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November 9, 2006
Today's sponsor: Financial Research Associates

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Banner ad for Financial Research Associates

MADE IN AMERICA 2007: The 4th Annual Taft-Hartley Benefits Summit

MIA's mission is to provide pro-active solutions and help foster initiatives which will translate into action at the trust fund level. Our speaker faculty has empowered Trustees and Administrators for three years now and we are committed to giving funds a no-nonsense, solution-driven Summit.

(Please visit our sponsors. We try to make sure their products and services will be of interest to you. Thanks! --Editor)

Public Employers Must Disclose Retiree Medical Benefits Costs After Dec. 15, According to New Rule
Excerpt: "The Wall Street Journal on Thursday examined a new Governmental Accounting Standards Board rule, set to take effect the first fiscal year beginning after Dec. 15, that will require public employers to disclose costs of retiree medical benefits (Mincer, Wall Street Journal, 11/9)." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Democrats to Change Leaders and Agendas of Key Congressional Committees
Excerpt: "A change in control of Congress could help the life insurance industry achieve some of its legislative goals. Industry officials gave that optimistic assessment Wednesday during discussions of Tuesday's general election results." (National Underwriter Life & Health; free one-time registration or paid subscription required)

Essential Requirements for ERISA Health Plan Subrogation Language
Excerpt: "A good subrogration clause will do the following: 1. Disclaim the 'make whole' doctrine. . . . 2. Disclaim responsibility for attorneys' fees, e.g., the 'common fund' doctrine 3. Authorize the pending of claims until accident information is provided . . . ." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

ERISA Plan Information Requests -- Statutory Purpose and Scope
Excerpt: "This series of articles will attempt to add some milestones along the way as the practitioner evaluates the requirements of participant plan information requests under 29 U.S.C. Section 1024(b)(4). The statute, coupled with the possible per diem penalty under Section 1132(c), forms a frequent complement to claims under ERISA and can register a telling financial blow on unwary or intransigent plan administrators." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

Overview: Fiduciary Status and Plan Documents
Excerpt: "The Eighth Circuit allowed a reduction in disability benefits for earnings while receiving benefits in Riddell v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of America (8th Cir. 8/10/2006), and the case contains a useful lesson for any 403(b) or 457 employer." (403(b)-457 Plans Blog)

San Francisco Healthcare Security Ordinance Challenged As Preempted by ERISA
Excerpt: "According to an article appearing in the San Francisco Examiner, the ordinance requires businesses with 20 employees or more to invest $1.06 to $1.60 for each employee hour worked for health care." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

Restaurant Owners Sue San Francisco Over Funding for City Plan to Provide Health Care for Uninsured
Excerpt: "The Golden Gate Restaurant Association, a nonprofit group representing the interests of restaurant owners, allege in a lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco that The City's health care ordinance is pre-empted by a federal law, known as Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which sets national standards for employee benefit plans." (The Examiner)

Academic Detailing Program Seeks to Educate Physicians on Medication Treatment
Excerpt: "A small group of consultants from the Harvard Medical School are trying to change the way physicians in Pennsylvania prescribe pharma.ceuticals in an effort to reduce costs and medical errors. The group, the Independent Drug Information Service, is taking a page from big pharma marketing teams by attempting to supply physicians with grounded, evidence-based drug information that's easy to decipher. The goal is to get them to supply the best medicine available at the best price." (Employee Benefit News)

Developing a Center for Comparative Effectiveness Information
Excerpt: "Careful consideration needs to be given regarding the appropriate structure, placement, financing, and function of an agency devoted to comparative effectiveness if it is to achieve its objective: a mechanism to support better decision making in health care." (Health Affairs)

Editorial: The Value Proposition in Healthcare
Excerpt: "To engage our readers in lively discussion, The American Journal of Managed Care is inaugurating a series of editorials on value in healthcare. This month, Richard T. Clark, CEO of Merck & Co., provides his perspective." (The American Journal of Managed Care)

Clinical Information Technology Gaps Persist Among Physicians
Excerpt: "[A]ccording to a new national study from the Center for Studying Health System Change [t]he proportion of physicians reporting access to IT for each of five clinical activities increased across all practice settings between 2000-01 and 2004-05." (Center for Studying Health System Change)

