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October 10, 2006
Today's sponsor: Benefit Software Inc.

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

Hewitt Estimates Health Costs to Rise 7.7% in 2007
Excerpt: "Showing more evidence that group health plan cost increases are easing, costs next year are projected to rise by an average of 7.7% to $8,340 per employee, according to a Hewitt Associates Inc. analysis of health plans sponsored by 400 major employers." (Business Insurance)

Rx Importation Momentum Grows with New Law, But Impact on Plans and PBMs Unlikely
Excerpt: "Congress on Sept. 29 approved a controversial provision in the Homeland Security Department fiscal 2007 appropriations bill (H.R. 5441) that would allow U.S. citizens to import up to a 90-day supply of FDA-approved Rx drugs from Can.ada, as long as the drugs are carried on the person." (DRUG BENEFIT NEWS via AISHealth.com)

Wal-Mart's Low-Cost Generic Drug Program to Begin Nationwide Earlier Than Expected
Excerpt: "Wal-Mart Stores on [October 5] announced that the statewide expansion of a pilot program in Florida under which some company pharmacies will sell 30-day prescriptions of some generic medications for $4 will occur on [October 6], three months earlier than expected, the Orlando Sentinel reports (Chediak, Orlando Sentinel, 10/6)." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Overview: Medicare Part D Notices of Creditable Coverage Must Be Revised and Sent by November 15
Excerpt: "On September 22, 2006, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published in the Federal Register revised drafts of the Medicare Part D Notices of Creditable Coverage guidance and the three model Notices that it had released earlier this year . . . ." (The Segal Group, Inc.)

Sabbatical Policies May Be Legal Liability for Nonprofit Employers
Excerpt: "The primary concern for nonprofit employers regarding sabbaticals, says Marathas, is possibly violating intermediate sanctions - newly tightened Internal Revenue Service regulations that preclude employees' personal inurement (or personal gain) from the activities of a nonprofit group." (Employee Benefit News)

State & Local Governments Experimenting with Ways to Expand Health Insurance Access
Excerpt: "This Insight focuses on what states and local governments are doing and how their laws affect employer-provided medical benefits.'and to control the rapid increase of medical costs. (Littler Mendelson P.C.)

Employers Open In-House Clinics to Trim Costs and Boost Preventive Care
Excerpt: "In a ritual of fall, employees throughout the region head for the office nurse to line up for their annual flu shot. They do the same at Freddie Mac, with some big differences. The shots are free, and they are only a small part of the company's efforts to keep its employees well and health costs down." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide Updated October 3, 2006, for Health and Welfare Plans (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 health and welfare benefit plans. (Hewitt Associates)

A New Year Ahead with New Priorities: The OIG Issues Its 2007 Work Plan
Excerpt: "Recently, the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services released its 'areas of special concern' for the 2007 fiscal year. As a guidepost to the OIG's current and future audit initiatives, the 2007 Work Plan is essential reading for compliance officers and provider administrators charged with setting audit priorities for their internal corporate compliance programs." (Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Draft Practice Note on Valuation of Employee Stock Options, October 2006 (PDF)
39 pages. Excerpt: "This practice note has been prepared by the Stock Options Task Force of the Pension Practice Council of the American Academy of Actuaries. Our primary purpose is to provide guidance to actuaries and others performing valuations under the Financial Accounting Standards Board's (FASB's) Statement of Financial Accounting Standard (FAS) Number 123, Share-Based Payments, as amended in December 2004 (FAS 123R)." (American Academy of Actuaries)

Overview: Executive Compensation and Related Person Disclosure
Excerpt: "On July 26, 2006, after reviewing over 20,000 comment letters in response to its earlier proposal, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted comprehensive changes to the disclosure requirements for executive and director compensation, related person transactions, director independence and other corporate governance matters, and security ownership of officers and directors." (Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP)

Text of Department of Labor's Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 20062011 (PDF)
94 pages. Excerpt: "[T]he revised four goals listed . . . address the core of what the Department is all about: preparing workers to succeed; developing a demand-driven workforce system to remain competitive in the worldwide economy; protecting safety, health, wages, and other working conditions on the job; and ensuring that worker benefits, such as unemployment insurance and pension and health benefits, are there when they are needed." (U.S. Department of Labor)

