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June 16, 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)

IRS Plans to Issue Final HSA Comparability Regulations by Mid-Summer
Excerpt: "Kevin Knopf, Attorney-Advisor, Treasury Office of Tax Policy, and Russell Weinheimer, Chief Counsel of IRS Tax-Exempt and Government Entities (TE/GE), updated practitioners about the current state and future of health savings accounts (HSAs). Speaking at the Federal Bar Association's Insurance Tax Seminar on June 2 in Washington, D.C., ...." (CCH Payroll)

Protecting Consumers in an Evolving Health Insurance Market (PDF)
68 pages. Excerpt: "This paper outlines the evolution of both health insurance and its regulation and summarizes the early experience with the new consumer-directed products. It then considers potential strategies that regulators and accrediting organizations could use to address problems consumers may face in an evolving insurance market, including ways in which regulators and accreditors could treat similarly organizations performing similar functions, setting standards ...." (National Committee for Quality Assurance)

Opinion: Getting Health Savings Accounts Right
Excerpt: "The growing success of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) is a policy victory, but Congress should be cautious not to overstep the role of the government in the health insurance marketplace. Policymakers eager to build on the success of HSAs should focus on improving the management and administration of these arrangements, but resist tempting efforts to manipulate the market in favor of them." (The Heritage Foundation)

Consumer-Directed Health Plans: Enrollee Views, Early Employer Experience
Originally published June 2005. Excerpt: "This paper presents the results of a study of California consumer awareness of, and attitudes toward, CDHPs in the context of several national surveys and the experiences of some early-adopting employers." (Managed Care magazine)

Poll: Almost All Surveyed Companies Have Education Assistance Policies
Excerpt: "[O]f those companies that have assistance plans, 74% said less than 15% of their employees participate, according to a news releases on the survey that was conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans." (PLANSPONSOR.com: one-time registration required)

Supreme Court Decides Difficult Federal Health Insurance/Jurisdictional Issue
Excerpt: "Ross Runkel has posted this summary of this complicated employment decision handed down [June 15] by the Supreme Court in Empire HealthChoice v. McVeigh, No. 05-200 (US. June 15, 2006), as part of a Supreme Court Extra on his Employment Law Memo newsletter ...." (Workplace Prof Blog)

Opinion: How to Create a Competitive Insurance Market
Excerpt: "Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) has introduced the Health Care Choice Act (H.R. 2355), which would increase access to individual health coverage by allowing insurers licensed to sell policies in one state to offer them to residents of any other state. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate (S. 1015). If enacted, the law would create a more competitive, nationwide health insurance market." (National Center for Policy Analysis)

A Critical Review of the Arguments for Insurance Coverage for Smoking-Cessation Therapies
Originally published May 2001. Excerpt: "This article elucidates the reasons most insurance companies do not cover smoking-cessation therapies despite their obvious benefits. It critically reviews the arguments for and against using a universal mandate as a strategy to increase use of smoking-cessation programs to realize the associated health benefits and cost-savings." (Managed Care magazine)

The Dynamics of Health Insurance Coverage: 1996 to 2000 (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "Over the study period, Dubay and Blumberg found minimal evidence that public insurance coverage eligibility produced substantial reductions in private coverage and compelling evidence of decreases in uninsurance." (Changes in Health Care Financing & Organization)

Do Employers Really Care About Health Care Executives' Rising Pay?
Excerpt: "The backdating of stock options at UnitedHealth Group has set off a widespread regulatory investigation into the practice and elicited outcry from shareholders and doctors, but barely a whimper has been heard from those employers for whom rising health care costs are among their biggest concerns." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Testimony on FASB's Proposed Standard on Employers' Accounting for Pension and Other Plans (PDF)
21 pages. Testimony of Robert H. Herz, Chairman, Financial Accounting Standards Board, before the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, June 14, 2006, on FASB's Proposed Standard on 'Employers' Accounting for Defined Benefit Pension and Other Postretirement Plans" (Financial Accounting Standards Board)

The Nonqualified Advisor -- Apr/June 2006 Edition (PDF)
2 pages. This edition has articles titled: Accounting Stalemate: Post-Retirement Split-Dollar; How to deduct BOLI Premiums and Gain Tax-Free Withdrawals; and IRS Offers 409A Transition Relief for Offshore Trusts. (Employee Benefit Solutions)

Deferred Compensation Programs: Cautions and Deadlines Under Section 409A
Excerpt: "Employee Benefit News has published several articles on the new Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code, but many HR-benefit managers are still confused about its implications. .... In this article, the first in a series, Frank Palmieri, Esq., of Palmieri & Eisenberg, answers questions about the application of Section 409A to various deferred compensation programs." (Employee Benefit News)

Executive Pay Levels Driven Higher Largely on Salary and Bonus Increases
Excerpt: "A Towers Perrin analysis of 2006 proxy statements confirms that executive compensation levels moved up again last year, but the increase came mostly on higher salary and bonus payments and was the smallest in some time. .... In addition to reviewing pay trends, we were also interested in seeing whether and how companies had changed the content or format of their 2006 proxy statements in response to the SEC's January 2006 disclosure proposal." (Towers Perrin)

Stock Option Award Timing: A Hot Button Issue (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "Recently, the news media have been awash in stories regarding the alleged 'backdating' of stock option grants -- primarily to high-level executives -- by publicly traded companies. Although the controversy has its roots in an SEC investigation dating back to 2005, the issue gained prominence following a March 18, 2006, Wall Street Journal (WSJ) analysis and numerous ensuing investigations by the SEC and the Department of Justice." (Winston & Strawn LLP)

Opinion: Quinn Applies Newton's Third Law to Benefits
Excerpt: "My objective is not to argue that employers should be in the business of employee benefits, but rather to note that once in it, exiting for already covered (yes, dependent) populations, is not a good thing; in fact, it is a rather dumb thing to do, financially advantageous or not. Let's count the reasons why." (Richard D. Quinn via Employee Benefit News)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

8th Annual Corporate University Week
in Florida on November 12, 2006
presented by International Quality & Productivity Center (IQPC)

Code Section 409A Workshop
in Illinois on July 27, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Cross-Tested Plan Workshop - Design and Testing
Nationwide on August 23, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Estate Planning Considerations for Qualified Plans and IRAs
in Illinois on July 28, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Safe Harbor 401(k) Plan Workshop - Design and Administration
Nationwide on August 24, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

New Survey Finds 94% of Organizations Offer Education Assistance to Employees
(International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Employee Benefits Tax Senior or Manager
for Deloitte
in CA

Employee Benefits Associate
for Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly LLP
in MN

Senior Due Diligence Analyst
for Vanguard
in PA

Project Manager
for Vanguard
in PA

Annual Plan Reporting Manager
for Vanguard
in PA

Plan Specialist - Plan Sponsor Desk
for Transamerica
in IA

Associate Investment Analyst
for New York Life Investment Management LLC
in MA

Investment Analyst
for New York Life Investment Management LLC
in MA

Wachovia Retirement Solutions Relationship Manager II
for Wachovia
in NC

401(k) Compliance Specialist
for ADP (Automatic Data Processing)
in NJ

ERISA and Executive Compensation Associate
for Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
in MA




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