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September 25, 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)

Retiree Health Care Costs Might Overwhelm State and Local Governments
Excerpt: "This staggering burden is coming to light because of new accounting rules issued by the Government Accounting Standards Board. They require public agencies to disclose the future cost of health care and other benefits -- such as dental, vision and life insurance -- promised alongside traditional pensions to the nation's estimated 24.5 million active and retired state and local public employees." (AP via The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Employers Are Becoming Pickier When It Comes to Covering Dependents and Spouses
Excerpt: "[C]ompanies are conducting audits to verify that the dependents covered on your health plan are eligible. The process starts with a company sending a 'strongly worded amnesty letter to plan participants with enrolled dependents,' . . . . 'The participant is asked to provide official confirmation that the dependents they have covered under their plan are eligible dependents. This includes copies of birth certificates, tax returns and marriage licenses.'" (The Dallas Morning News; one-time registration required)

The Role for Employee Benefits When Grief Strikes the Workplace
Excerpt: "Although grief is a very personal experience, employers can consider benefits, policies and programs to help employees and minimize the impact of grief on the workplace." (Employee Benefit News)

Public Programs to Lure Home Buyers Get Mixed Results; Salisbury, MD, Tries Employer Match
Excerpt: "Salisbury has embarked on another project, House Keys 4 Employees, that provides a dollar-for-dollar match with an employer's contribution toward an employee's home purchase in the city." (The Daily Times)

Court Considers Questionable Termination Date in COBRA Violation Case
Excerpt: "The US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said an employer may have violated COBRA notification requirements in the case of an employee who says he was never formally terminated." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

A Short Course In MEWAs (Part 4): Compliance Requirements
An overview of the federal filing requirement (Form M-1) and sample state law requirements. (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

Overview of Selected Important Welfare Plan Compliance Matters
Excerpt: "For many employers, the welfare plan calendar for the fall is often dominated by responsibilities pertaining to annual enrollment. While completing these enrollment activities, however, there are certain legal deadlines and developments that employers may need to consider or address." (Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP)

Hospitalizations Single Most Expensive Component of the U.S. Health Care System, Says AHRQ
Excerpt: "About 33 percent of every dollar spent on health care goes to in-patient hospital care, according to the report that researchers said can be useful in setting priorities for preventative care and research." (The Washington Times)

U.S. Health Care System Needs Interoperable EHRs, Price Transparency, HHS Secretary Leavitt Says
Excerpt: "The U.S. health care system needs integrated electronic health records and billing programs, and more transparency on the price and quality of services, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt told the Medical Society of Virginia on [September 21], the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

To Control Health Insurance Costs, Companies Ask Workers to Get Healthy, Slim Down, and Pay More
Excerpt: "Successful companies recognize that even a major restructuring of benefits won't help if employees are couch potatoes and junk-food addicts. 'Wellness' is a buzzword on corporate campuses as employers try to improve their workers' diets, fitness and overall health. Although large companies have the resources to build elaborate wellness programs, companies of all sizes are seeing a need to improve their workers' health and cut costs over the long term." (The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C. via Human Resource Executive Online)

Relief for Some but Maybe Not Many in Wal-Mart Plan for $4 Generic Drugs
Excerpt: "[A] close examination of the program, with details confirmed by the company yesterday, suggests that its impact could be blunted by several factors. The plan, which is said to cover 300 drugs, includes only about 124 separate medicines in various dosages, like 12 versions of the popular antibiotic amoxicillin. It leaves out some popular drugs altogether, like the generic version of the cholesterol-lowering treatment Zocor." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Universal Health Care System Would Eliminate Health Insurance 'Horror Stories,' Columnist Writes
Excerpt: "More health insurers 'are finding ways to yank your insurance when you get sick,' but the industry continues 'growing rapidly,' in part by 'working harder than ever at identifying people who really need medical care and ensuring that they don't get it,' columnist Paul Krugman writes in a New York Times opinion piece." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Three Letters to the Editor, NYT, Re 'Insurance Horror Stories,' by Paul Krugman on September 22
Excerpt: "A single-payer system that would offer coverage to all Americans? The lobbyists who work on behalf of our $2 trillion-a-year health care industry are simply too powerful to allow the wholesale dismantling of our insurance system." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Citizens' Health Care Working Group Recommends Health Care Guarantee for All
Excerpt: "The group's call for universal health benefits will be delivered to President Bush on Monday. But, in many ways, the recommendations clash with Bush's stance that consumers should bear more responsibility for their initial medical expenses." (AP via The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide Updated September 19, 2006, for Health and Welfare Plans (PDF)
11 pages. This Federal Legislation Quick Guide provides short updates on federal legislation that is currently under active consideration by Congress or has recently been enacted into law regarding health and welfare benefit plans. (Hewitt Associates)