Will Congress Make an Attempt to Contain Health Care Costs?
Excerpt: "Democrats said they intend to use their new power to fight soaring health-care costs by taking on drug companies and health insurers. Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), the presumptive chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said Democrats would try to close a gap in which Medicare beneficiaries must cover their drug expenses and push the government to negotiate with drugmakers for lower prices." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Pharmacy Benefit Manager Transparency and Pass-Through Pricing
Excerpt: "In the last five years, pharmacy benefit managers have come under increasing scrutiny in the courts of public and legal opinion for business practices misaligned with the fiduciary interests of plan sponsors. The industry is groaning under the weight of litigation. Numerous audit firms have sprung to life. The cost of litigation and claims audit responses has been enormous to both plan sponsors and PBMs." (Employee Benefit News)

National Consumer-Driven Healthcare Summit Offers Evidence to Quiet CDHP Critics
Excerpt: "Among the main criticisms of consumer-driven health plans are the plans only appeal to the young, healthy and wealthy - and even consumers in those demographics are incapable of making sound health care decisions. However, a recent Washington, D.C., gathering of health and policy leaders sought to drown out CDH detractors with anecdotal and research evidence to make a strong, positive case for the current health care movement." (Employee Benefit News)

Amicus Curiae Supports Plaintiff on ERISA Preemption of Maryland's 'Wal-Mart' Act (PDF)
43 pages. Excerpt: "[The HR Policy Association, Society for Human Resource Management, and American Benefits Council filed] a brief in the Fourth Circuit urging the court to sustain a lower court ruling striking down the Maryland Fair Share Health Care Act." (HR Policy Association)

Experts Suggest Innovative Funding of HSAs
Excerpt: "Paying employee bonuses directly into health savings accounts can save employers money and increase the value of HSAs, according to some benefits experts." (Employee Benefit News)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Company Fined for Failure to Provide Plan Documents
Excerpt: "The US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan has ruled that a plan administrator must pay a former employee $10,500 for failing to provide her with pension plan documents she requested." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

2006 Election Coverage -- Shift of Power: How Does It Impact You?
Excerpt: "The Foundation has compiled recent articles covering the election and its impact on benefit plans." (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

U.S. Taxation of Foreign Trusts, Trusts with Non-U.S. Grantors and Their U.S. Beneficiaries (PDF)
78 pages. Excerpt: "This outline discusses how to create foreign trusts, examines their exposure and the exposure of their U.S. beneficiaries to U.S. income tax and describes the reporting requirements imposed on their creators, their beneficiaries and the trusts themselves, explains the new grantor trust rules applicable to non-U.S. persons and immigrants, and . . . . [Originally published August 2003.]" (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Automatic Enrollment: Is it appropriate for your clients?
Nationwide on February 8, 2007
presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

Current Issues with 401(k) Plans
Nationwide on May 1, 2007
presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

Default Investments - The DOL Regulations
Nationwide on March 20, 2007
presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

Participant Disclosures and Communications
Nationwide on April 18, 2007
presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

The Pension Protection Act of 2006: Planning for small business owners
Nationwide on November 10, 2006
presented by Executive Benefits Design Group


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Pension Plan Sponsors Changing Investment Focus
(Watson Wyatt)

New Great-West Healthcare Resource Helps Employees Compare Plans and Budget for Health Care
(Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company)

Retirement: A Financial Time Bomb Awaits Vast Majority of Americans
(Brown & Tedstrom)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Actuarial Benefit Consultant
for Fidelity Investments
in MA, NC, NY

Senior Employee Benefits Record Keeper/Tester
for Wachovia
in NC

DB Domain Leader
for Hewitt Associates
in NJ

Plan Specialist-Plan Sponsor Desk (Los Angeles)
for Transamerica Retirement Services
in CA

Senior Care Manager
for Great-West Corporate
in TX

ESOP Operations Manager
for RSM McGladrey Retirement Resources
in IA

Client Services Consultant
for American United Life Insurance Company, a OneAmerica financial partner
in DC, IN, KS, NC, TX

Plan Services Consultant
for American United Life Insurance, a OneAmerica financial partner
in IN

Benefits Data Analyst
for Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina
in NC

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Berry, Dunn, McNeil & Parker
in ME

Financial Planner / Investment Specialist
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in AZ

Retirement Plan Communication Associate, #0604050
for John Hancock
in OR




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