BenefitsLink
Welfare Plans
Newsletter
To BenefitsLink home page Fill your job openings fast by advertising on BenefitsLink

March 27, 2006
Today's sponsor: The International Foundation

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for The International Foundation

Celebrate National Employee Benefits Day and Give Yourself a Pat on the Back

Pat Yourself on the Back Monday

On Monday, April 3, the International Foundation encourages you to take pride in the critical role you play to ensure benefits coverage for plan participants. As a trustee, administrator, advisor, broker or benefits manager, your duties are complex and carry significant gravity. By continually providing the best in benefits education, we hope that the International Foundation has been able to make your duties as a fiduciary a little easier. For more on National Employee Benefits Day, visit www.ifebp.org/benefitsday


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

Work & Family: Some States Rate Day-Care Centers to Boost Quality
Excerpt: "The ratings systems evaluate facilities on such criteria as low child-adult ratios, teacher credentials, curriculum, group size, and the safety and richness of the environment. Some of the criteria have been linked in research with better outcomes in children. Most states rate both child-care centers and preschools." (The Wall Street Journal Online via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

As Parents Age, Baby Boomers and Business Struggle to Cope
Excerpt: "Companies are responding, but experts say they often use child care benefits as a model when they do not suit the different and unpredictable needs of the elderly. In addition, at a time of cutbacks in expensive health insurance and pensions, the most commonly offered benefits are those that cost a company little or nothing, like referral services and unpaid leaves." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Overview: Corporate Officers Were Not Employees for Purposes of 20-Employee Count
Excerpt: "Although the unpaid officers in this case were not counted as employees, corporate officers would be counted to determine whether COBRA applies to an employer's plan if, as in most cases, they were also paid employees. This is the first decision we know of that methodically applies the IRS's regulations regarding COBRA's small employer exception, and COBRA administrators and practitioners will want to read the court's detailed analysis." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Reminders for HIPAA Compliance (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "Reminder: Sponsors of small health plans (plans with under $5 million in annual receipts) required to comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rule must be in compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule by April 20, 2006." (Powell Goldstein LLP)

30 Percent of Individual Plans Are HSAs
Excerpt: "In an interview with United Press International, Karen Ignagni, president and chief executive officer of health-insurance trade association America's Health Plans, discusses health savings accounts and physician pay-for-performance." (United Press International)

Periodontal Care Helps People with Chronic Conditions
Excerpt: "Evidence continues to mount that taking care of your teeth and gums is a practical cost-savings strategy for patients and employers. Benefit managers may wish to consider the connection between oral health and overall health when they weigh the value of dental benefits and design dental plans for workers." (BenefitNews Connect)

Mental Health Therapists Face Financial Stress as Fees Stagnate
Excerpt: "Like many other health professionals, mental health practitioners ... say that they are feeling an economic pinch, partly because of insurance reimbursement schedules that they say have not kept pace with their expenses." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Reports of Death of So-Called 'Wal-Mart' Health Care Bills May Be Exaggerated
Excerpt: "Although advocates of the bills have suffered setbacks in recent weeks, lawmakers may continue to introduce and reintroduce new versions of the bills for years to come, says Janice Kupiec, director of state affairs at the National Association of Health Underwriters, Arlington, Va." (National Underwriter Life & Health; free one-time registration or paid subscription required)

Opinion: No Silver Bullet Will Cut Medical Costs, but Living Responsibly Can Help
Excerpt: "The recent introduction of bills in the state Legislature mandating that employers provide health insurance is just another example of the quick fixes that certain legislators, labor organizations and health care activist groups are looking for to reduce health insurance costs." (Times Union)

The Commonwealth Fund Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey: Assessing Congress's Policy Priorities
Excerpt: "This was the seventh in a series of bimonthly surveys designed to highlight leaders' perspectives on the most effective and timely health policy issues facing the nation. The survey focused on health policy priorities for Congress over the next five years." (The Commonwealth Fund)

Helping Uninsured Hoosiers Gain Access to Health Care (PDF)
Executive summary; at pp. 8-13 of 32-page document. Excerpt: "Many costs of our health care system are invisible to us. The national cost of providing health care to people without insurance that is not paid by the uninsured themselves will exceed $43 billion in 2005. This $43 billion is paid by two sources: 1/3 by government programs and 2/3's through higher premiums for health insurance." (The Sycamore Institute)

Opinion: Health-Care Reform: Be Patient
Excerpt: "Mike Leavitt, secretary of health and human services, who developed a well-earned reputation as a health-care innovator while governor of Utah, has acknowledged that our deteriorating health-care system will remain out of control so long as huge numbers of Americans lack basic medical insurance. Nothing in President Bush's agenda, however, promises to change this." (The Washington Times)

