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July 26, 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)

Now that Medicare Part D Coverage Has Begun, What's Next? Designing a Retiree Rx Strategy for 2007 (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "Although most plan sponsors have their 2006 strategy in place, it is not too early to begin to think about future years. This NewsLetter describes the options that are receiving the most attention: Apply for the Retiree Drug Subsidy (RDS); Contract with a Part D plan; Supplement a PDP; and, 'Become' a Medicare PDP." (The Segal Company)

Prescription Drug Reimportation Provisions on the Move in Congress -- Again
Excerpt: "Employers have an interest in this debate because prescription drug reimportation has been touted as one way of combating escalating prescription drug prices. According to the theory, drug reimportation would give pharmacists and wholesalers the leverage they need to negotiate more favorable drug prices with manufacturers because they would be able to purchase the same drugs for less money from other countries." (Deloitte's Washington Bulletin via BenefitsLink.com)

Overview: ERISA Preempts Maryland 'Play or Pay' Health Mandate Law, District Court Rules
Excerpt: "[T]he district court's decision is only the first step. Maryland is appealing the district court's ruling to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and from there the case could end up in the U.S. Supreme Court. But for now at least employers' faith in the courts to uphold Congress' intent 'to avoid a multiplicity of regulation in order to permit the nationally uniform administration of employee benefit plans' has been rewarded." (Deloitte's Washington Bulletin via BenefitsLink.com)

Overview: IRS Paves Way for Better, Faster Account-Based Health Plans (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Notice 2006-69 is generally effective upon its release, except that the inventory information systems standards take effect for plan years starting after 2006." (Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.)

Overview of IRS Final Regulations on Flat-Rate Withholding on Supplemental Wages (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "The definition of 'supplemental wages' is expanded to include 'nonqualified deferred compensation includible in wages,' 'wages from imputed income for health coverage for a non-dependent,' and 'wage income recognized on the lapse of a restriction on restricted property transferred from an employer to an employee.'" (Miller & Chevalier Chartered)

Cancer Treatments Can Sap a Lifetime of Savings
Excerpt: "Many cancer patients struggle to pay for care. One in five have delayed or missed treatments because of cost, according to a report in June in the journal Cancer. Experts say it's easy to see why patients feel strained. The daily cost of specialty cancer therapies, which are predominantly biotech drugs, grew by nearly 22% in 2005, compared with 3% for other drugs, according to the 2006 Medco Drug Trend Report." (USA TODAY)

Commentary: Nine Things AHA's 'Pricing Transparency' Implies for You
The target page is a review of and commentary on the American Hospital Association's plan for increased 'pricing transparency." (HealthLeaders News)

Leased Employees' Medical Benefit Plan Is MEWA, According to EBSA
Excerpt: "[B]ecause, under the common law principles applied for purposes of ERISA, both the company and its clients were determined to be employers, the plan is a MEWA, EBSA concluded, even if the company's clients are not employers according to Nevada state law." (CCH Pension & Benefits)

A Universal Health Insurance Plan: Employers, States and Individuals Would Share Costs
Excerpt: "Rep. Pete Stark of Fremont, who would play a key role in the national health care debate if Democrats take control of the House in November, announced a plan Tuesday for universal medical insurance for all Americans." (San Francisco Chronicle)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Behind the Stock Options Uproar
Excerpt: "To try to answer some questions about what's going on, CNET News.com has compiled [a] list of frequently asked questions [and answers]." (News.com via The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Stock Options Accounting Not as Problematic as Anticipated
Excerpt: "Overall, analysts say that the effects of expensing stock options don't appear to be as catastrophic as the companies had anticipated. The new accounting methodology may even provide some companies an excuse in explaining why their earnings are down, says Steven Hall, a partner at Steven Hall & Partners, a New York City-based executive compensation firm." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)

SEC Moving to Require Executive Pay Details
Excerpt: "The planed regulations amount to the biggest changes governing disclosure of executive compensation since 1992. For the first time, public companies will be required to furnish tables in annual filings showing the total yearly compensation for their chief executive officers, chief financial officers and the next three highest-paid executives." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Overview: IRS Initiative on Compensation of Exempt Organizations' Executives (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "As part of its increased review of executive compensation practices, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Exempt Organizations Division confirmed that the IRS has contacted over 1,800 exempt organizations via 1200 compliance check letters and 600 single issue examinations as part of its 2004 initiative." (Gardner Carton & Douglas LLP)

