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August 8, 2006
Today's sponsor: Health and Welfare Plan Management for Mid-Sized Employers

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Finding the Cure for What Ails Your Health Care Plan

Is your health care plan healthy? Discover that elusive elixir that promises to rejuvenate your program and bring back exceptional health care at an affordable price. Consumer directed plans, HSAs, HRAs, wellness programs and pharmacy benefit management services backed by well designed employee communication programs offer solutions-- but which features are right for your plan? Find out at the Health and Welfare Plan Management for Mid-Sized Employers conference, September 17-20, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

(Please visit our sponsors. We try to make sure their products and services will be of interest to you. Thanks! --Editor)

Overview: IRS Issues Final Regulations on HSA Comparable Contribution Rules
Excerpt: "The final regulations are substantially similar to the proposed regulations the IRS issued last year. However, unlike the proposed regulations, the final regulations permit employers to disregard certain collectively bargained employees for purposes of the comparable contribution requirements, and generally provide more flexibility." (Deloitte's Washington Bulletin via BenefitsLink.com)

Overview: Comparability Rules for Employer HSA Contributions and the Cafeteria Plan Exception
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: Employers and advisors can now begin to design their HSA contributions for the 2007 calendar year within the framework of these final regulations. Some of the changes in these final regulations are particularly welcome news, such as the addition of more coverage tiers and the exclusion for collectively bargained employees." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Treasury Rejects Request to Make Certain Dietary Supplements/Special Foods Reimbursable Medical Care
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: Treasury's refusal to treat expenses incurred merely to benefit general health as medical care under Code Section 213 is consistent with prior guidance -- e.g., the OTC Drug Ruling didn't allow reimbursement of dietary supplements that are merely beneficial to an individual's general health." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Overview: DOL Offers Informal Views on Notice Requirements for Second Qualifying Events
Excerpt: "The DOL concluded that a plan administrator would not be required to provide to a qualified beneficiary who has experienced a second qualifying event a second election notice if the election notice furnished following the first qualifying event was written in a manner calculated to be understood by the average plan participant and contained this required information." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Supreme Court Sides with Business on Disability Benefits Denial
Excerpt: "The Supreme Court rules that businesses can reject employee disability benefits when their doctor disagrees with the treating physician." (Inc. Magazine)

With HIPAA Now a Decade Old, Experts Weigh in on Its Triumphs and Failings
Excerpt: "Ten years ago this month, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act dramatically changed the U.S. healthcare landscape, in some ways for the better and in some ways for the worse, industry experts contend." (modernhealthcare.com)

Insurers to Help Consumers Make Informed Health Care Choices
Excerpt: "[T]he health care industry is moving toward openness. Following the lead of Aetna, Greater Cincinnati's largest carriers -- Anthem, UnitedHealthcare and Humana -- are planning 'transparency' programs to make varying degrees of the information available." (Cincinnati Business Courier via bizjournals.com; one-time registration required)

Audio: Health Care Moves to Walk-In Clinics
Excerpt: "The trend of walk-in health clinics began years ago in neighborhood pharmacies, department stores and malls. Some health care analysts see store-based clinics as a natural evolution in health care delivery. The clinics are also money-making opportunities for investors. From member station KQED in San Francisco, Sarah Varney reports." (Morning Edition via National Public Radio)

Health Care -- 'The Last Frontier' on Internet Draws Big Names and Their Money
Excerpt: "Harnessing the Web to make health care more user-friendly has been a holy grail for entrepreneurs since the earliest days of the dot-com boom. But like many online content businesses, they failed because they could not figure out how to make money." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Transparency-Preaching Blues Association Quiet about Its Members' Fiscal Results
Excerpt: "[F]or all its emphasis on transparency, there's one thing the Blues association is no longer opting to share publicly: the financial results of its licensed Blues plans. By early June of each year, the trade group has traditionally issued a news release touting its annual systemwide growth. But this year, after internal changes in its media-relations department, the association has decided only to provide key highlights of its plans consolidated results upon request." (modernhealthcare.com)

