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September 11, 2006
Today's sponsor: BeneCom Associates, LLC

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BeneCom Associates, LLC, for one-stop benefit communications

Since 1992, BeneCom has provided one-stop benefit communications for organizations large and small, nationwide. Staffed by people who know benefits, we write, design and produce effective media, including SPDs, enrollment materials, newsletters, benefit statements and more. So whether you're an employer, plan administrator or consultant in need of traditional or online capabilities, we're here to help. Call (860) 674-2626 today.

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

CDHPs: Early Enrollee Experiences with Health Savings Accounts and Eligible Health Plans
44 pages. Excerpt: "GAO reviewed (1) the financial features of HSA-eligible plans in comparison with those of traditional plans, (2) the characteristics of HSA-eligible plan enrollees in comparison with those of traditional plan enrollees, (3) HSA funding and use, and (4) enrollees' experiences with HSA-eligible plans. [Highlights of the report are at http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d06798high.pdf.]" (U.S. Government Accountability Office)

A Short Course In MEWAs: Overview
Excerpt: "Anyone who works in the claims administration field should understand enough about MEWA's ('Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements') (a/k/a 'multiple employer trusts' or 'METs') to be able to identify them and the inherent risks that they pose." (Health Plan Law blog by attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

A Short Course In MEWAs: No MEWA Is Completely Exempt from State Regulation
Excerpt: "MEWA promoters often claim large privileges under ERISA. In fact, no MEWA is completely exempt from State regulation. Further, most do not qualify as employee welfare benefit plans and thus are not subject to ERISA at all." (Health Plan Law blog by attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

A Short Course In MEWAs: Regulation of MEWAs Under State Insurance Laws
Excerpt: "[Beware] the ruse that ERISA preempts application of State laws to MEWA's. This misrepresentation serves as cover for lack of compliance when the MEWA promoter is working with uninformed employers, consultants and insurance agents." (Health Plan Law blog by attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

Health Care Coalitions Help Churches Maintain Coverage
Excerpt: "Limited financial resources and older-skewing workforces raise the need for denominations to come together in order to leverage their collective purchasing power." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)

The Top Five Employer Mistakes under the FLSA
Excerpt: "Some of the most common FLSA mistakes made by employers are easily identified and remedied. Whether you have five or five thousand employees, here are five mistakes you should try to avoid." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)

New Federal Employee PHR Legislation May Be Tied Into Healthcare IT Promotion Bill
Excerpt: "Senators Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat, and George Voinovich, a Republican from Ohio, have introduced legislation that would require all insurance carriers that contract with the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to make an electronic health record available for every enrollee." (Healthcare IT News)

2007 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposals -- Implications for Diagnostic Testing Services
Excerpt: "The proposed 2007 Medicare physician fee schedule . . . would make a number of significant changes to the rules governing reassignment and the Stark law. The proposed changes are part of an effort by [HHS], [CMS] and [OIG] to eliminate 'condo' pathology laboratory arrangements. While the proposals would address condo path labs, they could have far-reaching implications for many common arrangements for diagnostic services . . . ." (Faegre & Benson LLP)

HHS Group to Examine Privacy and Electronic Health Records Issues
Excerpt: "The American Health Information Community (AHIC), a 17-member HHS advisory group that has been working for close to a year on recommendations for the projects, faced external and internal criticism that it was not adequately addressing patient privacy needs as it makes its recommendations." (Report on Medicare Compliance via AISHealth.com)

Florida Hospital Payment Dispute Case Could Have Larger Implications
Excerpt: "Health Options contends that it needed to pay only 120% of what Medicare would reimburse for emergency services, according to court documents. However, Florida Hospital maintained that under state law, Health Options should pay the hospital's full billed charges." (MANAGED CARE WEEK via AISHealth.com)

Medical Devices Allow Those with Chronic Problems to Be Constantly Monitored, Remotely and Virtually
Excerpt: "For many doctors, there is . . . a pragmatic financial concern about gathering and reviewing remote data because many insurers are providing little or no reimbursement for such work." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Technological Remedy for a Wounded Health Care System
Excerpt: "Your government and your tax dollars brought you the Internet and changed the world. Another group of federal computer geeks has put together a software package that may transform the high-cost, error-prone American health care system. It's called VistA, for Veterans Health Information Systems & Technology Architecture." (The Dallas Morning News via BlueCross BlueShield Association)

