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May 15, 2006
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Senate Kills Small Business Health Plan Bill
Excerpt: "The Senate effectively killed legislation that would have allowed businesses to band together in so-called small business health plans, refusing to cut off debate on the measure Thursday." (Business Insurance)

Health Savings Accounts: Some Current Policy Issues (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "Several of the President's proposals attempt to provide equal tax treatment for HSA plans sold in the individual market and those offered by employers. On equity grounds alone, there is much to be said for this. Arguably, tax benefits for health care should not depend on whether one happens to be employed, let alone works for certain employers. Nonetheless, some argue that employment-based coverage is preferable to individual market insurance ...." (U.S. Congressional Research Service)

Overview: New Model Notices of Creditable Coverage Under Medicare Part D
Excerpt: "On April 21, 2006, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ('CMS') issued additional guidance and model notices of creditable coverage. CMS published initial guidance and model notices last year that were applicable to notices of creditable coverage made from November 15, 2006 to May 15, 2006. .... This recent guidance supercedes the prior guidance and applies to notices of creditable coverage beginning May 15, 2006." (Kilpatrick Stockton LLP)

COLI Not an Employee Benefit, CRS Says
Excerpt: "Corporate-owned life insurance (COLI) is not an employee benefit and should not be mistaken for an employer-provided bonus, the Congressional Research Service said in an overview of COLI insurance and tax issues ...." ( one-time registration required)

New Hampshire Web Site Provides Hospital Health Care Cost Information
Excerpt: "The New Hampshire Hospital Association on Tuesday launched a Web site that provides residents with information about the cost of common services at the state's 26 hospitals, ...." (California HealthCare Foundation; one-time registration may be required)

Opinion: Universal Health Insurance: Reaching The Tipping Point?
Excerpt: "Can fundamental health care reform happen in (relatively) ordinary times? Short of 'a major war, a depression, large-scale civil unrest, [or] a national health crisis, such as a flu pandemic,' to quote health experts Victor Fuchs and Ezekiel Emanuel, what would light the fuse?" (The Century Foundation)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview of Employee Benefits Developments, April 2006
The April edition covers: HHS provides guidance on the permitted disclosure of PHI; EBSA extends mental health parity rules; Limited 409A transition relief for prohibited plans; ESOP escrow account is a plan asset; Nationwide's 401(k) product comes under attack; ERISA benefits not protected against victim restitution recovery; and, COBRA small employer exception: corporate officers not counted if not paid employees. (Hodgson Russ LLP)

Clear Language in Plan Summary Trumps HR Director's Conflicting Statements
Excerpt: "Generally, informal representations conflicting with the terms of the plan document are unenforceable. But given the possibility of successful claims, plan administrators (and others who have administrative responsibilities) must be vigilant about providing accurate and complete answers to plan participants and beneficiaries who ask questions." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Severance... It's Not What It Used To Be
Excerpt: "In enacting § 409A of the Internal Revenue Code (the 'Code'), Congress sought to comprehensively regulate 'deferred compensation.'1 From the start, the regulators have made clear in their public comments that the new deferred compensation rules would result in fundamental changes. The treatment of severance or 'separation pay' (as the IRS has taken to calling it) under these new rules illustrates the point." (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. via BNA Tax Management)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Fundamentals of Health & Welfare Plans
in Arizona on June 14, 2006
presented by International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists--Phoenix Chapter

Fundamentals of Health of Welfare Plans and Funadmentals of Retirement Plans
in Texas on June 6, 2006
presented by Houston Chapter of the International Society of Certified Employee Benefits Specialists

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

White Horse Advisors Hosts Successful Educational Workshop For CPAs
(White Horse Advisors, LLC)

Chemical Financial Corporation to Partially Freeze Chemical Financial Corporation Employees' Pension Plan
(Chemical Financial Corporation)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Defined Contribution Plans Administrator
for Benefit Associates Inc.
in CA

401(k) Administrator - Analyst
for The Pension Group, Inc.
in CA

Enrolled Actuary
for Summit Benefit & Actuarial Services, Inc.
in OR, WI

401(k) Plan Administrator
for Pollard & Associates, Inc.
in MD

Assistant Pension Administrator
for Pollard & Associates, Inc.
in MD

Senior Consultant - Total Rewards
for Deloitte Consulting LLP
in NY

Human Resources, Benefits Specialist
for Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc (TEMA)
in OH

Human Resources Officer (Benefits)
for Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
in DC

Senior Health & Welfare Plans Administrator #0612
for Ball Corporation
in CO

Disability and Retirement & Savings Administrator #0623
for Ball Corporation
in CO

Benefits Consultant 1
for Wells Fargo & Company
in MN

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