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September 29, 2006
Today's sponsor: BeneCom Associates, LLC

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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)

Text of FASB Press Release on New Accounting Standard for DB Plans and Other Postretirement Plans
Excerpt: "Under past accounting standards, the funded status of an employer's postretirement benefit plan . . . was not always completely reported in the balance sheet. . . . The requirement to recognize the funded status of a benefit plan and the disclosure requirements are effective as of the end of the fiscal year ending after December 15, 2006, for entities with publicly traded equity securities, and at the end of the fiscal year ending after June 15, 2007, for all other entities." (Financial Accounting Standards Board)

Text of FASB Summary of Statement 158
Excerpt: "[P]rior standards . . . for [DB] plans failed to communicate the funded status of those plans in a complete and understandable way. [They] did not require an employer to report in its statement of financial position the overfunded or underfunded status of a [DB] plan. Those standards did not require an employer to recognize completely in earnings or other comprehensive income the financial effects of certain events affecting the plan's funded status when those events occurred." (Financial Accounting Standards Board)

Text of FASB Statement 158: New Accounting Standard for DB Plans and Other Postretirement Plans (PDF)
176 pages. Excerpt: "This Statement requires an employer . . . to . . . [r]ecognize the funded status of a benefit plan -- measured as the difference between plan assets at fair value . . . and the benefit obligation -- in its statement of financial position. For a pension plan, the benefit obligation is the projected benefit obligation; for any other postretirement benefit plan, such as a retiree health care plan, the benefit obligation is the accumulated postretirement benefit obligation." (Financial Accounting Standards Board)

Maryland's Wal-Mart Act: Policy and Preemption
Excerpt: "Maryland's Wal-Mart Act raises two fundamental questions: Is the Act legal? Does the Act represent sound policy? With respect to the legality of the Maryland statute, I conclude that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) preempts the Maryland law. As a matter of policy, the Maryland statute is ill-conceived." (Cardozo Law Review, Forthcoming, via Social Science Research Network)

Editorial: Public Employee Sick Time Costs in Massachusetts
Excerpt: "MassPort, which buys back up to 100 percent of unused sick time when employees retire, paid more than $6.2 million for unused sick time in the last five years. Until this month, the Mass Pike offered a related perk -- a year of free health insurance for any employee using less than four days of sick time -- that cost toll payers more than $1 million a year." (MetroWestDailyNews.com)

'Progress' Made on Legislation that Would Promote Health IT, Lawmakers Say
Excerpt: "House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Joe Barton (R-Texas) [yesterday] after a meeting with Republican leaders said 'some progress was made' on finalizing legislation that would promote the implementation of health care information technology (Ota/Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 9/28)." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Opinion: Public Reporting Critical to Quality Improvement, Says Commonwealth Fund President
Excerpt: "Statement from Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis on The State of Health Care Quality: 2006, released September 27 by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) NCQA's 2006 State of Health Care Quality report demonstrates the continued importance of measurement and public reporting on improving the quality of health care, and it reinforces the urgent need to apply such measurement to the entire American health system." (The Commonwealth Fund)

Small Group Health Insurance in 2006 -- A Survey of Premiums, Consumer Choices, and Benefits (PDF)
28 pages. Excerpt: "In 2006, the average premium for small group health insurance was $311 per month ($3,730 per year) for single coverage and $814 per month ($9,770 annually) for family coverage." (America's Health Insurance Plans)

Employer-Provided Coverage Declines for Fifth Consecutive Year
Excerpt: "More Americans are uninsured because of the continued erosion in employer-provided health insurance, the most prominent form of U.S. health insurance." (The Economic Policy Institute)

Health Reforms May Prompt PKV to Action, Says Head of the German Health Insurance Association
Excerpt: "Mr. Schulte also said that plans to set up a new health fund for all citizens by 2008 and allow the transfer of old age provisions to the fund are unconstitutional, and it will act to protect the rights of its insurance company members and their customers." (Business Insurance)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Senators Seek Domestic-Partner Benefits for Federal Workers
Excerpt: "Sens. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) have introduced legislation that would permit unmarried federal employees to apply for health, dental and vision insurance, retirement and other benefits for their domestic partners." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Overview: Stock Option Grant Practices Under Scrutiny by the SEC (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "Although the primary abuse under scrutiny involves a purposeful back-dating, or looking back at stock prices to pick the lowest price for a grant (and thereby maximizing the gain for those who receive the back-dated grant), other option grant practices more appropriately characterized as involving mis-dating have drawn scrutiny . . . ." (Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP)

Overview: SEC Adopts Amendments to Rule 22c-2 (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "The SEC noted that it is up to each fund to determine how often to request information from intermediaries. In addition, the SEC stated that, under appropriate circumstances, a fund could reasonably conclude that an intermediary's frequent trading policies sufficiently protect fund shareholders and could therefore defer to the intermediary's policies with adequate prospectus disclosure." (Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP)

SEC Gives Final Passage to 22c-2 Changes
Excerpt: "Federal regulators this week gave final approval to the much anticipated redemption fee rule amendments designed to help funds enforce bans against market timing and other abusive trading practices." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

IRS Announces New Senior Technical Advisor in Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division
(Internal Revenue Service (IRS))

CitiStreet Execs Look Into Industry Future at Consultant Forum
(CitiStreet)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Defined Benefits Administration Conversion Specialist
for Lynchval Systems Worldwide Inc.
in TX, VA

Relationship Manager II
for AST Trust Company
in AZ

Defined Benefit Terminal Funding Senior Consultant
for MassMutual Financial Group
in MA

Retirement Plan Consultant
for Invesmart, Inc.
in WA

401(k) Administrator
for Iron Administration, LLC
in IL




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