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September 12, 2005
Today's sponsor: Hay Group, Inc.

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Free Hay Group Web Seminar on Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D crunch time is here. Are you ready for the September 30 2005 deadline? There is still time to act! Hay Group's actuarial consultants can help you decide how to best take advantage of the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. Register today for a free 1-hour webinar, in which we'll explain in plain English if your retiree plan qualifies for the federal subsidy, what your options are, and how much you can expect to save.

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

Overview: Special Relief for Leave-Based Donation Programs for Hurricane Katrina Victims
Excerpt: "Note that the special relief granted in this notice has an automatic expiration date: December 31, 2006." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Leavitt Says Katrina Demonstrates Need for E-Health Records
Excerpt: "The majority of the one million people displaced by Hurricane Katrina have no medical records, making it difficult for clinicians working in disaster medical centers to treat them, Mike Leavitt, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, told the eHealth Initiative conference today." (Government Health IT)

Overview: Guidance Regarding Form W-2 Reporting Requirements for DCAPs with Grace Periods
Excerpt: "Although IRS Notice 2005-61 will make Form W-2 reporting easier, it would have been helpful if the IRS had also announced conforming revisions to IRS Form 2441 (which is filed with an employee's Form 1040 to claim the dependent care tax credit and the income tax exclusion for amounts paid under a DCAP)." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Maternity Leave in Tennessee Now Includes Men and Adoptions
Excerpt: "Expanding the scope of parental leave from biological mothers to fathers and adoptive parents, the Tennessee General Assembly amended the Tennessee Maternity Leave Act with two significant changes for mid-size and large employers in the state." (Nashville Business Journal via bizjournals.com; one-time registration required)

Perks Added to Menus as Restaurateurs Cook Up Incentives to Build Loyalty among Employees
Excerpt: "Wait tables for a year, and your boss might send you on a beach vacation. Or work in the kitchen, and the restaurant owner might offer your dog medical benefits. Those are just two examples of how restaurants in Columbia and the nation are coping with their No. 1 concern: recruiting and keeping workers." (TheState.com)

Some Employers Offering ID Theft Coverage to Employees
Excerpt: "With identity theft becoming epidemic, some employers are beginning to offer a unique employee benefit: identity theft protection.Employers are buying policies that help employees who have their identities stolen or that help guard against such theft. The actual benefits might vary, but they include credit monitoring, case manager help with identity recovery and reimbursement for lost wages." (USA TODAY)

Overview: IRS Ruling Addresses Employer's Nonelective Contribution of Unused Sick Days to HRA
Excerpt: "This private letter ruling was requested by an employer that was proposing to amend its HRA to (1) add a spend-down option for certain retirees; and (2) allow the employer to contribute the value of some or all of a retiring employee's unused sick days." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Review of Research on Risk Selection in Employer-Sponsored Managed Care Plans (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "'Using the CTSHS, rather than an employer-based survey, we were able to follow enrollees even after they changed employers,' says Polsky. 'Moreover, the CTSHS allowed us to study the degree of risk selection in employer-sponsored health insurance at a national level.'" (Changes in Health Care Financing & Organization)

Heavy Workers, Hefty Price -- Obesity Boosts Medical Costs and Absenteeism, According to Study
Excerpt: "Obese employees have much higher weight-related medical expenses and miss more work than their colleagues who maintain a healthy weight, a study [in the September/October issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion] shows. It places the annual cost at an additional $460 to $2,500 per obese person -- those who are 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight." (USA TODAY)

Association Health Plans: Good or Bad for Iowa Business?
Excerpt: "A measure now before the U.S. Senate would make health coverage more accessible, say supporters, by allowing small business and trade associations to form national insurance pools. Opponents, however, say the proposed remedy would hurt businesses and result in even more people becoming uninsured." (RedNova.com)

Bowater Wins Retiree Health Care Benefits Liability Suit
Excerpt: "A US District Court judge for the District of Maine has ruled that Bowater Inc. is only liable to retirees for the health care benefits predating an amended plan that ceased coverage for the employees due to the sale of its company." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Non-Single Coverage For Employer-Provided Health Insurance More Popular Than Individual Coverage
Excerpt: "In 2003, more private sector employees had non-single coverage, rather than single coverage, under their employer-provided health insurance; and those employees paid a larger dollar amount and share of the total premium than did employees with single coverage. These were among the findings of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, Insurance Component, Statistical Brief #90, Employer-Sponsored Single, Employee-Plus-One, and Family Health Insurance Coverage: Selection and Cost, 2003." (Spencer Benefits Reports)

