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November 27, 2006
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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)

New Health Plans Move More Than Costs to Employees
Excerpt: "For many workers trying to decide which health plan to choose, this year's open enrollment season comes down to two options: higher costs or higher risk. Rising costs are old news, but the higher risk is new, compliments of a growing trend to push more employees into 'consumer-driven plans,' in which employees assume more responsibility for their health-care budget." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Kiosks Dispense Free Drugs: Blue Cross Gives Away Generics
Excerpt: "Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina announced the program Tuesday as part of its continuing efforts to reduce prescription drug costs. It's likely to save patients money, but it has the potential to reduce pharmacists' role in filling prescriptions." (The News & Observer)

Individual Disability Insurance Policy with Employer-Paid Premiums Is an ERISA Plan
Excerpt: "The employee in this case made a claim under an individual disability policy offered by his employer. The employer paid all the premiums for the policy, and the premiums were not included in the employee's income. The insurer stopped paying benefits to the employee after a year and a half, concluding that he was no longer disabled. The employee sued the insurer in state court for benefits, breach of contract, and other claims." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Hospital Ownership Changes and Employers' Decision to Offer Insurance (PDF)
25 pages. Excerpt: "This study uses 1995 - 1999 Contingent Workers Supplement and hospital ownership data from the American Hospital Association's Annual Surveys to how the employer sponsored insurance market responds to changes in hospital ownership." (U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)

Overview of the Memphis Living Wage Ordinance and ERISA Preemption
Excerpt: "To the extent that the city ordinance requires covered private employers to provide health benefits as part of the living wage, there is at least an argument that such mandatory benefits may run into ERISA preemption because the law would adversely impact upon the administration of employee benefit plans." (Workplace Prof Blog)

PBM Mail Order Rx Services Are Expanding, But the Cost Savings Are Not Clear
Excerpt: "The value of mail order rests in the fact it's a fully integrated system [says Dorothy Moller-Tiger, vice president of The Lewin Group]. Unbundling the system would remove the incentives that keep mail-order prices down, she said. 'Often mail order is often bundled with PBM as well, and [it] is able to gain efficiencies through the PBM. But more importantly, because of the highly automated nature of the mail-order operation, you have lower overall acquisition costs,' she said." (DRUG BENEFIT NEWS via

Blues Plans Utilize a Variety of Strategies to Guard Against Fraud and Abuse Schemes
Excerpt: "Most Blues plans contacted by AIS say sophisticated data-mining software, increased awareness among subscribers, and support from local and federal law enforcement agencies is helping them keep pace with increasingly sophisticated health care fraud and abuse schemes." (The AIS Report on Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans via

Health Reform Looks to the States
Excerpt: "[Rep. Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Tom Price] are part of a group of lawmakers and policy analysts - one that includes Democratic U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin - that would use states as laboratories to test different approaches for expanding insurance coverage, improving quality and controlling costs." (Journal Sentinel)

The Retiree Health Care Challenge -- A Paper Prepared for a TIAA-CREF Institute Symposium (PDF)
29 pages. Excerpt: "This paper focuses on the factors affecting plan design and funding decisions. When the areas covered by this paper are addressed in the context of an integrated and strategic process, employers can make substantial progress in addressing their retiree health care challenges." (Hewitt Associates via TIAA-CREF Institute)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview; Tax Law Change Affects Taxation of Proceeds from Employer-Owned Life Insurance (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "The new law is directed primarily at employer-owned life insurance policies covering a broad-based employee population, which are essentially an investment vehicle for the employer. Provided the employee notice and consent requirements are met, proceeds of the typical key-person life insurance policy will remain non-taxable to the employer because the policy will qualify under one of the exceptions described [in the target document]." (Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC)

Discussion of PBS's Frontline Film ' Living Old' -- Challenges Facing America's Elderly Population
Excerpt: "Producer, writer and director Miri Navasky was online Wednesday, Nov. 22, at 11 a.m. ET to discuss the PBS Frontline film . . . . [The transcript of the discussion is the content of the target page.]" (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Peer Pressure: -- Inflating Executive Pay
Excerpt: "The use of peer groups to calculate executive pay has become ubiquitous in recent years. This is partly in response to the Securities and Exchange Commission's requirement that companies compare their stock performance with a peer group in tables in the section of their proxy filings devoted to shareholder returns." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Overview: Bright Line Rule Needed for Whether a Fiduciary Can Sue a Participant (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "As readers of Benefits Law Journal know, ERISA Section 502(a)(3) allows a plan fiduciary to sue a participant to obtain 'appropriate equitable relief' to enforce a provision of ERISA or the plan terms. On its face, this phrase could be interpreted simply as meaning the relief must be fair and reasonable." (Benefits Law Journal via Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP)

Baby Boomers Present Positive Picture in the 2006 Lincoln Long Life Survey
Excerpt: "Conducted for Lincoln Retirement Institute, Philadelphia, by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, Princeton, N.J, the survey sampled 1,004 boomers aged 42-60 who have $75,000+ in annual household income. It shows that such boomers are not as much in la-la-land concerning retirement as the boomer stereotype might suggest." (National Underwriter Life & Health; free registration or paid subscription required)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

East Coast Defined Contribution Conference
in Florida on February 11, 2007
presented by Pensions & Investments/International Business Forum

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Analyst - Defined Benefit
for Mercer HR Services
in MA

Project Manager
for Hewitt Associates
in GA

Benefits Consultant, Staff
for Nevada Power
in NV

Retirement Plan Analyst
for Employee Fiduciary Corporation
in AL

Retirement Sales Wholesaler
for ExpertPlan, Inc.
in NJ

Retirement Plan Svcs Consultant
for Wells Fargo Retirement Plan Solutions

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