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January 18, 2006
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Latest Employee Perk: College Admissions Aid
Excerpt: "The benefit, part of an expanding category sometimes called work/life, is still in its infancy. A 2005 survey of more than 350 employers by the Society for Human Resource Management says about 9% offer benefits to help select a school." (USA TODAY)

Changes to the Massachusetts State Health System Would Benefit Firms, Study Says
Excerpt: "Proposed reforms to the Massachusetts healthcare system would provide an overall cost benefit to the majority of the state's employers, according to a study to be released today by a national consumer advocacy group. The study by the nonprofit group Families USA said expanding insurance coverage, increasing Medicaid payments to hospitals, and eliminating employer contributions for uncompensated care would reduce pressure on health insurance premiums by at least $501 million a year." (The Boston Globe)

Florida Insurance Plan Shows Potential
Excerpt: "Hoping to start a trend, Gov. Jeb Bush and Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings signed up for this third option on the first morning of the open-enrollment period last year. It allows employees to get insurance for about one-third the regular cost, saving about $400 a year in premiums for individuals, $1,330 for families. But when you get sick, there are higher deductibles - $1,250 for single people, $2,500 for families. That's why the state also offered 'health savings accounts,' ...." (Tallahassee Democrat via Council for Affordable Health Insurance)

Overview of the New York Health Care Reform Act: Rates Higher in 2006 (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "This issue discusses the 2006 rates under the State's Health Care Reform Act (HCRA)." (The Segal Company)

Analysis: HIPAA's Final Security Regulations for Electronic Protected Health Information (PDF)
24 pages. Originally published April 27, 2005. Excerpt: "The Final Security Regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ... were issued on February 20, 2003 [and] are effective April 21, 2003 with compliance deadline of April 21, 2005 for group health plans with $5 million or more in receipts, and in April 21, 2006 with respect to the small health plans. They also apply [to] healthcare providers that transmit claims electronically ...." (Haynes and Boone, LLP)

More Employers Try Limited Health Insurance Plans
Excerpt: "Employers are increasingly turning to an affordable type of health insurance that has a big catch: If you get really sick, it won't cover your major expenses. These low-cost offerings, called 'mini-medical' or 'limited-benefit' plans, are catching on as employers struggle to restrain the rising cost of health insurance." (The Wall Street Journal via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

West Virginia Bill Targets Large Employers on Health Care
Excerpt: "Following the lead of Maryland, lawmakers in West Virginia have introduced legislation that would require employers with 10,000 or more employees to devote at least 8% of their payroll to employees' health care costs." (Business Insurance)

Employers Target Bad Habits for Insurance Coverages
Excerpt: "In structuring incentives and disincentives, employers must take care not to breach federal laws that protect Americans with disabilities and workers who get health insurance coverage on the job. They also need to heed state laws preventing employers from discriminating on the basis of a health condition." (HealthDay News via Forbes)

The Role of State Regulation in Consumer-Driven Health Care
Excerpt: "[The authors] begin by considering broadly the federalism issues raised by health insurance generally. [They] then focus more particularly on how these issues play out in the context of HSAs and HDHPs. [They base their] analysis in large part on twenty-two interviews ... conducted in the spring of 2005 with a total of thirty- two regulators, insurance company and trade association representatives, independent experts, and HSA advocacy groups." (American Journal of Law and Medicine via

'Wal-Mart Law' Could Increase Coverage in High-Deductible Health Plans
Excerpt: "The so-called 'Wal-Mart law' enacted in Maryland last week -- after the state legislature overrode Gov. Robert Ehrlich, Jr.'s (R) veto -- could provide a modest boost to commercial health coverage in that state and others where bills are approved, a health policy expert predicts. But coverage likely would be limited to high-deductible health plans like those already offered by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc." (MANAGED CARE WEEK via

Opinion: With Health Care, First Fix Terms of Engagement
Excerpt: "Government -- in the form of Medicare, Medicaid and insurance coverage for employees and veterans -- already pays half of the nation's health bill. Those are among the most popular government programs, cherished by Republicans and Democrats alike. So to think government won't be heavily involved in health care is an economic and political fantasy." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

How a Health Savings Account Might Work for You
Excerpt: "In order to qualify to contribute, you must have only a high-deductible health plan that qualifies under the IRS rules - you cannot have other medical insurance that does not qualify. In addition, you can get single or family coverage. You may contribute up to your deductible amount limited to $2,700 in 2006 for single coverage and $5,450 with family coverage. There is a catch-up provision for participants age 55 and older ($700 in 2006)." (Employee Benefit News and Educated Investor)