Overview: Treasury Fact Sheet Reports Dramatic Growth of HSAs
Excerpt: "This fact sheet is the latest note in the Treasury Department's song of support for HSAs. Each of the statistics provided in the fact sheet is attributed to a specific source and most are based on nongovernmental surveys or reports; no basis or explanation is provided for the Treasury Department's future predictions." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Information Security: Department of Health and Human Services Needs to Fully Implement Its Program
Excerpt: "GAO was asked to assess the effectiveness of HHS's information security program, with emphasis on CMS, in protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of its information and information systems." (U.S. Government Accountability Office via American Health Lawyers Association)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Executive Summary: Private Enterprise, Public Trust: State of Corporate America after Sarbanes-Oxley (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Relations between corporations and investors have suffered wrenching change in the last five years, from both corporate misdeeds and the legislative reaction to them. For all of the damage and pain, the potential exists for ultimate benefit to all parties, as better and more transparent information breeds renewed investor confidence and higher standards of behavior and openness." (Committee for Economic Development)

Private Enterprise, Public Trust: The State of Corporate America after Sarbanes-Oxley (PDF)
66 pages. Excerpt: "March 21, 2006, CED released ... a policy statement that examines the state of corporate governance in the United States and offers practical recommendations for restoring public trust in business." (Committee for Economic Development)

Advantages of Voluntary Compliance Programs in Merger and Acquisition
Excerpt: "The failure to identify an employee benefit issue early can make complicated transactions more complicated. The following is a story about how a minor retirement plan document provision complicated a series of acquisitions ...." (Reish Luftman Reicher & Cohen)

Overcoming a Costly Legacy
Excerpt: "For Ford Motor Co. and other Detroit automakers, on[e] of the most confounding challenges revolves around so-called 'legacy costs,' the financial burden of pension and health benefits for retirees." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)

Overview: IRS Release of Offshore Trust Transition Relief
Excerpt: "As expected, the Internal Revenue Service released Notice 2006-33 ... on March 21, 2006. The Notice gives employers until December 31, 2007 to comply with the IRC § 409A(b) rules that prohibit use of offshore trusts or arrangements that use restrictions on assets in connection with a change in the service recipient's financial health ... in connection with nonqualified deferred compensation plans." (Deloitte's Washington Bulletin via BenefitsLink.com)

Overview: Grace Period for Restrictions on Funding Nonqualified Deferred Compensation (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "The IRS has issued Notice 2006-33 to provide a transition period for bringing nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plans funded with offshore trusts or funding arrangements with financial health triggers into compliance with Internal Revenue Code section 409A(b). The grace period continues until December 31, 2007 for assets that are held in a funding arrangement as of March 21, 2006." (Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP)

Overview: SEC Offers 2006 Proxy Season Guidance (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "This Client Memorandum highlights recent guidance from the Securities and Exchange Commission ('SEC') regarding the interpretation of the SEC's executive compensation disclosure rules as currently in effect. Public companies should heed this guidance in preparing their 2006 proxy statements." (Gardner Carton & Douglas LLP)

Overview: DOL Extends Deadline for LM-10 Reporting (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "To give employers an opportunity to review and apply the DOL's updated Form LM-10 guidance, the DOL has extended the deadline for filing Form LM-10 from March 31, 2006, until May 15, 2006, for employers whose fiscal year ended on December 31, 2005." (Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.)

How to Look at a Gift Horse -- The GM Employee Buyout
Excerpt: "Last week, General Motors, in a cost-cutting move, offered to pay 113,000 hourly workers and 13,000 workers at the Delphi Corporation to quit their jobs. That may sound like dream fulfilled to many people, but are G.M.'s buyouts really a good deal?" (The New York Times; one-time registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

401(k) Plan Workshop
in Tennessee on April 26, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

401(k) Plan Workshop
in Illinois on April 27, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

401(k) Plan Workshop
in Ohio on April 28, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

401(k) Plan Workshop
in Pennsylvania on April 28, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

401(k) Plan Workshop
in California on April 28, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Form 5500 Workshop
in Tennessee on April 25, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Form 5500 Workshop
in Illinois on April 26, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Form 5500 Workshop
in California on April 27, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Form 5500 Workshop
in Ohio on April 27, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Form 5500 Workshop
in Pennsylvania on April 27, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Using ESOPs in Corporate Transactions
Nationwide on April 11, 2006
presented by Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

ECFC Elects New 2006-2007 Leadership
(Employers Council on Flexible Compensation (ECFC))

Participate in PSCA's 49th Annual Survey of Profit Sharing and 401(k) Plans
(Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America (PSCA))

Ftwilliam.com Announces the Release of the 2006 PBGC 1 Forms
(ftwilliam.com)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

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

Data Management Implementations and Service Delivery Management
for Constantin Control Associates
in NJ

Benefits Manager
for Gatti & Associates
in CA

Enterprise Operations Specialist
for Wachovia Corporation
in NC

Senior Account Executive, Employee Benefits
for ABD Insurance and Financial Services
in CA

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




Handy Links:

Copyright 2006 BenefitsLink.com, Inc.; except that you may reprint this newsletter in full (including this sentence) without obtaining our permission.

Published by:

BenefitsLink.com, Inc.
https://benefitslink.com/about.html
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park FL 32789
(407) 644-4146
Fax: (407) 644-2151

Editor and Publisher: David Rhett Baker, J.D.

Housekeeping: