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September 20, 2006
Today's sponsor: Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

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Banner ad for Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Record Retention Requirements for Health & Welfare Plans

In Record Retention Requirements for Health & Welfare Plans, EBIA's experts analyze record retention requirements for ERISA health and welfare plans as well as other employer-provided health and welfare benefits not subject to ERISA. You'll find answers to your record retention questions for many benefits including cafeteria plans, DCAPs, qualified transportation plans, HSAs, group health plans (like major medical, dental, health FSAs, and HRAs), and other ERISA benefits.

Record Retention Requirements for Health & Welfare Plans is available now at the introductory price of $195.
Please enter priority code BL195. For more information and to order, visit http://www.ebia.com/OtherOfferings/Books/RecordRetention.


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

IRS Notice 2006-86: Two or More Taxpayers Claiming Exclusion for Dependent Care Assistance (PDF)
9 pages. Excerpt: "This notice provides interim guidance under . . . the rule for determining which taxpayer may claim a qualifying child when two or more taxpayers claim the same child under . . . the exclusion for dependent care assistance under § 129 [or various other Code provisions] . . . . This notice clarifies that, unless the special rule in § 152(e) applies, the tie-breaking rule . . . applies to these provisions as a group, rather than on a section-by-section basis." (Internal Revenue Service)

Overview: New Guidance on the Use of Electronic Payment Cards for Health FSAs, HRAs and DCAPs (PDF)
Pages 2-5 of 6 pages. Excerpt: "In addition to expanding on the electronic payment card guidance initially provided in Revenue Ruling 2003–43, [Notice 2006–69] also clarifies certain substantiation methods and requirements that apply to all reimbursements irrespective of whether a card is used." (Trucker Huss)

Plan's Denial of Continued ERISA Disability Benefits Upheld
Excerpt: "Plaintiff's only submission in support of her claim for continued benefits was a letter from her treating physician dated January 26, 2005 stating his belief 'that the patient is totally disabled.' However, her treating physician provided no explanation whatsoever for the opinion that she was totally disabled and his opinion is not stated to a reasonable degree of certainty within the medical profession." (ERISA on the web; posted by John Wood)

Depression Has Broad Impact on Disability, Aetna Finds
Excerpt: "There is a greater connection between depression and disability leave than was previously known, according to research from Aetna. The health insurer examined short-term disability claims from Jan. 1, 2002 to June 30, 2004, and long-term disability claims from Jan. 1, 2002 to June 30, 2003. Researchers looked at a wide variety of ailments and conditions, . . . .What they found was that, in every instance, when depression is a comorbidity, the duration of the disability is longer." (Employee Benefit News)

Businesses Realize that Small Personal Things Can Increase Workers' Job Satisfaction and Motivation
Excerpt: "'It's an intriguing phenomenon that mangers think employees only care about wages, considering numerous and recent studies showing workers want recognition more than monetary rewards,' says Chester Elton, co-author of the bestseller, The 24-Carrot Manager." (Employee Benefit News)

Excess Reserves Help Slow the Rise in Health Care Costs for Federal Employees
Excerpt: "Officials said they substantially slowed the rise in 2007 insurance rates by dipping into excess financial reserves of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which provides about $33 billion in health-care benefits annually. They said the reserves had increased in recent months because insurance claims and other expenses had not grown as fast as estimated." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

E-Records Raise Legal Issues for Docs and Patients, Expert Says
Excerpt: "Health information technology may carry a host of 'legal disincentives' for physician adoption, including exposure to lawsuits that physicians previously were shielded from by the inefficiency of paper-based records, Saint Louis University professor Nicolas Terry said." (Modern Healthcare; one-time registration required)

Employers Pan Universal Health Care and Mandate Curbs, According to Survey
Excerpt: "Benefits buyers say the federal government should require health care providers to publish cost and quality information – and insurers to publish actual discounted health care prices. Researchers at United Benefit Advisors, Indianapolis, have published those results in a summary of results of a recent survey of 1,094 U.S. employers." (National Underwriter Life & Health; free one-time registration or paid subscription required)

Trends in Manufacturer Prices of Prescription Drugs Used by Older Americans
Excerpt: "These AARP Public Policy Institute reports present the results of studies of changes in manufacturers' prescription drug list prices (i.e., the prices set by drug manufacturers to charge wholesalers and other direct purchasers for drug products) for roughly 200 brand name and 75 generic prescription drugs most widely used by Americans age 50+. [The second quarter 2006 update is at http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/health/dd146_drugprices.pdf.]" (AARP)

