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May 9, 2008

Here are the Web's best new links about compliance and cost aspects of plan operation, design and policy.


Today's sponsor is Employee Benefits Institute of America (EBIA)

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Banner ad for Employee Benefits Institute of America (EBIA)

EBIA's Form 5500 Workbook for Health & Welfare Plans

Let EBIA be your trusted resource to help you properly complete and file all your health & welfare plan Form 5500s for 2007 plan years. Form 5500 Workbook for Health & Welfare Plans (2007 Plan Years) is a user-friendly, spiral-bound workbook that focuses exclusively on health & welfare plans and covers the 2007 Form 5500 requirements from A to Z. Order your copy today!

[Guidance Overview] CMS Final Medicare Part D Regulations Affect Retiree Drug Subsidy (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "CMS recently issued final regulations that make policy clarifications and technical corrections to its earlier final regulations on Medicare Part D. The regulations contain provisions affecting the retiree drug subsidy program, including clarification of rules regarding the timing of applications for the subsidy, submission of actuarial attestations upon a material change and changes to the rules for determining actuarial equivalence." (Buck Consultants)


[Guidance Overview] 10th Cir. Lets ADA Association Discrimination Claim Go Forward
Excerpt: "Here is another ADA association discrimination case from the Tenth Circuit, Trujillo v. Pacifica Corp., No. 06-8074 (10th Cir. May 7, 2008), about a couple who worked for a company in Wyoming for a long time and claimed that there were fired because of healthcare costs associated with their son's illness. . . . The couple sued under ERISA and the associational discrimination provisions of the ADA." (Workplace Prof Blog)


[Guidance Overview] New Jersey Enacts Paid Family Leave Law (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "On May 2, 2008, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine signed the New Jersey Paid Family Leave Insurance Law (A-873; S-786). . . . The law's stated purpose is to 'increase workplace productivity and alleviate the enormous and growing stress on working families of balancing the demands of work and family needs.'" (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)


Testimony: Trends in FDA's Oversight of Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Prescription Drugs (PDF)
19 pages. Excerpt: "GAO was asked to discuss trends in FDA's oversight of DTC advertising and the actions FDA has taken when it identifies violations. This statement is based on GAO's 2006 report, Prescription Drugs: Improvements Needed in FDA's Oversight of Direct-to-Consumer Advertising, GAO-07-54 (November 16, 2006). In this statement, GAO discusses the (1) DTC advertising materials FDA reviews, (2) FDA's process for issuing regulatory letters citing DTC advertising materials and the number of letters issued, and (3) the effectiveness of FDA's regulatory letters at limiting the dissemination of false or misleading DTC advertising." (U.S. Government Accountability Office)


More Who Need Major Surgery Are Going Overseas
Excerpt: "No official statistics are kept on how many Americans travel overseas for medical care, but one estimate places the number at 150,000 in 2006. . . . A medical tourism industry has grown to facilitate global health travel. A trade association to represent these companies formed last year. Also last year, a major insurer started a separate company to help members seek international care." (San Francisco Chronicle)


Georgia Laws Boost High-Deductible Plans / HSAs
Excerpt: "Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue signed two bills that provide tax breaks to insurance companies and aim to help residents afford healthcare coverage by combining high-deductible health plans with health savings accounts." (Modern Healthcare Online; free registration required)


Audio: Insurers Eye Savings from Treatment Overseas
Excerpt: "Uninsured Americans are flying to Thailand for cheap surgery. But reporter Avery Comarow says U.S.-based insurance companies are studying the safety of sending patients to foreign countries for cheap major surgery." (The Bryant Park Project via National Public Radio)


Connecticut Passes State Insurance Program Expansion
Excerpt: "Legislation approved by the Connecticut Legislature on Tuesday, May 6, would open up the health insurance program covering state employees to Connecticut municipalities, nonprofit organizations and employers in the state with fewer than 50 employees." (Workforce Management; free registration required)


