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October 2, 2006
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Text of Rev. Proc. 2006-41: Rules for Per Diem Deductions for Meals, Lodging and Incidental Expenses (PDF)
30 pages. Excerpt: "This revenue procedure updates Rev. Proc. 2005-67 . . . and provides rules under which the amount of ordinary and necessary business expenses of an employee for lodging, meal, and incidental expenses . . . incurred while traveling away from home are deemed substantiated . . . when a payor (the employer, its agent, or a third party) provides a per diem allowance under a reimbursement or other expense allowance arrangement to pay for the expenses." (Internal Revenue Service)

Overview: IRS Guidance on Dependent Care Assistance Programs and the Definition of Dependent
Excerpt: "Employers are responsible for making sure their employees are aware of and understand the relevant eligibility requirements for [Dependent Care Assistance Programs, such as a dependent care flexible spending arrangement], which are linked to the IRC 152 dependent definition." (Deloitte)

Audio: New 'Connectivity Map' Links Drugs to Diseases
Excerpt: "In a paper published in Science magazine, a group of scientists introduce the Connectivity Map (C-Map). It's an online database connecting the genetic signatures of diseases to those of available drugs. The map could significantly speed up the rate of drug discovery, and find new uses for old drugs." (Talk of the Nation via National Public Radio)

Health Groups Again Protest House Codes in Health IT Bill
Excerpt: "The groups are protesting a requirement in the House-passed bill that medical providers and health insurance companies adopt a new system, known as ICD-10 codes, used to classify diseases and conditions by 2010." (The National Journal Group via BlueCross BlueShield Association)

United Steelworkers Union Blocks Foreign Health Care Treatment Trip
Excerpt: "The union, which recently negotiated a new contract with the milk-carton factory containing healthcare provisions for its members, worried that volunteer trips overseas to receive medical care would soon become mandatory even for children and the elderly as companies seek to cut costs and increase profits." (The Christian Science Monitor via BlueCross BlueShield Association)

Understanding Private Health Insurance: Strategies for Navigating the Health Care System
Excerpt: "The National Endowment for Financial Education and Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute have issued a 39-page guide to assist consumers in finding and keeping health insurance coverage: What is Good Health Insurance? What to Look for and What to Avoid; Special Worksheet to Help You Evaluate Your Health Insurance Choices; and Insurance Transitions - What They Are and How to Navigate Them." (National Endowment for Financial Education)

In the Cancer Drug Market, Abraxane's $4,200 Price Does Not Seem to Be Hurting Its Popularity
Excerpt: "Drug industry experts say Abraxane's price reflects the fact that makers of cancer drugs can charge high prices for new medicines even if they are only marginally better than their older counterparts. That pricing dynamic is enabled by insurance, which shields patients from the full price of drugs. Without pressure from their insurers, patients have little reason to choose older treatments over expensive new therapies." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Medicare Insurers to Offer More Prescription Drug Options in 2007
Excerpt: "Medicare beneficiaries will have access to more options for prescription drug coverage in 2007, with many insurers offering better value and a larger number of medications, the Bush administration said Friday. But the potential for confusion may also increase." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Ex-Chrysler Workers Must Arrange Own Health Insurance Coverage
Excerpt: "Instead of paying the bulk of costs for its salaried retirees over age 65 directly, the company will now provide a flat annual payment -- up to $1,750 per person in the first year -- to retirees and their spouses to use toward the cost of purchasing Medicare supplemental health insurance as well as dental, vision and prescription drug coverage." (McClatchy-Tribune Business News via BlueCross BlueShield Association)

Overview: Early Findings on Consumer Directed Health Plans from GAO
Excerpt: "In 2005 only about one-half of all individuals enrolled in high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), and thus eligible to contribute to health savings accounts (HSAs), actually contributed to HSAs. By contrast almost two-thirds of employers offering HSA-eligible plans contributed to their eligible employees' HSAs, according to an August 2006 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report." (Deloitte)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview: New Accounting Rules for Pensions and Other Retiree Benefits (PDF)
2 pages. (Milliman)

