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January 23, 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)

Dallas Morning News Series Examines Health Insurance Coverage in Texas
Excerpt: "The Dallas Morning News is publishing a three-part series examining the absence of health insurance coverage for one in four Texans -- the highest percentage of people without coverage compared with other states." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Commentary: It's Time to Face Up to the U.S. Medicare Crisis
Excerpt: "The future looks so bleak for two reasons. First, the U.S. health-care system is the most expensive in the world. According to the most recent comparisons by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Americans spent $5,635 per person on health care in 2003, $1,828 more than Norway, the country with the second-highest per-capita spending. Second, we have a rapidly aging society." (Bloomberg Commentary)

Web Site Offers Businesses Way to Compare Health Plans and Doctors
Excerpt: "The CEO of Sunnyvale's Xoriant Corp., an IT services and consulting company, logged on to Healthia, a Web site that lets small businesses and individuals compare the health plans of some of the nation's largest insurance carriers, to see if he could find a cheaper way to fund care for his 150 U.S. workers." (Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal via bizjournals.com; one-time registration required)

33 States to Consider Employer Health Insurance Bills Similar to Maryland's
Excerpt: "Thirty-three state Legislatures likely will consider bills similar to a law enacted last week in Maryland that requires employers with 10,000 or more employees to spend at least 8% of payroll costs on health care or contribute to a state fund for the uninsured, AFL-CIO Legislative Director Naomi Walker said on Thursday, CQ HealthBeat reports." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Opinion from Paul Krugman: The K Street Pres.cription for the Medicare Drug Plan
Excerpt: "[G]overnment works when it's run by people who take public policy seriously. As Jonathan Cohn points out in The New Republic, when Medicare began 40 years ago, things went remarkably smoothly from the start. But this time the people putting together a new federal program had one foot out the revolving door: this was a drug bill written by and for lobbyists." (The New York Times via California Nurses Association / National Nurses Organizing Committee)

Overview: Guidance on Disclosing Creditable Coverage Status to CMS Electronically (PDF)
2 pages. The Segal Company bulletin is of interest to employers and plan sponsors that offer retiree health coverage. (The Segal Company)

A Virginia Lawmaker Wants Insurance Companies to Cover the Costs of Obesity Surgery
Excerpt: "Currently, Virginia requires insurance providers to 'offer and make available' services for the treatment of morbid obesity that are approved by the National Institutes of Health. The only approved service is surgery. But the offer doesn't mean coverage is guaranteed. Insurance companies offer the benefit at an extra cost, and it's up to the individual or employer to purchase it." (Fredericksburg.com)

Opinion: Health Coverage Chaos
Excerpt: "The Republican Congress can't seem to touch health care without making America sick. While Health Savings Accounts are a recent plus, the long-feared Medicare drug benefit premiered Jan. 1 to widespread panic. Seniors are confused and frustrated, while fiscal conservatives stand aghast as tax dollars fly from the Treasury like bats fleeing a cave." (The Washington Times)

WSJ Reporting that Bush Will Propose Increasing HSA Tax Breaks
Excerpt: "President Bush is expected to propose sweetening the tax breaks associated with health savings accounts, part of an effort to persuade more people to save for their own medical expenses, administration officials said." (Attorney B. Janell Grenier via BenefitsBlog.com)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Opinion: Graying America Won't Sink the Ship
Excerpt: "[T]he graying of America may not be the fiscal disaster that the deficit hawks project. The nation may age a good deal more gracefully than advertised, thanks to American ingenuity, adaptability and an increasingly hardy group of elderly people, say a diverse group of demographers and public policy experts." (The Register-Guard)

Overview: Department of Labor Issues New USERRA Poster (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "When the Department of Labor finalized the Uniformed Services Employment Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) regulations on December 19, 2005, it also updated its notice poster. This poster replaces the previous poster, and should be posted immediately." (Gardner Carton & Douglas LLP)

Overview: Application of Section 409A Valuation Requirements to Stock Options
Excerpt: "The IRS issued Notice 2006-4 on December 23, 2005, easing the valuation requirements for stock rights granted before January 1, 2005. Commentators had expressed concern over whether companies would be able to demonstrate that a reasonable valuation method had been used to determine the exercise price of these stock rights, as §409A had not yet been enacted when they were issued. This notice responds to these concerns by providing ...." (BNA Tax Management)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Exclusive Webcast: Roth 401(k) - Here's the Latest!
Nationwide on February 1, 2006
presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators

Other Post-Employment Benefit Liability: Retiree Medical And Life Benefits
Nationwide on February 10, 2006
presented by Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

Other Post-Employment Benefit Liability: Retiree Medical And Life Benefits
Nationwide on February 14, 2006
presented by Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

Pension Focus 2006
in Missouri on May 4, 2006
presented by Pension Consultants, Inc.


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Disaster Relief Announcement
(Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC))


Movers and Shakers: Newly Posted Announcements of Promotions and New Personnel
(Post Yours!)

David Turner
(BusinessPlans, Inc. (BPI) - myCafeteriaPlan)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Senior Defined Benefits Administrator
for The Rosen Group
in DC, MD, VA

Account Manager
for SunTrust Bank
in VA

401(k) Plan Administrator
for Plan Design Consultants, Inc.
in CA

Actuarial Assistant
for The Benefit Practice
in NY

401(k)/Pension Administrator
for Benetech, Inc.
in AZ, CA, DC

Manager, Retirement Programs
for Stanford University
in CA

Senior New Business Analyst (Implementation Analyst)
for ICMA-RC
in DC

Compliance/Administration Associate
for Towers Perrin
in NJ

Compliance/Administration Junior Associate
for Towers Perrin
in NJ

Institutional Trust Communication Specialist
for BB&T
in KY

Plan Review Group Representative - PA
for Vanguard
in PA

ERISA Counsel/Defined Contribution Consultant
for SunTrust Banks, Inc.
in TN

External Regional Retirement Plan Sales Consultant
for Waddell & Reed, Inc.
in AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, TX, UT, WY

Pension Consultant
for Standard Insurance Company
in OH, TX

Defined Contribution Plans Administrator
for Benefit Associates Inc.
in CA

Compliance Manager / ERISA Attorney
for ABD Insurance and Financial Services
in CA

Operations Manager - 401(k)
for CitiStreet
in FL

Retirement Plan Coordinator
for American Funds, a part of The Capital Group Companies, Inc
in TX

Benefits Analyst
for Corning Incorporated
in NY

Benefits Collection Manager
for Service Employees International Union
in DC

Senior Plan Administrator
for Acuff & Associates, Inc.
in TN




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