American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations Study Shows Most Account Plans Use Preferred Provider Organizations
Excerpt: "Health savings account and health reimbursement arrangement sales could boost preferred provider organization enrollment. Researchers at the American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations, Louisville, Ky., have published data supporting that conclusion in the AAPPO's latest annual PPO market review." (The National Underwriter Company; free registration or paid subscription required)


State, Federal Laws Sidestep Employers' Vacation Promises
Excerpt: "If your employer takes away your vacation benefit, can you do anything about it? That's the question some employees at Spirit Airlines say they've been grappling with since a change in the vacation policy at the start of the year. The employees claim that a gap between the old policy and the new policy stripped many at the Miramar-based airline of vacation days they had earned." (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)


Towers Perrin U.S. Legislative Tracking Charts -- Health and Welfare -- Updated May 2, 2008 (PDF)
21 pages. These charts summarize selected federal legislation that would affect employee benefit programs. The bills included on the charts are based on judgments regarding the prominence of the issue, the likelihood of enactment, and the influence of the sponsors. (Towers Perrin)


[Opinion] The Basics of Health Insurance (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Conclusion: Health insurance can help reduce the risk of paying unpredictably large sums for major medical care. But when policymakers try to turn insurance into something much closer to unlimited, on-demand medical services, it no longer works like insurance. The result is health coverage that becomes unsustainably costly for everyone, the sick and the healthy alike." (The Council for Affordable Health Insurance)



Sponsored by: ALM

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Complete Benefits Law Guidance from Law Journal Press

The nation's workforce and health care system are constantly evolving and so are the legal issues. Law Journal Press helps you handle any benefits law question with up-to-date, authoritative books on all aspects of the field. Get legal and practical advice from leading experts on everything from COBRA to ERISA, "contingent" employees to family and medical leave, and more. Browse our product listings for detailed information and special offers.

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

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

The Effect of Conflicts of Interest on the Scope of Discovery
Excerpt: "As discussed in a prior article, the federal judiciary has permitted limited discovery beyond the 'administrative record' as the inquiries may bear upon the question of a structural conflict of interest as, for example, where the administrator and the insurer are the same entity. Another level of conflict of interest may exist, namely, that of 'third parties', such as consultants, who review the record and advise the administrator." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)


Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women
16 pages. Excerpt: "[This report is the fifth in a series]. Looking back at the data, it appears that there has been some progress in women's overall financial knowledge and confidence, they are more involved in these decisions and, in fact, some women are taking the leading role for their household. This year's study is designed to give a deeper look at some of the generational differences among women as it relates to their concerns, goals, and progress." (Prudential Retirement)


ExxonMobil Pilot Retirement Mandate Survives Legal Challenge
Excerpt: "A federal judge in Texas has dismissed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) lawsuit alleging ExxonMobil violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) by requiring its corporate pilots to retire at age 60." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


New Resource for ERISA Attorneys
Excerpt: "[Rob] Hoskins, Esq. (legal counsel to the petitioner in LaRue v. DeWolff, Boberg) has put together a great resource for ERISA attorneys. The resource is called ERISABoard.com [http://www.erisaboard.com/] and, despite having been recently launched, already has substantial enrollment by some of the top practitioners in the field. The site is non-commercial - it serves as forum for the exchange of ideas by attorneys interested in ERISA issues." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)




Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Retiree Medical Spending Accounts (RMSAs) and Other Innovative Retiree Medical Designs - Webcast
Nationwide on May 14, 2008
presented by Employers Council on Flexible Compensation (ECFC)

The 401k Service Training Programô Accredited by Robert Morris University -- June 9-10, 2008
in Pennsylvania on June 9, 2008
presented by Financial Service Standards, LLC



Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

BenefitStreet Restructuring Take First Two Steps
BenefitStreet, Inc.

CFDD Launches Strategic Marketing Service For Advisors
Center for Due Diligence

The 401k Service Training Programô Accredited by Robert Morris University -- June 9-10, 2008
Financial Service Standards, LLC

DataPath and RelayHealth Announce Strategic Relationship to Streamline Payment Reimbursements from Employee Healthcare Accounts
RelayHealth



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