Overview of FAS 158: Defined Benefit Pension and Other Postretirement Plans
Excerpt: "On Sept. 29, 2006, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 158, 'Employers' Accounting for Defined Benefit Pension and Other Postretirement Plans' (FAS 158)." (Financial Executives International)

Overview: Major Changes to Pension and Postretirement Benefit Accounting (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "The principal changes to current accounting are [listed]." (Buck Consultants)

Future Pension Cost Becomes a Liability on Corporate Books
Excerpt: "The new rule will increase balance-sheet liabilities of the largest U.S. companies by $466 billion, reducing their net worth by 7 percent, according to estimates by Howard Silverblatt, an analyst at Standard & Poor's." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Corporate America's Pension Promises Thrust Into the Spotlight by New Accounting Regulations
Excerpt: "New rules from U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board will force companies to report the status of their pensions and other post-retirement employee benefits -- as an asset or, for most, a liability if they are underfunded -- on their balance sheets rather than have them buried in a footnote to the financial statements." (AP via The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Opinion: California Public Employees Gain Generous Benefits While Taxpaying Public Sleeps
Excerpt: "Generous public employee pensions in California and excessive health benefits for the retirees are examples of the public not giving a thought to costly programs that could fundamentally change the mission of public agencies. But who cares about actuarial tables and unfunded liabilities?" (ScrippsNews)

Disclosure of Employee Personal Data: What are an Employer's Legal Obligations?
Excerpt: "Employee Benefit Records. There is a growing awareness that certain information regarding benefit plans and participants in plans constitutes an 'asset' of the plan that is not to be given away or misused in a manner that is not in the best interests of the participants in that plan." (Faegre & Benson LLP)

Text of the Description of the Tax Technical Corrections Act of 2006 (PDF)
13 pages. Excerpt: "This document, prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, provides a description of the Tax Technical Corrections Act of 2006, as introduced on September 29, 2006, in the House of Representatives as H.R. 6264, and in the Senate as S. 4026." (Joint Committee on Taxation)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Annual Fall Employee Benefits Law and Practice Update - Webcast
Nationwide on November 9, 2006
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Fiduciary Issues Facing Plan Sponsors
in Pennsylvania on October 12, 2006
presented by Central Pennsylvania Chapter - ISCEBS

Fundamentals of Employee Benefits Law
in Louisiana on February 22, 2007
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Fundamentals of Employee Benefits Law - Webcast
Nationwide on February 22, 2007
presented by ALI-ABA (American Law Institute-American Bar Association)

Pension Protection Act 2006-Dallas Friday Oct.6
in Texas on October 6, 2006
presented by Executive Benefits Design Group


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Buck Consultants Survey Indicates Slower Trend in Health Care Costs for Employers
(Buck Consultants, an ACS Company)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Defined Contribution Administrator
for Pension Plan Professionals, Inc.
in FL

Client Service Rep
for Milliman
in TX

Tele Sale Professionals (Inside Sale - Business to Business)
for Corporate Synergies Group, Inc.
in NJ

Benefit Consultant (Sales Agent)
for Corporate Synergies Group, Inc.
in NJ

Senior Account Management Specialist - # 9885
for Securian Financial Group
in MN

Plan Consultant Opportunity
for Weaver Partners, Inc.
in ANY STATE

Participant Services Representative
for Sentinel Benefits Group
in MA

Defined Contribution Analyst
for Benefit Strategies, LLC
in ME

Client Service Representative
for Sentinel Benefits Group
in MA

Health & Welfare Manager
for Sentinel Benefits Group
in MA

401k / Defined Contribution Retirement Plan Administrator
for Sentinel Benefits Group
in MA

Paralegal / Legal Assistant
for Vaccaro & Prisco, LLP
in NY

Assistant Pension Administrator
for The Benefits Consulting Group, Inc.
in IL

Sr. Benefits Analyst Health and Welfare
for Automobile Club of Southern California
in CA

Pension Administrator
for The Benefits Consulting Group, Inc.
in IL

Pension Administrator
for FBD Consulting, Inc.
in KS

Account Manager
for WHA Financial Solutions
in WI

Actuary
for The Angell Pension Group, Inc.
in ANY STATE

Trust Associate II
for Wachovia
in NC




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