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December 19, 2006


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Some Companies Crack Down on Sick Time; Just Half of Workers Compensated
Excerpt: "There are no laws mandating employers to pay employees when they're under the weather. For prolonged time away from work, there's the Family and Medical Leave Act, which requires most employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid time away from work." (MSNBC.com)

Survey Shows Government Employers Offer Greatest Number of Sick Days
Excerpt: "Governments are the most generous with the number of allowed sick days, while exempt workers in the service industries earn the least, according to a recent survey." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

Should Companies Still Provide Retiree Health Care?
Excerpt: "Any decision to provide or eliminate health benefits for retirees should be based on four key questions of value -- not merely on cost." (Human Resource Executive Online; free registration required)

A Question and Answer on the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998
The question is in the middle of the target page. Excerpt: "As a plan sponsor of a group health plan for my employees, am I required to provide participants a notice of their rights under the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (WHCRA)? Is this a one time notice or must it be distributed annually? What information should be in the notice?" (CCA Strategies, LLC)

Overview: Federal Court Holds ERISA Pre-Empts a State Pay-or-Play Health Care Statute (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "In a case of first impression, a federal court in Maryland struck down Maryland's pay-or-play health care statute. On July 19, Judge J. Frederick Motz held Maryland's Fair Share Health Care Fund Act is pre-empted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 . . . .[Originally published November 20, 2006.]" (New Jersey Law Journal via Workplace Prof Blog)

1st Circuit Court of Appeals Leaves Door Open to Broader View of Section 502(a)(3) Equitable Relief
Excerpt: "While the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit sidestepped the need for an ultimate conclusion on the issue of damages for fiduciary violations under ERISA Section 502(a)(3), Green v. ExxonMobil Corp still adds to the ongoing debate in a couple of respects." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

Paying Public Retiree Health Care Costs from Pensions Proves Costly
Excerpt: "Relieving the strain on government budgets from rising health care costs will probably mean taking one or more unwelcome steps: tax increases, union givebacks, sales of bonds or public assets, mass-transit fare increases, or increases in the cost of other local services. These measures are so unappealing that few who understand the problem are pushing them very hard." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Overview: Final HIPAA Nondiscrimination and Wellness Program Regulations
Excerpt: "As a general matter, the final regulations do not substantively change the interim final HIPAA nondiscrimination rules or the proposed wellness plan rules the Departments issued in 2001. However, the final regulations do clarify a number of issues. The final regulations are effective February 12, 2007, and apply for plan years beginning on or after July 1, 2007." (Deloitte)

Diversion of Withheld Health Plan Contributions Leads to Criminal Conviction
Excerpt: "U.S. v. Whiting, -- F.3d -- -, 2006 WL 3690672 (C.A.7 (Wis.)) (December 15, 2006 ) demonstrates the importance of viewing withholdings from employees for health plan contributions as money held in trust for the benefit of the plan. In this case, the employee contributions were diverted and the result was a criminal conviction." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

Health Insurance Costs in Idaho Leaves Companies Feeling the 'Blues'
Excerpt: "It was inevitable that the 30 employees at Merchants Moving and Storage would grow older. But they're not aging at the same rate their health insurance costs are increasing." (Idaho Business Review)

Overview of the Milliman 2006 Group Health Insurance Survey (PDF)
Pages 11-12 of 12 pages. (Milliman)

Medicare: Negotiated Drug Prices May Not Lower Costs
Excerpt: "Conclusion. Congressional Democrats need to be careful in trying to make the logical leap from market share to bargaining power. Empowering the government to negotiate with pharma.ceutical companies is not necessarily equivalent to achieving lower drug prices. In fact, neither economic theory nor historical experience suggests that will be the outcome." (National Center for Policy Analysis)

The Problem with Disease Management -- Results Too Good to Be True
Excerpt: "Disease management programs that are good and effective will demonstrate a return of 1.5 to 1 or even 2:1 the first year, but anything higher is likely due to regression to the mean, and not to any real improvement in the health status of your beneficiaries." (The PRECEPT Employee Benefits Blog; Posted by Dr. Christopher Coulter)

Determining if Offering a Consumer-Directed Health Care Plan Makes Sense for Your Business (PDF)
Pages 1-3 of 12 pages. (Milliman)

