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September 15, 2006
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Complete Benefits Law Guidance from Law Journal Press

The nation's workforce and health care system are constantly evolving and so are the legal issues. Law Journal Press helps you handle any benefits law question with up-to-date, authoritative books on all aspects of the field. Get legal and practical advice from leading experts on everything from COBRA to ERISA, "contingent" employees to family and medical leave, and more. Browse our product listings for detailed information and special offers.

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

Medical Leave Reduces Employee Bonus, Court Rules
Excerpt: "A federal appeals court has ruled a company acted properly in reducing an employee's bonus following a two-month medical leave. However, the court says companies must make such payment distinctions based on specific plan criteria." (Human Resource Executive Online)

New Massachusetts Turnpike Chief Reduces Perks: Employee Health Benefits, Various Discounts
Excerpt: "The biggest change would eliminate free health care offered to turnpike managers who used fewer than three sick days each year. They will now have to pay a 20 percent premium." (thebostonchannel.com)

Paid Time Off Programs: Giving Employees More Control over Leave
Excerpt: "PTO programs address basic needs for employers and employees alike, are highly cost-effective and meet a common need for employees to strike a better work/life balance. PTO is a key component of the employee value proposition that encompasses tangible and intangible elements. Employees want respect for the demands created outside the workplace, and a PTO program communicates that the company is in sync with this priority." (Segal/Sibson consultants Steve Cyboran and Tom Morrison via Society for Human Resource Management)

Stop Loss Carrier's Refusal To Pay Insufficient Reason To Deny Claims
Excerpt: "When the hospital filed suit, the claims administrator defended on the grounds that the stop loss carrier denied the claims. Yet, the plan document did not provide that claims payment would be contingent on stop loss reimbursement (as they could not be in the case of a self-funded plan)." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

Checklist Helps Employers Evaluate Asthma and Allergy Benefits
Excerpt: "The prevalence of asthma and allergies - along with the high costs associated with them - are crucial issues for employers as they select a group health plan. Modern diagnosis and treatment for allergies and asthma can reduce and eliminate symptoms, lowering health care costs and reducing days lost from work. Despite this, some health insurance plans have barriers that may limit patients' access to the best diagnostic and treatment services." (Employee Benefit News)

Overview of Bush Order for Transparency on Health Care Cost and Quality (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "The order is designed to help people make more informed decisions about their health care, including which doctors and hospitals they choose for care." (Gardner Carton & Douglas LLP)

Health Plan Pay-for-Performance Strategies
Excerpt: "Conclusions: Most health plans are committed to pay-for-performance programs. Although providers would prefer health plans in their communities to use a single standardized set of measures and methods, this is unlikely given local market environments. A national effort directed at standardization might significantly reduce the extent of customization but also may limit the opportunities for local collaboration with providers." (The American Journal of Managed Care)

Health Care Experts' Group Proposes New Payment Model for the United States
Excerpt: "A group of high-profile experts in healthcare quality, economics, law and health-plan operations proposed a new payment model for the U.S. healthcare system, saying it would deliver evidence-based care to patients, reduce administrative burdens and improve coordination between providers. [The Group's 48-page white paper is at http://www.prometheuspayment.org/assets/documents/pdf/PROMETHEUS%20WP%20Draft%20May2006%20(5).pdf.]" (Modern Healthcare; one-time registration required)

Opinion from Karen Davis: Workers Shouldering the Erosion of Employer Coverage
Excerpt: "Over the past five years, the continuing growth in U.S. health care expenditures and premiums has made it increasingly difficult for employers, especially small employers and employers with older employees, to provide comprehensive benefits -- or any benefits at all. Clearly, the U.S. system, which relies so heavily on employer-based coverage, is failing too many families." (The Commonwealth Fund)

Wellness Winners Share Their Strategies for Success
Excerpt: "The National Business Group on Health recently recognized 33 employers as the Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles. Looking at the wellness approaches of the top eight platinum award winners reveals what strategies make a wellness program successful." (Employee Benefit News)

The Top Ten Cs in Health Care Consumerism
Excerpt: "How do we - as individuals, employers and society - achieve a greater level of consumerism in health care? For a truly consumer-centric health system to take hold in the United States, we must have life-long control of all aspects of our health. This includes managing our care, preventing disease, having access to our health records and making informed purchases. To accomplish this, we must address 10 critical areas, which we call the 'Top Ten C's in Health Care Consumerism.'" (Employee Benefit News)

