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January 24, 2006
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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)

Ford Tuition Assistance May Cushion New Round of Job Cuts
Excerpt: "The program is limited to certain workers laid off in 2004 and 2005, but observers expect it to be extended to all employees in the automaker's job bank." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)

OPM Ousts Postmasters Benefit Plan from the Federal Health Insurance Program
Excerpt: "In a two-paragraph statement, OPM said the Postmasters plan 'will no longer participate' in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Last month, OPM launched an inquiry into the Postmasters plan because of concerns about its solvency and its handling of insurance claims." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Maine's Dirigo Health: A String of Broken Promises (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "As part of his gubernatorial campaign, John Baldacci promised to create a new health care program, Dirigo Health, to address health system costs and provide health insurance to uninsured Mainers. In 2003, Governor Baldacci (D) signed the law creating the program. By reviewing the program's first-year, one can see clearly that this program has not fulfilled its goals." (The Council for Affordable Health Insurance)

Maryland Wal-Mart Measure Reignites Debate on Mandates
Excerpt: "Maryland's action gave rhetorical momentum to similar bills in other states, most of which have seen health care spending skyrocket. Local politics will determine whether those measures pass. And in some states, Wal-Mart may find itself as the lone large employer fighting the legislation." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)

Delaware Bill Aims to Create Health Insurance Pool
Excerpt: "With health insurance nearly a necessity of life, its affordability has become a much-discussed subject as politicians hear from concerned constituents. Legislation that would give coverage to every Delawarean languishes in the General Assembly, but a measure that strives to lower premiums could receive renewed consideration this spring. Senate Bill 146 would create a statewide insurance pool for small businesses or uninsured individuals." (Delaware State News via BlueCross BlueShield Association)

Overview: New Maryland 'Fair Share' Law
Excerpt: "On January 12, 2006, Maryland became the first state to enact so-called 'fair share' legislation that requires large employers with 10,000 or more employees to either spend a minimum percentage of payroll on health care costs for employees or pay a certain amount into a state Medicaid fund." (The Segal Company)

Sixth Circuit Changes Reason Why ERISA Plans Can't Sue to Enforce Reimbursement Claims
Excerpt: "This is another case in which an ERISA health plan (through a third-party recovery company) attempted to obtain reimbursement of medical expenses paid for a participant who was injured in an automobile accident." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Overview: Creditable Coverage Disclosures to CMS (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Plan sponsors that provide pres.cription drug coverage to Medicare Part D eligible individuals must satisfy this disclosure requirement." (Milliman)

Overview: New Jersey Extends Dependent Medical Coverage to Age 30 (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "On January 12, outgoing New Jersey Governor Richard Codey signed legislation (P.L. 2005, c.375) requiring insured medical plans in New Jersey to either extend dependent coverage until age 30 or, alternatively, adopt a complicated scheme permitting dependents who lose medical coverage before age 30 to elect to continue their benefits (in a COBRA-like fashion) until age 30." (Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP)

Delaware Commission Seeks Input on Universal Health Care for the State
Excerpt: "Universal coverage is commonly associated with a single-payer financing system, in which the government finances health care expenditures through tax revenue. Such a system would replace the need for private insurance companies. " (Delaware State News via BlueCross BlueShield Association)

The New Health Insurance Solution, Part 1
Excerpt: "How Employers Can Save 50 Percent by Giving Employees Tax-Free Dollars -- Provided by monster.com and excerpted from The New Health Insurance Solution by Paul Zane Pilzer" (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

The New Health Insurance Solution, Part 2
Excerpt: "How Employers Can Save 50 Percent by Giving Employees Tax-Free Dollars -- Provided by monster.com and excerpted from The New Health Insurance Solution by Paul Zane Pilzer" (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

Opinion: Employment-Based Health System Collapse Is 7-12 Years Away; Health Care Talks Can't Wait
Excerpt: "The employer-sponsored health insurance system in the United States is unraveling. It was created during World War II as a temporary measure to provide needed coverage to workers and their families in defense factories. The defeat of the Truman administration's proposals for national health insurance in the postwar period resulted in the rapid expansion of employer-sponsored benefits." (The Arizona Republic; one-time registration required)

