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September 5, 2006
Today's sponsor: Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

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Record Retention Requirements for Health & Welfare Plans

In Record Retention Requirements for Health & Welfare Plans, EBIA's experts analyze record retention requirements for ERISA health and welfare plans as well as other employer-provided health and welfare benefits not subject to ERISA. You'll find answers to your record retention questions for many benefits including cafeteria plans, DCAPs, qualified transportation plans, HSAs, group health plans (like major medical, dental, health FSAs, and HRAs), and other ERISA benefits.

Record Retention Requirements for Health & Welfare Plans is available now at the introductory price of $195.
Please enter priority code BL195. For more information and to order, visit

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

Workers Motivated by Richer Benefits, According to Survey
Excerpt: "As Labor Day approaches, one survey hopes to reveal what employees really want. A whopping 78% of workers say their motivation would increase if their employer offered more benefits, such as health coverage and flex time, reveals a new survey from Harris Interactive and Kronos, which polled more than 1,000 employees." (BenefitNews Connect)

UPS Employees Get Advice from Health Coaches
Excerpt: "The coach is part of Healthy Connections, Informed Choices -- a program the company established in April. Available so far to 90,000 of UPS' more than 407,000 employees, the initiative gives participants access to someone who will take a holistic view of their health and help them navigate care options." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)

Congress Likely to Tackle Only Modest Health Care Measures Before November Elections
Excerpt: "After months of heated debates on hot-button healthcare issues, congressional leaders are looking to pass a few lower-profile health bills before the end of the 109th Congress." (The Hill)

Court Applies De Novo Standard of Review to ERISA Benefit Dispute
Excerpt: "In Ushakova v. AIG Life Ins. Co., 2006 WL 2473473 (W.D. Wash. Aug. 28, 2006), an ERISA case decided . . . by a federal court in Washington State, the defendant argued that plan language requiring 'due written proof of the loss' was sufficient to trigger the arbitrary and capricious standard of review." (ERISA on the web; posted by John Wood)

Federal Court Rejects Claims of ERISA Preemption
Excerpt: "After the defendants removed the case to federal court, based on their argument that ERISA preempted her disability insurance claims, McNerney filed a motion to remand the case back to state court. The federal court agreed with McNerney, analyzing the preemption issue as follows [in the target page]." (ERISA on the web; posted by John Wood)

Ninth Circuit Course in Case Involving Plan Administrator with a 'Structural Conflict of Interest'
Excerpt: "In Abatie v. Alta Health & Life Ins. Co., __F.3d__ (9th Cir. 2006), 2006 U.S.App. LEXIS 20829, the Ninth Circuit, in an en banc decision, charted a complex, unique course. The court addressed the commonplace situation where a plan administrator, such as an insurance company, has an inherent conflict of interest because it acts as both the administrator deciding claims reviews and the funding source for benefits." (Thelen Reid & Priest LLP)

Graphic of Leave Benefits in 2006
Excerpt: "Paid leave was the most commonly provided employee benefit in the private sector in March 2006" (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Bush Administration, Republicans 'Refuse' to Acknowledge VA Health System Success, Says Krugman
Excerpt: "The Department of Veterans Affairs health care system 'is a stunning success -- but the [Bush] administration and the Republicans in Congress refuse to build on that success because it doesn't reflect their conservative agenda,' columnist Paul Krugman writes in a New York Times opinion piece." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

California Lawmakers Pass Single-Payer Health Care System
Excerpt: "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has until Sept. 30 to decide whether to veto legislation passed Thursday that would eliminate all public and private health insurance in the California and replace it with a single-payer system." (Business Insurance)

Rising Health Care Costs in Workers' Compensation Market Call for Creative Solutions (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "[M]any employers are unaware of the imminent cost-savings alternatives. Those who have workers' compensation exposure in states where cost-effective medical networks and other cost management options have surfaced -- and who are not averse to being 'paradigm pioneers' -- can reap early rewards." (Aon Consulting)

Testimony: Health Information Technology: HHS Is Continuing Efforts to Define Its National Strategy (PDF)
24 pages. Excerpt: "GAO was asked to identify progress made by HHS toward the development and implementation of a national health IT strategy. To do this, GAO reviewed prior reports and agency documents on the current status of relevant HHS activities. [Highlights of the report are at]" (U.S. Government Accountability Office)

Aetna Adds In-Store Health Clinics to Provider List
Excerpt: "Aetna has announced that InterFit Health's RediClinic has become a participating provider for health care to Aetna health plan members." (; one-time registration required)

