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October 11, 2006
Today's sponsor: Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Record Retention Requirements for Health & Welfare Plans

In Record Retention Requirements for Health & Welfare Plans, EBIA's experts analyze record retention requirements for ERISA health and welfare plans as well as other employer-provided health and welfare benefits not subject to ERISA. You'll find answers to your record retention questions for many benefits including cafeteria plans, DCAPs, qualified transportation plans, HSAs, group health plans (like major medical, dental, health FSAs, and HRAs), and other ERISA benefits.

Record Retention Requirements for Health & Welfare Plans is available now at the introductory price of $195.
Please enter priority code BL195. For more information and to order, visit http://www.ebia.com/OtherOfferings/Books/RecordRetention.


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

Legislation Includes Provision Allowing Limited Importation of Prescription Drugs from Can.ada
Excerpt: "While the new law allows the importation of drugs in limited circumstances, it does so by way of nonenforcement and does not clearly make the importation legal. It remains to be seen whether this law is the first domino in the toppling of legal barriers to the tax-favored reimbursement of at least some imported drug costs." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Health Insurance Coverage and Costs at Older Ages: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study (PDF)
74 pages. Excerpt: "This study by Richard Johnson of the Urban Institute looks beyond the anecdotes to see how the trends identified in employer surveys translate to a population of individuals. This analysis focuses on the extent of retiree health coverage and its cost, as well as the level of out-of-pocket health spending." (AARP)

How Readable Are Summary Plan Descriptions for Health Care Plans? (PDF)
Pages 1-10 of 12 pages. Excerpt: "This study investigates whether private-sector employers' SPDs are written so that an average plan participant can identify and read important information contained in the document, as required by federal law. The study collected and tested SPDs for 40 health care plans from a diverse national sample and subjected them to content and readability analyses." (Employee Benefit Research Institute)

California Law Mandates Free Parking or Cash for Some Employees
Excerpt: "In a bid to encourage commuters to leave the car at home and instead car pool, ride public transit or bike to work, a 1992 state law requires some employers to pay a stipend to people who don't use their company-provided parking space." (AP via The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Benefits & Compensation Digest Web Exclusive on Prepaid Legal Services Plans (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Prepaid legal services plans covered under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) are considered employee welfare benefits plans and must comply with Department of Labor (DOL) regulations." (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Privacy Rule Lawsuit May Resurface
Excerpt: "The Supreme Court recently declined to hear a case that challenged the constitutionality of the HIPAA privacy rule . . . . The issue, however, may not be closed, according to an attorney for the individuals and organizations that filed the lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services." (Health Data Management)

Union Disrupts Plan to Send Ailing Workers to India for Cheaper Medical Care
Excerpt: "The union's resistance has brought to the fore a critical question in the path of the globalization of the health care industry -- who is liable if something goes wrong in an overseas hospital? And underlying all this is the even more explosive issue of potential job losses in the American health care industry, in an economy already sensitive to the large-scale shift of jobs to cheaper overseas locations." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Back Surgery in Bangkok? Rhinoplasty in Rio? Cat-Scans in Singapore?
Excerpt: "In recent years, a few intrepid pioneers made headlines by circumventing the exorbitant U.S. health care system to receive major medical treatment abroad at a fraction of the cost at home . . . ." (Employee Benefit News)

Medical Tourism: What Are Your Options and How Would It Work for You?
Excerpt: "[E]mployees considering medical tourism as an option within their group health plans should understand the advantages and disadvantages of such an arrangement. . . . First of all, there are serious questions about what an employee is required to pay in taxes. Any amount paid by a group health plan for a hospital stay and any expenses associated with the medical procedure . . . would not be taxable to the employee. However, all other costs . . . are very unclear." (Employee Benefit News)

New Edition of 'Covering Health Issues' Available
Excerpt: "This 300-page book contains an overview, expert sources with telephone numbers, story ideas, websites, key facts, and a discussion of current policy proposals for all of the topics below. To download the entire book or only certain chapters, go to www.allhealth.org/sourcebook2006/toc.asp". (Alliance for Health Reform)

White Paper: Health Insurance and Self-Funding Plans -- The Devil is in the Details
Excerpt: "In this white paper [Grizzaffi Darby] will explore the intricacies of programs that are available to CFOs seeking to reduce benefit costs by choosing the appropriate funding option for their company." (Grizzaffi Darby; registration required to download paper)

Summary of GAO Reports Findings on HSAs and HDHPs
Excerpt: "A surprising finding in GAO's report is that most HDHP participants did not research costs before obtaining health care services: One would have thought that high deductibles would have given HDHP participants an incentive to deliberately seek lower-cost health services." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Working Paper: The Effect of a Husband's Retirement on His Wife's Health Insurance Coverage (PDF)
38 pages. Excerpt: "This paper studies a panel of married couples from the 1992-2004 waves of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to study the types of health insurance decisions households make around the time of retirement. Results indicate that households seem to do well at avoiding uninsurance at the time of retirement, but may make high cost choices in order to insure the wife." (Michigan Retirement Research Center)