LM-10 and LM-30 Forms and Regulations -- Deadline for Comments Is January 26, 2006
Excerpt: "The Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) of the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment Standards Administration is seeking comments regarding the LM-10 and LM-30 forms and regulations." (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Higher Valuation of Stock Causes Tension at United Airlines
Excerpt: "The actual amount that the 400 executives will eventually receive will depend upon the share prices over the next four years as the stock vests. Union officials have sharply criticized the allocation, even at the lower estimates, because their members have made roughly $4 billion in annual compensation concessions." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Overview: DOL Issues USERRA Notice Final Regulations -- Employers Must Provide Notice
Excerpt: "On December 19, 2005, VETS published final regulations, and, in response to comments on the interim guidance, made two minor modifications in the text of the notice." (SunGard Corbel)

Transcript: Disclosing Executive Pay and Perks
Excerpt: "The Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday that companies must spell out total pay and benefits for top executives, including stock options. Following a background report, two experts discuss the possible ramifications for companies." (NewsHour with Jim Lehrer via PBS)

SEC to Require More Disclosure on Executive Pay
Excerpt: "The Securities and Exchange Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday to overhaul the way companies report their pay packages for senior executives, a move that is expected to lead to greater disclosure but not to any significant decline in executive compensation." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

SEC Unveils Proposed Executive Compensation Disclosures Mandate
Excerpt: "Federal securities regulators have unanimously backed proposed new rules that would require companies to disclose new executive pay information and couch those disclosures in plain English." (; one-time registration required)

Lessons from Enron Re-visited: Liability of Fiduciaries
Excerpt: "Most people think of the Enron lawsuit as a company stock case. While that is true, it is much more. It awakened -- or should have awakened -- plan sponsors to the need for corporate governance for ERISA plans, much as Sarbanes-Oxley has forced publicly traded companies to focus on corporate governance and risk management." (; one-time registration required)

Government Charges American Airlines with USERRA Violations
Excerpt: "The Department of Justice has filed a class-action lawsuit against American Airlines for violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). The Associated Press reports that the lawsuit filed on behalf of three Naval Reserve and Air National Guard pilots claims the airlines illegally denied benefits to the pilots while they were serving their duty." (; one-time registration required)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Final USERRA Regs: What Benefit Plans Must Do by January 18--What's New, What's Different, What's Been Clarified
Nationwide on January 12, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Health and Wellness Programs-- Creating a Positive Business Impact
in Texas on February 27, 2006
presented by Alliance for Work-Life Progress

Introduction to Work-Life Effectiveness-- Successful Work-Life Programs to Attract, Retain and Motivate Employees
in Arizona on July 24, 2006
presented by Alliance for Work-Life Progress

Introduction to Work-Life Effectiveness-- Successful Work-Life Programs to Attract, Retain and Motivate Employees
in California on August 9, 2006
presented by Alliance for Work-Life Progress

Introduction to Work-Life Effectiveness-- Successful Work-Life Programs to Attract, Retain and Motivate Employees
in Illinois on September 18, 2006
presented by Alliance for Work-Life Progress

Introduction to Work-Life Effectiveness-- Successful Work-Life Programs to Attract, Retain and Motivate Employees
in Massachusetts on November 13, 2006
presented by Alliance for Work-Life Progress

Navigating the Government Audit: Help from the Fix-It Team
in Pennsylvania on February 9, 2006
presented by PEBA --Penjerdel Employee Benefits & Compensation Assn.

Pandemic Preparedness: What Do You Say to Your Man in Malaysia?
in Pennsylvania on February 24, 2006
presented by PEBA --Penjerdel Employee Benefits & Compensation Assn.

Retirement Plans: What Every Employer Must Know
Nationwide on March 22, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

The Flexible Workplace-- Strategies for Your Organization
in Texas on February 27, 2006
presented by Alliance for Work-Life Progress

The Flexible Workplace-- Strategies for Your Organization
in Georgia on April 10, 2006
presented by Alliance for Work-Life Progress

The Flexible Workplace-- Strategies for Your Organization
in California on June 12, 2006
presented by Alliance for Work-Life Progress

The Flexible Workplace-- Strategies for Your Organization
in New York on July 10, 2006
presented by Alliance for Work-Life Progress

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Pacific Life Funds Added to the CPI Retirement Plan Platform
(CPI Qualified Plan Consultants, Inc.)

State of Missouri Selects CitiStreet as Administrator for Plan

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Pension Consultants/Administrators
for Northern NJ Mid-Size Pension Consulting Firm
in NJ

401k Account Executive
for BISYS Retirement Services
in PA

Senior Plan Administrator
in CA

Human Resources Benefits Associate
for The D. E. Shaw group
in NY

Retirement and Securities Specialist
in VA

Handy Links:

Copyright 2006, Inc.; except that you may reprint this newsletter in full (including this sentence) without obtaining our permission.

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