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February 2, 2006
Today's sponsor: Financial Research Associates

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STARS & STRIPES: National Public Employees' Retirement Funds Summit

5th ANNUAL STARS & STRIPES SUMMIT 2006
April 2rd - 4th, 2006
The Wyndham Casa Marina Resort, Key West, FL

Stars & Stripes gives you the information you need to best manage your fund in these challenging times. With the majority of our attendees from the plan sponsor community, you're certain to learn both from the outstanding speaker faculty and your peers!


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

Health Care Plan Administrator Cannot Limit Enrollment of Employee on Leave
Excerpt: "The US District Court for the District of South Dakota has ruled that a health care plan administrator cannot limit the special enrollment period under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) by requiring a plan participant who was on medical leave following childbirth to return to work full time before enrolling in the plan." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Health Plans Organizing to Sell Disease Management to Self-Insured Employers
Excerpt: "Historically, self-insured employers have been slower to adopt DM programs -- but over the past several years, plan sponsors have moved to acceptance, in part because of double-digit medical cost hikes that have sent them looking for more effective ways to contain expenses." (INSIDE DISEASE MANAGEMENT via AISHealth.com)

Health Insurers Invest in Predictive Modeling to Set Rates and Predict Enrollment
Excerpt: "[M]ore and more managed care organizations (MCOs) are using these sophisticated applications to help set premiums for new or renewing groups, and to model underwriting and enrollment assumptions as employer contributions and benefit designs change." (MANAGED CARE WEEK, the industry's)

Overview -- Medicare Part D Update: Notification of Creditable Coverage Requirement
Excerpt: "CMS now requires that all plans providing pres.cription drug coverage to Medicare eligible participants submit a notice of creditable or non-creditable coverage via an Internet based form." (CCA Strategies, LLC)

EBRI Notes Article on the Survey of Consumer-Driven Health Plans and Key Issues Raised (PDF)
Pages 2-9 of 12 pages. Excerpt: "Four issues dominated the December 2005 Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) policy forum, which was devoted to the release of a ground-breaking survey on consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) and discussion of the results. The survey was sponsored by EBRI and The Commonwealth Fund to get a fix on how consumers are reacting to consumer-driven health plans, the latest big idea in health insurance." (Employee Benefit Research Institute)

New Jersey Mandates Health Insurance Coverage for Dependents under Age 30
Excerpt: "On January 12, 2006, former New Jersey Acting Governor Richard Codey signed into law a bill permitting eligible dependents under health insurance plans issued in New Jersey to remain eligible for continued health insurance coverage, until the dependent's 30th birthday." (Littler Mendelson)

Benefit Plans of Private College Associations Were Employee Welfare Benefit Plans, EBSA Says
Excerpt: "A benefits consortium and a mutual benefit corporation, formed by associations of independent private colleges for the purpose of providing health, life, accident and other welfare benefit coverage to the employees of its member employers, were employee welfare benefit plans, the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has advised." (CCH INCORPORATED)

Paul Krugman's January 27, 2006, Column Titled: Health Care Confidential
Excerpt: "Cries of 'socialized medicine' didn't, in the end, succeed in blocking the creation of Medicare. And farsighted thinkers are already suggesting that the Veterans Health Administration, not President Bush's unrealistic vision of a system in which people go 'comparative shopping' for medical care the way they do when buying tile, represents the true future of American health care." (The New York Times via Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights)

Report: Proposed Health Reform in Massachusetts: Net Gain for the Business Community (PDF)
20 pages. Excerpt: "[The report] examines the health reform bill passed by the Massachusetts House of Representatives, which is designed to expand coverage to the state's uninsured. It finds that, overall, the bill would result in a net benefit for the state's business community." (Families USA Foundation)

Overview, Excerpts, and Other Materials on the Health Care Portion of the State of the Union Address
The target page includes excerpts from the President's State of the Union address on health care and a special press briefing. (Attorney B. Janell Grenier via BenefitsBlog.com)

Overview: Presidential Panel's Proposals on Benefit Accounts
Excerpt: "Imagine scrapping 401(k), 457(b) and 403(b) retirement plans, flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts and 529 plans, replacing them with two simplified savings accounts and getting rid of the tax break for employer-provided health insurance to boot. Those are some of the proposals found in the report from the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform sent to the Treasury Department last year." (Employee Benefit News)

Less Restrictive HSAs Could Help Fix the Health Care System, According to Economist
Excerpt: "Through the implementation of several policies -- including less prescriptive health savings accounts (HSAs) and tax deductions for health insurance policies and out-of-pocket expenses -- Americans would save about $60 billion a year in health care costs and not experience a reduction in the quality of their care, says economist R. Glenn Hubbard, Ph.D." (INSIDE CONSUMER-DIRECTED CARE via AISHealth.com)

Statement from the White House: Affordable and Accessible Health Care
Excerpt: "The President's Reform Agenda Can Make The Health Care System More Efficient While Continuing To Lead The World In Cutting Edge Medicine. Americans should be able to choose their health care based on individual needs and preferences and easily obtain understandable information about the price and quality of the care they receive. Insurance should be portable and affordable." (The White House)