A Health Plan Subrogation Reader
The blog provides a short reading list on the subject. (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

The Unraveling of the Oregon Health Plan
10 pages. Excerpt: "The Oregon Health Plan (OHP) has received national and international attention for rationing medical care based on explicit priorities. However, in recent years OHP has lost substantial enrollment and struggled to live up to its core principles." (Health Affairs)

Employer-Sponsored Health Plans Coverage Satisfactory to Most, According to Survey
Excerpt: "Most US adults with employer-sponsored health insurance feel very or somewhat confident their coverage will meet their needs in the upcoming year. The latest Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Poll revealed that nearly nine in 10 (89%) were content with the coverage they had . . . ." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

Overview: New Law Will Make Health Savings Accounts Available to More Taxpayers (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "The Treasury Department will make future cost of living adjustments to the contribution limits and HDHP requirements by June 1st of the preceding year." (Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham)

Web Site: National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information
Excerpt: "[The National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information] is a new web site developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide information and resources to help you and your family plan for future long-term care (LTC) needs." (U.S. Administration on Aging)

Long-Term Care Coverage: Employers' Perspective (PDF)
Pages 8-11 of 12 pages. (Milliman)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview of Executive Compensation Disclosure: Corporate Governance Disclosures (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "[This installment of Powell Goldstein's] Executive Compensation Disclosure Memo Series summarizes the expanded corporate governance disclosure requirements under newly adopted Item 407 of Regulation S-K and, for small business issuers, Regulation S-B." (Powell Goldstein LLP)

Employee Benefits Year-End Checklist (PDF)
7 pages. Excerpt: "The . . . checklist describes year-end action items with respect to (1) executive compensation and equity compensation plans, (2) health and welfare plans, (3) tax-qualified retirement and savings plans, and (4) fiduciary/plan investment matters. These lists are not exhaustive but are intended to provide a reminder of the general set of issues facing us at year end." (Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP)

New Jersey Legislative Session Over, Gov. Corzine Vows Not to Back Down on State Benefit Reform
Excerpt: "Fresh from a scuffle with the New Jersey Legislature over who should take on the task of re-examining pensions and health care benefits for state employees, Gov. Jon S. Corzine said Monday that he was prepared to embark on 'serious restructuring' efforts because soaring costs would make it impossible for the state to keep pace over the next decade." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Health Care Costs, Taxes, and the Retirement Decision -- Issues and Simulations (PDF)
38 pages. Excerpt: "This study considers how rising tax burdens and out-of-pocket health care costs will affect the timing of retirement. Conceptually, the impact of taxes depends on which particular taxes are raised. How well people anticipate future increases in taxes and health care costs, and how they react at younger ages, will crucially affect retirement impacts." (The Urban Institute)


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Survey Finds Few Seniors Expect To Switch Medicare Drug Plans For 2007
Kaiser Family Foundation

Eos Airlines Adds CareCounsel's Healthcare Advocacy Benefit to Its Innovative Consumer-Driven Health Plan
CareCounsel

Improved Benefitscheckup® Website Helps Seniors Quickly Find Benefits
National Council on Aging (NCOA)

Large Corporate Employers Continue Support for Retirement Plans
Committee on Investment of Employee Benefit Assets (CIEBA)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Sr. Benefits Analyst for Corning Incorporated
for Corning Incorporated
in NY

Employee Benefits Attorney
for Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)
in WA

Sr New Business Account Mgr
for Standard Insurance Company
in OR

Employee Benefits Account Manager
for Cohn-Reid-O'Neill Insurance Services
in CA

EBS Actuary I/II
for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield - Rochester Region
in NY

Retirement Consultant
for New York Life Investment Management - Retirement Plans Services
in MA

Relationship Manager
for New York Life Investment Management - Retirement Plans Services
in MA

Wachovia Retirement Solutions Relationship Manager II
for Wachovia
in NY

Associate for Retirement Plan Department
for Horan Securities, Inc.
in OH

ERP Application Administrator (Financial Data Specialist II)
for State of New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services
in NH

Supervisor - QDRO Determination Services
for Vanguard
in PA

Defined Benefit Plan Administrator
for First Actuarial Corporation
in MI




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