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May 22, 2006
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Since 1992, BeneCom has provided one-stop benefit communications for organizations large and small, nationwide. Staffed by people who know benefits, we write, design and produce effective media, including SPDs, enrollment materials, newsletters, benefit statements and more. So whether you're an employer, plan administrator or consultant in need of traditional or online capabilities, we're here to help. Call (860) 674-2626 today.

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

A Boom Is Building in FSA Debit Cards, but Challenges Remain
Excerpt: "Because of the efficiency, savings, and convenience they bring to a system traditionally choked with paper, debit cards linked to flexible-spending accounts (FSAs) are turning into a hot growth market in electronic payments." (Digital Transactions)

Giving Employees Time to Grieve Has Benefits
Excerpt: "Businesses are ramping up all types of contingency plans for earthquakes, fires, cyber-security threats, even terrorist attacks. But what about an emergency plan for grief?" (The Salt Lake Tribune via Northwest Herald)

Spouses Who Work Together -- FMLA Treatment Following the Birth of their Child?
Excerpt: "Question: Let's say a married couple works for the same company and the female gets pregnant and she takes her three months FMLA. Will the husband qualify for three months after the wife returns to work to care for the child? Answer: No, the husband would not qualify for FMLA leave to care for the child under the circumstances you describe." (Human Resource Executive Online)

Overview: No COBRA Notice Required for Participant Terminated for Gross Misconduct
Excerpt: "In its analysis of whether the employee's conduct constituted gross misconduct, the district court pointed out that gross misconduct is not defined in COBRA, that federal case law addressing the issue is sparse, and that the applicable state law provided as little guidance as the federal law." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Commentary: Sereboff and the Future of ERISA Remedies
Excerpt: "Although only 11 pages long, with only two footnotes (a true breath of fresh air after Great-West Life & Annuity Ins. Co. v. Knudson, 534 U.S. 204 (2002)), this decision marks a turning point in the Court's philosophical approach to determining the scope of 'appropriate equitable relief' under ERISA Section 502(a)(3)." (Prof. Colleen Medill via Workplace Prof Blog)

Overview: Supreme Court Permits Plan's Reimbursement Claim as Equitable Relief
Excerpt: "This decision resolves a split among the federal courts, and provides some comfort for sponsors of plans with reimbursement provisions -- but enforcing those provisions is still no cakewalk. There must be particular funds or property in the defendant's possession, which means that plans will have to diligently monitor the status of their participants' claims against third parties, as did the plan fiduciary in this case." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Overview: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Medical Plan's Right to Reimbursement (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "In a very favorable decision for ERISA-covered employee benefit welfare plans, the U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that a fiduciary may properly seek reimbursement from a participant or beneficiary under a plan's appropriately worded third-party reimbursement provision. Sereboff v. Mid Atlantic Med. Servs., Inc., No. 05-260 (U.S. May 15, 2006)." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

Report: New York's Fair Share for Health Care: No Significant Employment Impact (PDF)
18 pages. Excerpt: "To assess the employment impacts of the FSHC, the Center for a Changing Workforce reviewed recent economic literature on employment and health insurance, and used several methods to develop a balanced estimate of possible positive and negative employment impacts." (Center for a Changing Workforce)

Generic Spending on Rise at Drug Firm
Excerpt: "The nation's largest pharmacy benefits manager announced Friday that it was distributing more generic drugs than brand-name counterparts, a sign that costly brand-name pres.cription medicines may be losing their grip on the market, leading to lower drug costs for consumers." (Los Angeles Times; one-time registration required)

Mich. Sets Trend with Consumer-Driven Plans Giving Employees Incentives to Keep Health Costs Down
Excerpt: "More southeast Michigan employers are pushing workers to make smarter and more economical health care choices, a trend that appears to be helping some companies slow the pace of health care cost increases, according to a study to be released today." (The Detroit News)

Health Insurance after Enzi
Excerpt: "Some members of Congress still hope to find a way this term to help small businesses provide health coverage." (National Underwriter Life & Health; free one-time registration or paid subscription required)

