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October 5, 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)

National Business Group on Health Asks Employers to Stop Paying for Bad Care
Excerpt: "The National Business Group on Health has come out with 3 recommendations for improving health care quality. . . . The third recommendation is that employers should stop paying for surgeries involving significant errors, such as cases of wrong surgical procedures being performed or instances of medication errors leading to the death of a patient or serious disabilities." (National Underwriter Life & Health; free one-time registration or paid subscription required)

D.C. Officers' Medical Claims Cost Millions, Deplete Ranks of Police on City's Streets
Excerpt: "[Hundreds of police officers] have collected full pay but not worked full duty -- some for years at a time. The gap left in the force prompted the city two years ago to tighten rules governing medical claims. Since then, the number of officers away from full duty has dropped." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

NYSE Leave of Absence Policy Not Discriminatory to Disabled Former Employees
Excerpt: "The US District Court for the Southern District of New York has ruled the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) did not discriminate against 15 disabled former employees when it adopted a leave of absence policy that terminated their health and life insurance benefits." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

PBS Series Examines Efforts to Reform U.S. Health Care System
Excerpt: PBS . . . will begin to air a four-part series called 'Remaking American Medicine: Health Care for the 21st Century,' which examines efforts to improve the U.S. health care system, including increasing patient safety, reducing medical errors, and creating partnerships between providers and their communities." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Towers Perrin U.S. Legislative Tracking Charts -- Health and Welfare -- Updated September 29, 2006 (PDF)
35 pages. Excerpt: "These charts summarize selected federal legislation that would affect employee benefit programs. The bills included on the charts are based on judgments regarding the prominence of the issue, the likelihood of enactment, and the influence of the sponsors." (Towers Perrin)

Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate on the Health Opportunity Patient Empowerment Act of 2006 (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "H.R. 6134 would make various changes to rules regarding health savings accounts (HSAs). It would allow fully deductible contributions for the entire year in which a high-deductible insurance policy is purchased, repeal certain limitations on HSA contributions, and allow a one-time rollover of funds from certain other accounts into HSAs, among other changes." (U.S. Congressional Budget Office)

Comments on Employee Benefits and the Captive Insurer
Excerpt: "In September 2006, the Insurance Information Institute (III) wrote, 'An increasing number of corporations are using captives to fund their employee benefits programs.' One type of Alternative Risk Transfer (ART) mechanism, captives are a response to keeping a lid on commercial insurance costs. [The blog includes an article, 'The Latest to Place Employee Benefits Risk with Captive,' published by the Association for Financial Professionals.]" (Pension Risk Matters)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

IRS Notice 2006-79: Additional Transition Relief under Section 409A (PDF)
13 pages. The final regs will not become effective until Jan. 1, 2008; the notice generally extends through 2007 the transition relief provided for 2006 in the preamble to the proposed regulations except with respect to certain discounted stock rights; it provides additional transition relief for certain payment elections in linked plans and certain collective bargaining arrangements; and it extends the amendment date for certain plans that took advantage of transition relief provided for 2005." (Internal Revenue Service)

Overview: Deferred Compensation and Section 409A: The IRS Pushes Back the Deadlines -- Again
Excerpt: "[N]ot all of the Section 409A deadlines were extended. This Client Alert focuses on the new deadlines." (O'Melveny & Myers LLP)

Feds Delay 409A Regulations Enforcement for One Year
Excerpt: "The US Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced [yesterday] that full compliance with the operational and documentary requirements of the Section 409A is delayed until January 1, 2008, 'at which time an adequate opportunity will have been provided for taxpayers to digest and comply with the final regulations,' the officials asserted." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Overview: IRS Transition Relief under Code Section 409A for Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "Generally, the additional transition relief extends the deadline for amending nonqualified deferred compensation plans for compliance with Code Section 409A until December 31, 2007." (Gardner Carton & Douglas LLP)

