescription Costs, According to Study
Excerpt: "The survey of customers of The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. found that pharma.ceutical costs dipped in 2005 by about 1%, according to the insurer. While slight, it represents the first time such costs have declined since the Hartford, Conn.-based insurer first conducted its survey in 2001." (Business Insurance)

Opinion: The Health Care Choice Act -- The Wrong Prescription for America's Health Care Needs (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "H.R. 2355 . . . discusses how this legislation, sponsored by Rep. Shadegg and favored by the Administration, would undermine state laws designed to protect health care consumers." (FamiliesUSA)

Brief: Decline in Employer-Provided Insurance Putting Strain on Gov't Health Coverage for Children (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "This data brief explores how well Medicaid and SCHIP actually protected health insurance coverage for low-income children in comparison to low-income adults (low-income is defined as those with income below 200 percent of the federal poverty level [FPL])(i.e., $38,614 for a family of four in 2004)." (The Urban Institute via Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

A Guide to the SEC's New Executive and Director Compensation and Related Party Disclosure Rules (PDF)
17 pages. Excerpt: "The final rules provide that all elements of compensation must be disclosed. The two foundational components of the new rules are (1) the Compensation Discussion & Analysis (CD&A) section in which the company is to describe, in narrative form, the material factors underlying the company's compensation policies and decisions, and (2) tabular disclosure in three broad categories: . . . ." (Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP)

Deferred Compensation Planning Opportunities for Executives of Tax-Exempt Entities
Excerpt: "Executives of nonprofit, tax-exempt entities are often frustrated by their inability to duplicate the opportunities available in the for-profit sector to defer their receipt of significant amounts of otherwise current (and currently taxable) compensation to the period following their retirement." (Employee Benefit Plan Review via Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC)

Reimagining America: How America Can Grow Older and Prosper -- Spending Health Dollars Wisely (PDF)
36 pages. Excerpt: "AARP believes we can balance longer lives with the pressures the aging of the boomers and increased longevity put on our social systems. While this is often described as a confounding problem of demographics, it is actually driven primarily by the fragmented and disorganized delivery of health care, which costs too much and delivers too little." (AARP)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

National Consumer Driven Healthcare Summit
in District of Columbia on September 13, 2006
presented by Health Affairs & Harvard Health Policy Review

National Consumer Driven Healthcare Summit
in District of Columbia on September 13, 2006
presented by Health Affairs & Harvard Health Policy Review

New Pension Law Impact on Defined Contribution Plans
Nationwide on August 22, 2006
presented by Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP

Recent Notable ERISA Decisions
Nationwide on September 12, 2006
presented by Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP

The Pension Protection Act of 2006: How It Will Impact Your IRA Business
Nationwide on August 24, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

The Pension Protection Act of 2006: How It Will Impact Your IRA Business
Nationwide on August 30, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

The Pension Protection Act of 2006: How It Will Impact Your IRA Business
Nationwide on September 6, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Remarks by President Bush in Signing of H.R. 4, the Pension Protection Act of 2006
(White House)

PBGC Publishes Updated Data Book
(Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC))

New Law Expands IRA Options for Military
(Internal Revenue Service (IRS))

Success of Pension Measure Depends on Balance
(ERIC (ERISA Industry Committee))

ACLI Lauds Signing of Pension Reform Bill Into Law
(American Council of Life Insurers)

Statement On The Signing Of The Pension Protection Act Of 2006
(Pension Rights Center)

New Opportunities for 401(k) Plans Provided by the Pension Protection Act of 2006
(Transamerica Retirement Services)

New Edition of ESOP Communications Sourcebook
(National Center for Employee Ownership)

As Pension Protection Act Becomes Law, Fidelity 401(k) Report Shows Some Progress In Employee Savings, But Participation And Deferral Rates Still Lagging
(Fidelity Investments)

New Report Shows Benefits of Integrating Medical and Disability Data
(Integrated Benefits Institute)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Pension Benefit Advisor
for The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
in NJ, NY

Internal Wholesaler - Account Coordinator
for T. Rowe Price
in MD

Daily Valuation Operations Manager
for Professional Capital Services, LLC
in PA

Client Service Specialist
for White Horse Advisors, LLC
in GA

Defined Contribution Administrative Accountant
for First Merchantile
in TN




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