Medicare Premium Costs to Increase for Wealthier Beneficiaries
Excerpt: "The surcharge is a major departure from the traditional arrangement under which seniors have generally paid the same premium. It is expected to affect one million to two million beneficiaries: individuals with incomes exceeding $80,000 and married couples with more than $160,000 of income. For individuals with incomes over $200,000, the premium, now $88.50 a month, is expected to quadruple by 2009." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Vermont Central Labor Council Endorses HR 676
Excerpt: "The Washington-Orange-Lamoille Labor Council became the first in Vermont to endorse HR 676, single payer universal health care legislation introduced by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI). Representative Bernie Sanders, that state's only member of the US House of Representatives, is among the 75 co-sponsors of HR 676." (All Unions Committee For Single Payer Health Care-HR 676 via Physicians for a National Health Program)

Do 90% of Workers Eligible to Fund HSAs Do So, or Is It More Like 25%?
Excerpt: "If you try to get a handle on how many Americans eligible to open and fund health savings accounts (HSAs) actually do so, you'll find numbers ranging from about 25% to 50% to 90%. Which is right? Both extremes can be accurate, it turns out. Alexander Domaszewicz, a principal at Mercer Health & Benefits in Newport Beach, California, watches with interest the reports of HSAs as either a looming failure or an instant success. He sees an explanation for the disparity." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Congressional Health Care and Insurance Activity Report for the 109th Congress as of September 2006
Excerpt: "While the 109th Congress has introduced, examined, and in some cases, debated legislative issues important to CAHI, there has been very little activity in recorded votes or completed legislation." (Council for Affordable Health Insurance)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Court Awards Penalties for Missing Piece of SPD
Excerpt: "The US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia has awarded statutory penalties to a long-term disability (LTD) plan participant who requested a summary plan description (SPD) and failed to receive a part of it." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Overview: SEC Adoption of New Rules for Executive Compensation and Related Party Disclosure (PDF)
13 pages. (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP)

Gearing Up for the New Executive Compensation Disclosure Requirements (PDF)
17 pages. Excerpt: "Although the final rules have been adopted largely in the proposed form, the SEC did make several significant changes, such as the disclosure relating to option grant practices and revisions to the proposed requirement to disclose the compensation of up to three nonexecutive employees who earn in excess of any of the named executive officers." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

Overview: New SEC Rules Revise Form 8-K Disclosure of Executive Compensation Arrangements
Excerpt: "The new rules eliminate employment compensation arrangements from the scope of Item 1.01 and expand Item 5.02 to cover only those compensatory arrangements with executive officers and directors that are 'unquestionably or presumptively material.' The revised filings under Item 5.02 must still be disclosed within four business days of the triggering event." (BNA Tax Management)

Commentary: EEOC and Restrictive Severance Agreements
Excerpt: "[T]he EEOC has strongly signaled that it will not tolerate employers utilizing restrictive severance agreements to limit employee rights to file charges of discrimination, or their rights to pursue already-filed charges of discrimination, with the EEOC . . . ." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Aging Workforce Summit
in Illinois on October 26, 2006
presented by PME Enterprises

Health Risk Assessment--A New Tool for Lowering Your Claim Costs
Nationwide on September 13, 2006
presented by MediKeeper

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Idaho on September 26, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in South Carolina on September 26, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Wyoming on September 26, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Colorado on September 27, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Utah on September 27, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in South Carolina on September 27, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Georgia on September 28, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in South Dakota on September 28, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Minimize HEDIS Anxiety
in California on October 5, 2006
presented by DST Health Solutions

Symposium on Self-Directed IRAs, land trusts, non-recourse lending & more
in Texas on September 13, 2006
presented by PENSCO Trust Company


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Millions of U.S. Women May Run Out of Retirement Savings
(Society of Actuaries)

Vast Majority Say the Government Should Take Action to Ensure Americans Have Enough to Live on in Retirement
(Harris Interactive for the Wall Street Journal)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Senior Defined Contribution Administrator
for Benefit Associates Inc.
in CA

Employee Benefits Administration
for Primary Consulting, Inc.
in ANY STATE

Retirement Plan Service Associate
for Newton One Advisors
in DE

Assistant Benefits Manager
for Susquehanna Bancshares, Inc.
in PA

Director of Communications
for New York Life Investment Management LLC
in MA

Operations Specialist
for The Newport Group
in FL

Client Relationship Representative
for The Online 401(k)
in CA

Pension Administrator
for Corporate Compensation Advisors, Ltd.
in AZ

Senior Plan Administrator
for The Allocation Company, Inc.
in TX

Client Relations Assistant
for The Allocation Company, Inc.
in TX

Manager - Plan Administration
for Vanguard
in PA




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