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June 27, 2006
Today's sponsor: ASPPA • Working for America's Retirement™

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Banner ad for ASPPA • Working for America's Retirement™

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)

Growing Health Care Costs Threaten to Consume Retirees' Savings
Excerpt: "As Americans live longer and health care costs surge, underestimating the impact of medical costs could dash your plans for a comfortable retirement. Many Americans are already behind in saving for retirement -- and medical care often doesn't even factor into their calculations." (USA TODAY)

New Insurance Products Created by Mass.' Health Reform Law Will Have Premiums of $200 a Month
Excerpt: "New health insurance products created by Massachusetts' recently enacted health reform law will have premiums of roughly $200 a month, according to the commonwealth's top official, who contended that many of the state's half-million uninsured are good insurance risks." (Managed Care Week via AISHealth.com)

Overview: IRS Proposal of Updated Regulations on Dependent Care Expenses
Excerpt: "The IRS recently issued proposed regulations that update the rules regarding the Code Section 21 credit for employment-related dependent care expenses. These proposed regulations will also govern what expenses can be reimbursed tax-free under an employer's Code Section 129 Dependent Care Assistance Program ('DCAP')." (Faegre & Benson LLP)

Limitations Period for COBRA Violation Starts on Date Employee Discovered His Injury
Excerpt: "COBRA does not specify a limitations period, so courts generally apply the limitations period for the most analogous state-law claim. In this case, which originated in Illinois, a two-year statute of limitations was under consideration; other courts have applied different limitations periods -- some shorter and some longer ...." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Appeals Court Says Trial Court Must Set Aside Order Requiring Disclosure of Health Information
Excerpt: "This case teaches several important HIPAA privacy lessons. First, the HIPAA privacy rule establishes the floor for privacy protection, but state law often provides greater protection (and the HIPAA privacy rule does not preempt more stringent state laws). Thus, even if HIPAA would permit disclosure, it's important to check state law, too." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Corrected Link: Court Addresses DOL Rule That Different Individuals Decide Initial Claims and Appeal
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: To the extent that the court is reading the DOL regulations to prevent a plan-appointed claims administrator from having one of its employees decide an initial claim and a second employee decide the appeal, we disagree with the court's interpretation.' The case is St. Joseph's Hospital of Marshfield Inc. v. Carl Klemm Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27246 (W.D. Wis. 2006). (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Liability under COB Provisions Apportioned Pro Rata between ERISA Plan and Accident Ins. Policy
Excerpt: "This case involves a coordination of benefits (COB) dispute about whether an ERISA medical plan or an accident insurance policy should pay primary with respect to injuries suffered by a university student who was injured while playing in an intercollegiate game. The student was a covered dependent under a self-funded ERISA medical plan sponsored by his father's employer; he was also insured under an accident insurance policy issued to the National Collegiate Athletic Association." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

When Your Boss Says Jump You May See a Payoff in Working Out at Work
Excerpt: "As the cost of employee healthcare grows by 10 percent or more each year, corporate America is instituting preventive measures: everything from Pilates class to belly dancing to lavishly equipped gyms." (U.S. News & World Report)

IBM Holistic Approach Encouraging Healthy Lifestyles
Excerpt: "IBM has molded a healthier workforce by offering three types of incentives at $150 each to promote preventive care, exercise and nonsmoking lifestyles." (Employee Benefit News)

Policy Brief: Health Care in Connecticut -- Sounding the Alarm (PDF)
32 pages. Excerpt: "This brief outlines three health care policies for Connecticut to consider as alternatives over its current helter-skelter system of health care and coverage. The implementation of each strategy would result in a range of benefits over the existing system. However, only one of the three strategies fully meets the criteria of universal health care established by the Institute of Medicine (IOM)." (Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut)

Editorial for Single-Payer National Health Insurance
Excerpt: "As Winston Churchill once said, 'Count on Americans to do the right thing, after they've tried everything else.' It's time to end the irrationality of this health care system and move to national health insurance." (Delaware On-line, The News Journal via Physicians for a National Health Program)

States Make Own Plans for Health Insurance
Excerpt: "Nearly 46 million people in America lack health insurance, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and the cost to the country adds up to tens of billions of dollars. .... The issue is so pressing that in the last two legislative sessions, more than a dozen states have moved to overhaul coverage for those without health insurance. In the absence of federal policy or Washington leadership ready to take on the issue, more states are making the uninsured a priority." (Los Angeles Times: one-time registration required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Military Fails Some Widows Over Benefits
Excerpt: "For military widows, many of them young, stay-at-home mothers, the shock of losing a husband is often followed by the confounding task of untangling a collection of benefits from assorted bureaucracies. While the process runs smoothly for many widows, for others it is characterized by lost files, long delays, an avalanche of paperwork, misinformation and gaps in the patchwork of laws governing survivor benefits." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

47,600 Take Offer of Buyouts at G.M. and Delphi
Excerpt: "In an employee exodus that is one of the biggest ever, about 47,600 union workers at General Motors and its former division, the Delphi Corporation, accepted early retirement or buyout offers, the companies said [yesterday]." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

As Workers' Pensions Wither, Those for Executives Grow
Excerpt: "[T]here's a twist to the auto maker's pension situation: The pension plans for its rank-and-file U.S. workers are overstuffed with cash, containing about $9 billion more than is needed to meet their obligations for years to come. Another of GM's pension programs, however, saddles the company with a liability of $1.4 billion. These pensions are for its executives." (The Wall Street Journal via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Plan Sponsor Magazine Special Report: Deferred Compensation -- Change Management
Excerpt: "Rabbi trusts provide the maximum protection that the law permits for participants in deferred compensation plans. 'Virtually any company that has a deferred compensation- arrangement should consider establishing a rabbi trust,' observes Peter Quinn, senior vice president and managing director of executive services at Wachovia Bank." (PlanSponsor.com; one-time registration required)

Small Business Benefit Trailblazers See Payoff in Worker Attitudes
Excerpt: "Whether it's because they're keeping up with the Jones Company or keeping the faith with employees, some small employers sponsor benefits packages that rival those of a Fortune 500." (Employee Benefit News)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

HSA Benefits Implementation
in Massachusetts on September 26, 2006
presented by IQPC


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Watson Wyatt Urges Congress to Seize Opportunity to Shore Up Nation's Pension System
(Watson Wyatt)

Enhanced Version of Benefit Software's eEnroll Online (tm) Includes Newest Consumer-Directed Benefit Offerings
(Benefit Software Inc.)

Diversified Investment Advisors Launches PlanXpress(SM)
(Diversified Investment Advisors)

2006 Benefit Survey Shows Cost of Healthcare Remains Key Concern for Organizations
(Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM))

CPI Qualified Plan Consultants Adds Henderson Global Funds to Retirement Platform
(CPI Qualified Plan Consultants, Inc.)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Client Services Consultant
for July Business Services
in TX

Implementation Project Manager
for CitiStreet
in MA

Pension Analyst
for CitiStreet
in MA

401(k) Qualified Plan Administrator
for Small Business Insurance Agency
in MA

Defined Contribution Client Account Manager
for New York Life Investment Management LLC
in MA

Benefits Manager
for The Rosen Group
in NJ, NY, PA, WV

Nonqualified Plan Consultant
for Vanguard
in PA

New Business Development/Sales - Retirement Plans
for PensionTrend, Inc.
in MI

Employee Benefits Compliance Manager
for CUNA Mutual Group
in WI

Sr. Benefits & Retirement Analyst
for Aerojet - Sacramento
in CA




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