Medicare Part D Fact Sheets on Coverage for Seniors (PDF)
102 pages. Excerpt: "The Lewin Group analyzed how drug coverage has changed for seniors since implementation of the new Medicare drug benefit and developed a set of factsheets indicating what additional coverage is available to seniors in all 50 states and the District of Columbia." (The Lewin Group)

Five Steps for Getting the Most Out of Employee Benefit Health Plans
Excerpt: "[N]ow is a critical time for executives in healthcare organizations to review their strategies. A close evaluation of how employees spend their healthcare dollars is key to making the proper adjustments to company health plans. And it could have a significant impact on the bottom line." (HealthLeaders News; one-time registration may be required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: SEC Requires More Disclosure Concerning Executive Compensation
Excerpt: "The rules refine the currently required tabular disclosure and combines it with improved narrative disclosure to result in a clearer and more complete disclosure of the compensation of the chief executive officer, chief financial officer, and the three other highest paid executive officers (the 'named' executive officers), as well as the directors." (CCH Pension and Benefits)

Overview: SEC Adopts New Executive Compensation Rules (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "On July 26, 2006, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved changes to its rules governing disclosure of (i) executive compensation, (ii) related person transactions, director independence and other corporate governance matters, and (iii) security ownership of officers and directors." (Winston & Strawn, LLP)

Knowing about USERRA Is Just the Beginning for HR Professionals
Excerpt: "In its regulations, DOL/VETS ominously reminds us that in interpreting USERRA . . . the U.S. Supreme Court has admonished that 'this legislation is to be liberally construed for the benefit of those who left private life to serve their country in its hour of great need . . . . And no practice of employers or agreements between employers and unions can cut down the service adjustment benefits which Congress has secured the veteran under the Act.'" (Human Resource Executive Online; one-time registration required)

How Employers Respond to Military Returnees Can Greatly Impact the Re-Integration Process
Excerpt: "Unprecedented mobilization of the National Guard and Reserve units has put increased demands on firms and their human resource professionals. . . . Even more challenging to HR is the process of transitioning these workers back into the workforce when their tour of duty has ended. Such a task is further complicated when the employees return from active military duty with either physical disabilities or emotional problems such as post traumatic stress disorder." (Human Resource Executive Online; one-time registration required)

Beyond Backdating: Stock Option Grant Self-Assessment Guide (PDF)
5 pages. The target page is a checklist for a company to use to perform a self-evaluation to identify issues that may require further analysis. (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP)

Why You'll Learn To Like Restricted Stock Grants (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "Restricted stock or restricted stock units may not offer the same potentially life-altering, wealth-building upside as stock options, but Richard Friedman, vice president of compensation and benefits at Ayco Co., suggests they have benefits executives will grow to appreciate." (myStockOptions.com via Human Resource Executive Online; one-time registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

2006 Retirement Plan Fundamentals (RPF) - Webcourses
Nationwide on August 8, 2006
presented by American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

Pharmacy Based Risk Adjustment
in California on September 7, 2006
presented by Healthcare Web Summit

Web/Telephone Seminar: Pension Protection Act of 2006
Nationwide on August 18, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: Pension Protection Act of 2006
Nationwide on August 24, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

Web/Telephone Seminar: Pension Protection Act of 2006
Nationwide on August 29, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Council Applauds Court's Validation of Hybrid Plans
(American Benefits Council)

LaSalle And ConnectYourCare Offer Consumer Directed Healthcare Account Administration Platform
(LaSalle Healthcare Administrative Services LLC)

Federal Appeals Court Rules for IBM in Major Pension Plan Case
(Covington & Burling LLP)

Forty-Six Percent of Workers Have Gained Weight at Their Current Jobs, According to CareerBuilder.com's Annual Survey
(CareerBuilder.com)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Skills Trainer - Defined Contributions
for CitiStreet
in MA

Benefits Specialist Retirement Plans
for Praxis Search LLC
in NJ

Pension Recordkeeper
for Guidant Financial Group
in WA

Client Data Management Administrator
for The Online 401(k) (Decimal, Inc.)
in CA

Communications Consultant
for Fidelity Investments
in MA

Defined Benefit Administrator
for Rosenfeld/Tortu Retirement Planning Co., Inc.
in NY




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