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September 14, 2006
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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)

Understanding the Dos and Do Nots in Purchasing EAPs
Excerpt: "This article outlines five common mistakes that prevent companies from purchasing a quality EAP and three strategies for success that help companies get the benefits and impact they need." (Employee Benefit News)

EAP Services Expand To Address Employee Physical Health
Excerpt: "'Integrating wellness with EAP ultimately makes for a more successful outcome,' says Sandy Rosenberg, the firm's executive director for EAP services. 'I think a lot of times employers don't make the connection right away, but once they do, they say, Oh yes, obviously!' It shows that EAPs are really evolving.'" (Employee Benefit News)

Minnesota Court of Appeals Panel Invalidates Vacation Forfeiture Policy
Excerpt: "A recent decision by the Minnesota Court of Appeals may provide reason for Minnesota employers to review their vacation policies. In Lee v. Fresenius Medical Care, Inc., 2006 WL 2255955 (Minn. App. Aug. 8, 2006), the court refused to enforce a vacation policy provision that it interpreted as requiring employees to forfeit earned vacation in the event of a termination for misconduct." (Faegre & Benson LLP)

Employees Subject to Tax on Value of Transferred Vacation Time Income
Excerpt: "State employees who assigned their rights to accrued leave under a collectively bargained program to the leave bank of certain deceased state employees for the benefit of their survivors were required to include the transferred leave in gross income, the IRS has privately ruled." (CCH Pension and Benefits)

House Panel Passes Bill To Require Electronic Health Records for FEHBP Members
Excerpt: "The House Government Reform Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce and Agency Organization on Wednesday passed a bill (HR 4859) that would authorize the Office of Personnel Management to require health insurers to establish two forms of electronic health records for the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, CongressDaily reports." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Lawmakers to Mark Up Federal Employee Health IT Bill
Excerpt: "The legislation aims to hasten the voluntary adoption of electronic health records for federal employees who participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program." (Government Computer News)

New Health Plan Database Initiatives Reinvigorate Debates About Patient Privacy
Excerpt: "Recent moves from health plans to create databases aimed at providing insight into health care cost and quality have raised concerns among some privacy advocates, who worry that such databases could compromise patient privacy. Health plans say the data are de-identified and could not be traced back to any patient." (Report on Patient Privacy via AISHealth.com)

House Bill Would Require State Pricing-Transparency Laws
Excerpt: "A new House bill could boost efforts to promote price transparency in healthcare by requiring states to enact disclosure laws affecting hospitals and insurers. Under the bill, introduced by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), hospitals would have to post charges for medical procedures and insurers would be required to provide their members with estimates for out-of-pocket costs for services." (Modern Healthcare; one-time registration required)

Rising Health Care Costs Exposure Threatens Health and Financial Well-Being of American Families
Excerpt: "Most workers who lose access to employer health insurance have few coverage options. Many turn to the individual insurance market, where coverage is often unaffordable -- and sometimes unavailable -- to older adults or people with health problems. For those families who continue to have employer coverage, ever-rising deductibles and other cost-sharing are consuming larger and larger shares of family income, particularly among families with low or moderate incomes." (The Commonwealth Fund)

A Series on Massachusetts Health Care Reform -- The Table Of Contents
The target page contains links to the six articles: The Third Wave Of Massachusetts Health Care Access Reform; Massachusetts Health Care Reform: A Look At The Issues; Massachusetts Reform Plus President Bush's Tax Credits: A National Model? Massachusetts Health Reform: Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder; Massachusetts: More Mirage Than Miracle; and, The Massachusetts Model: An Artful Balance. (Health Affairs)

'Mini-Meds' Could Help Consumers Cover the Cost Gap Before Deductibles
Excerpt: "While indemnity plans have been losing traction over the past several years, one type of indemnity plan -- also known as a mini-med -- could stage a comeback as health savings account (HSA)-based high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) pick up steam, says one industry expert." (INSIDE CONSUMER-DIRECTED CARE via AISHealth.com)

Heath Plan Premium Increases Slow to 8.6%, According to Survey by United Benefit Advisors
Excerpt: "The average annual health plan cost per employee is $6,629, with employees bearing an average of $2,031 of the cost and employers $4,592 per employee, according to a recent health plan benchmark survey." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

