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August 31, 2006
Today's sponsor: Benefit Software Inc.

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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)

Study Finds Health Care Good Value Despite Costs
Excerpt: "The dramatic increase in health-care spending in the United States since 1960 is a major reason that Americans are living longer, making the world's most expensive health-care system a good value despite its high costs, according to an academic study being released today." (Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Overview: President Bush Issues Health Care Transparency Executive Order
The article includes a link to the White House web site, where additional information and the text of the order can be found. (Deloitte)

Coming: Insurance Debit Cards That Reveal Health History
Excerpt: "The new cards, which will carry the MasterCard logo, can be swiped like a credit card at a doctors' office or other certified health provider. But in addition to providing payment, the cards can be used to confirm eligibility for services and provide access to personal health information at the point of care. The cards should be broadly available early in 2007." (eWeek.com)

Assignment of Benefits Statutes and ERISA Preemption
Link to 4-page document. Excerpt: "The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled August 16 that [ERISA] does not preempt a Louisiana law that requires health plans to honor assignments of benefits . . . to health care providers by patients . . . . This Health Care Alert examines the ruling and its effects on misdirected payments to patients and the Texas assignment of benefits statute." (Haynes and Boone)

Adult Obesity Worsens in Most States (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "According to a new report from Trust for America's Health (TFAH), adult obesity rates continued to rise in 31 states over the past year while government policy efforts have consistently failed to provide viable solutions to the growing obesity crisis." (Trust for America's Health)

Good Health Care Is Good for Companies, Too
Excerpt: "Companies that go on the cheap with employee health care plans may be making costly mistakes. That's the headline I got from a study on corporate health care strategies prepared by Watson Wyatt Worldwide." (Human Resource Executive Online)

Top Worries of Working Women: Healthcare Costs, Lagging Pay, Retirement
Excerpt: "Affordable medical coverage tops the list of concerns for working women, with 97 percent of them saying that they're nervous about the rising expense of quality health care." (Chicago Tribune via BCBSHealthIssues.com)

Next Mass. Governor Will Be Responsible for Implementing Law Requiring Health Insurance Coverage
Excerpt: "While Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) has earned 'widespread praise' for the state's 'first-of-its-kind' law requiring all state residents to have health insurance by July 2007, the next governor will 'shoulder much of the responsibility for whether the law succeeds,' the Boston Globe reports." (KaiserNetwork.org)

Massachusetts State Senator Says Health Plan Rates Too High
Excerpt: "[Senator Richart T. Moore, a key architect of the healthcare overhaul law] said residents who earn less than three times the federal poverty level should pay no more than 5 percent of their income for Commonwealth Care insurance premiums." (Boston Globe via BCBSHealthIssues.com)

Opinion: How Enlightened Policy Could Break Health Care's Vicious Cycle
Excerpt: "[An] option, which has been tried successfully in New York state and is being considered in Vermont and Massachusetts, is for government to backstop private insurers that sell coverage to small firms and individuals." (Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Pros and Cons of Single-Payer Health Care
Excerpt: "Employers who provide health insurance could pay less under a payroll-tax plan, especially if workers paid a share of the payroll tax . . . ." (Physicians for a National Health Program)

Strong Growth of HSA-Based Plans Leads Large Banks to Get Into the Game
Excerpt: "Chicago-based LaSalle Bank says it will administer HSAs as well as HRAs and flexible spending accounts beginning in October. It also will launch a suite of education, wellness and account-management tools." (AISHealth.com)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Ninth Circuit ERISA Case: Work Performed by Non-Attorneys Is Recoverable (PDF)
11 pages. Trustees of the Construction Industry and Laborers Health and Welfare Trust v. Redland Insurance Company (August 30, 2006). (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit via FindLaw.com)

Federal Reserve's Pension, Welfare Benefit Plans Are Governmental Plans
Excerpt: "Twelve pension and welfare benefit plans of the Federal Reserve System are governmental plans because the Federal Reserve is an agency or instrumentality of the federal government, and the plans only cover system employees, according to an Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) opinion letter." (CCH Pension and Benefits)

DOL Gives Filers Affected By Katrina Additional Extension of Deadline to File 5500s
Excerpt: "The U. S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) is providing an extension of the deadline for filing Form 5500 series annual returns/reports to Oct. 16, 2006 to filers affected by Hurricane Katrina. This additional reporting relief is being granted to filers in 31 parishes in Louisiana, 48 counties in Mississippi, and 11 counties in Alabama." (Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

401(k) Plans: Beyond the Basics - NEW 2-Day Program!
Nationwide on October 19, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Revised Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program -- Is Your Plan in Compliance?
in Massachusetts on September 20, 2006
presented by WEB Worldwide Employee Benefits Network MA Chapter

The Ethical Benefits Lawyer: Avoiding Ethical Pitfalls
Nationwide on September 28, 2006
presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Physician Group Decries 1.3 Million Rise in Uninsured
(Physicians for a National Health Program)

U. S. Labor Department Gives Filers Affected By Hurricane Katrina Additional Extension of Deadline to File Annual Reports
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA))

ERISA Advisory Council Sets September 2006 Meetings
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA))

Number of Uninsured Increases While Employers Struggle to Continue to Provide Coverage
(U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

NCQA Seeks Public Input To Align HMO And PPO Accreditations Standard
(National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA))

Dedicated Participant Relationships, Flexibility are Keys to Successful Results, says Leade Health Coach
(Leade Health)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Senior Plan Consultant
for July Business Services
in TX

Technical Consultant
for ABD Insurance and Financial Services
in CA

Open Enrollment Call Center Specialists
for Constantin Control Associates
in NJ

Supervisor, Operational Compliance and Calculations
for University of California, Office of The President
in CA

Coordinator, Senior Management Group Budget
for University of California, Office of The President
in CA

Marketing Director
for Transamerica Retirement Services
in CA

Senior Client Employee Benefits Advisor
for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
in DC

Director of Benefits Consulting
for Sentry Insurance
in WI




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