If Private Sector Doesn't Find Health Care Cost Cure, National Health Care Model May Become Reality
Excerpt: "[T]he national health care debate in the United States has posed many questions but raised few answers. Just as it did 15 years ago during what then was called the managed care revolution, American business is standing up and saying the status quo of high-cost, inefficient health care must change. But once again, wary of big government, employers are eschewing public-sector solutions in favor of private-sector ones." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Final FASB Staff Position: FAS 123(R)-5 -- Amendment of FASB Staff Position FAS 123(R)-1 (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "This FASB Staff Position (FSP) addresses whether a modification of an instrument in connection with an equity restructuring should be considered a modification for purposes of applying FSP FAS 123(R)-1, 'Classification and Measurement of Freestanding Financial Instruments Originally Issued in Exchange for Employee Services under FASB Statement No. 123(R).'" (Financial Accounting Standards Board)

Top 250 Long-Term Incentive Grant Practices for Executives (PDF)
34 pages. Excerpt: "Since 1973, Frederic W. Cook & Co. has researched and published annual reports on long-term incentive grant practices for executives. The 2006 report states: 'it appears that long-term incentive practices for executives are starting to stabilize, based on recent research on practices at the 250 largest U.S. companies." (Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc.)

The Goldilocks Approach to International Benefits
Excerpt: "The story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a useful analogy for managing benefits internationally. . . . Just as Goldilocks had to choose the porridge temperature, chair size and bed that would be 'just right' for her in that house in the woods, when it comes to a company's international benefits philosophy, what works for the Little Bear company will not always work for the Mama Bear or the Papa Bear companies." (Employee Benefit News)

Foreign Income Tax Hikes Squeeze Expats and Employers
Excerpt: "This spring, President Bush signed into law the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act. Ironically, the measure contradicts its name, actually lowering exemptions and raising taxes for many American employees who are working abroad and the companies that deploy them." (Employee Benefit News)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

401(k) Plans: Beyond the Basics - NEW 2-Day Program!
in Texas on October 19, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

401(k) Plans: Beyond the Basics - NEW 2-Day Program!
in Minnesota on November 1, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

401(k) Plans: Beyond the Basics - NEW 2-Day Program!
in Illinois on November 8, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

ERISA Workshop - With Significant Coverage of PPA 2006
in Ohio on November 1, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

ERISA Workshop - With Significant Coverage of PPA 2006
in Colorado on November 1, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

ERISA Workshop - With Significant Coverage of PPA 2006
in Ohio on November 2, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

ERISA Workshop - With Significant Coverage of PPA 2006
in Texas on November 2, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

ERISA Workshop - With Significant Coverage of PPA 2006
in Georgia on November 3, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

ERISA Workshop - With Significant Coverage of PPA 2006
in Washington on November 9, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

HSA 2006 Primer - Teleconference
Nationwide on October 25, 2006
presented by Business Capital Edge

Interactive Seminar: Integrating FMLA, ADA, COBRA, & Workers Comp 2pm - 3pm Eastern for three consecutive weeks 11/1, 11/8/ 11/15
Nationwide on November 1, 2006
presented by HRTrainingCenter.com

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Illinois on November 14, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in California on November 14, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Nebraska on November 14, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Nebraska on November 15, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Illinois on November 15, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in California on November 15, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Illinois on November 16, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Nebraska on November 16, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Nevada on November 16, 2006
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Revolutionary "Person-First" Senior Caregiving Philosophy - Webinar
Nationwide on October 26, 2006
presented by Workplace Options

The Six Biggest COBRA Administrative Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)- Webcast
Nationwide on October 19, 2006
presented by HRTrainingCenter.com


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

October is National Work and Family Month. What Your Company Can Do?
(Harris, Rothenberg International (HRI))

Visa USA First to Adopt New Industry Standard to Identify Qualified Over-the-Counter Medical Expenses
(Visa USA)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Vice President of Compliance
for CitiStreet
in MA

Retirement Services Account Manager 2
for SunTrust Bank
in DC

Associate Account Manager
for CitiStreet
in NJ

Implementation Specialist
for CitiStreet
in NJ

EB Record Keeper/Tester Analyst
for Wachovia
in NC

Administrative Assistant - Intermediate
for Wachovia
in VA

Administrative Associate - Retirement Plan Services
for Simpkins & Associates Dallas Office
in TX

Document Processing Services Pension Specialist
for SunGard Relius
in FL

Defined Benefits Administrator
for The Rosen Group
in WA

Financial Representative
for ING Financial Advisers, LLC
in OR

Retirement Services Trust Sales Administrator
for Regions Financial Corporation
in TN

Analyst - Defined Benefit
for Mercer HR Services
in MA

Global Compensation Leader
for Hewitt Associates
in IL

Account Executive- Retirement Service
for The Principal Financial Group
in MD

Account Executive- Retirement Service
for The Principal Financial Group
in CO

Administrator
for Summit Benefit & Actuarial Services, Inc.
in OR

Sales Consultant
for MassMutual Financial Group
in MA




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