Opinion: Is There Anything that Can.ada Can Learn from U.S. about Health Coverage -- Or Vice Versa?
Excerpt: "Our neighbors to the north are skeptical, to put it mildly, but maybe we can share a few lessons about innovation and consumerism, as I tried to describe during a conference on Tuesday in Nova Scotia sponsored by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS), a market-oriented think tank in Halifax. " (Grace-Marie Turner via Galen Institute)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Corrected Link: Further IRS Section 409A Guidance and Possible Impact on 2006 Amendment Deadline (PDF)
2 pages. (Gardner Carton & Douglas)

Clean Up Deferred Compensation Arrangements with IRS 'Formula' 409A
Excerpt: "As in-house counsel, you should already know that § 409A imposes a host of new rules regarding elections, distributions, funding and reporting of nonqualified deferred compensation. In the event any of these rules are violated, 409A imposes immediate taxation, a 20 percent additional tax and interest on affected employees/workers." (Gordon Klepper and Boyd Brown via Law.com)

5th Circuit Holds that USERRA Does Not Preclude Enforcement of Arbitration Agreement
Excerpt: "The Fifth Circuit held that USERRA did not preclude the arbitration agreement's enforcement, reversing a lower court's ruling in favor of the employee." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Employee's Internal Complaint of Plan Violations May Be Protected by ERISA Section 510
Excerpt: "ERISA Section 510 makes it unlawful to 'discharge... any person because he has given information or has testified or is about to testify in any inquiry or proceeding related to' ERISA. The court first determined that the employee's actions fell within ERISA Section 510 because the phrase 'inquiry or proceeding' includes internal company complaints to management and isn't limited to legal or administrative proceedings." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Employee Complaints about Plan Violations Protected by ERISA
Excerpt: "The US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled that an employee's complaint to management about plan violations was an 'inquiry or proceeding' that is protected from retaliation by Section 510 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Study Shows 17 US Firms 'At Risk' for Options Dating Problems
Excerpt: "A Maryland research company reported in a new study that 17 of 100 companies examined were deemed 'at risk' for having back dated option grants issued between 1997 and 2002." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Fundamentals of Employer Health Management
in Washington on May 9, 2006
presented by International Society of CEBS - Pacific NW Chapter

Webcast: Has Massachusetts Solved The Health Insurance Puzzle?
Nationwide on May 22, 2006
presented by KaiserNetwork.org


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey Offers Self-Insured Employers Resolution Health's Direct-to-Member Communications Suite
(Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Retirement Plan Coordinator
for American Funds, a part of The Capital Group Companies, Inc
in TX

Benefits Administrator
for CCA Strategies
in CO, IL

401(k)/Defined Contribution Valuation Processor
for National Retirement Services, Inc.
in CA, NC

Attorney - Counsel: Retirement Plans
for Transamerica
in CA

401(k) Administrator/Recordkeeper
for Scottsdale Pension Systems, Inc.
in AZ

Team Leader, Regional Service Team
for Standard Insurance Company
in OR

Pension Administrator
for Benetech, Inc.
in CA, GA

Retirement Services Relationship Manager
for Fulton Financial Advisors
in PA

Signing Bonus / Senior DC Plan Administrator
for Berlin, Ramos & Company
in ANY STATE

Client Service Pension Administrator
for San Diego Pension Consultants, Inc.
in CA

Account Executive - Retirement
for Lockton Dunning Benefits Company
in TX

Defined Contribution Plan Administrator
for Pension Specialists, Inc.
in AZ

401 K/Defined Contribution Daily Valuation Administrator
for Pension Parameters, Inc.
in NJ

National Account Executive for Insurance Carrier
for Great-West Heatlhcare
in CO

Western Regional Manager - Client Relationship Management
for Transamerica
in CA

Sr. Operations Manager
for CitiStreet
in FL

Customer Manager
for CitiStreet
in FL

Customer Relationship and Operations Manager
for CitiStreet
in FL

Sr. Customer Relationship and Operations Manager
for CitiStreet
in FL

Pension Administrator
for Full Service Employee Benefit Consulting Firm
in NY

Senior Plan Administrator
for American National Insurance Company
in TX




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