Use Technology to Avoid Overpaying for Employee Benefits
Excerpt: "Last year, the typical employer paid an average of $7,000 per employee for benefits packages, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, making benefits the second-largest expense after payroll for most organizations. A recent survey by Business Insurance Magazine indicates that insurance carrier bills are inaccurate as much as 10 percent of the time." (Nashville Business Journal via bizjournals.com; one-time registration required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Immediate Employer Issues in Responding to Hurricane Katrina
Excerpt: "Employers with businesses in the path of Hurricane Katrina confront a variety of human resource issues as they help employees cope with losses and try to restore operations. This article outlines some of the most urgent HR issues, with a focus on legal and tax considerations affecting employee benefits. We have included frequently asked questions (FAQs) relating to expense reimbursements, health benefits, death benefits, retirement benefits, compliance deadlines ..." (Mercer Human Resource Consulting)

Bad Boys (and Girls) Get Clawed Back in Executive Compensation Plans (PDF)
15 pages. Excerpt: "Senator Schumer's amendment, which became SOA Section 304, requires the chief executive officer (CEO) and chief financial officer (CFO) of a public company to reimburse the company for certain incentive compensation they receive and profits they realize on the sale of company securities during the 12-month period following the issuance by the company of a financial report that, due to misconduct, is materially noncompliant with the federal securities laws." (Benefits Law Journal via Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP)

U.S. Rejects Cisco Systems Plan on Stock Options
Excerpt: "The Securities and Exchange Commission threw cold water yesterday on a plan being pushed by Cisco Systems to value employee stock options by selling similar securities to institutional investors. But the agency said other market-based approaches might work." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Aging Population Will Mean Shortage of Critical Talent
Excerpt: "This article focuses on the labor shortage from a business perspective and suggests several strategies to help businesses ensure that they have the right skills and expertise to succeed in the decades ahead." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)

IRC 409A Effect on Design and Operation of Ineligible Plans of Deferred Comp of Tax-Exempt Employers (PDF)
19 pages. Excerpt: "This article recently published by the Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. in the September 2005 issue of its Tax Management Compensation [Planning] Journal discusses the impact of this new law on tax-exempt employers such as colleges and universities, independent schools, hospitals, and cultural institutions, among others. The article was written by Alden Bianchi, who is the practice group leader of the Firm's employee benefits and executive compensation practice." (Tax Management Compensation Planning Journal via Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo P.C.)

Florida's Palm Beach County to Discuss Domestic Partner Registry and Benefits
Excerpt: "Palm Beach County soon may become the fifth Florida government to offer a domestic-partnership registry, which would grant some legal recognition to g.ay and les.bian couples as well as straight couples who choose not to marry." (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

IRS Warns Nonprofit Organizations on Excess Benefit Transactions
Excerpt: "The Internal Revenue Service issued proposed regulations clarifying the requirements for tax-exempt status and the imposition of intermediate sanctions. In the 20-page notice of proposed rulemaking, the IRS for the first time links the tax-exempt status of not-for-profit organizations to violations involving excess benefit transactions, ...." (Modern Healthcare; one-time registration required)

Silicon Valley Employers Forum Collectively Manages Global Rewards
Excerpt: "The Silicon Valley Employers International Forum (SVEIF) faced an enormous challenge in 2003: Help members manage benefit programs on a global basis, while addressing business issues related to corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, and competitive standing." (Watson Wyatt Worldwide)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

58th National Conference
in California on September 20, 2005
presented by Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America (PSCA)

Defined Contribution 401(k) West Coast Conference
in California on October 9, 2005
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

ERISA Litigation Forum
Nationwide on October 4, 2005
presented by Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP

ERISA Litigation Forum -- The Faithless Servant Doctrine
Nationwide on September 13, 2005
presented by Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP

Hot Topics in Qualified Plans
in New Jersey on September 13, 2005
presented by Worldwide Employee Benefits Network (WEB) - NJ


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

IRS Increases Mileage Rate Until Dec. 31, 2005
(Internal Revenue Service (IRS))

BusinessPlans, Inc. - myCafeteriaPlan Announces Hiring of New Cafeteria Plan Administrators
(BPI - myCafeteriaPlan)

NCQA, U.S. News & World Report To Collaborate On 'America's Best Health Plans'
(National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA))


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Plan Consultant / Relationship Manager
for Boyce & Associates, Inc.
in AZ

Director - Pension Consulting Services, AMEX-TBS Phoenix
for American Express Tax and Business Services
in AZ

Director, Health & Welfare
for Charles W. Cammack Associates, Inc.
in NY

Vice President, Health & Welfare
for Charles W. Cammack Associates, Inc.
in NY

Institutional Trust Communication Specialist
for BB&T (Branch Banking and Trust)
in VA

Pension Analyst/Administrator
for Snyder Cohn
in MD




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Editor and Publisher: David Rhett Baker, J.D.
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