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October 25, 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)

2006 Health Confidence Survey: Dissatisfaction With Health Care System Doubles Since 1998 (PDF)
Pages 1-10 of 12 pages. Excerpt: "The 2006 Health Confidence Survey (HCS) finds that the public's increasing dissatisfaction with the American health care system appears to be focused primarily on the rising cost of care. Many Americans report that rising costs have hurt their financial well-being and feel that steps should be taken to slow these increases." (Employee Benefit Research Institute)

Health Care Costs Cutting Ability to Save, Many Say in Survey
Excerpt: "The 2006 health-confidence survey released today by the nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington, D.C., found that fewer than two in 10 Americans are satisfied with the cost of health insurance and with costs not covered by insurance. More than half are 'not too satisfied' or 'not at all satisfied.'" (AP via Arizona Daily Star)

Flexible Benefits Offered by Majority of Employers, According to Survey
Excerpt: "According to a press release from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP), 90% of those employers who offer flexible benefit plans offer health care and dependent care flexible spending accounts (FSAs)." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Supreme Court to Review Change in Vacation Payout Rules (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "In Susan Lee v. Fresenius Medical Care Inc., 719 N.W.2d 222 (Minn. Ct. App. 2006), the employer's vacation policy provided that employees would generally be paid for earned but unused vacation time upon termination. The policy created an exception for employees who left as a result of misconduct those individuals would not be paid for their earned but unused time." (Briggs and Morgan)

October 24 Was 'Take Back Your Time Day' -- A Reminder of the Extra Weeks Only Americans Work
Excerpt: "The United States has the unfortunate distinction of not requiring companies to provide paid vacation or sick days to their workers. We're not alone: The Chinese government doesn't require paid vacation time either." (The Boston Globe)

Hospitals Try Free Basic/Preventive Care for Uninsured
Excerpt: "[Seton Family of Hospitals' o]fficials decided that for many patients with chronic diseases, it would be cheaper to provide free preventive care than to absorb the high cost of repeated emergencies." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Asthma in the Workplace -- 52% of Employers Now Have Asthma Management Programs (PDF)
24 pages. Excerpt: "If ever there was a condition that can be effectively managed through employee education and a well designed health benefit, it's asthma. Pitney Bowes, to take just one example, offered workshops and overhauled its pharmacy program, reducing emergency room visits for asthma attacks by 6 percent and hospital admissions for asthma by 38 percent for its 35,000 employees." (Managed Care Magazine)

National Governors Association's Center for Best Practices Will Form a State Alliance for E-Health
Excerpt: "A program within the National Governors Association has received a $1.99 million federal grant to help states develop consensus-based best practices for interoperable health information exchanges." (Health Data Management)

Efficiency in Health Care: What Does it Mean? How is it Measured? And Value-Based Purchasing? (PDF)
29 pages. Excerpt: "In May 2006 the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) co-sponsored a conference with the Employer Health Care Alliance Cooperative . . . to discuss current activities under way to measure efficiency in health care delivery. This document summarizes key issues and themes raised at the conference. An appendix to the document includes summaries of conference presentations. The PowerPoint slide presentations from the conference are available . . . ." (AcademyHealth)

Shared Medical Clinic Would Serve Two Firms' NYC Workforces
Excerpt: "Marriott International and Pitney Bowes are in discussions to create a medical clinic in New York City for employees of both companies to access timely health care. If the joint venture materializes, it would be among the first of its kind." (Workforce Management; one-time registration required)

Southeast Texas Small Businesses Could Band Together to Get Affordable Health Insurance
Excerpt: "Area chambers of commerce announced Tuesday they have joined forces with an Austin-based not-for-profit group to help Southeast Texans make a dent in a statewide problem -- getting affordable health insurance for small businesses. The Greater Beaumont, Greater Port Arthur, Greater Orange, Port Neches, Nederland and Vidor chambers of commerce and Texas Coalitions Inc. have teamed up to create the Small Business Health Coalitions Program." (The Beaumont Enterprise via BlueCross BlueShield Association)

Opinion: For Health Care Woes, a Capitalism Prescription
Excerpt: "Amid the Congressional page scandal, the most important pocketbook issue of the election is getting lost in the noise of the campaign season. Health care costs are not just soaring, they're reaching unaffordable levels, meaning that we'll have to look to managed care (again) or find a government solution, a prescription for rationing." (washingtonpost.com's Think Tank Town via The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Opinion: The Unraveling of Private Health Insurance
Excerpt: "In the US, employer-based health insurance was a significant advance when it was created by the labor movement in the mid-1930s. It was greatly expanded during World War II and reached its peak of coverage in the 1950s. But now this system, and the collection of private insurance companies it spawned, is a barrier to access to health care for millions of Americans, including union members." (Physicians for a National Health Program)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Overview from Deloitte: Final IRS Regulations on Electronic Notices, Consents
Excerpt: "[T]he final regulations do not apply to summary plan descriptions (SPDs), summary annual reports (SARs), COBRA notices, or any other notice, election, consent, or disclosure requirements under the Department of Labor's (DOL) or Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's (PBGC) regulatory jurisdiction" (Deloitte)

Overview from RIA: Final Rules on Plans' Use of Electronic Media to Provide Notices, Elections, & Consents
Excerpt: "Effective date. The regs apply to applicable notices provided, and to participant elections made, on or after January 1, 2007." (Pension & Benefits Week via RIA News Briefings)

Options Scandal Hits 153 Companies, According to Study
Excerpt: "At least 153 companies have announced internal reviews or U.S. government investigations of past stock option granting practices, said investment research firm Glass Lewis & Co. [yesterday]." (Reuters via The Washington Post; one-time registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Times are Changing: Are Your Clients Ready?
in Georgia on November 8, 2006
presented by White Horse Advisors, LLC


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Disaster Relief Announcements
(Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC))

U. S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao Highlights Retirement Security at Convention of Life Insurers
(U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA))

Opinion: Election 2006: A Shift in Power Spells Trouble for ERISA, Medicare Part D and HSAs
(Findley Davies, Inc.)

New Poll Shows Hispanic Americans Vulnerable in Retirement: Lack Savings, Employer Benefits
(Americans for Secure Retirement (ASR))


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Account Executive Group Employee Benefits
for BWD Group LLC
in NY

Client Service Manager
for Merrill Lynch Retirement Group
in CO

Bilingual Communication Specialist
for 401(k) Advisors
in CA

Benefits Analyst
for National Financial Partners, Inc.
in TX

Benefits Outsourcing Manager - COBRA Administration
for Trion
in PA

Service Analyst - Group Health & Welfare, Investments & Retirement Plans
for Financial Directions Group, Inc.
in NC

Benefits Consultant - Itasca and Chicago
for Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc.
in IL

DB Administrator
for The Rosen Group
in NJ

Plan Document Specialist
for Louis Kravitz & Associates
in CA

Pension Education Consultant
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in CA, IL, TX




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