August 22, 2006
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Bush to OK Health Care Comparison Law
Excerpt: "An executive order being signed today by President Bush is designed to help people make more informed decisions about doctors and hospitals. Four federal agencies will be required to compile information about the quality and price of care they pay for and share that information with their customers and each other." (The Clarion-Ledger)
Employer Delay Forwarding Employee Contributions to Health Plan Administrator Not Fiduciary Breach
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: All's well that ends well -- the employer in this case did ultimately transfer all salary reduction amounts to the administrator (and the employees were unable to prove that their contributions were used for company purposes in the interim)." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)
ERISA Disability Benefits Claimant Prevails in Texas Federal Court
Excerpt: "The court accordingly granted [the claimant]'s motion for summary judgment and ordered supplemental briefing regarding the proper remedy for the defendant's abuse of discretion. The cite is Dramse v. Delta Family-Care Disability and Survivorship Plan, 2006 WL 2371334 (N.D. Tex. Aug. 16, 2006)." (ERISA on the web; posted by John Wood)
Link Changed: Hewitt's 52-Page Report on the Pension Protection Act
Excerpt: "The 52-page Special Report provides extensive explanations of key provisions in the Pension Protection Act, with practical commentary on how specific provisions are likely to impact employers and employees." (Hewitt)
Top Group Disability Insurers: Ranked According to Net Premiums Written in Most Recent Four Quarters (PDF)
1 page chart. (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)
San Francisco November Ballot Measure Would Mandate Paid Sick Days for Workers (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "According to the coalition, the ballot measure would provide paid sick days for workers to care also for parents and legal guardians, siblings, children, spouse or registered domestic partners, grandparents, and one designated person not included in those categories." (SanFranciscoSentinel.com)
Toward a Longitudinal Health Record -- Stark Law Exceptions and Anti-Kickback Statute Safe Harbors (PDF)
Excerpt: "In the wake of the changes to the Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute, hospitals have greater freedom to develop strategic information technology initiatives to improve patient care, increase operational efficiencies and build broader relationships with unaffiliated clinics and physician groups." (Gardner Carton & Douglas LLP)
Making Health Care the Engine that Drives the Economy
Excerpt: "The United States already spends nearly 16 percent of its gross domestic product on health care, and it is almost impossible to know where all that money goes. Projections are that health care will take up even more of the G.D.P. as the population ages and as more expensive drugs and medical devices are developed." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)
Consumers, HSAs Don't Mix -- Consumer Values Inconsistent with New Plans, According to Study
Excerpt: "In fact, Americans are 'unprepared for consumer-directed care' because they rely too heavily on the advice of their doctors and remain acutely sensitive to out-of-pocket costs, which can increase dramatically under many of these high-deductible plans, according to a new national research study commissioned by the federal government. Researchers from the Vanderbilt Center for Evidence-based Medicine concluded . . . ." (Modern Healthcare; one-time registration required)
Will Congress Expand HSAs This Year? (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Several pieces of legislation have been introduced this year to 'improve' HSAs. The most recent is the 'Health Savings Account and Expansion Act,' which was introduced in late June by Senator Orrin Hatch and Congressman Paul Ryan, and co-sponsored by Congressman Eric Cantor and Congresswoman Melissa Hart." (Buck Consultants)
Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General
Opinion: PPA Provisions Reflect Unique Role of Life Insurance in Providing Retirement Security
Excerpt: "One provision [of the Pension Protection Act] will make long-term care insurance more attractive to consumers. The other will help ensure that more of tomorrow's retirees will enjoy the guarantee of lifetime income offered by annuities that retirees from traditional 'defined benefit' plans receive today. . . . The long-term care provision [which becomes effective in 2010] allows for the combination of long-term care insurance with annuities." (Jack Dolan of the American Council of Life Insurers)
Court Finds SPD Created Expectations of Benefits
Excerpt: "The US District Court for the Northern District of California has ruled that accidental death and dismemberment claims for a man who completely lost vision in his left eye should be based on the plan's summary plan description (SPD) and not the plan document itself." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)
Overview: New Restrictions on Executive Compensation and COLI under the Pension Protection Act
Excerpt: "This article summarizes the affect of the PPA on funding vehicles such as rabbi trusts and corporate-owned life insurance ('COLI')." (Ice Miller LLP)
Overview: SEC's Comp Disclosure Reform Includes Additional Requirements Re Stock Option Awards
Excerpt: "Granting options in advance of material positive news is not clearly illegal and is a hotly debated issue. While the Enforcement Division of the SEC has been examining this issue as a basis for claims of securities fraud, Commissioner Paul Atkins has argued that the practice could, in fact, be good for outside shareholders." (Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP)
Ford Looking at Employee Buyouts
Excerpt: "Ford Motor Co. is preparing to extend buyout offers to all its factory workers in North America, two people with knowledge of the plan said." (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
Newly Posted Events
Advising Clients Under the Pension Protection Act of 2006: Practitioners' Guide to the Mammoth New Law
Nationwide on August 31, 2006
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)
An Overview of HR 4, the Pension Protection Act of 2006
Nationwide on September 12, 2006
presented by ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)
FMLA Update (Two Day Program - Seminar Plus Workshop)- At Locations Around the Country
Nationwide on August 22, 2006
presented by HRTrainingCenter.com
New SEC Executive Compensation Rules and Guidance on Executive Compensation, Stock Option Practices, and Related Party Transactions
in District of Columbia on October 4, 2006
presented by BNA, Inc.
Newly Posted Press Releases
The SPARK Institute Files SEC Comment Letter On The Proposed Columbia Funds Distribution Plan
(SPARK - the Society of Professional Administrators and Recordkeepers)
1,000 Retirement Specialists Meet To Discuss The Future
Freddie Mac Announces Agreement to Settle ERISA Class Action Litigation
Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Employee Benefit Plan Consultant
for Fred S. Shapiro & Associates, Inc.
for 1199SEIU Benefit and Pension Funds
for Howard A. Feinstein & Associates, Inc.
401(k) Plan Administrator
for Northeast Planning Services, Inc.
Internal 401(k) Wholesaler
for ePlan Services, Inc.
Sales Associate / Telephone Sales -- Financial Services
for Wealth Management Systems Inc.
Lead-Retirement Plan Specialist
for Gundersen Partners
Senior Business Analyst
for Gundersen Partners
for Smith Barney
Regional Director, Retirement Services
for Great-West Retirement Services
in ANY STATE
Assistant Manager, 401k Plan Services
for Great-West Retirement Services
Software Pension Business Analyst
for Levi, Ray & Shoup, Inc.
Senior Consultant, Defined Benefit/Defined Contribution
for Schloss & Co., a BenefitStreet Co.
Data Project Administrator
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