Deferred Comp Rules: Compliance Issues Pending the Release of Additional Guidance under 409A
Excerpt: "The [target page] is a transcript of an informal discussion among employee benefit practitioners held in Washington, D.C. on June 19, 2006. The topic involved compliance issues while employers are awaiting additional guidance under Code 409A." (BNA Tax Management)

Providing Executive Pensions in the United Kingdom -- Where to Now?
Excerpt: "New legislation has changed the landscape of pension provision in the UK. The new rules have practical consequences for executives but also introduce new options for employers and individuals alike." (Mercer Human Resource Consulting LLC and Mercer Investment Consulting, Inc.; one-time registration required)

Forms 5500/5500-EZ Extension Requests Pose Potential Personally Identifiable Information Disclosure
Excerpt: "The potential for disclosure of PII arises from the fact that Forms 5500 and 5500-EZ are open to public inspection pursuant to IRC 6104(b) and Treas. Reg. 301.6104(b)-1. The contents are public information and are subject to publication on the Internet." (Deloitte's Washington Bulletin via BenefitsLink.com)

Get Ready for the New Proxy Disclosure Rules
Excerpt: "Although the new proxy disclosure rules are not expected to take effect until next year at the earliest, employers should not feel complacent. Waiting until next fall, when the final SEC rules are likely to be issued, won't allow enough time to assess the impact on 2007 proxy statements and make adequate preparations." (Towers Perrin)

What Do Stock Options Really Reward?
NCEO Executive Director Corey Rosen discusses what employee stock options reward and how they can be improved. (National Center for Employee Ownership)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

A New Strategy for Managing Health Care Costs--Demonstrating the Business Value of Good Health
in Florida on September 6, 2008
presented by Institute of Health & Productivity Management

Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans Working Group on a Prudent Investment Process; Notice of Meeting
in District of Columbia on August 9, 2006
presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans Working Group on Health Information Technology; Notice of Meeting
in District of Columbia on August 10, 2006
presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans Working Group on Plan Asset Rules, Exemptions, and Cross Trading; Notice of Meeting
in District of Columbia on August 11, 2006
presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Building Trust in an Employee-Owned Company
Nationwide on September 7, 2006
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

ERISA Advisory Council Sets August 2006 Meetings
in District of Columbia on August 9, 2006
presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

ESOP Valuations: From the Basics to Advanced Issues (2 Parts)
Nationwide on September 6, 2006
presented by National Center for Employee Ownership

International Benefits Seminar (San Francisco)
in California on August 24, 2006
presented by ArlenGroup

Public Sector Health Care Symposium & Exhibition
in Illinois on September 13, 2006
presented by National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Couple Today Needs $295,000 for Retiree Health Expenses
(Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI))

PIA's Brevik Blasts Optional Federal Charter Bill as 'Special Interest Legislation of the Worst Kind'
(National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA))


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

401(k) Account Manager
for BISYS Retirement Services
in PA

401(k) / Defined Contribution Administrator
for Campbells Administration Inc.
in CA

Actuarial Assistant
for Gucciardi Benefit Resources, a division of Summit Benefit & Actuarial Services, Inc.
in WI

Defined Contribution Requirements Consultant
for Fidelity Investments
in MA

Defined Benefit Implementation Analyst
for Fidelity Investments
in NC

Divisional Sales Associate
for Citigroup - Smith Barney
in MD

Divisional Sales Director - Western Division
for Citigroup - Smith Barney
in CA

Client Service Representative
for Sentinel Benefits Group
in MA

Implementation Consultant/Project Manager
for Hewitt Associates
in GA

Life & Health Sales Representative for Insurance Carrier
for Great-West Healthcare
in CA, IN, TX

Pension Actuary
for O'Sullivan Associates
in NJ

Health and Welfare Account Manager
for Summit Financial Corporation
in MA




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