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June 19, 2006
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The Tax Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 -- Effects on Fringe Benefits Earned Living Abroad (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "The Tax Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 (signed into law on May 17, 2006) retroactively increases taxes for Americans living abroad. The new tax law includes tax year 2006 and changes the way in which taxes are calculated on subsidies, such as housing allowances, given to Americans living abroad by their employers to protect them from high taxes." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

Strategies for Optimizing Pregnancy and Infertility Coverage
Excerpt: "Modified insurance coverage levels and targeted physician incentives can greatly reduce costs associated with pregnancy and infertility, some experts have argued." (Employee Benefit News)

Overview: IRS Issues Proposed Regulations Affecting Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts
Excerpt: "The proposed regulations include new special rules for part-time employees. Specifically, an employee who works part time must allocate dependent care expenses between days worked and days not worked." (McDermott Will & Emery)

More Fathers Figure on Family Time and They're Taking Advantage of Flexible Schedules
Excerpt: "Those flexible hours that working moms urged companies to provide are finally also being used by working dads. Paternity leave is a common benefit now. And dads today say they would give up a promotion or even a raise if it meant they could have just a little more time with their little ones." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Wedding Insurance Protects Things Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue
Excerpt: "Insuring a wedding, let alone providing access to such coverage as an employee benefit, may sound somewhat odd. However, when you stop to think that the average cost of a wedding is about $20,000 - the same as a car or a down payment on a house - it may begin to make more sense." (Employee Benefit News)

Recognition Programs Generate Big Bang for the Benefit Bucks
Excerpt: "To paraphrase a more cynical saying, you can get more with a kind word and a sum than a kind word. Employers embracing employee recognition are discovering just how axiomatic that proposition is." (Employee Benefit News)

Part D PDP Subsidy Could Bring Lower Costs for Government and Nonprofit Employers
Excerpt: "It is critical for public and nonprofit employers that opted for the direct subsidy in the initial year of Medicare Part D to reopen the subsidy discussion for 2007. Doing so could increase savings under Medicare Part D by up to 80% and position government plan sponsors for significantly reduced costs under the new GASB 43 and 45 standards for OPEB liability." (Employee Benefit News)

Health Coverage for Older Dependents Brings Cost and Administrative Worries
Excerpt: "Even as insurers and employers try to conserve health care costs by passing on expenses to employees and slashing benefit fat, many states are passing, or at least considering, legislation raising the age of dependents covered on their parents' health plans, employer-sponsored or not." (Employee Benefit News)

PBM Switch Enables Alamo Group to Cut Drug Spend and Copays
Excerpt: "By taking a different approach to pharmacy benefit management, my company, Alamo Group, a Texas-based, global manufacturer that employs 2,000 people, cut its drug spend by 34% during the first year without sacrificing our employees' benefit package." (Gabriela Garcia via Employee Benefit News)

Health Improvement Perks Perk Up Workers -- Companies See Pluses of Programs
Excerpt: "Companies are seeing how improvements to the health of their work force gets them the 'most bang for the buck.' 'For so long, companies have been shifting (health care) costs to employees. Now they're realizing we're at the end of that. You can't squeeze anymore, so why not decrease the utilization by improving the health of people?' ...." (Akron Beacon Journal)

Scotts Raises Bar on Corporate Wellness
Excerpt: "Scotts' over-arching strategic plan, Project Excellence, includes a recently realized, $5 million, omnibus wellness complex on the company's main campus in Marysville, Ohio. Every day, employees and their spouses stroll in and out of the complex, taking advantage of complimentary products, activities and services. They may be exercising, filling pres.criptions at the in-house pharmacy or visiting the clinic's doctor, nurse practitioner, dietician or physical therapist." (Employee Benefit News)

U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona Calls for Increased Focus on Prevention
Excerpt: "The U.S. will continue to face a 'health care crisis' without an increased focus on prevention, U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona said on Tuesday at the annual conference of the American Water Works Association in San Antonio, the San Antonio Express-News reports. Carmona said that the U.S. currently spends 16% of gross domestic product on health care, adding that 'most everything we spend our money on is preventable.'" (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Pre-Funded Retiree Medical Savings Acct. Would Help Employees Meet Retiree Health Care Costs (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "[H]ealth care cost increases and accounting rule changes have caused employers to reduce or eliminate retiree coverage, and as a result this number has dropped sharply in recent years. Because health care costs will continue to consume an ever-expanding share of retirees' income, new mechanisms are needed to enable employees to save more during their working years." (HR Policy Association)

HealthCast: Employment-Based Health Insurance: A Prominent Past, But Does It Have A Future?
Excerpt: "The Brookings Institution and the New America Foundation host the first forum in a series examining whether employment-based health insurance should and will survive." (Kaiser Family Foundation)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

American Benefits Council Testimony Submitted to Senate Banking Committee on FASB Exposure Draft (PDF)
Excerpt: "[June 14, 2006, Testimony of James A. Klein, President, American Benefits Council, was] submitted on behalf of the members of the American Benefits Council regarding the implications of FASB's Proposed Statement of Financial Accounting Standards: Employers' Accounting for Defined Benefit Pension and Other Postretirement Plans." (American Benefits Council)

Perils and Pitfalls of ERISA Summary Plan Descriptions -- First of Two Articles
Excerpt: "Employee benefit plans are highly regulated and litigated. However, foresight and planning can avoid the risk of violating regulations and provide a winning argument in a litigated case. Nowhere is this truer than with Summary Plan Descriptions." (Employee Benefit News)

U.A.W. Says Applications for Buyouts Soar at G.M.
Excerpt: "With a week to go before the deadline, it looks like at least 30,000 United Automobile Workers union members at General Motors will opt for incentives to leave or retire -- equal to the number of jobs G.M. plans to cut." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Inquiry Into Stock Option Pricing Casts a Wide Net
Excerpt: "In the latest scandal, companies seem to have handed out stock options that were already 'in the money' on the date of grant, undermining the idea of using options as a pay-for-performance tool. The practice appears to have been widespread from the early 1990's to 2002, and possibly beyond." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Webcast: The Changing Health Insurance Market: Implications for Public Policy and for State Government Purchasers
Nationwide on June 19, 2006
presented by Kaiser Family Foundation


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Pension Administrator
for Associated Pension Consultants
in CA

Sr. Benefits Analyst for Corning Incorporated
for Corning Incorporated
in NY

Conversion Specialist
for ePlan Services, Inc.
in CO

Sr. Retirement Plan Consultant
for Invesmart, Inc.
in CA

Non-Qualified Recordkeeper/Plan Manager
for Non-Qualified Recordkeeping TPA
in GA

401(k) Retirement Plan Administrator
for Stephen Eldridge & Company, Inc.
in NH




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