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3rd Quarter 2009

Emergency Retiree Health Benefits Protection Act Reintroduced

Excerpt: “Representative John Tierney (D-Mass.) has reintroduced the Emergency Retiree Health Benefits Protection Act (H.R. 1322), which would prevent employers from reducing or eliminating health benefits for retirees or their dependents. The bill has been around for years but has attracted more attention since it appeared in a pension bill last year. Under the act, employers could not make changes to their retiree health plans that would eliminate, reduce or limit benefits, increase out-of-pocket costs or make it more difficult to obtain medical care.” (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

GASB Issues Guidance on Multi-Employer OPEB Plans
Excerpt: “The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has issued an exposure draft of a proposed statement that addresses issues related to the use of the alternative measurement method and the frequency and timing of measurements by employers that participate in agent multiple-employer other postemployment benefit (OPEB) plans. The proposed Statement would amend paragraphs 33 – 35 of Statement No. 45, Accounting and Financial Reporting by Employers for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions, to permit an agent employer that has an individual-employer OPEB plan with fewer than 100 total plan members to use the alternative measurement method, at its option, regardless of the number of total plan members in the agent multiple-employer OPEB plan in which it participates.” (; free registration required)

Medicare Part D Update :  Lessons Learned and Unfinished Business
Excerpt: “Enacted in 2003, Medicare’s Part D prescription drug benefit reflected an unprecedented and controversial new approach for Medicare, relying exclusively on private plans to provide health coverage and including an unusual gap in coverage. This analysis by Kaiser researchers examines in detail how the new model has worked since its launch almost four years ago. Published as an article in today’s New England Journal of Medicine, the analysis by Kaiser vice president Patricia Neuman and principal policy analyst Juliette Cubanski assesses the evidence related to key policy questions arising from the Part D benefit. It also briefly discusses a number of potential policy changes to the Part D benefit that could arise as Congress and the Obama Administration weigh the program’s future.” (Kaiser Family


Medicare Prescription Benefit Program Has Exceeded Expectations
RAND Corporation

Deadline for Medicare Part D Creditable Coverage Notices Approaches (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: “Medicare Part D notices of creditable or non-creditable coverage must be provided to Medicare-eligible individuals prior to November 15 of each year. Many employers satisfy this requirement by including the notice in enrollment materials or in separate mailings in the fall. In preparing materials for distribution this fall, employers should be aware of revised model notices provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).” (Buck Consultants)

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