Overview: Pension and Retiree Health Funded Status Must Be on Balance Sheet (PDF)
5 pages. Excerpt: "Statement 158 requires employers to recognize the funded status of defined benefit pension, retiree health, and other postretirement plans as an asset or a liability on the balance sheet. Employers' expense for these plans on the income statement will not change." (Aon Consulting)

Overview: SEC Revamp of the Executive Compensation Disclosure Rules (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "Although the CD&A and new tables will report equity compensation and option grant information, the SEC devoted extra discussion to this item in the rules due to the recent backdating cases. Issuers must disclose how the timing of the release of information relates to stock option grants and how it affects other compensation." (Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur LLP)

Fed Chief Says Boomers Are Threat to Social Security and Medicare System
Excerpt: "Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said yesterday the burden from retiring baby boomers will strain the nation's budget and economy, unless Social Security and Medicare are revamped. 'Reform of our unsustainable entitlement programs' should be a priority, Bernanke told the Economics Club of Washington. 'The imperative to undertake reform earlier rather than later is great.'" (AP via Lexington Herald-Leader)

Listing of IRS Published Guidance for January 2006 -- September 2006
The target page links to guidance published by the Service relating to retirement plans: Treasury Regulations; Revenue Rulings; Revenue Procedures; Notices; and, Announcements. (Internal Revenue Service)

Towers Perrin U.S. Legislative Tracking Charts -- Human Resources -- Updated September 29, 2006 (PDF)
11 pages. Excerpt: "These charts summarize selected federal legislation that would affect employee benefit programs. The bills included on the charts are based on judgments regarding the prominence of the issue, the likelihood of enactment, and the influence of the sponsors." (Towers Perrin)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

(ERISA Basics Series) Health & Disability Plans: Everything You Always Wanted to Know but Were Too Busy to Ask
Nationwide on October 17, 2006
presented by ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits

17th Annual Employee Benefits Conference
in Florida on November 15, 2006
presented by Greenberg Traurig, PA

ASPPA Annual Conference Highlights presented by Robert Richter, APM, J.D., LL.M.
in Massachusetts on November 7, 2006
presented by ASPPA Benefits Council (ABC) of New England

Electronic Health Records: Show Me The Money - Webcast (Part 2 of 2 Part Series)
Nationwide on November 9, 2006
presented by National City Corporation

Electronic Health Records: What You Must Know Today - Webcast (Part 1 of a 2 Part Series)
Nationwide on October 12, 2006
presented by National City Corporation

Governmental Benefits Update Seminar
in Pennsylvania on October 13, 2006
presented by Rhoades & Wodarczyk, LLC

Overview of Form 1099R
Nationwide on December 4, 2006
presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

Pension Protection Act: What To Do In 2006 Teleweb
Nationwide on October 26, 2006
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Workers Facing New Benefit Options in Open Enrollment Season
(Watson Wyatt)

Findley Davies Announced the Results of its 10th Annual Health Care Trend Survey
(Findley Davies, Inc.)

"Your Pension and Your Spouse -- The Joint and Survivor Dilemma" Aids in Effective Pension Planning
(International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Defined Benefit Administration Software Consultant (ProAdmin)
for Winklevoss Technologies
in CT

Compliance Analyst
for Wachovia
in MN

Benefits Coordinator
for Baker & Daniels LLP
in IN

Client Consultant Compliance/Technical
for Lincoln Financial
in IN

Data Analyst
for Vanguard
in PA

Plan Review Consultant
for Vanguard
in AZ

Marketing Manager - Retirement Plan Services
for Vanguard
in PA

401(k) Plan Administrator/Analyst
for The Pension Group, Inc.
in CA

Conversion Team Leader
for Retirement Alliance, Inc.
in NH

Retirement Compliance Testing Administrator
for Vanguard
in PA

Recordkeeping Services Manager
for Vanguard
in PA

401(k) Plan Administrator
for Qualified Plans, LLC
in GA




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