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As a producer who sells employee benefits, you know your sales depend heavily on the activities of Congress, the U.S. Treasury Department, the U.S. Department of Labor and a variety of state legislatures and state regulatory agencies.

One new paragraph in one existing regulation could create hours of irritating paperwork or open up huge new opportunities.

One of the best ways to keep up is to reader publications such as National Underwriter and to join agent and broker trade groups.

Another way is to use the Web to track regulatory and legislative developments yourself.

Here are some sites you should bookmark.

Proposed Laws And Regulations

U.S. Senate http://www.senate.gov

U.S. House of Representatives http://www.house.gov

Look in the committee sections for hearing schedules and collections of testimony accumulated during past hearings.

Federal legislation http://thomas.loc.gov

THOMAS, a site maintained by the Library of Congress, gives the text of current bills and their status.

Comprehensive coverage of federal bills http://www.c-span.org

In addition to televising and Webcasting House and Senate sessions, C-SPAN runs a Web site that has links to many resources. The “Capitol Spotlight” section offers stories about current bills and a list of “Bills to Watch.”

Regulations proposed by all federal agencies http://www.regulations.gov

The Employee Benefits Security Administration – http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. – http://www.pbgc.gov/

The PBGC is a government-sponsored corporation that backs U.S. defined benefit pension plans. Its site is a good source of information about traditional pension plans.

State legislative proposals http://www.ncoil.org

State regulatory proposals – http://www.naic.org

In addition to providing information about the affairs of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., the NAIC has posted a helpful directory of state insurance department Web sites in its Members and Industry sections.

The Trade Groups

American Benefits Council http://www.americanbenefitscouncil.org

The council, an employer group, posts a great deal of free news and analysis and offers even more information to council members.

American Council of Life Insurers http://www.acli.com

Americas Health Insurance Plans http://www.ahip.org

National Association of Health Underwriters http://www.nahu.org

National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors http://www.naifa.org

Think Tanks

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and the Alliance for Health Reform

http://www.kff.org/

http://www.kaisernetwork.org/

http://www.allhealth.org/

These organizations are nonpartisan, and their sites provide a wealth of information about health benefits. Publications include employer health benefits survey reports, daily benefits news reports and health care briefing transcripts.

Center for Studying Health System Change http://www.hschange.com

This site gets into the details about how the U.S. health care system really works. One section deals with employer-sponsored health insurance.

Employee Benefit Research Institute http://www.ebri.org

You need a password to get most of the data, but the report summaries are helpful, and you can see some of the reports for free.

is a communications consultant in Washington. He can be reached at joseph.luchok@verizon.net


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, August 5, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.