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January 26, 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)

Overview on WFTRA Technical Corrections Law (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "[This is a] Segal Company Bulletin that discusses provisions in the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005 that 'fix' two problematic aspects of the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004 (WFTRA) -- the application of the gross income limit to certain dependents in the context of Dependent Care Assistance Programs (DCAPs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) ...." (The Segal Company)

Blues Plans' Strategies for Mitigating Patients' Rx Safety Risks
Excerpt: "In the wake of widely publicized drug safety concerns, Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans across the country are zeroing in on pharma.ceutical safety monitoring, with a common emphasis on derailing inappropriate prescribing and use of medications." (The AIS Report on Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans via AISHealth.com)

Former HHS Secretary Thompson Calls for Shift to Preventive Care
Excerpt: "Former HHS secretary Tommy Thompson on Tuesday at a health care conference in Washington, D.C., called for a nationwide shift to preventive care and said employers should demand that their health care systems use information technology, ...." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Health Care Mandate Bill Now Introduced in Kentucky
Excerpt: "Kentucky is the latest state to introduce legislation that would require large state employers to spend a minimum amount on employee health insurance. The bill, HB 98, creates a Fair Share Health Care Fund to be used to supplement ...." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Consumer Directed Health Plans Grew at Slower Rate in 2005 than Other Types of Health Plans
Excerpt: "A news release from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions found that CDHP costs increased by an average of 2.8% from 2004 to 2005, according to the survey of 152 major US employers." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Friendly's Dramatically Reduces Health Benefits
Excerpt: "Wilbraham, Massachusetts-based Friendly's Ice Cream Corp has slashed health care benefits for 454 of its full-time employees. The Boston Globe reports that, according to enrollment materials, employees can choose from three tiers of coverage, with the lowest-priced plan paying a maximum annual benefit for outpatient care of $1,000 and the highest paying a maximum of $2,000." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Spending Cut Package Provision that Would Give $22B to Insurers Could Hamper Bill's Passage
Excerpt: "Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) on Tuesday said they plan to introduce legislation to restore a provision in the fiscal year 2006 spending reduction package (S 1932) that would cut billions of dollars to private insurers participating in the Medicare program ...." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Prognosis Is Mixed for Health Savings Plans
Excerpt: "President Bush has made 'consumer-directed' health savings plans a cornerstone of his policy for addressing runaway medical costs, and he plans to push them again in the State of the Union address next week. But so far there is little evidence that the approach is helping many consumers come to grips with the high price of health care." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Access to and Participation in Employer-Provided Health Care Plans, Private Industry, 2005
Excerpt: "The 2005 National Compensation Survey (NCS) benefits data reveal that access to and participation in employer-provided health care plans vary notably among worker and establishment characteristics. Data on health care plans collected by the NCS are categorized into the following types of plans: medical, dental, vision, and pres.cription drug." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Opinion: A Blueprint for Health Care Freedom
Excerpt: "The White House has been dropping hints that the president will make health-care reform the centerpiece of his State of the Union address. The Bush administration's health care record is, to put it delicately, inconsistent. It has supported efforts to remove government influence over the health care sector, such as health savings accounts (HSAs). On the other hand, the president signed into law the largest expansion of federal power over health care in generations the ill-fated ...." (The Washington Times via Cato Institute)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: Definition of Dependent Clarified
Excerpt: "The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act (GOZA) includes a clarification of the definition of dependent in conjunction with hardship distributions, flexible spending accounts, and other tax issues." (McKay Hochman Co., Inc.)

New Jersey Domestic Partner to Get Pension Benefits
Excerpt: "On Friday, State Senator Andrew R. Ciesla, a Republican from Ocean County, agreed to sponsor legislation that would fix the state rules that allow those in the public employee retirement system to name anyone as beneficiary for their benefits, while those in the police and fire retirement system must designate a spouse." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

In Brief: Phased Retirement -- Who Opts for It and Toward What End? (PDF)
Excerpt: "A succinct summary of the similarly titled AARP Public Policy Institute Issue Paper by Yung-Ping Chen and John C. Scott exploring which workers might opt for phased-retirement if opportunities were more widely available, when and under what circumstances they might do so, the factors that might be associated with taking phased retirement, and the consequences of the decisions for them and their families." (AARP)

Report: Phased Retirement -- Who Opts for It and Toward What End? (PDF)
Excerpt: "Which workers might opt for phased-retirement if opportunities were more widely available, when and under what circumstances they might do so, the factors that might be associated with taking phased retirement, and the consequences of their decisions for them and their families are explored in this AARP Public Policy Institute Issue Paper by Yung-Ping Chen and John C. Scott." (AARP)

ERIC Provides Testimony at 409A Hearing before IRS and Treasury on January 25, 2006 (PDF)
7 pages. This is the ERISA Industry Committee testimony of John M. Vine at the Hearing on the Proposed Regulations under Section 409A Regarding Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans. (The ERISA Industry Committee)

Employee Health and Retirement Coverage Cutbacks Could Spawn Sales and Profit Woes for Employers
Excerpt: "Over the next 15 years, predicts benefits pundit Dallas Salisbury, the scaling back of employer benefit funding will lead to greater demands on government, which would saddle employers as well as individuals with higher taxes." (CFO.com)

Opinion: HSAs vs. SS Privatization
Excerpt: "To a large extent, many of the arguments against Social Security privatization in 2005 hold equally true in the upcoming debate over Health Savings Accounts .... But there is also a significant difference. Privatization was aimed at a financially sound, effective Social Security program while this time the target (ostensibly) is a dysfunctional health care system. [This article originally appeared on TPMCafe January 24, 2006.]" (The Century Foundation)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Medicare Part D: 2006 and Beyond Teleweb
Nationwide on February 16, 2006
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

IRS Urged To Further Clarify 409A Compensation And Benefits Regulations
(American Benefits Council)

Treasury and IRS Propose Rules Regarding Designated Roth Contributions
(U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service)

Mason County Woman Sentenced To Over Two Years In Prison For Stealing From Her Company's Employees' Pension And Insurance Plans
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

401(k) Account Manager
for BISYS Retirement Services
in PA

ERISA Consultant
for BISYS Retirement Services
in MN

Plan Administrator
for Third Party Administration Firm
in FL

401(k) Plan Administrator
for Northeast Planning Services, Inc.
in MA

Retirement Plan Services - Relationship Manager
for Trust Company of Illinois
in IL

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

Benefits Administrator
for Reese Teleservices, Inc.
in PA

Relationship Manager
for MassMutual Financial Group
in MI




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