Opinion: Rx for Retiree Health?
Excerpt: "Substituting the S&P 500's rate of growth for medical inflation could make retiree healthcare palatable to shareholders" (Treasury & Risk Management)

Health Care Is U.S. Strategists' Top Sector, According to Barron's
Excerpt: "Health care is the most popular stock market sector among U.S. market strategists, who otherwise are divided over the market's direction, Barron's reported in its September 4th edition." (Reuters via The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Commentary: Stethoscope Socialism
Excerpt: "A national health-care system may be the Holy Grail of American liberalism. If only the government managed medicine, the argument goes, costs could be restrained, quality assured and access extended from the poshest beach house to the humblest shotgun shack." (The Washington Times)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Congress's Agenda Includes Federal Employee Pay Raise and Other Personnel Issues
Excerpt: "House aides also are looking into whether to allow federal employees to contribute their bonuses as lump sums into the Thrift Savings Plan, a 401(k)-type retirement program. If performance-based pay systems spread across government as planned, an increasing number of employees will be getting their raises in bonuses rather than as salary adjustments, the aides said." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Hearing Set on Executive Compensation Including Stock Options Backdating (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Chairman Grassley will convene a hearing exclusively on executive compensation on Wednesday, Sept. 6, at 10 a.m. in 215 Dirksen Senate Office Building. The working title is, 'Executive Compensation: Backdating to the Future/Oversight of current issues regarding executive compensation including backdating of stock options; and tax treatment of executive compensation, retirement and benefits.'" (U.S. Senate Committee on Finance)

Opinion: Attacking Inequality -- Tax Reform Has the Greatest Potential to Narrow the Gap
Excerpt: "By now almost everyone agrees that inequality is serious. Economic growth no longer seems to help the majority of workers; the proceeds flow to the top fifth or so of the workforce, and the top within the top has done especially handsomely. But the tough debate is what to do about this trend. The surprising answer is: tax reform." (Sebastian Mallaby via The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Fifth Circuit Holds Merger Agreement Can Act as a Plan Amendment
Excerpt: "Very rarely do you see court cases where mergers and acquisition issues and benefits issues intersect. That is what happened in this recent Fifth Circuit case of Halliburton Company Benefits Committee v. Graves et al. which is a must-read for benefits lawyers who are involved in transactional work." (Attorney B. Janell Grenier via

Listing of IRS Published Guidance for January 2006 -- August 2006
The target page links to guidance published by the Service relating to retirement plans: Treasury Regulations; Revenue Rulings; Revenue Procedures; Notices; and, Announcements. (Internal Revenue Service)

Rising Efficiency and Technology Adding Work for Highly Paid While Taking It Away from Low-Skilled
Excerpt: "Millions, often among the economy's most successful professionals, say they feel overworked while millions more, particularly among low-skilled workers, are starved for a paycheck or more work hours. Experts say the two ends of the labor market are in fact the Janus faces of the same economic force." (The Christian Science Monitor)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Personal Health Record--A Missing Part of a Consumer Driven Plan
Nationwide on September 7, 2006
presented by MediKeeper

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Still River Announces Early Retirement Offer Analysis
(Still River Retirement Planning Software, Inc.)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

401(k) Administrator - Analyst
for The Pension Group, Inc.
in CA

Regional Vice President - Third Party Administrator
for Zenith Administrators
in WA

Regional Vice President - Third Party Administrator (CA)
for Zenith Administrators
in CA

Testing & Reporting Consultant
for Fidelity Investments
in KY, MA, TX

Internal Sales Support Consultant
for Transamerica Retirement Services
in CA, GA, IL, MA

Account Manager (Mid-Market) ~ Financial Services
for CitiStreet
in NJ

Investment Services Administrator
for Financial Architects Partners
in RI

Manager, Data Consulting
for Fidelity Investments
in NC

Benefits Sales Consultant
for BenefitStreet, Inc.
in CA

Licensing & Commissions Coordinator
for Transamerica Retirement Services
in CA

Retirement Plan Specialist (Administrator)
for First National Bank of Omaha
in NE

Retirement Admin Exp Analyst
for Hewitt Associates
in TX

401(k) Administrators
for Pension Management Corporation, Inc
in NY

Relationship Manager / Senior Pension Analyst
for Boyce & Associates, Inc.
in AZ

Trust Administrator II or III
for Associated Pension Consultants
in CA

Actuarial Assistant
for Hand Benefits and Trust
in TX

Retirement Rollover Specialist
for Dreyfus Corporation
in AZ, CA, CO, NV, WA

Daily Valuation Specialist
for R-Tech Consultants, Inc.
in CA

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