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December 1, 2006
Today's sponsor: International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

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The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans is a comprehensive resource for those working with benefit plans. Members enjoy personalized secondary research services, informative publications and online information, as well as discounted educational programs, books and distance learning options. Known as the cosponsor of the CEBS designation, the International Foundation also offers numerous ways to keep current with benefit issues, so you are prepared to answer your participants' questions.

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

Court Denies Protective Order for Insurer's Claims-Handling Manual
Excerpt: "The disability insurer in this ERISA case requested a protective order to prevent opposing counsel from disclosing portions of the insurer's claims-handling manual outside the case being litigated. The insurer claimed that it would suffer 'competitive injury' if the manual were disclosed to other insurers and that claims-handling information could be (or already had been) disclosed to counsel for plaintiffs in other disability cases." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Center for Studying Health System Change Study Says U.S. Workers Prefer PPOs and HMOs
Excerpt: "The survey found that when offered a choice of at least two plans, 55 percent of employees selected a preferred provider organization or PPO, 40 percent chose a health maintenance organization and 19 percent opted for a consumer driven plan." (AP via The New York Times; free registration required)

Charts: 2007 Minimums & Maximums for High-Deductible Health Plans, HSAs & Archer MSAs
Excerpt: "The new numbers are shown in the first of the two charts [on the target page]. The second chart notes the maximum annual HSA contributions for 2007." (The Segal Group, Inc.)

As Appeals Court Hears 'Wal-Mart' Case, Md. Politicians Look to Other Ways to Expand Health Care
Excerpt: "Attorneys for the state argued before a federal appeals court yesterday to preserve Maryland's first-in-the-nation statute to force Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to spend more on employee benefits, but lawmakers in Annapolis have already begun looking for other ways to expand health care access." (The Baltimore Sun; free registration required)

DOL's Request for Information on the Family and Medical Leave Act
Excerpt: "[T]he Wage and Hour Division is] seeking public comments on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). WHD has recently published a Request for Information in the Federal Register and invites interested parties having knowledge of or experience with the FMLA to submit information. The Department welcomes any pertinent information that will provide a basis for ascertaining the effectiveness of the current implementing regulations and the Department's administration of the Act." (U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration)

Benefit Denial by Nonfiduciary Claims Administrator Is Entitled to Deferential Review
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: The majority and dissenting opinions focus their analysis on ERISA Section 405, which permits ERISA 'named fiduciaries' to delegate certain fiduciary responsibilities. Neither opinion, however, mentions the requirement under ERISA Section 503 and the claims regulations that benefit appeals be afforded 'full and fair review' by an 'appropriate named fiduciary.'" (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Sick-Day Standards to Get a Healthy Airing
Excerpt: "[T]he success of the San Francisco measure is likely to resurrect a federal bill sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) called the Healthy Families Act, which would require employers to offer seven paid sick days a year, with some restrictions." (MarketWatch)

Overview: New San Francisco Law Mandates Paid Sick Leave for Employee/Family Member Illnesses (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "Employees of small businesses can accrue only 40 hours of sick leave before reaching the cap. 'Small business' means an employer with fewer than 10 employees during a given week, counting full-time, part-time, and temporary employees, and including those hired through a temporary services or staffing agency." (Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP)

Report Urges the City of Boston to Join the State's Insurance Plan
Excerpt: "The City of Boston's healthcare costs have nearly doubled in six years and now require the property tax bills of five families to pay the premium of one city employee's family healthcare plan, according to a report by the Boston Municipal Research Bureau." (The Boston Globe)

Oklahoma Employer/Employee Partnership for Insurance Coverage -- O-EPIC
Excerpt: "O-EPIC premium assistance has two different strategies for covering low wage workers. The Employer Sponsored Insurance program helps low wage workers at small firms purchase qualified insurance offered by their employer. The Individual Plan will help qualified individuals get health insurance coverage even if they are not able to get coverage through their employer." (AcademyHealth)

Empowered Consumers Should Take Charge of their Health Care Records
Excerpt: "Consumers have long wondered why their medical records cannot be warehoused in one place for easy access at a time when personal banking transactions can be conducted at an ATM anywhere in the world with the push of a button, and letters or packages can be tracked online with the click of a mouse." (Employee Benefit News)

Consumer-Directed Health Plans Require Employees to Make Wise Decisions on Care and Spending
Excerpt: "'Employers don't have to offer a 'pure' CDHP to encourage behavioral change,' says Chris Calvert . . . with the corporate health care practice of Segal Co. in New York. Elements of consumerism can be inserted into existing plans by, for example, offering access to health-data web sites or inviting employees to complete and act on health-risk appraisals." (Society for Human Resource Management)

