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February 6, 2006
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Recent Court Ruling Means Beneficiaries Should Be Notified about Insurers' Decision-Making Powers
Excerpt: "Claims administrators have been put on notice by the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that employee benefit plans will need to spell out in precise detail their prerogative in making benefit decisions -- or risk losing it." (Managed Care)

Welfare and Health Plan Administrators -- Legal Checklist for 2005 and 2006
Excerpt: "The [target page] is a short list of legal changes for 2005 and the first part of 2006. A summary of each legal requirement can be accessed by clicking on the links [within the page]." (Thelen Reid & Priest LLP)

Local Health Information Technology Exchanges March on As Master Plan Lags
Excerpt: "With less duplication of services, better patient management, more accurate tracking of medication and decreased morbidity, even the most conservative estimates of savings to be reaped by an overarching health IT network are staggering." (Employee Benefit News)

Medical Emergency Notification a Hot Idea for Employers
Excerpt: "Nothing encourages company loyalty like saving an employee's life. At least that's the sales pitch to employers one company is making for its emergency notification service." (Employee Benefit News)

Commentary: U.S. Health-Care Cure Isn't Tax Breaks
Excerpt: "President George W. Bush's prognosis that he can ``keep America competitive'' through ``affordable health care'' needs to do more than put a stethoscope on one of the U.S. economy's greatest ills. Radical surgery may be needed." (Bloomberg News)

California Lawmaker to Propose 'Wal-Mart' Health Coverage Bill
Excerpt: "State Senator Carole Migden said her proposal would require companies that employ at least 10,000 people in California to spend at least 8% of their total payroll on health benefits or make payments into a state fund for the uninsured, the Los Angeles Times reported. She said the proposal was modeled after a new Maryland law ...." (; one-time registration required)

Health Savings Accounts Aren't Immune to Risk
Excerpt: "Unlike car accidents (one hopes), illness can be an ongoing thing. A person with a chronic illness might deplete his account year after year, never accumulating a cushion and being compelled to dig into his own pocket for uncovered costs up to the out-of-pocket limit." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Employers Participating in MEWA Are Bona Fide Group or Association Creating a Single ERISA Plan
Excerpt: "Whether ERISA applies at the MEWA level (so there is one plan) or at the employer level impacts preemption and state regulation of the MEWA as well as compliance with ERISA Form 5500 and participant disclosure requirements." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: FASB Amends Statement 123(R) for Contingent Cash Settlement of Stock Options (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) on February 3, 2006 released its fourth FASB Staff Position (FSP) providing interpretive and implementation guidance on the provisions of FASB Statement 123(R). The FSP, referred to as FAS 123(R)-4, amends paragraphs 32 and A229 of Statement 123(R) to provide a 'practical accommodation' that prevents employee stock options or similar instruments such as stock-settled stock appreciation rights (SARs) from being reclassified ...." (Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc.)

Trucker Huss Benefits Report, January 2006 (PDF)
7 pages. This edition includes articles on the following topics: Final Regulations Interpreting the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 Issued; HIPAA Privacy Notice Reminder; and, Medicare Part D Annual Notice to CMS Due Soon. (Trucker Huss)

Plan's Review Procedures Must Be Described in Denial Notice
Excerpt: "Under both the old and the new ERISA claims procedure regulations, a claim denial notice must include a description of the plan's review procedures; so arguably, it is not enough to state, for instance, that the procedures are described in the SPD or to just send the claimant a copy of the plan." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

'ES' Beneficiary Designation on Insurance Form Thrown Out
Excerpt: "A federal appeals court has ruled that a man who entered a relationship code on a life insurance beneficiary designation form to indicate his estate did not validly complete the process." ( one-time registration required)

Practitioner Discussion on Notice 2005-94: 2005 Reporting and Withholding Relief for 409A Deferrals
Excerpt: "The [target page] is a transcript of an informal discussion of employee benefits practitioners held in Washington, D.C. on December 19, 2005. The topic involved Notice 2005-94, 2005-52 I.R.B. 1208, which suspended the reporting and withholding requirements imposed in connection with the deferred compensation rules under 409A." (BNA Tax Management)

Overview: Year-End Guidance for Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans (PDF)
Excerpt: "For 2005, the IRS has suspended the wage withholding and information reporting requirements that apply to certain nonqualified deferred compensation amounts under the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (AJCA). However, future guidance may require employers to file corrected information returns and furnish corrected withholding statements for 2005 to report amounts includible in income that are not reported due to this temporary suspension of the reporting rules." (Prudential Retirement)

Chart of Highlights of October 4, 2005, Proposed Rules for Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans (PDF)
5 pages. (Prudential Retirement)

Highlights of October 4, 2005, Proposed Rules for Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "[The] Compliance Bulletin, 'IRS Publishes Proposed Regulations for Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans,' ... provided an overview of the actions that plan sponsors may need to take before December 31, 2005, to comply with these rules, and highlighted important additional transitional period relief. This publication provides an overview of other important provisions of the proposed rules ...." (Prudential Retirement)

Finding Firms that Boost Benefits
Excerpt: "[L]et's fantasize about a place where companies are boosting benefits. First, let's look for this place somewhere in the future. It will happen, eventually -- when companies have to compete harder to hire the best people. 'It would be if employers start to feel that what they've done is adversely affecting hiring, and secondly, that it is affecting retention,' said Dallas Salisbury, chief executive of the Employee Benefit Research Institute." (The Dallas Morning News; one-time registration required)

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Treasury and IRS Revise Circular 230 for Tax Professionals
(U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

ERISA/Benefits Attorney
for Parker, Poe, Adams & Bernstein L.L.P.
in NC

Compliance Consultant - AZ
for Vanguard
in AZ

Compliance Administrator
for BISYS Retirement Services
in PA

ERISA Attorney
for Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)
in WA

Director of Client Services
for BISYS Retirement Services

ERISA Associate
for DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary US LLP
in MD

Compliance Administrator - AZ
for Vanguard
in AZ

Manager, Contribution Processing ~ Financial Services
for CitiStreet
in NJ

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