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January 20, 2006
Today's sponsor: Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Another Great EBIA Web Seminar!

When an employee asks to change the election she made during open enrollment, will you let her? What information do you need to make your decision? It's been nearly five years since the IRS finalized its cafeteria plan regulations on permitted mid-year election changes, yet there's still lots of confusion about what's permitted and what's not. Let us help you get a better grasp of the slippery election change rules.

In this 90-minute web seminar, our experts will provide a legal framework and practical advice for determining whether a mid-year election change request should be granted.

Click on the banner above for more information and to register.


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

Former Football Pro Loses Battle for Retroactive Disability Benefits
Excerpt: "The US District Court for the District of Minnesota has granted summary judgment in favor of the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan in regards to the start date for disability benefits of a former football pro." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Setting Up a Sick Time Policy
Excerpt: "Before the year gets much older, small businesses that don't have a policy on sick time need to come up with one. That involves more than picking a number of days to give employees; it also means thinking about what to do if workers run through their allotment, and what to do if someone is abusing sick time." (AP via The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Common Employer Questions Regarding the Medicare Program and Retiree Health Care
Excerpt: "In this special feature, [CCA Strategies answers] employers' frequently asked questions to clear up some of the confusion surrounding Medicare." (CCA Strategies, LLC)

The Savings from an Efficient Medicare Pres.cription Drug Plan (PDF)
16 pages. Excerpt: "This paper projects the financial savings that would result from having a simple add-on drug benefit to the basic Medicare package. Using data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and other sources, it projects separately the savings that could potentially result from having Medicare negotiate prices directly with drug companies and the savings from having a single designated administrator of the program, instead of insurance companies." (Center for Economic and Policy Research)

Bill Could Extend Part D Enrollment
Excerpt: "A proposed bill to extend Medicare Part D enrollment to the end of 2006 probably will have enough votes to pass the Senate, according to a recent legislative watch. If enacted, the bill could help eliminate the problems the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have had enrolling low-income participants." (The Adviser)

Opinion: Health Insurance Should Reward Clean Living
Excerpt: "[B]ecause tobacco companies often target low-income populations, use positive incentives and reward those of us who don't smoke. Safe drivers get lower car insurance rates; health insurance premiums should be based on good health habits. For businesses, it's a no-brainer: Studies show that healthy workers are not only more productive but cheaper too. Smoking employees cost a company an extra $3,856 a year, according to the National Business Group on Health." (Chicago Tribune via BlueCross BlueShield Association)

Some Employers' Insistence on Healthy Living Raises Privacy Concerns
Excerpt: "In 2006, Weyco employees who refuse to take mandated medical tests and physical examinations will see their monthly health insurance premiums jump by $65. By next year, their annual insurance bills will grow by more than $1,000 if they still fail to follow instructions." (The Christian Science Monitor)

New Evidence on Health Coverage for Aging Boomers
Excerpt: "This report presents a new analysis of The Commonwealth Fund Survey of Older Adults that explores the extent and quality of health insurance coverage for baby boomers who are in the workforce, with a special emphasis on those with low and moderate incomes. [The 37 page PDF is at http://www.cmwf.org/usr_doc/884_Collins_hlt_coverage_aging_baby_boomers.pdf.]" (The Commonwealth Fund)

Governor Doyle of Wisconsin Accuses Wal-Mart of Health Care 'Dumping'
Excerpt: "The battle between officials and lawmakers in several states and large employers over giving their workers health care coverage has continued in Wisconsin with unusually harsh words from Governor Jim Doyle." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Retiree Accounting: More Than Meets the Eye
Excerpt: "[T]he initial change in FASB rules could have a significant impact on how companies employ surplus cash. It will also reset a host of financial ratios, such as debt-to-equity and debt-to-book value, that loan officers, investment bankers, and investors use to evaluate companies. 'Anything that affects the balance sheet in this magnitude is important,' says Henry McVey, Morgan Stanley's chief U.S. investment strategist." (BusinessWeek)

Same-Sex Domestic Partner Benefits -- Current Legal and Plan Drafting Issues (PDF)
9 pages. Excerpt: "Recent events around the country have brought same-sex domestic partnerships to the forefront of many states' and localities' legislative agendas. Wrapped up with this focus on same-sex domestic partnership issues are the federal, state, and local laws that govern many of the employee benefits provided by employers to their employees." (Groom Law Group)

Another New Jersey County Extends Benefits to G.ay Partners of Public Employees
Excerpt: "Placing itself front and center in a statewide debate, the Camden County Board of Freeholders last night granted domestic partnership benefits to g.ay and les.bian county employees. Camden County joined six counties in northern and central New Jersey that have extended health and pension benefits to employees who have registered as domestic partners with the state." (The Philadelphia Inquirer; one-time registration required)

2006 Limits for Benefit Plans-- Updated 'Alert' from Aon Consulting (PDF)
Excerpt: "[Aon's] October 14, 2005 Alert was published soon after IRS and the other federal agencies released their official inflation-adjusted benefit limits in mid-October. That Alert also estimated the inflation-adjusted amounts for income tax brackets, personal exemptions, standard deductions, and similarly adjusted items. Later in the year, IRS released its second wave of official inflation-adjusted items and PBGC updated its maximum guaranteed benefit in December." (Aon Consulting)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

ESOP Feasibility: Beyond the Basics
in Missouri on March 13, 2006
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Nebraska on February 14, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Minnesota on February 9, 2006
presented by Winston & Strawn

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Minnesota on February 9, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Tennessee on February 10, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Kansas on February 14, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Texas on February 14, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Iowa on February 15, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Tennessee on February 15, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Missouri on February 15, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Iowa on February 15, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Texas on February 15, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Illinois on February 15, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminars
in Tennessee on February 9, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Retirement Plan Coordinator
for American Funds
in VA

Project/Client Service Manager -- Health and Welfare
for TRI-AD Actuaries, Inc.
in CA

Pension Administrator/Analyst
for Benetrends, Inc.
in CA

Benefits Coordinator
for Aquent
in MA, RI

Senior Benefits Consultant
for Carilion Health System
in VA

401K/Pension Administrator
for Pension Specialists, Inc.
in CA

Benefit Resources Manager
for Jackson Thornton
in AL

Team Leader - Profit Sharing/401(k)
for Edward Jones
in MO

Sales Force Training Specialist
for Merrill Lynch
in NJ

Regional Plan Coordinator, AVP
for Merrill Lynch
in NJ

Inside Sales Assistant
for CitiStreet
in NJ




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