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August 14, 2006
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Life and Health Trade Groups Are Celebrating the Passage of Many Sections of H.R. 4
Excerpt: "The COLI provision will require employers to get rank-and-file employees' consent before insuring those employees' lives, and it will discourage employers from applying COLI to employees who are not highly compensated." (National Underwriter Life & Health; free one-time registration or paid subscription required)

Note: EEOC Issues Regulations Reflecting Supreme Court's Ruling in General Dynamics Case
An excerpt notes the EEOC's explanation of the changes to the regulations. (Attorney B. Janell Grenier via BenefitsBlog.com)

Overview: Pension Protection Act of 2006 and Other Recent Changes to Health and Welfare Benefits (PDF)
9 pages. Excerpt: "This summary includes brief discussions of [the] changes [to facilitate funding for current or future medical costs], as well as changes in the Act and in final and proposed regulations to ERISA reporting and disclosure rules that affect welfare plans, and final Treasury regulations regarding employer contributions to health savings account ('HSAs')." (Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP)

Court Rejects ERISA Challenge to New Condition for Continued Receipt of a Disability Benefit (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "The U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut ruled in favor of the defendants in a class action challenge to the adoption of an income limitation as a condition to the continued receipt of an industry-related disability benefit ('IRD benefit') under the Sheet Metal Workers' National Pension Fund, Plan A ('Plan')." (Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP)

Work/Life Balance Increasingly Important to Senior Executives
Excerpt: "Even the allure of a lucrative job promotion and hefty salary increase may be inadequate in its appeal if it negatively affects a senior executive's work/life balance, a recent poll revealed. Such beliefs will only increase in years to come, say experts." (Human Resource Executive Online; one-time registration required)

Green on Ethical Incentives for Employers to Adopt Legal Service Plans -- Abstract and Link
Excerpt: " Michael Z. Green (Texas Wesleyan) has posted on SSRN his forthcoming piece in the Brandeis Law Review: Ethical Incentives for Employers in Adopting Legal Service Plans to Handle Employment Disputes." (Workplace Prof Blog)

New York Estimates Public Employee Retiree Health Care Costs at $47B
Excerpt: "New York's Budget Office estimates that the cost of providing health benefits to government retirees stands at about $47 billion spread over the next three decades, the Associated Press reported." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Health Care Administrator Falls Short of 'Good Faith Effort' in Delivering COBRA Notice
Excerpt: "The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a health care administrator failed to make a 'good faith effort' to notify a former worker of her COBRA rights when she was terminated." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Final Rules Remove Barriers to E-Prescribing and Electronic Health Record Contracts
Excerpt: "CMS and the HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) on Aug. 1 released final regulations for anti-kickback statute 'safe harbors' and Stark self-referral exceptions for electronic prescribing and electronic health records (EHRs). The coordinated move shows that the government is eager to get the country wired for health information technology (HIT), experts say." (Report on Medicare Compliance via AISHealth.com)

Critics Say the National Medical Records System Legislation Needs More Privacy Safeguards
Excerpt: "[L]egislation to encourage a move to computerized records, now moving through the final stages of congressional approval, has provoked opposition from privacy advocates, consumer groups and civil libertarians who point to recent security breaches -- including the much-publicized theft of a VA laptop containing personal information on millions of veterans. These groups warn that the legislation wouldn't provide enough safeguards." (Los Angeles Times; one-time registration required)

With the Latest Pricey Care, Can You Afford to Die?
Excerpt: "Within the last decade, an array of expensive new treatments has given some patients their first real fighting chance against common diseases once routinely called 'terminal.' . . . The trouble with many treatments, though, is that average patients gain only several more months of life, studies have found. A lucky few may survive for years." (The Detroit News)

New Bay State Rules Would Excuse Most Cos. from Per-Worker Health Coverage Fee
Excerpt: "Proposed rules [in] Massachusetts . . . to implement its new universal health care law excuse companies from a $295 annual per-worker fee if at least 25% of employees sign up for coverage. Companies not meeting the 25% criteria would also be exempt from the charge if they fund at least 33% of the cost of employees' health insurance, state officials said, according to a news report in the Milford (Massachusetts) Daily News." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Overview on Recent Health Plan Prescription Drug Developments (PDF)
Excerpt: "Two recent U.S. Department of Labor ('DoL') investigations highlight the need for adequate disclosure of commissions, discounts, rebates and fees associated with prescription drug programs." (Haynes and Boone, LLP)

Experts Examining Cross-Border Health Insurance As Solution for Uninsured
Excerpt: "With the flow of patients going in both directions, experts and officials are beginning to look at the feasibility of developing cross-border health insurance programs. Such programs potentially could reduce costs to U.S. hospitals, provide cheaper premiums for employees and make insurance more affordable for employers, experts say." (The Brownsville Herald)

Opinion: How to Reform Health Insurance
Excerpt: "David Hogberg shares his thoughts about how to make health insurance better and more affordable: . . . ." (Amy Ridenour's National Center Blog via National Center for Public Policy Research)