Individualized Perks for Individual Employees
Excerpt: "[The research of Denise Rousseau, the H.J. Heinz II professor of organizational behavior and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, shows that at] many businesses in the United States and Europe . . . between 25 percent and 35 percent of all employees have bargained for special workplace arrangements, which she calls idiosyncratic deals, or 'i-deals.'" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview of Possible Impact of FAS 123(R) on Anti-Dilution Provisions in Equity Plans (PDF)
Excerpt: "Under FAS 123(R), an amendment to a plan (or the underlying award agreement) to add mandatory anti-dilution provisions will not be considered a modification of an award unless it is made in contemplation of an equity restructuring." (Haynes and Boone. LLP)

Overview: SEC Rules Are Designed to Improve Compensation Disclosure to Investors
Excerpt: "Under this broad policy, the goal of the executive and director compensation disclosure regime is to provide investors with clearer, better organized and more complete disclosure regarding the mix, size and incentive components of executive and director compensation." (CCH Pension and Benefits)

Two Sun Microsystems Public Employee Pension Fund Shareholders Want Say in Executive Pay
Excerpt: "[T]wo shareholders want to have a say in how Sun compensates its executives. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Pension Plan and the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds have proposed a measure that shareholders be permitted to vote, though only in an advisory capacity, to approve the board's compensation committee reports." (CNET News.com via The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide for September 19, 2006, on Human Resources and Employment Law (PDF)
9 pages. This Federal Legislation Quick Guide provides short updates on federal legislation that is currently under active consideration by Congress or has recently been enacted into law regarding human resources and employment law. (Hewitt Associates)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Pension Protection Act 2006
in Vermont on September 3, 2006
presented by Executive Benefits Design Group

The Health, Economic and Legal Components of Worksite Wellness Programs Teleweb
Nationwide on October 19, 2006
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Making America Work
(Urban Institute)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

401(k) Account Manager
for BISYS Retirement Services
in PA

Pension Consultants/Administrators
for Northern NJ Mid-Size Pension Consulting Firm
in NJ

Client Integration Transition Manager
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in NY

Actuarial Assistant
for Gucciardi Benefit Resources, a division of Summit Benefit & Actuarial Services, Inc.
in WI

Account Manager
for Zenith Administrators
in NV

Pension Administrator
for The Senex Group
in CA

Documentation Specialist
for The Senex Group
in CA

401(k) Administrator
for Creative Retirement Systems
in OH

Benefit Compliance Specialist
for Hewitt Associates
in IL

Compliance Consultant - Experienced
for Hewitt Associates
in IL

Design Consultant-Exec Compensation
for Hewitt Associates
in IL

Employee Benefits Attorney
for Trenam Kemker
in FL

401(k) Enrollers/Independent Contractors - Part-Time
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in CA, FL, IL, MI, TX

Retirement Plan Consultant
for Plan Sponsor Advisors, LLC
in IL

Analytical Services Team Leader
for Kibble & Prentice
in WA

Senior Defined Benefit Calculation Analyst
for Diversified Investment Advisors, Inc.
in MA

Sr New Business Account Mgr
for Standard Insurance Company
in OR

DC Plan Administrator
for Penret Services, Inc.
in MA




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