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September 8, 2006
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Congress Fails to Preserve Right of Insurers to Be Reimbursed
Excerpt: "As Congress shaped a new pension law in late July, it jettisoned a hotly debated provision in the House bill that would have made it easier for health plans and employers to gain their share of any money awarded in personal injury lawsuits." (Managed Care Magazine)

More Companies Open In-House Health Clinics
Excerpt: "A combination of both definable and intangible savings are driving more companies to open medical clinics to cope with ever-rising health care costs. Savings grow out of lower doctor fees and improved employee health. And the clinics' proximity encourages employees to visit doctors and fosters better care of conditions that can be especially expensive to treat when ignored." (AP via Houston Chronicle)

No Trust Requirement for Cafeteria Plans, Fourth Circuit Confirms
Excerpt: "[T]he court's decision reaffirms the Department of Labor's (DOL) position that employee premium contributions made through IRC § 125 cafeteria plans do not have to be held in trust, but still are ERISA plan assets and must be handled accordingly. The court's decision also addresses the issue of how much time employers have to transfer participant premium contributions to the plan administrator so they can be used to pay benefits or plan administration expenses." (Deloitte via BenefitsLink.com)

Overview: Designing a Public Employer Retiree Rx Strategy for 2007 and Beyond (PDF)
4 pages. The latest issue of Segal's Public Sector Letter discusses Medicare Part D options for employers for 2007 and beyond. (The Segal Company)

Opinion: CalPERS' Purchasing Practices Encourage High State Health Care Costs
Excerpt: "CalPERS, in a counterproductive process, over the last 25 years has move toward requiring each health plan to offer the same coverage. There again, no health plan benefits by offering a lower-cost product. CalPERS wanted to make it easier for state employees to compare 'values.' The health plans compared 'values' as well, and essentially said if you are going to make us provide the same coverage, we will charge same high price." (Capitol Weekly)

EBSA Advisory Council's Working Group on Health Information Technology to Meet September 22
Excerpt: "The purpose of the open meeting, which will run from 8:30 a.m. to approximately 4:30 p.m., with a one hour break for lunch, is for Working Group members to hear testimony from invited witnesses. The Working Group will study what is necessary in order to encourage the widespread adoption of health information technology using common standards and how the Federal government can work with the private sector and industry to accomplish this." (Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor)

A Primer on Health Insurance Risk Pools (PDF)
10 pages. (American Academy of Actuaries)

UAW Chief Sees No Health Care Deal for Chrysler
Excerpt: "UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, speaking to reporters, said the union's financial analysis showed Chrysler was in a stronger position than either of its larger, Detroit-based rivals. Asked if that meant that there would be no parallel cost-saving deal on health care for Chrysler, Gettelfinger said: 'That is fair to say.'" (Reuters via The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

In Argentina, Government Proposal Would Increase Payroll Contribution to Health Insurance
Excerpt: "The Argentine Government is proposing to remove the mandatory health insurance contribution ceiling. Currently, employees contribute 3 percent of their monthly income to health insurance, subject to a maximum monthly contribution of AR$144 / US$ 46 (3 percent of AR$ 4,800 / US$ 1,543)." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

True Transparency: Pharmacy Benefit Management Cost-Control Model of the Future (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "Some traditional pharmacy benefit management companies have attempted to define and embrace the concept of transparency. Purchasers of pharmacy benefits are beginning to recognize the value and meaning of true transparency." (Benefits & Compensation Digest via International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Overview: Bipolar Depression Takes Heavy Toll on Workplace Productivity
Excerpt: "[S]peaking to employers in terms of the bottom line, investing in such support systems makes sense financially because these programs will help cut down on the amount of loss days and allow bipolars sufferers to remain productive members of the workforce." (Workplace Prof Blog)

Executive Order Could Enable Health Plans to Expand Cost and Quality Measurements
Excerpt: "A new presidential executive order that directs certain government agencies to provide information on the quality and cost of care for Medicare beneficiaries and those in other federal health programs will help boost health plans' efforts to expand similar transparency programs in additional markets . . . ." (MANAGED CARE WEEK via AISHealth.com)

Opinion: Maryland's Wal-Mart Act: Policy and Preemption
Excerpt: "With respect to the legality of the Maryland statute, I conclude that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) preempts the Maryland law. . . . In the final analysis, Maryland's Wal-Mart Act is a poorly-designed exercise in political symbolism, rather than a carefully-crafted response to the pressing problem of health care in America." (Prof. Edward A. Zelinsky of Cardozo University Law School via Social Science Research Network)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: 2006-2007 Employee Benefit, Executive Compensation and Insurance Tax Guidance (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "On August 15, 2006, the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service released their Priority Guidance Plan for regulations and other guidance they are undertaking to complete from July 2006 through 2007. Of the 264 priority projects listed, a significant number are relevant to employee benefits, executive compensation, and insurance arrangements." (Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP)

Overview: Employer Obligations under Federal and Wisconsin Law to Employees Serving in the Military (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "These state and federal laws, which apply to virtually all employers regardless of size, provide employees serving in the United States Armed Forces or the National Guard with three basic types of employment protections: (1) protection from discrimination; (2) reemployment rights; and (3) protection of employee benefits." (von Briesen & Roper, s.c.)

Overview: Advance Copy of 2006 Form 5500 and Instructions Now Available
Excerpt: "The PPA does make changes to the Form 5500 annual reporting requirement, although it does not appear the PPA will require significant changes -- and perhaps not any changes -- to the 2006 Form 5500. In fact, the most notable changes will not apply until plan years beginning in 2008 and beyond." (Deloitte via BenefitsLink.com)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

ERISA Workshop - With Significant Coverage of PPA 2006
in Illinois on October 17, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

ERISA Workshop - With Significant Coverage of PPA 2006
in North Carolina on October 17, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

ERISA Workshop - With Significant Coverage of PPA 2006
in Iowa on October 17, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

PSCA's 59th National Conference
in Florida on September 13, 2006
presented by Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America (PSCA)


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

U. S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao Releases 2006 National Saver Summit Report
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA))

U.S. Department of Labor Announces $12 Million Settlement with the Estate of Kenneth L. Lay
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA))

U.S. Labor Department Seeks Comments on Independence Guidelines for Employee Benefit Plan Accountants
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA))

Nationwide Announces Integrated Health and Productivity Solutions as the Answer to Soaring Health Care Costs
(Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Plan Administrator
for Acuff & Associates, Inc.
in TN

Plan Administrator Apprentice
for NestEggs, Inc.
in FL

Pension Administrator
for Jordan & Andrews
in CA

Pension Analyst (Retirement Plans)
for Mutual of Omaha
in NE

Pension/401(k) Analyst
for Long Island Employee Benefits Group, Ltd.
in NY

Relationship Manager
for Pension Specialists, Inc.
in IL

Client Relationship Manager
for Freedom One Financial Group
in MI

Employee Benefit Plan Consultant/Manager
for Olsen Thielen & Co., Ltd.
in MN

IRA Client Service Representative
for Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC
in PA




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