Opinion: Health Savings Account Plans OK for the Rich and Healthy
Excerpt: "I've spoken to a number of experts, and the consensus is that health savings accounts can be a nifty financial tool as long as you're rich or don't get sick. For working-class people who develop serious or chronic health problems, the accounts can be economically devastating -- and could perhaps worsen the nation's already dysfunctional health care system." (San Francisco Chronicle via California Nurses Association / National Nurses Organizing Committee)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: FASB Board Moves Toward Finalizing FSP FAS 123R-d
Excerpt: "At its Feb. 1, 2006 board meeting, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) instructed the FASB staff to proceed in drafting a final FASB staff position (FSP) following discussion of comment letters received on its proposed FSP No. FAS 123(R)-d, 'Classification of Options and Similar Instruments Issued as Employee Compensation That Allow for Cash Settlement upon the Occurrence of a Contingent Event.'" (Financial Executives International)

Blog: FASB Moves to Finalize Rule on Certain Stock Options
Excerpt: "In [the February 1, 2006] Board meeting, the Financial Accounting Standards Board moved to finalize FSP FAS-123r-d, a proposed FASB Staff Position regarding the proper accounting classification under SFAS 123R for a share-based payment arrangement that allows a cash settlement upon change in control." (BeneBlog)

Accounting for the Implicit Rate Subsidy in OPEB Plans (PDF)
Pages 12-14 of 23 pages. Excerpt: "This article will illustrate that when the implicit rate subsidy is recognized in a plan's obligations, an offsetting implicit subsidy contribution should also be recognized, in order to maintain balance in the financial disclosure information." (Society of Actuaries)

G.ay Rights Group Issues Top Workplaces List for 2006
Excerpt: "The Washington, DC-based Human Rights Campaign Foundation has released a new online ranking of the employers most supportive of g.ay, les.bian, bise.xual and transgender (GLBT) employees and consumers." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Overview: SEC Proposals on Executive Compensation Disclosure (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "The proposed rules, which include many details that were not in the press release issued by the SEC on January 17th announcing the decision to propose the rules, are expected to be effective for the 2007 proxy season." (Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc.)

District Court Gives Go Ahead for Benefits Interference Case
Excerpt: "The US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has given three former employees the green light to continue their lawsuit alleging their former employer interfered with their right to pension benefits and breached its fiduciary duties when it laid off employees in 2004." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Compensation Costs Up 3.0 Percent in Private Industry in 2005
Excerpt: "The components of compensation showed differences in their rates of change in the 12 months ended in December. While increases in wages and salaries continued at a moderate pace, the increase in benefit costs was somewhat lower than it had been in the past several years." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

401(k) and Retirement Plan Corrections/415 Regulations
in Ohio on February 14, 2006
presented by ASPPA Benefits Council of Cleveland

Communicating Your ESOP
Nationwide on May 23, 2006
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Effective ESOP Committees
Nationwide on March 21, 2006
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Employee Participation: Take the Next Step
Nationwide on April 6, 2006
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Equity Compensation for Closely Held Companies
Nationwide on April 5, 2006
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

ESOPs as a Business Transition Tool
Nationwide on March 23, 2006
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Executive Compensation for ESOP Companies
Nationwide on May 11, 2006
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Handling the ESOP Repurchase Obligation
Nationwide on June 6, 2006
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Is an ESOP Right for You?
Nationwide on June 13, 2006
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Keeping Your ESOP Culture Alive: Communications, Participation, and Plan Design Issues
Nationwide on May 9, 2006
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Navigating the 409A Deferred Compensation Plan Rules
Nationwide on May 3, 2006
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

New Stock Valuation Requirements for Closely Held Companies Under the New Deferred Compensation Plan Regulations
Nationwide on June 14, 2006
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Preferred Stock in an ESOP
Nationwide on April 4, 2006
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

S Corporation ESOPs
Nationwide on March 28, 2006
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Securities Law Requirements for Equity Compensation in Closely Held Companies
Nationwide on June 1, 2006
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

The EU Prospectus Directive and Beyond: The Impact of Securities Laws on Global Compensation Programs
Nationwide on March 22, 2006
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

Unscrambling the Alphabet Soup of Account-Based Plans: HRAs, HSAs and FSAs
in Ohio on February 16, 2006
presented by WEB (Worldwide Employee Benefits Network) Cleveland Chapter


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Ernst & Young Announces Comprehensive Retirement Income Database; "Knowledge Bank" Offers One-Stop Data Source for Industry
(Ernst & Young, LLP)

Labor Department Updates Exemptions Permitting Transactions With Financial Institutions and Insurers
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Health & Welfare and Pensions Team Lead #40914
for Byrnes & Rupkey, Inc.
in NC

Fund Administrator
for The Trustees of Taft-Hartley Benefit Funds (Funds)
in NY

401(k) Consultant, Defined Contribution
for Qualified Benefits, Inc - QBI (a wholly owned subsidiary of BenefitStreet, Inc.)
in CA

Sr. Operational Risk Specialist - Fiduciary Oversight
for Bank of America
in MA

Plan Administration Manager
for PENFlex Services, Inc.
in IL

Conversions and Plan Document Specialist
for Louis Kravitz & Associates, Inc.
in CA

Pension Administrator
for A & S Shapiro Pension Consultants, Inc.
in MD




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