Commonwealth Fund's Karen Davis Calls Consumer-Driven Health Care 'The Wrong Prescription'
Excerpt: "In describing consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) as the 'wrong prescription for American health care,' Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund, outlined to the National Consumer Driven Health Care Summit in Washington, D.C., some of the findings of a new Commonwealth Fund study released on September 14." (Spencer's Benefits Reports)

North American Trends Survey: Exploring Best Practices in Employee Mobility (PDF)
44 pages. Excerpt: "[The third installment of Prudential Relocation's annual relocation survey series examines and reports] on best practices in employee mobility within North America." (Prudential Financial)

Insurance Provider Survey Finds That Women Outpace Men As Buyers of Supplemental Products
Excerpt: "A UnumProvident news release said that women were buyers of 69% of disability policies and nearly two-thirds of critical illness policies. The study examined the purchasing patterns of more than 100,000 employer customers with UnumProvident coverage." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: Antidilution Provisions under Recent Interpretations of FAS 123R (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "According to recent accounting firm interpretations of the Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 123R, Share Based Payment ('FAS 123R'), adjustment of the terms of equity-based awards following an equity restructuring event could cause companies to recognize significant compensation cost." (Powell Goldstein LLP)

SEC Letter Regarding Practices Related to the Granting of Stock Options
Excerpt: "The Office of the Chief Accountant has prepared this letter to discuss certain of the existing accounting guidance related to grants of stock options." (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission)

Summary: SEC Staff Provides Views on Stock Option Accounting Practices
Excerpt: "The Office of the Chief Accountant of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a letter [September 19] to Larry Salva, Chairman of FEI's Committee on Corporate Reporting (CCR) and Sam Ranzilla, Chairman of the Center for Public Company Audit Firms expressing its views on the 'appropriate application of the stock option accounting literature'." (Financial Executives International)

Firms Praised for G.ay Benefits While Three Companies Received a Score of Zero
Excerpt: "US Airways, Motorola and Intel are among 138 companies that earned a 100 percent grade from the Human Rights Campaign. The political group has been rating corporations for five years on their attitudes, policies, rights and benefits for g.ays." (East Valley Tribune)

SEC Considers Additional Executive Compensation Rules
Excerpt: "As companies gear up to comply with new disclosure transparency rules, the SEC is once again considering a rule requiring disclosure of highly paid, policy-making non-officers." (Human Resource Executive Online)

Compilation of NCSL 50-State Legislative Tracking Web Resources
Excerpt: "This new resource page provides NCSL legislative tracking resources on a variety of health and other rapidly-changing topics." (National Conference of State Legislatures)

Education Improves Employee Perception of Stock Options
Excerpt: "Preliminary findings from researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Michigan State University show that personalized stock plan education programs increase the value employees attribute to their stock option awards." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Indiana on October 24, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Pennsylvania on October 24, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Indiana on October 24, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Pennsylvania on October 25, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Kentucky on October 25, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Indiana on October 25, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

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

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

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

PPA - DC Issues in Depth
Nationwide on October 18, 2006
presented by American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)

Summary Plan Descriptions for Health Plans (Including Health FSAs and HRAs)—How to Prepare and Deliver Effective SPDs
Nationwide on October 19, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Paladin Registry Launches Fiduciary Advisor Services That Are Based on 2006 Pension Reform Act Regulations
(Paladin Registry, LLC)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Supervisor / Senior Plan Administrator
for Howard Simon & Associates, Inc.
in IL

Member Retirement Services Senior Analyst
for OCTFCU- Orange County Teachers Federal Credit Union
in CA

Senior Financial Analyst / Financial Analyst
for Nolan Financial Group
in DC, MD

Health and Welfare Consultant
for Charles W. Cammack Associates
in NY

Retirement, Trust & Estate Specialist
for Charles Schwab
in IN

Wachovia Retirement Solutions Relationship Manager II
for Wachovia
in FL

Qualified Retirement Plan Administrator
for Retirement Plan Services, Inc.
in FL

HR Technology Administrator
for Vanguard
in PA

Benefits Administrator
for Vanguard
in PA




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