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August 1, 2006
Today's sponsor: Benefit Software Inc.

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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)

Bill Summary of the Pension Protection Act, H.R. 4
Excerpt: "[One section of the bill deals with] ENSURING AFFORDABILITY OF HEALTH CARE AND LONG-TERM CARE - The pension reform bill that reflects the House-Senate compromise takes important steps to help workers and retirees combat rising costs of health insurance by: Encouraging the development of combination insurance products, which provide consumers with various insurance protections in a single product while also providing a saving feature." (U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education & the Workforce)

Report: House Passes Broad Pension Bill; Senate Outlook Uncertain (PDF)
13 pages. Excerpt: "The pension bill largely mirrors the benefit-related provisions in a long-stalled House-Senate conference report on HR 2830. These include comprehensive pension funding reforms and other significant changes affecting hybrid, defined contribution, nonqualified deferred compensation, and health plans. Most funding reforms would take effect for the 2008 plan year . . . It's unclear whether the Senate will act on the bill before its scheduled adjournment on August 4." (Mercer Human Resource Consulting; reprinted by permission)

Overview: IRS Ruling Enhances Flexibility of FSA and HRA Debit Cards (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "The IRS has sanctioned the use of debit cards for several years, but the process has been cumbersome in several respects. . . . [The new IRS] guidance pushes open the door of convenience significantly wider. . . . It allows a much broader category of purchases to avoid the post-transaction substantiation requirement." (Lockton Benefit Group)

Health Benefits Denied Because Employee Didn't Make Required Contributions during Disability Leave
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: Aside from the provider's failed 'qualifying event' argument . . . , this decision does not provide any COBRA analysis or flesh out any COBRA issues. But certainly it reminds us how employee leaves of absence present special difficulties for COBRA compliance." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Independent Experts Can Help Employees Conquer Mountains of Medical Paperwork
Excerpt: "Health advocacy services appear to be experiencing a growth spurt as more employers engage them to serve as an extension of the companies' benefits departments." (Society for Human Resource Management)

Overview: House Subcommittee Looks at Transparency of Consumer-Directed Plans
Excerpt: "CDH enrollees . . . are finding that little information exists to help them compare hospitals and doctors by cost or quality. At a July 18 hearing, the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Health heard testimony from several industry experts about the need for greater transparency and the challenges that have yet to be overcome." (Inside Consumer-Directed Care via AISHealth.com)

Maryland's 'Fair Share' Health Act Invalidated by Court -- Possible Consequences for Massachusetts' Plan
Excerpt: "This client advisory discusses the District Court's opinion in RILA and speculates on its impact on Chapter 58's fair share employer mandate. (There are other provisions of Chapter 58, such as its so-called 'free rider surcharge,' that might attract challenges based on ERISA preemption that are beyond the scope of this advisory.)" (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.)

Severance Claim Not Governed by ERISA
Excerpt: "[The] defendant removed the case to federal district court in Manhattan, arguing in part that his severance claim is governed by ERISA. In remanding the case back to state court, the federal court analyzed the applicability of ERISA as follows: . . . ." (erisa on the web; posted by John Wood)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Stock Options Update: Indictments and IRS Investigations (PDF)
3 pages. (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP)

Overview: DOL Proposes Expanded Reporting of ERISA Plan Service Provider Compensation (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "While service providers are not required to file anything with the DOL under the proposed rule, their ERISA plan clients will ask service providers to provide the required information and are required to report service providers that fail or refuse to do so." (Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP)

Overview: Proposed Revisions to Form 5500 Would Add New Short Form 5500
Excerpt: "A key part of the proposed forms revision is the establishment of a new 2-page Form 5500 -- SF Annual Return/Report (Short Form or Short Form 5500) as a new simplified report for certain small plans." (CCH Pension & Benefits)

Employment Costs Rise 0.8 Percent from March to June, 2006
Excerpt: "Private sector benefit costs rose 0.7 percent for the June quarter, following a 0.4-percent gain in the previous quarter." (U,S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

401(k) Plans
in Washington on September 26, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

401(k) Plans
in Colorado on October 10, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

401(k) Plans
in Kansas on October 17, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Cafeteria Plans
in Washington on September 27, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Cafeteria Plans
in Colorado on October 11, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Cafeteria Plans
in Kansas on October 18, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in Washington on September 29, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in Colorado on October 13, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

COBRA Compliance for Group Health Plans
in Kansas on October 20, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in Washington on September 28, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in Colorado on October 12, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

ERISA Compliance for Health & Welfare Plans
in Kansas on October 19, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HIPAA Portability, Privacy & Security
in Washington on September 29, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HIPAA Portability, Privacy & Security
in Colorado on October 13, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HIPAA Portability, Privacy & Security
in Kansas on October 20, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

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

HSAs, HRAs, and Consumer-Driven Health Care
in Washington on September 28, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HSAs, HRAs, and Consumer-Driven Health Care
in Colorado on October 12, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HSAs, HRAs, and Consumer-Driven Health Care
in Kansas on October 19, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

HSAs: New Rules for Employer Contributions-- A Practical Guide to Comparability and the Cafeteria Plan Exception
Nationwide on August 17, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Web/Telephone Seminar: 72(t) Payments
Nationwide on September 26, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: Conversions and Recharacterizations
Nationwide on September 19, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

ftwilliam.com Announces Its Competitive Upgrade Program
(ftwilliam.com)

ShareBuilder(R) Expands Retirement-Savings Options With First ETF-Based Roth 401(K) Plan
(ShareBuilder)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Regional Director
for HEREIU Trust Funds
in NJ

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

Plan Administrator for Retirement Plan & ERISA Specialists
for Dana Consulting Group
in IL

Compliance and Communication Administrator
for Vanguard
in PA

Supervisor / Senior Plan Adminsitrator
for Howard Simon & Associates, Inc.
in IL

Pension Administrator
for The Senex Group
in CA

Documentation Specialist
for The Senex Group
in CA

Pension Administrator (all experience levels)
for Benetech, Inc.
in AZ, CA, CO

Senior Compensation Analyst
for SONY BMG Music Entertainment
in NY

Employee Benefits Tax Manager
for Deloitte Tax LLP
in VA

Client Service Rep
for Milliman
in TX

Senior 401(k) Plan Administrator Guru
for The Pension Group, Inc.
in CA

HRIS Analyst - Benefits
for Charles W. Cammack Associates, Inc.
in NY




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