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October 31, 2008

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


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[Guidance Overview] Massachusetts Finalizes Minimum Creditable Coverage Standards for Health Plans
Excerpt: "Employers with employees in Massachusetts must act quickly to compare current health plan structures to the final standards to ensure that they are providing 'creditable coverage' to participating employees. Participating employees without creditable coverage will not comply with the Massachusetts individual health insurance mandate." (Littler Mendelson P.C.)


National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems Produces Report on OPEB Challenges for Retiree Medical Benefit Programs
Excerpt: "National Conference on Public Employee Retirement System has issued a beautifully-done publication entitled 'The OPEB Challenge - Mapping a comprehensive strategy for public employers.' Many public sector employers provide retiree medical benefits as a supplement to 'traditional' pension benefits. With limited accounting recognition and pay-as-you-go funding, these benefits have not always received the attention that most agree they deserve. That situation is changing . . . ." (Cypen & Cypen)


Obesity Blamed for Doubling Rate of Diabetes Cases
Excerpt: "The information should be a big help as the government and health insurance companies decide where to focus prevention campaigns . . . . Diabetes was the nation's seventh-leading cause of death in 2006, according to the CDC. More than 23 million Americans have diabetes, and the number is rapidly growing." (AP via NPR)


NEJM Perspective Piece Examines Wasteful Spending in the U.S. Health Care System
Excerpt: "'Waste, We Know You Are Out There,' New England Journal of Medicine: In the perspective, Henry Aaron, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, discusses what is meant by wasteful spending in regard to health care, whether the U.S. has 'the means to curtail it' and how quickly savings could be realized from reducing waste. He also discusses several ways to cut spending on low-benefit, high-cost care and other ideas to control health care spending and achieve savings (Aaron, NEJM, 10/30)." (Kaiser Family Foundation)


[Opinion] McCain and Obama Each Make False Claims About the Other's Healthcare Proposal
Excerpt: "McCain and Obama have sharply different health care plans, and each has made sharply worded attacks that are either false or misleading. McCain proposes a market-based system that relies on tax incentives, which one Obama ad falsely characterizes as the 'largest middle-class tax increase in history.' Obama proposes new subsidies to expand private insurance coverage and some expansion of government insurance, which McCain falsely claims 'will rob 50 million employees of their health coverage.'" (FactCheck.org)


[Opinion] Individual Health Policies: An Eroding Model
Excerpt: "One of the troubling things about Senator McCain's proposals to reform the way healthcare is delivered and financed in this country is his promotion of individual health insurance policies. To be blunt, the idea that competition in the insurance market will be effective in providing access to cheaper health insurance for anyone other than healthy young people is just plain foolishness." (Attorney Brian S. King on ERISA Law Blog)



Sponsored by: Health Benefits Conference & Expo (HBCE)

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Nat'l Health Benefits Conference & Expo (HBCE), Feb. 3-4, Tampa, FL

Sessions by: Intel, Corning, Toyota, TECO Energy, State of Florida, Burger King, SAS, Gulf Power/Southern Company, Pinellas County Schools, Univ. of Pittsburgh Medical Center, U.S. Xpress, PSEG, Mayo Clinic, University of Rochester, Pinellas County, CEO Roundtable on Cancer, City of Clearwater, C-Change...and more, including the Impact of the Election on Health Benefits. Best Value in Health Benefits Continuing Education (HBCE) - highest quality and registration only $295 - $345. SHRM credits. www.HBCE.com

(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

IRS Seeks Applications for TE/GE Advisory Committee (PDF)
1 page. 2 vacancies for persons representing the Employee Plans customer segment. Excerpt: "The Internal Revenue Service seeks applications for vacancies on the Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT), which provides the IRS with public comments regarding critical tax administration matters." (Internal Revenue Service)


[Official Guidance] Text of Federal Register Notice with Further Details About IRS TE/GE Advisory Committee Vacancies
Excerpt: "ACT members shall be appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury and shall serve for two-year terms." (Internal Revenue Service)


[Guidance Overview] Discovery Responses Did Not Support Removal and ERISA Preemption in State Law Wrongful Discharge Case
Excerpt: "Plaintiffs walk a fine line when asserting claims under the ADA and state wrongful discharge laws. This recent district court opinion exemplifies a successful avoidance of ERISA preemption, but not without the trouble of removal and remand. The problem lies in the natural consequence of termination. Aside from loss of wages and compensation benefits, the plaintiff will lose participation in employee benefit plans." (Attorney Roy F. Harmon III on Health Plan Law Blog)




Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

401(k) Trends and Hot Topics
in California on November 20, 2008
presented by Western Pension & Benefits Conference - Orange County Chapter



Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Innovative Collaboration Creates Largest Online Library Of University Teaching Materials on Employee Ownership
ESOP Association

Fidelity Investments Reports Nearly Half Of 61 Year-Olds Plan To Start Taking Social Security As Soon As Eligible
Fidelity Investments

Benefit Informatics Integrates HealthMedia Behavior Change Intervention Programs into Desktop Services
Benefit Informatics

Pension Freezes Can Increase Costs, New Research Brief Warns
National Institute on Retirement Security



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