Ford to Begin Buyout Offer Next Week
Excerpt: "Ford Motor Co. will begin offering its previously-disclosed buyout or early retirement packages to all 75,000 of its U.S. hourly employees starting next week." (AP via The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Overview: Insurance Coverage for Options Backdating Claims (PDF)
Excerpt: "Directors & Officers Liability (D&O) insurance policies should cover many of the costs associated with the options backdating lawsuits and investigations." (Wallstreetlawyer.com: Securities in the Electronic Age via Westlaw)

Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide for October 3, 2006, on Human Resources and Employment Law (PDF)
8 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)

Tax Technical Corrections Bills Introduced in House and Senate
Excerpt: "The legislation contains technical corrections to prior tax acts, including the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005, the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, and the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA)." (CCH Pension and Benefits)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Essentials
in Virginia on November 7, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Essentials
in North Carolina on November 7, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Essentials
in Pennsylvania on November 9, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Essentials
in Oklahoma on November 14, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Essentials
in Oklahoma on November 16, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Update: A seminar for serious IRA professionals
in North Carolina on November 8, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Update: A seminar for serious IRA professionals
in Virginia on November 8, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Update: A seminar for serious IRA professionals
in Pennsylvania on November 10, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Update: A seminar for serious IRA professionals
in Oklahoma on November 15, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2006 Fall Tour: IRA Update: A seminar for serious IRA professionals
in Oklahoma on November 17, 2006
presented by BISYS Retirement Services

2007 Business Management Conference
in Arizona on January 13, 2007
presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators

MA Healthcare Reform Act
in Massachusetts on October 18, 2006
presented by WEB Worldwide Employee Benefits Network MA Chapter

NTSAA's 18th National Conference- Roll with the changes!
in Nevada on January 25, 2007
presented by National Tax Sheltered Accounts Association

The Default Investment Regulations - Beyond the Hype
Nationwide on November 29, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

To Do List - Amendments and Testing and 8905s: Oh My!
Nationwide on November 7, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Hewitt Associates Data Reveals Lowest U.S. Health Care Cost Increases in Eight Years
(Hewitt Associates LLC)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

DC Implementation Business Analyst
for CitiStreet
in MA

Compliance Director
for MassMutual Financial Group
in CT

Business Analyst
for Microsoft
in WA

Communications Specialist
for MassMutual Financial Group
in MA

OmniScript Analyst 1681223
for TIAA-CREF
in CO, NC

Health/Welfare Consultant - Benefits Evaluation Team
for Hufnell, Inc Executive Recruiters - Benefits Outsourcing, Benefits and HR
in PA

Benefits Administrator
for MidAmerican Energy
in IA

DB Analyst
for BeneTemps
in MA

Benefits Communications Consultant - Arlington, VA
for Watson Wyatt Worldwide
in VA

Benefits Specialist
for Milliman, Inc.
in WA

Benefits Administrator
for Milliman, Inc.
in WA

Benefit Plan Senior Administrator
for J. D. BENEFITS, INC
in NC

Assistant Administrator (401(K))
for Qualified Benefits, Inc - QBI (a wholly owned subsidiary of BenefitStreet, Inc.)
in CA

Client Management Consultant
for CAPTRUST Financial Advisors
in NC

Manager of Retirement Plan Services
for Anthony Michael & Co. Retained Search Firm for Financial Service Co.'s
in ANY STATE

Business Development Manager
for SunGard ProNvest
in GA

Retirement Specialist - Implementation/Enrollment
for ProNvest
in GA

Vice President, Benefits Compliance
for 20th Century Fox
in CA

Benefits Consultant
for BeneTemps
in NY

DB Specialist
for BeneTemps
in MA

Executive Compensation Consultant
for Hewitt Associates
in IL

RFP Analyst
for 401(k) Advisors
in CA

Director of Benefits
for L'Oreal USA, Inc.
in NJ

Sales Representative/Government Sales
for The Hartford
in TN




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