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May 31, 2006
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(Please visit our sponsors. We try to make sure their products and services will be of interest to you. Thanks! --Editor)

Retired Steelworkers and Their Health Benefits: Results from a 2004 Survey (PDF)
61 pages. Excerpt: "The Kaiser Family Foundation [yesterday] released a survey looking at how the bankruptcies of two steel companies, the LTV Corporation and Bethlehem Steel, affected health coverage for the companies' retirees and dependents." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Overview: IRS Proposed Regulations on Child Care Tax Credit Affect Dependent Care FSAs
Excerpt: "The proposed regulations will not become effective until published in final form, but still offer useful guidance on the IRS's position on certain issues... IRC § 21 and the related regulations govern the types of benefits that can be provided under [dependent care assistance programs], and the types of expenses that Dependent Care [flexible spending accounts] can reimburse." (Deloitte via BenefitsLink.com)

Americans Take Less Vacation than Foreign Counterparts
Excerpt: "Working adults are expected to leave an average of four vacation days on the table this year, up from three days last year. That means Americans are likely to forego 574 million vacation days this year, up from 421 million last year, according to a new poll from the travel provider Expedia.com." (BenefitNews Connect)

OPM Floats Proposal for High-Deductible Health Plan Offerings
Excerpt: "The Office of Personnel Management has sent a formal legislative proposal to Congress seeking to increase the number of high-deductible, consumer-directed options in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program." (GovExec.com)

Health Financing Revisited: A Practitioner's Guide
Excerpt: "This report assesses health financing policies for their ability to improve health outcomes, provide financial protection, and ensure consumer satisfaction-- in a equitable, efficient, and financially sustainable manner. It is intended to equip policy-makers at global and country levels with the tools for navigating this extremely complex domain by providing an overview of health financing policy in developing countries and is a primer on major health financing and fiscal issues." (The World Bank)

Vermont Governor Signs Compromise Health Care Reform Legislation
Excerpt: "Vermont Gov. James Douglas (R) on Thursday signed two bills into law that establish a new state-funded insurance program for the uninsured and require employers to pay assessments if they do not offer health care coverage to their workers, the Burlington Free Press reports (Remsen, Burlington Free Press, 5/26)." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

ERISA, Equitable Relief and the 'Equitable Lien by Agreement'
Excerpt: "The Supreme Court's recent unanimous decision in Sereboff v. Mid Atlantic Medical Services, Inc. may have restored to ERISA plan participants the ability to obtain meaningful relief for certain fiduciary breaches. Although Sereboff involved the claims of a fiduciary against a participant for reimbursement of plan-paid medical expenses, plan participants can use the same logic to advance their own claims against plan fiduciaries." (Michael H. Rosenthal via for your benefit)

San Francisco Chronicle Examines Use of Pill-Splitting Programs by Health Insurers
Excerpt: "The San Francisco Chronicle [yesterday] examined how several large insurers are 'encouraging patients to save money by splitting their pills in half.' Consumers can save on copayments by cutting pills in half because pharma.ceutical companies typically charge the same price for a medication regardless of the dose." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Health and Productivity Plans More Common in U.S.
Excerpt: "Most multinational companies have developed a health and productivity strategy for employees in the United States, but few of those companies extend the programs to their operations in other countries, according to a survey by Watson Wyatt Worldwide." (Business Insurance)

Time Is the Best Medicine in Making the Switch to Consumer-Driven Health Coverage
Excerpt: "Analysts say large employers have learned from the experience of others in recent years and, as a result, are taking longer between when they decide to drop all other health plans in favor of a high-deductible plan and actually implementing the change. A longer time frame may help change employees from passive consumers of medicine to active consumers of their health care." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)

Consumer-Driven Health Plans: Small but Growing Enrollment Fueled by Rising Cost of Healthcare Coverage
38 pages. Excerpt: "GAO was asked to review the prevalence of CDHPs, how the associated accounts are funded and used, and the factors that may contribute to the growth or limit the appeal of these plans. GAO examined survey data on CDHP enrollment and interviewed or obtained data from employers, insurance carriers, individuals, financial institutions, and other CDHP experts. [Highlights are at http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d06514high.pdf.]" (U.S. Government Accountability Office)

Study Gauges Health Data Gap
Excerpt: "Consistent with American do-it-your-selfhood, consumers prefer quality information about health care over hands-on help from financial advisers, according to a survey commissioned by California benefits provider WageWorks." (BenefitNews Connect)

Opinion: Ohio Public Pension Systems Struggling to Provide for Retirees
Excerpt: "Escalating health-care costs and lackluster investments have placed an unprecedented strain on Ohio public pensions -- a crisis state lawmakers will have to confront by cutting benefits or sticking cities, school districts and retirees with higher payments." (The Columbus Dispatch)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Speech: The Business Case for Workers Age 50+: A Good Investment
The speech was given at the OECD Forum 2006 in Paris, France on May 22, 2006, by Thomas C. Nelson, Chief Operating Officer of AARP. (AARP)

Global Stock Plans: Greater Sensitivity to Local Conditions (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "Simplistic, monolithic approaches, whereby multinationals simply export their home-country incentives, are not able to withstand many of today's challenges. However, by highlighting the ways in which major multinationals today are increasingly taking into account local conditions, in no way am I suggesting that all global consistency should be abandoned." (Benefits & Compensation International via Towers Perrin)

Obituary for Prominent Tax Attorney Sherwin P. Simmons
Excerpt: "SIMMONS, SHERWIN PALMER, prominent national tax lawyer who led the national tax bar for over 51 years in a variety of positions, passed away in Miami, after a long battle with Leukemia, on Wed., May 24, 2006, with his family by his side." (Miami Herald)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Code Section 409A Workshop
in Pennsylvania on July 19, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Code Section 409A Workshop
in Massachusetts on July 20, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Estate Planning Considerations for Qualified Plans and IRAs
in Pennsylvania on July 20, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Estate Planning Considerations for Qualified Plans and IRAs
in Massachusetts on July 21, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

New! Fundamentals of 401(k) and Other Qualified Plans
in Colorado on July 26, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Retirement, Deferred Compensation, and Welfare Plans of Tax-Exempt and Governmental Employers
in District of Columbia on September 7, 2006
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Webcast On New Dependent Care Regulations - What Has Changed?
Nationwide on June 15, 2006
presented by HRTrainingCenter.com


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Extension of SEC Deadline for 22-c2 Compliance Needed, According to SPARK Institute Survey of Record Keepers
(SPARK Institute)

Benefit Software Announces Fringe Facts® Communicator 7.1: Simplifies Customization of High-Impact Employee Benefits Statements For Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
(Benefit Software Inc.)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

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

Compliance Manager - AZ
for Vanguard
in AZ

Client Integration Transition Manager
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in NY

401(k) / Defined Contribution Administrator
for Campbells Administration Inc.
in CA

Retirement Plan Manager
for Chemung Canal Trust Company
in NY

Benefits and Retirement Specialist
for Aerojet - Sacramento
in CA

Defined Benefit Consultant / Project Manager - Data Consulting
for Fidelity Investments
in MA, NC, NH

Defined Contribution Conversions Project Leader
for New York Life Investment Management LLC
in MA

Sr. Proposal Consultant
for Merrill Lynch
in NJ

Implementation Analyst Consultant
for Fidelity Investments
in NH

Marketing Manager - Retirement Plans Services
for Vanguard
in PA

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

Pension Administrator
for AKT Retirement Plan Services LLC
in OR




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