PBM Users Demand Drug Rebates be Passed Along, According to IFEBP
Excerpt: "A new survey of benefits officials found that more than half use pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) to administer their prescription drug offering and a majority of those require the PBM to pass along all drugmaker rebates." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Plan Description Protects Against Inaccurate Benefits Estimates Provided to Participant
Excerpt: "The 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an administrative committee for a pension plan did not fail its fiduciary duties when it unintentionally gave a plan participant inaccurate benefits statements." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Pension Protection Act Restricts Funding of Certain Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Arrangements (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "In particular, the PPA amends Code Section 409A to provide that a 'covered employee' will be subject to taxation on amounts transferred to a trust (or other arrangement to be identified by the IRS) during certain 'restricted periods' for the purpose of paying nonqualified deferred compensation to the covered employee." (Gardner Carton & Douglas LLP)

Overview: Executive Compensation Disclosure Under the New Proxy Rules
Excerpt: "In this article, one of a series of articles on the final rule, [CCA Strategies discusses] the section that revises the Summary Compensation Table and associated disclosures [and highlights] the tabular disclosure of director compensation." (CCA Strategies, LLC)

Overview: Equity Compensation Disclosure Under the New Proxy Rules
Excerpt: "In this article, one of a series of articles on the final rule, [CCA Strategies discusses] the section of the rule dealing with equity compensation [with a] focus on the Outstanding Equity and Options Exercised and Stock Vested tables." (CCA Strategies, LLC)

Overview: Post-Employment Benefits in the New World of Proxy Disclosure
Excerpt: "In this article, one of a series of articles on the final rule, [CCA Strategies will] discuss the section of the rule dealing with retirement and other post-employment benefits. As most readers know, some disclosure about retirement benefits was included in prior proxy disclosures, but post-employment benefit disclosure is much more robust in the new proxy world." (CCA Strategies, LLC)

SEC Proxy Disclosure Rules Give Investors New Info about Executive Defined Benefit Retirement Plans (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "The key intent of the newly finalized Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC's) proxy disclosure rules is to give investors a handle on the total compensation that public companies pay to their senior executives. Until now, fully understanding this concept has been a complex undertaking because senior executives' total compensation is typically derived from numerous programs, and amounts were not disclosed for some of these programs." (Buck Consultants)

Chart: Comparison of SEC Rules on Compensation Disclosure (PDF)
45 pages. Excerpt: "This chart compares the final SEC rules on Compensation Disclosure adopted on July 26, 2006, and published in the Federal Register on September 8, 2006, with both the prior rules and proposed rules. This chart has been designed as a companion to Baker & McKenzie's client alert on the final rules (available at http://www.bakernet.com/BakerNet/Resources/Publications/Recent+Publications/USCLBSep06.htm). [The alert was posted on BenefitsLink.com yesterday.]" (Baker & McKenzie)

The Dallas Morning News Completes Voluntary Severance Program
Excerpt: "The voluntary severance program was offered to almost all newsroom employees, and consists of a severance payment of two weeks of base pay per year of continuous employment up to 15 years, and three weeks of base pay for each year of service that exceeds 15. An additional lump-sum payment equal to 12 months of the employee's currently applicable COBRA health care premium is included." (WorldNow, WTNH, and Associated Press)

Abstract of David Walker's SSRN Piece on the Option Backdating Scandal
Excerpt: "David Walker posted on SSRN today an essay entitled Some Observations on the Stock Option Backdating Scandal of 2006. One of his suggestions: consider replacing options with simplified long-term incentive programs that are less susceptible to manipulation, such as tying compensation to gains in yearly average share prices." (Workplace Prof Blog)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

DC Aspects of the Pension Protection Act
in Ohio on October 18, 2006
presented by ASPPA Benefits Council of Cleveland

Employee Benefits Planning: Creating & Managing The Group Benefits Package
Nationwide on September 26, 2006
presented by HRTrainingCenter.com

Interactive Cafeteria Plan Seminar
Nationwide on October 4, 2006
presented by HRTrainingCenter.com

Top Heavy: Basics and Beyond
Nationwide on September 26, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Washington Update
in Ohio on September 26, 2006
presented by ASPPA Benefits Council of Greater Cincinnati


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

New Survey Finds 69% of Plan Sponsors Require PBMs to Pass Through All Manufacturer Rebates
(International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Compliance Analyst
for The Newport Group
in FL

Relationship Manager
for MassMutual Financial Group
in OH

Senior Implementation Specialist
for CitiStreet
in NJ

Insurance/Benefits Consultant
for Austin Consulting Group, Inc.
in CO

Education/Enrollment Specialist
for ADP
in GA, MN, NJ, NY

Financial Planner/Investment Specialist
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in WA

Relationship Manager/Senior Relationship Manager (Retirement Plans)
for Mutual of Omaha
in ANY STATE

Retirement New Business Consultant/Senior Retirement New Business Consultant
for Mutual of Omaha
in NE




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