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September 18, 2006
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(Please visit our sponsors. We try to make sure their products and services will be of interest to you. Thanks! --Editor)

For Health Insurance, Adult Children Riding Piggyback
Excerpt: "The trend stems from a concern that a healthy -- and profitable -- segment of the population is dropping out of the insurance pool. About half of all states have studied such proposals, and at least nine have passed laws, eight of them since 2003 and three just this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

AHIP Speakers Advise Plan Sponsors to Test Skills of Part 'D' Agents
Excerpt: "[P]lan sponsors should maintain a significant amount of oversight of agents and brokers selling their products, she said. Some of the tools for doing so should include speaking directly with plan members, monitoring an agent's phone calls and, if needed, going on 'ride alongs' with particular agents." (National Underwriter Life & Health; free one-time registration or paid subscription required)

Association Health Plan Proponents May Change Senate Bill
Excerpt: "Sponsors of a bill to allow small businesses to buy health insurance through national associations that failed on a cloture vote in May are working on changes to the legislation in advance of a possible second chance at passage this month." (The National Journal Group, Limited via BlueCross BlueShield Association)

Court Upholds 120-Day Limitations Period Under Terms of Self-Funded Disability Plan
Excerpt: "[The district court for the Eastern District of Texas] observed that several federal courts have enforced contractual limitations provisions in ERISA cases. . . . The district court placed particular reliance on Northlake Regional Medical Center v. Waffle House, 160 F.3d 1301, 1303 (11th Cir. 1998). . . . [T]he 120-day period to bring a federal case did not begin to run until after the disposition of the internal appeal process." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

CEOs and CFOs Are Casting New Scrutiny on Incentive Travel
Excerpt: "The debate over incentive travel will ultimately be resolved with three approaches: getting a firm handle on what is being spent, making sure there is a quantifiable return on investment and protecting the integrity of a valuable and unique contributor to the corporate bottom line." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)

Some Bosses See the Virtues of a Long Break from Work
Excerpt: "Sabbaticals -- once considered the exclusive bailiwick of academicians, who are often granted an entire year to pursue research -- now come in many sizes and shapes. They often carry the imprimatur of the top of the corporate chain marking away-from-work time as good for the body. Some companies believe it is also good for the soul." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Hungry Workers, Tied to Desks, Clicking to Get Culinary Delights as Employee Benefit
Excerpt: "SeamlessWeb may be little known outside the high-powered business world. But it has instant name recognition with almost any elite corporate lawyer, investment banker or management consultant in the city. At hundreds of firms, a SeamlessWeb log-on has joined the company ID and the e-mail address as de rigueur accouterments for the new hire." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

HIPAA Standardization Pledged by Insurers, Provider Organizations and Information Technology Vendors
Excerpt: "Through its Committee on Operating Rules for Information Exchange (CORE), payer advocacy group CAQH has led the effort to standardize the HIPAA transactions, starting with eligibility/benefit determination. The goal is to standardize the transactions to the point that they can be conducted as easily as an ATM transaction." (Health Data Management)

Opinion: Medical Treatment Ignorance and Communication
Excerpt: "We need an unbiased, efficient system to get the word out to practitioners on what works best." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Survey Shows Satisfaction Rises at Blues' HSA Programs
Excerpt: "About 85% of enrollees who have HSAs and 85% of traditional plan enrollees say their plans have met their expectations in the area of control of health care expenditures, the Blues report." (National Underwriter Life & Health; free one-time registration or paid subscription required)

Former White House Adviser Roy Ramthun Outlines Future Of CDHC, Provides 2007 Limits
Excerpt: "For consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) to become the dominant form of health care in the United States, unions, state and local governments, school districts, and community hospitals must embrace health savings accounts (HSAs), according to Roy Ramthun, president of HSA Consulting Services and former special assistant for economic policy to President George W. Bush and the President's senior health policy adviser." (Spencer's Benefits Reports)

Kid-Friendly Policies Don't Help Singles at Work
Excerpt: "Since corporations started paying attention to 'family-friendly' benefits in the late 1980s, child-free and single workers have wondered where their benefits were. They have expressed dismay that they felt they were asked to work more when employees with families needed time away from work." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Court Rules on Requirement to Dismiss a Pending EEOC Charge in Exchange for Severance Payments
Excerpt: "A federal district court in Maryland held last month that an employer engaged in unlawful retaliation toward an employee in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act by conditioning the receipt of severance benefits upon the employee's withdrawal of her pending Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

Overview: New SEC Executive Compensation Rule 'Will Clearly Increase the Role of the CHRO'
Excerpt: "Executive Compensation Policy Roundtable Chairman Rich Floersch of McDonald's led a discussion of the implications of the new SEC proxy disclosure rules for company filings in 2007. He observed that management's heightened responsibility under the new rules 'will clearly increase the role of the CHRO' in explaining the disclosures to the compensation committee, the CEO and the CFO." (HR Policy Association)

Overview: Possible Interim Guidance on Code Section 409A: Extension of Transition Relief
Excerpt: "[The first full week of September], Daniel H. Hogans, attorney-adviser in the Office of Tax Policy for the Treasury Department, informally stated that the final regulations on 409A are expected to be released later this year--in the fall. In addition, he conceded that a January 1, 2007 effective date for the final regulations was 'increasingly unworkable.'" (Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP)

Employers Differ in LTI Stock Option Replacement, According to Mercer
Excerpt: "Many companies around the world that had used stock options in their long-term incentive (LTI) compensation programs are now relying on them much less, but there is a difference in how much less for firms in different countries." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

CalPERS Appointed Lead Plaintiff in Lawsuits Against UnitedHealth Group over Stock Option Practices
Excerpt: "Known as an activist shareholder, [the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS)] will manage the case and monitor developments for other plaintiffs." (Star Tribune; one-time registration required)

Investigating Potential Allegations of Backdating Option Grants (PDF)
Excerpt: "Backdating can be inadvertent. It may happen because all of the approvals and authorizations that are necessary to grant an option have not been met so that when the option becomes legally binding, a period of time has elapsed between the date that the option exercise price was determined and the date the option was legally granted." (The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. via Groom Law Group)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Pension Protection Act of 2006: What’s in It for 401(k) Plans?—Help for 401(k) Plan Employers, Advisors, and Administrators
Nationwide on September 14, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Stock Option Pricing Practices: What You Need to Know
Nationwide on September 19, 2006
presented by West LegalEdcenter


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Plan Administrator
for Third Party Administration Firm
in FL

ERISA Consultant II
for BISYS Retirement Services
in PA

Senior Director, Compensation & Benefits
for Kennametal
in PA

Plan Services Consultant
for American United Life Insurance, a OneAmerica financial partner
in IN

Client Services Consultant
for American United Life, a OneAmerica financial partner
in AZ, DC, IN, KS, TX

TPA Defined Contribution Plans Specialist
for 401k Administrators, Inc.
in CA

Assistant General Counsel -- ERISA Experience Required
for Nationwide Insurance
in OH

Retirement New Business Consultant (Retirement Plans Sales Support)
for Mutual of Omaha
in NE

Benefits Planning & Communications Specialist
for The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
in NY

Pension Specialist
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in OR




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