Employers Revisiting Their Long-Term Retiree Medical Strategies (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "Now that most employers have completed the flurry of activities involved in qualifying for the Medicare pres.cription drug subsidy, they're stepping back to evaluate their broader retiree medical commitments. While the majority of large employers want to provide meaningful benefits to both actives and retirees, many can no longer commit to an open-ended exposure to medical trend and increased costs due to early retirements and improved life expectancy." (Towers Perrin)

Overview: 2006 Reporting Forms and Instructions for HSA and Archer MSA Trustees and Custodians
Excerpt: "The IRS has released Form 5498-SA and Form 1099-SA for the 2006 tax year, along with Instructions for both forms. Trustees and custodians of HSAs and Archer MSAs must use Form 5498-SA to report contributions to (and the fair market value of) these accounts, and they are required to report distributions on Form 1099-SA." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: SEC Proposes Proxy Rules -- Disclosure of Compensation to be Enhanced
Excerpt: "Companies will be required to discuss their compensation policies and explain in plain English their rationale for executive compensation. In this new Compensation Discussion and Analysis (CD&A) section, registrants will be expected to discuss each element of compensation and explain why that element is appropriate for their executive group. The SEC has indicated that 'boiler plate' language will not be acceptable in the CD&A." (CCA Strategies, LLC)

Text of Advisory Opinion 2005-22A for the Hartford Life Insurance Company
Excerpt: "[DOL was asked for] guidance regarding the definition of a 'separate account' contained in section 3(17) of ERISA." (U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration)

Florida School: 'Non-Platonic' Relations Qualifies for Benefits
Excerpt: "The University of Florida will extend health benefits to its employees' domestic partners beginning in February. To be eligible for coverage, employees and their partners have to sign an affidavit noting that, among other things, they have been in a 'non-platonic' relationship for at least 12 months." (All Things Considered via National Public Radio)

Social Security Numbers: Stronger Protections Needed When Contractors Have Access to SSNs
Excerpt: "GAO recommends that Congress consider possible options for addressing gaps in federal requirements for safeguarding SSNs shared with contractors. None of the seven agencies GAO talked to provided formal written responses. However, six of the seven agencies provided technical comments, which were incorporated as appropriate. [Highlights of the GAO report are at http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d06238high.pdf.]" (U.S. Government Accountability Office)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Indiana on February 21, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Texas on February 21, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Illinois on February 21, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Arkansas on February 22, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Illinois on February 22, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Michigan on February 22, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Tennessee on February 23, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Illinois on February 23, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Michigan on February 23, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Kentucky on February 28, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Intermediate IRA Seminar
in Montana on February 28, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

New Publication Explains Tax Law Changes Related to Recent Hurricanes
(Internal Revenue Service (IRS))

Groundbreaking Research Reports Will Track Best Practices in Marketing and Selling to HR Decision Makers and Employee Benefit Brokers
(HRmarketer.com)

Podcast Now Available: The New Retirement Mindscape(SM)
(Ameriprise Retirement Services)

ADP TotalSource Enters California; Professional Employer Organization Continues National Growth With Opening of 7 Offices in the State
(ADP)


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

Emily Centers
(BusinessPlans, Inc. (BPI) - myCafeteriaPlan)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Defined Contribution/401(k) Administrator
for TPA Firm in Detroit Area (Northwest Suburbs)
in MI

Defined Contribution Administrator
for Pension Plan Professionals, Inc.
in FL

Internal Retirement Plan Wholesaler
for New York Life Investment Management LLC
in NJ

Pension Administrator
for The Kagan Company
in CA

Health & Productivity Project Manager
for Guardian Industries Corp.
in MI

Account Executive Director
for Principal Financial
in AZ

Benefits Product Manager
for Gevity
in FL

Appeals Administrator - Legal Operations Dept
for 1199SEIU Benefit and Pension Funds
in NY

Benefits Analyst
for Weyerhaeuser Company
in WA

Regulatory Analyst
for PAi
in WI

Account Manager
for Great-West Retirement Services
in VA

Quality Assurance Coordinator - Dental Claims Dept
for 1199SEIU Benefit and Pension Funds
in NY




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