Some Ford Employees Might Lose Health Benefits Under Buyouts
Excerpt: "According to United Auto Workers summary, Ford will offer eight early retirement and buyout packages to workers that range from $35,000 to $140,000, based on seniority and age. Workers have from Oct. 16 through Nov. 27 to consider the buyout packages, and those who accept the highest buyout packages will lose health and pension benefits." (Kaiser Family Foundation)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

New York Comptroller Sued for Recognizing Same-Sex Marriages
Excerpt: "New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi is being challenged over his recognition of Canadian same-sex marriages for public retirement system benefits." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Making It Real -- Moving Beyond Corporate Policy in the Day-to-Day Lives of LGBT Employees (PDF)
16 pages. Excerpt: "[This] is a new report from Ernst & Young designed to help companies implement corporate policies that impact the everyday work experiences of les.bian, g.ay, bise.xual, and transgender (LGBT) employees. The report is the result of a roundtable in which select global companies that scored 100% on the Human Rights Campaign's index of LGBT inclusiveness shared their best practices." (Ernst & Young)

Slide Presentation on the Final SEC Executive Compensation Disclosure Requirements (PDF)
44 pages. Detailed coverage of the issue. (Morgan Lewis)

Federal Income Taxation of Nonqualified Deferred Compensation and Its Plans (PDF)
120 pages. Excerpt: "CAVEAT: This article is intended to address only the general principles governing nonqualified deferred compensation plans after the enactment of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004." (NYU Review of Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation via Haynes and Boone, LLP and T. David Cowart)

Practical Guidance for Planning for the New Proxy Disclosure Rules (PDF)
13 pages. Excerpt: "The purpose of this letter is to begin identifying the issues to be addressed and the data sources that will likely be needed when preparing executive compensation disclosure under the new rules. Following are illustrative action lists for those who will be responsible for drafting the Compensation Discussion & Analysis and preparing the Summary Compensation Table, supporting tables and narratives." (Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc.)

Analysis Needed on ROI of Benefits for Expats
Excerpt: "Many companies aren't looking at the return on investment on expatriate employees and the money that's seeping out of cracks in their benefit programs. Thirty-eight percent of firms say their overseas assignment programs are 'more generous than they need to be,' and 48% believe their international assignees take 'too much time and effort to administer,' up 12% from last year, according to a new report from KPMG, which provides audit, tax and advisory services." (BenefitNews Connect)

The Timing of Stock Options Issue: A Legal Challenge for Companies and Much More
Excerpt: "Winston & Strawn partner Gail Standish discusses current issues in corporate compliance with regard to stock option backdating, with a focus on current government investigations, possible consequences for companies found liable, and what the role of both inside and outside counsel may play in remedying violations. [The one-page PDF is at http://www.winston.com/siteFiles/publications/Standish_MCCA_Sept06.PDF.]" (Winston & Strawn LLP)

Ford Offering 75,000 Employees Buyout Packages
Excerpt: "The Ford Motor Company agreed Thursday to offer buyouts and other incentives worth as much as $140,000 each to its 75,000 hourly workers in the United States to persuade them to leave their jobs." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

2nd Annual Pension Funds in Crisis
in District of Columbia on October 18, 2006
presented by Strategic Research Institute

HSA 2006
in Arizona on December 7, 2006
presented by Business Capital Edge

Risky Business: Mitigating Broker-Vendor-Advisor Fiduciary Exposure
in California on September 21, 2006
presented by Western Pension & Benefits Conference - Orange County Chapter

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 - Changes Affecting 401(k) Plans
in California on October 19, 2006
presented by Western Pension & Benefits Conference - Orange County Chapter


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

NASD Investor Alert Warns Workers About Early Retirement Investment Pitches
(NASD (National Association of Securities Dealers))


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Marketing Director
for BISYS Retirement Services
in PA

Retirement Services Compliance Manager
for Regions Financial Corporation
in AL

Systems Business Analyst II
for Regions Financial Corporation
in AL

Operations Manager (CA)
for Zenith Administrators
in CA

New: Exclusive In-House Employee Benefits Counsel Opportunity - Heathrow, Florida
for McCormack Schreiber Legal Search Inc.
in FL

Senior Defined Contribution Plan Administrator
for Strategic Pension Services, Inc. (“SPS”)
in CA

Senior Underwriter - Stop Loss
for Great-West Corporate
in CO

Internal Service Representative
for Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia
in GA




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