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June 15, 2006
Today's sponsor: ASPPA • Working for America's Retirement™

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Don't miss the 2006 Western Benefits Conference!

The famed Bellagio Hotel is the site of this year's WBC, held July 16-19. Sponsored by the Western Pension & Benefits Conference and ASPPA, there are more than 50 educational sessions on retirement, health, welfare, fiduciary issues and more plus networking activities such as an exhibit hall, golf outing, Sunday reception and entertainment on Monday evening.

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

Obesity - The New Frontier of Public Health Law
Excerpt: "A backlash from the food industry is already evident, and rights-oriented consumer groups have decried some measures because they impinge on civil liberties. Tensions exist between these interventions and the freedoms of choice, speech, and contract. In this article, we review the rationale for regulatory action to combat obesity, examine legal issues raised by initiatives to date, and comment on the prospects for public health law in this area." (New England Journal of Medicine; written by 3 lawyers.)

EBRI Issue Brief: The Tax Treatment of Health Insurance and Employment-Based Health Benefits (PDF)
26 pages. Excerpt: "This Issue Brief examines changes that policymakers are discussing, explores the history of tax laws concerning the tax treatment of health benefits and the cost to the federal government in forgone taxes because of these laws, and examines some the advantages and disadvantages that could result from the proposed changes." (Employee Benefit Research Institute)

Treasury Department's HSA Comparability Guidance Could Allow More Contribution Flexibility
Excerpt: "Treasury and IRS officials tell ICDC that final guidance on the health savings account (HSA) comparable contribution rules will be released at the end of the month or in early July. The new rules are expected to provide employers with greater flexibility in setting HSA contributions." (INSIDE CONSUMER-DIRECTED CARE via

The Corporate Sabbatical Isn't Just a Pipe Dream at a Significant Minority of Companies
Excerpt: "Roughly 11 percent of large companies offer paid sabbaticals to employees and another 29 percent offer unpaid sabbaticals, according to the latest data from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)." (

National Health IT Debate Reunites Old HIPAA Foes from Five Years Ago
Excerpt: "Hospitals and health plans dislike the patchwork of state privacy laws, and advocates think patients should be asked to consent to having their protected health information (PHI) shared. Sounds like the debate from five years ago, doesn't it?" (REPORT ON PATIENT PRIVACY via

Retiree Drug Subsidy -- Is CMS Getting the Right 'Message'?
Excerpt: "With the next reporting date scheduled for July, in this article we take a closer look at the typical process involved for plan sponsors to calculate and report subsidy amounts, and we suggest ways to make the process a more judicious one for the rest of the year and beyond." (CCA Strategies, LLC)

The Wal-Mart Debate -- A False Choice Between Prices and Wages
Excerpt: "In a more technical Working Paper, [the Institute assesses] many of the competing claims about Wal-Mart's impact on prices and wages. [The Institute notes], however, that this is a very narrow question and argue[s] that the debate over Wal-Mart's economic impact is plagued by false dichotomies. The more important question for the future isn't whether Wal-Mart is a force for good or evil in the American economy, but whether the economic benefits provided by Wal-Mart ...." (Economic Policy Institute)

German Private Health Insurers Reject Reform Plans
Excerpt: "Germany's private health insurers, seen as the key to a successful reform of the country's healthcare system, [yesterday] ruled out proposals that they join a communal fund to pay the future health bill." (Business Insurance)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Court Rules Wal-Mart COLI Complaint Can Move Forward
Excerpt: "Corporate-owned life insurance policies garnered some unwanted attention recently as the Delaware Supreme Court has ruled that the mega-retailer's complaint against AIG Life Insurance Co. and Hartford Life Insurance Co. warrants a trial." (The Advisor)

Executive Remuneration Perspective: Putting CEO Compensation in Perspective
Excerpt: "[Mercer believes] the debate over CEO pay, which has been going on longer than [their] study, could be informed by taking a longer view. This Perspective reviews the results of [their] studies from 1996 to 2005, capturing the lead-up to the dot-com bubble, its spectacular pop and the current era of strengthened corporate governance and greater transparency." (Mercer Human Resource Consulting LLC and Mercer Investment Consulting, Inc.; one-time registration required)

Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide Updated as of June 13, 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)

Overview of Stock Options Grant Timing: Is Your Company at Risk?
Excerpt: "The Securities and Exchange Commission, and United States Attorney's Offices in New York, California and Massachusetts currently are investigating if the abnormal return patterns associated with certain stock option grants are attributable to improper backdating of such grants." (Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

ERISA Litigation Forum: Subrogation Under ERISA
Nationwide on July 11, 2006
presented by Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP

Working Toward Healthier Employees: Smoking Cessation and Obesity Teleweb
Nationwide on June 22, 2006
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

PBGC Issues Rule on Employer Liability When Closing a Facility
(Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC))

Schwab Meets Growing Demand for Automatic 401(k) Plan Solutions With Schwab Retirement Smart Steps(TM)
(Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.)

IRS Reminds Businesses to Classify Workers Correctly
(Internal Revenue Service (IRS))

Bandag, Incorporated Announces Pension Plan Changes and Employment Reduction Programs
(Bandag, Incorporated)

Nearly One in Five Companies Allows Pets in the Workplace According to New Survey
(American Pet Products Manufacturers Association)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Pension Administrator
for Pension Investors Corp. of Orlando
in FL

Administrator - DB and DC
for CMC Retirement and Employee Benefits Specialists, Inc.
in CA

Plan Administrator/Trust Accounting Manager
for The Law Offices Of R. David Danziger - Bucks County, PA
in PA

Director, Client Services
for Actuarial Consultants, Inc.
in CA

Defined Contribution / 401(k) Administrator
for Enterprise Pensions, Inc.
in AZ

VP - Executive Trading Plans
for Merrill Lynch
in NJ

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