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June 9, 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)

Pension Bill Provision Would Help Health Insurers Recover Medical Costs
Excerpt: "A provision included in a pension bill under consideration in a House-Senate conference committee could expand the ability of health insurers to obtain shares of settlements and judgments that employees receive in personal injury lawsuits, the Wall Street Journal reports." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

June 2006 Bulletin on Proposed IRS Rules on Dependent Care Expense Reimbursement (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "[The target page is a] new Segal Company Bulletin that discusses proposed rules from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that would clarify, restate and replace existing rules concerning reimbursement of dependent care expenses ...." (The Segal Company)

Overview: IRS Releases Dependent Care FSA Regulations (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "On May 24, 2006, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released proposed regulations that address many fundamental dependent care flexible spending account (DFSA) issues. The regulations cover the dependent care tax credit (IRS Code §21), which by reference also establishes many of the rules for a DFSA." (Ceridian Corporation)

Snapshot: Employer-Based Health Insurance in California -- Coverage and Cost (PDF)
25 pages. Excerpt: "The cost of health insurance remains a perennial preoccupation of employers, employees, and policymakers. About two-thirds of California businesses offer health insurance to at least some workers as a benefit of employment." (California HealthCare Foundation; one-time registration may be required)

Experts Say Relocation Costs Among First Perks Cut by Companies Axing Budgets
Excerpt: "[F]or many companies nationwide, the level of relocation reimbursement is a benefit that is beginning to dwindle, according to the 2006 Corporate Relocation Survey released by Atlas World Group." (The Indianapolis Star via dailyrecord.com)

Group Comment Letter to Subcommittee on Health on HR 4157
Excerpt: "As organizations representing consumers, we are writing to comment on the consideration of H.R. 4157 in the Energy and Commerce Committee. First, we are pleased that the substitute bill under consideration has deleted what we considered a harmful provision that would lead to the preemption of stronger state medical records privacy laws." (Consumers Union)

Health IT Bill Wins Approval In House Energy and Commerce
Excerpt: "The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee [yesterday] approved a bill designed to govern and streamline health information technology in an effort to improve care that is sometimes hampered by illegible handwriting and decentralization of files. The bill (H.R. 4257) was approved on a voice vote .... It is nearly identical to the one approved by a House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee last week." (The National Journal Group, Limited via BlueCross BlueShield Association)

Blues Association Launches Transparency Program
Excerpt: "The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association announced a new initiative promising an 'unprecedented level of transparency' for consumers. The multifaceted program, Blue Distinction, will include several state demonstration projects aimed at helping consumers make better choices about healthcare providers and at helping providers improve care and lower costs." (Modern Healthcare; one-time registration required)

Unlocking the Mystery of Health Care Pricing
Excerpt: "Consumers can't shop around for inexpensive health care unless price information is readily available, just like it is for everything else in the economy." (Forbes.com)

Ex-Health Chief Calls for an Ounce of Prevention
Excerpt: "Tommy Thompson, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, called for corporations and individuals to place greater emphasis on preventive medicine." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Health Plans Prepare for Avian Flu Outbreak in the U.S.
Excerpt: "As fears rise about a possible pandemic of Avian Influenza A (H5N1), health insurers have begun preparations, developing briefing papers and online information sources to educate group and individual customers about the threat and working internally to adjust disaster planning for a possible outbreak." (MANAGED CARE WEEK via AISHealth.com)

The Pioneers of Consumer-Directed Health Care: Where Are They Now?
Excerpt: "In this issue, we talk with the human resources directors who helped introduce this new brand of coverage to find out what has changed since they pioneered consumer-directed health care (CDH)." (INSIDE CONSUMER-DIRECTED CARE via AISHealth.com)

Panel Proposes Guaranteed Health Care in U.S. by 2012
Excerpt: "The government should guarantee a core set of health benefits for all Americans by 2012 even if it means raising taxes, a nonpartisan advisory panel created by Congress has recommended. .... [T]he legislation that created the 15-member Citizens' Health Care Working Group requires the president to comment and five congressional committees to hold hearings." (Arizona Republic via BlueCross BlueShield Association)

Comments on the Interim Recommendations of the Citizens' Health Care Working Group
Excerpt: "In late 2003, Congress created a quasi-commission 'to bring the views of everyday Americans to the job of creating a better health care system.' After dozens of hearings and community meetings in 30 states, attended by thousands of people, the 14 members of the 'Citizens' Health Care Working Group' has published its interim recommendations." (Galen Institute)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Proposed FASB Staff Position No. FAS 123(R)-E --Title: Amendment of FASB Staff Position FAS 123(R)-1 (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "This FASB Staff Position (FSP) addresses whether a modification of an instrument in connection with an equity restructuring or a business combination should be considered a modification for purposes of applying FSP FAS 123(R)-1, 'Classification and Measurement of Freestanding Financial Instruments Originally Issued in Exchange for Employee Services under FASB Statement No. 123(R).'" (Financial Accounting Standards Board)

Overview: New Tax Rules Governing the Use of Private Aircraft
Excerpt: "Despite the restrictions on tax savings imposed by the modified rules on the deductibility of airplane expenses under IRC Section 274(e) and on the first functional use exception from California use tax, with proper planning taxpayers may be able to structure their activities to avoid the impact of the new rules." (Los Angeles Lawyer via Reish Luftman Reicher & Cohen)

Letter on Congressional Hearings on Executive Compensation and One Firm's Testimony (PDF)
10 pages. Excerpt: "The House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, which has oversight of the SEC, held hearings on executive compensation on May 25. The special hearings were called by Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass), ranking minority leader, to advance his bill, the Protection Against Executive Compensation Abuse Act, which he introduced last November." (Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc.)

Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide Updated as of June 6, 2006
Excerpt: "Hewitt's Federal Legislation Quick Guide provides short updates on federal legislation that is currently under active consideration by Congress or has recently been enacted into law regarding health and welfare benefit plans, retirement plans, and human resources and employment law." (Hewitt Associates)

It's Crunch Time for the United Automobile Workers in Detroit
Excerpt: "Ford is offering workers up to $100,000 to leave their jobs, including $35,000 to those eligible for retirement. The company is also offering a plan that pays up to $15,000 in college tuition, plus half a worker's salary for three years. Ford has no target for reducing its payroll, but the buyouts are being offered to workers at plants that it plans to close." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Getting It Right -- Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities - Minneapolis Compliance Assistance Seminar for Retirement Plan Fiduciaries
in Minnesota on July 13, 2006
presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

401(k) / Defined Contribution Administrator
for Pension Investors Corporation
in FL

Employee Benefits Account Manager
for The Parker Group
in NY

Strategic Investment Advisory Group
for JP Morgan Asset Management
in NY

Accounting Analyst/Financial Specialist
for PPL Services
in PA

Health Benefits Analyst
for Segal Company
in AZ

Health Care Benefits Consultant
for Deloitte Consulting LLP
in MN

Retirement Rollover Specialist
for The Dreyfus Corporation
in ANY STATE, AZ, CA, NV, OR, WA

Account Manager
for Pension Corporation of America
in OH

Defined Benefit Conversion Project Leader
for New York Life Investment Management LLC
in MA

Defined Contribution Administrator/Consultant
for The Benefit Practice
in NY

Account Executive - Retirement Plan Consultant
for Benefit Funding Services Group
in CA

Internal Service Representative
for Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia
in GA

Manager of Administration
for Pension And Retirement Services, Inc.
in MO




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