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September 6, 2006
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Trust Law as Regulatory Law: Unum/Provident Scandal & Judicial Review of Benefit Denials under ERISA
Excerpt from the Abstract: 'When the participant in an ERISA-covered employee benefit plan seeks judicial review of the plan administrator's decision to deny a claimed benefit, should the standard of review be deferential, effectively presuming the correctness of the denial, or should the court examine the merits afresh, applying so-called de novo review?" (Social Science Research Network)

New Guidance Indicates 'Reg E' Doesn't Apply to Electronic Payment Cards Used for FSAs/HSAs/HRAs
Excerpt: "Regulation E (commonly referred to as 'Reg. E') is a federal banking regulation with extensive disclosure and authorization requirements that are designed to protect and limit the liability of consumers engaged in electronic funds transfers. More specifically, Reg. E covers any electronic funds transfer that authorizes a financial institution to debit or credit a consumer's account." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

11th Circuit: Different Language in Plan Documents Leads to Different Results in Two Similar Cases
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: This court's analysis makes careful drafting of plan reimbursement language -- including identification of a specific fund from which reimbursement is to be made and a specific portion of the fund that is subject to the claim -- extremely important." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Integrating FMLA and Disability Claims Data Helps Reduce Absenteeism
Excerpt: "Research and trends in the industry suggest combining FMLA with disability will allow employers to better navigate the complex state and federal rules that oversee the system." (Employee Benefits News)

Employee FMLA Rights and Certification
Excerpt: "In the case of foreseeable leave, an employer may delay the taking of FMLA leave to an employee who fails to provide timely certification after being requested by the employer to furnish such certification until the required certification is provided. Firing an employee because the employee does not provide a FMLA certification can be risky." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)

Federal Workers to Get Enhanced Dental and Vision Insurance
Excerpt: "After two years of planning and evaluation, enhanced insurance coverage for bad teeth and weak eyes will be offered to federal employees, retirees and their dependents this fall through contracts awarded to 10 companies." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Health Care Premiums Set for Massachusetts' Uninsured: Low-Income Residents to Pay $18 - $106
Excerpt: "State regulators approved the rates [September 1], and said they are amounts most lower-income residents should be able to afford. The law will require all residents to have health insurance by July 1, 2007, or face tax penalties." (The Boston Globe)

Rethinking Health Care Spending Featuring Arnold Kling
The podcast is a phone interview on Kling's new book, 'Crisis of Abundance -- Rethinking How We Pay for Health Care." (Cato Institute)

U.S. Appeals Court Rejects Halliburton's Request to Reduce Retiree Benefits
Excerpt: "The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals said that Halliburton could not alter retiree health benefits for a company it bought in 1998, unless it did the same for active employees." (; one-time registration required)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: SEC Adopts Final Rules Changing Form 8-K Reporting (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "[I]ncluded in these final rules are significant changes to the requirements for disclosing new and modified executive and director compensation plans and arrangements under the Form 8-K reporting regime. This Alert focuses on those changes and addresses both technical and practical compliance issues with the new rules." (Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP)

Text of Present Law and Background Relating to Executive Compensation (PDF)
47 pages. Excerpt: "This document, prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, provides a description of present-law tax rules and issues relating to certain types of executive compensation arrangements, including the $1 million dollar cap on the deduction for executive compensation, nonqualified deferred compensation, stock-based compensation (including the tax issues relating to backdating stock options), and golden parachute payments." (Joint Committee on Taxation)

Congress Examining Stock Options Timing
Excerpt: "Congress is taking a close look at suspiciously timed stock options for top company executives, a corporate practice that is a source of anger for shareholders and the subject of federal investigations." (AP via The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

CEOs Lack Knowledge on Specifics of Employee Benefit Preferences, According to Survey
Excerpt: "[R]oughly 43% of CEOs say their firms understood 'somewhat' or 'not at all' what their employees wanted from benefit packages. Only 13% say their businesses recognized employee benefits preferences 'extremely well.'" (Employee Benefits News)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Claim Denials for Self-Funded Health Plans (Including Health FSAs and HRAs) -- What to Do, What Not to Do, and How to Monitor Your Claims Administrator
Nationwide on October 5, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Labor Department Requests Proposals for EFAST2 Project
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA))

JPMorgan Retirement Plan Services to Acquire CCA Strategies LLC
(CCA Strategies LLC)

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Pension Administrator
for Primark Benefits
in CA

Internal Marketing Associate - Retirement Plan Services
for Simpkins & Associates
in TX

Software Quality Assurance Engineer
for SunGard
in CO

Personnel Assistant - Personnel Services
for Reedy Creek Improvement District
in FL

Pension Sales Specialist
for CUNA Mutual Group
in AL, AR, LA, MS, TN, TX

Benefits Analyst
for Wells Fargo
in MN

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