Comments: Fourth Circuit Hears Argument Over ERISA Preemption of Maryland 'Fair Share' Legislation
Excerpt: "According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch (AP Wire), [State Solicitor General Steven] Sullivan argued [for the state] that the legislation is not preempted 'because it doesn't force Wal-Mart to offer health care; it gives companies the choice of spending at least 8 percent on employee health benefits or covering the costs with increased taxes.'" (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

Analysis of the Slow Growth of Employer-Based Consumer-Driven Health Plans
Excerpt: "In the employer-based market CDHP enrollment may ultimately take off in a manner similar to the early experience of PPOs. For the moment, however, CDHPs have gained only a toehold in the employer-based market, and health plans appear to be more enthusiastic about consumer-directed health care than are employers, who in turn are more enthusiastic than employees." (Center for Studying Health System Change)

Comparison of Expenditures in Nongroup and Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance
Excerpt: "This brief looks at the amount of coverage provided in the nongroup market by comparing the spending of nonelderly people with nongroup coverage ('nongroup enrollees') to nonelderly people with employer-sponsored health insurance ('ESI enrollees'). In particular we look for each group of enrollees at the relative amounts paid by private insurance and at the relative percentages of spending that are out-of-pocket." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Health Care at a Premium for Small Business Start-Ups
Excerpt: "The cost of buying health insurance, experts say, is increasingly rattling start-ups that never anticipated the escalating price tag, and in some cases the expense keeps would-be entrepreneurs on the sidelines, especially those with pre-existing medical conditions." (The New York Times; free registration required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Text of IRS Notice 2006-100: 2005, 2006 Reporting Rules for Taxable, Nontaxable Amounts Under 409A (PDF)
21 pages. Excerpt: "For calendar years 2005 and 2006, an employer is not required to report amounts deferred during the year under a nonqualified deferred compensation plan subject to 409A in box 12 of Form W-2 using code Y. . . . [F]or calendar year 2006, an employer must treat amounts includible in gross income under 409A as wages for income tax withholding purposes. An employer is required to report such amounts as wages paid . . . in box 1 of Form W-2." (Internal Revenue Service)

Notice 2006-100 Guidance Provides Relief for 409A Income Reporting
Excerpt: "The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have issued Notice 2006-100 providing guidance to executive compensation plan sponsors and participants on how to report certain amounts deferred from executive compensation on Forms W-2 or 1009-MISC for calendar years 2005 and 2006." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

Democrats Set to Take on Pension and Health Industries, According to Rep. Miller and Stark
Excerpt: "Two senior Bay Area congressmen sent warning shots [yesterday] to two giant industries -- 401(k) providers and private health insurance companies -- that they will be overseeing starting in January.' Miller, Stark focus on 401(k) providers, Medicare Advantage (San Francisco Chronicle via BlueCross BlueShield Association)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Key Issues In Qualified Retirement Plan Development: What's New And A Review
Nationwide on December 18, 2006
presented by ABTrainingCenter.com


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Treasury and IRS Issue Notice on Reporting and Withholding for Amounts Includible in Gross Income Under Code Section 409A
U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service

Treasury and the IRS Issue Notice Regarding Participants' Diversification Rights for Employer Securities Held in Retirement Plans
U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service

2007 Health Care Purchasing Coalitions Directory Now Available
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Pension Administrator
for FBD Consulting, Inc.
in KS

OmniScript Analyst 1681223
for TIAA-CREF
in CO, NC

Retirement Specialist -- Implementation/Enrollment
for ProNvest
in GA

Business Development Manager
for SunGard ProNvest
in GA

Senior Actuarial Analyst
for Charles Schwab
in OH

Technical Research Consultant
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in NY

Plan Consultant Opportunity
for Weaver Partners, Inc.
in ANY STATE

401 (k) DC/DB - all experience levels
for Polycomp Administrative Services in San Diego and Woodland Hills
in CA

Senior Analyst-Data Consulting
for Fidelity Investments
in MA, NC, NH

Defined Benefit Consultant with Project Management-Data Consulting
for Fidelity Investments
in MA, NC, NH

Account Administrator
for Pension, Inc.
in IA

Investment Advisory Regional Director
for The Newport Group
in CA, FL

Pension Services Consultant
for CUNA Mutual Group
in WI

Retirement Plan Administrative Accountant
for First Mercantile
in TN

Financial Benefits Manager (Including non-qualified plans)
for Piper Morgan Associates
in TX




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