Much More than Pension Reform in the Pension Protection Act of 2006
Excerpt: "The Pension Protection Act of 2006 contains a significant number of beneficial changes in regards to pensions and other qualified retirement plans, extending and makes permanent a number of provisions from the Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Act of 2001, and including many other significant changes, especially with regard to charitable giving and tax-exempt organizations." (WebCPA)

German Health Reform to Cost More, Insurer Says
Excerpt: "Reforms to Germany's creaking health care system are likely to end up costing the consumer more than anticipated and will take longer to implement than the government thinks, a leading health insurer said Friday." (Business Insurance)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: New Antidilution Stock Plan Amendment May Be Required under Statement 123R (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "These antidilution provisions either permit or require companies to preserve the value of outstanding equity awards if an equity restructuring occurs. In practice, this most often is accomplished by making equitable adjustments that maintain the outstanding awards' 'intrinsic value' and ratio of exercise price (if any) to market price at the time of the transaction." (Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc.)

New Pension Act Forbids Funding Deferred Compensation When Pension Plans Are At Risk (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "The Pension Protection Act of 2006 . . . amends Internal Revenue Code Section 409A to prohibit a public company from funding any deferred compensation arrangement for certain key executives and directors while its qualified pension plan is at risk, including making deposits into a rabbi trust or other arrangement that is subject to the claims of creditors." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

Langbein Article on Judicial Review of Benefit Denials under ERISA -- Abstract and Link
Excerpt: "John Langbein (Yale) has posted on SSRN his forthcoming piece in the Northwestern University Law Review: Trust Law as Regulatory Law: The Unum/Provident Scandal and Judicial Review of Benefit Denials under ERISA." (Workplace Prof Blog)

Overview: SEC Approves New Executive Compensation Disclosure Rules
Excerpt: "Companies will want to carefully review the SEC regulations when they are issued and assess how the new rules will affect their future disclosures. Clearly, most companies will need to disclose more information than in the past, particularly with regard to pensions, deferred compensation and perquisites -- as well as corporate practices involving the granting of stock options and the establishment of exercise prices for those grants." (Towers Perrin)

Companies Are Not Waiting to Alter Executive Compensation Practices
Excerpt: "Although the new proxy disclosure rules for executive compensation are not scheduled to go into effect until next year, many companies are not waiting. They're already making changes in their compensation arrangements in areas that could potentially be affected by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules, which were formally adopted July 26." (Towers Perrin)

No Pension Worries -- At Least for Executives
Excerpt: "The pension bill [links] the retirement payouts of executives and their employees. Companies must fully fund their corporate pensions, for example, before they contribute to separate plans for executives . . . . That sounds like a good requirement, but Jan Jacobson of the American Benefits Council says it could have an unintended consequence. 'Companies may decide to freeze their pensions so they won't be limited in what they can do with their executives' . . . ." (Star Telegram.com; one-time registration required)

Federal Pay: Myth and Realities
Excerpt: "Federal workers receive generous health benefits during work and retirement, a pension plan with inflation protection, a retirement savings plan with generous matching contributions, large disability benefits, and union protections. They often have generous holiday and vacation schedules, flexible hours, training options, incentive awards, flexible spending accounts, and a more relaxed pace of work than private-sector workers." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Backdating Options: What You Should Know (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Looking forward, it is critically important that compensation committees avoid being unwitting enablers of further abuses by taking proactive steps to ensure integrity in the system. Failure to do so may further taint stock options as a viable incentive tool, result in additional destruction of shareholder value, increase the likelihood of governmental and/or shareholder regulation of executive compensation, and possibly result in financial and other penalties . . . ." (Workspan via Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc.)

Employees Have Money on Their Minds, at Least When It Comes to Workplace Surveys
Excerpt: "A news release from HR Solutions Inc. said its recent analysis of recurring themes in employee surveys showed workers most often pegged richer salaries as the area in which they most wanted to see a change." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Safe Harbor 401(k) Plans - Design and Administration
in Washington on September 14, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Safe Harbor 401(k) Plans - Design and Administration
in Ohio on September 13, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Safe Harbor 401(k) Plans - Design and Administration
in Colorado on September 14, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Retirement Plan Outsourcing Survey And Report
(McHenry Group, The)

Pension Preservation Network Launches Interactive Website to Unite and Help American Workers and Retirees Protect Their Promised Pensions
(Pension Preservation Network (PPN))


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Sr. Benefits Manager
for Microsoft
in WA

Senior Plan Administrator
for RSM McGladrey Retirement Resources
in MD

Associate Director, Retirement Plans
for SONY BMG Music Entertainment
in NY

Plan Administrator
for Defined Contribution Retirement Plans - Relius Admin, Web and STP
in TX

Investment Advisory, Education and Enrollment Services Manager
for American Pensions Inc.
in SC

Annual Plan Reporting Administrator
for Vanguard
in PA

Consultant
for The Newport Group
in WI

Call Center/Client Relationship Representative
for Swerdlin & Company
in GA

Senior Retirement Plan Consultant
for Invesmart, Inc.
in TX




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