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November 2, 2006
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Complete Benefits Law Guidance from Law Journal Press

The nation's workforce and health care system are constantly evolving and so are the legal issues. Law Journal Press helps you handle any benefits law question with up-to-date, authoritative books on all aspects of the field. Get legal and practical advice from leading experts on everything from COBRA to ERISA, "contingent" employees to family and medical leave, and more. Browse our product listings for detailed information and special offers.

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

IRS Announces 2007 Standard Mileage Rates
Excerpt: "Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (including vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be . . . 48.5 cents per mile for business miles driven; . . . 20 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes . . . ." (Internal Revenue Service)

Court Addresses Plan Terms and Contract Provisions Needed for Authority Over Benefit Decisions
Excerpt: "This long-term disability (LTD) case brings together two recurring themes from recent articles: how to delegate fiduciary authority to plan service providers and the standard of judicial review applicable to plan insurers." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Some Employers Figure that Keeping Fido or Fluffy Healthy Enhances Workers' Lives, Too
Excerpt: "Research from the Society for Human Resource Management shows that 5 percent of the 379 human resources respondents said they offered pet health insurance as a benefit this year. That was up from 1 percent in 2001." (Newsday.com)

Localities Set Up Trust Funds to Pay for Their Retirees' Health Coverage As Federal Deadline Nears
Excerpt: "While the new accounting rule does not force governments to come up with a plan to address future health care coverage payments, a failure to do so would hurt their bond and credit ratings, limiting their ability to borrow at favorable rates." (The Washington Times)

Primary Care Doctors' Office Systems, Experiences, and Views in Seven Countries
17 pages. Excerpt: "This 2006 survey of primary care physicians in Australia, Can.ada, Germany, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States reveals striking differences in elements of practice systems that underpin quality and efficiency. Wide gaps exist between leading and lagging countries in clinical information systems and payment incentives." (Health Affairs)

At JCPenney -- Building a Culture of Health by Managing Costs and Care (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "Leading organizations are balancing the cost and people dimensions of health benefits by making changes that are producing positive results for both employees and business. This issue of Perspectives looks at how leading retailer JCPenney is doing just that by creating what could be one of the most innovative and comprehensive health management programs in the country." (Towers Perrin)

Utah Program Helps Employed Residents of the State with Employer-Sponsored Health Plan Premiums
Excerpt: "According to the announcement, employees qualified for the Utah Premium Partnership for Health Insurance program can receive monthly assistance of up to $150 per adult and up to $100 per child to pay for employer-sponsored plan premiums. The new program replaces a previous program that offered lower reimbursements only to adults." (PLANSPONSOR.com; one-time registration required)

Families USA Report Says Gap in Medicare Drug Coverage Will Be Costly
Excerpt: "Medicare beneficiaries will have to pay substantially more next year for coverage of brand-name prescription drugs that keeps them from falling into the 'doughnut hole,' according to a new report that government officials swiftly criticized as incomplete." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Efforts Are Growing to Trim the Fat from Employees -- and Employers' Health Care Costs
Excerpt: "['People] in health issues see [weight-related initiatives] as a good thing. And the current interest in curbing obesity will probably stand because no one is pushing back on the employee rights' side. But if you start getting into other aspects of people's lives, you may see groups pushing back.'" (Knowledge@Wharton)

Wellness Coupled With Consumer-Directed Care Yields Lower Costs, Healthier Members
Excerpt: "As much as 70% of all health care costs is related to personal health behaviors. But a CDH plan that includes financial incentives can keep some of those expenses in check, says Michael Parkinson, M.D., chief health and medical officer of CDH firm Lumenos, Inc., a subsidiary of WellPoint, Inc." (INSIDE CONSUMER-DIRECTED CARE via AISHealth.com)

Blues Association Finds Broad Appeal for Health Savings Accounts
Excerpt: "High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) that are compatible with health savings accounts (HSAs) are no less likely to attract older enrollees than are more traditional forms of health coverage, according to a study released last month by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA)." (The AIS Report on Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans via AISHealth.com)

Overview: The Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act's Health Insurance Nondiscrimination Rule
Excerpt: "This advisory focuses on [one] of the Act's novel features -- the nondiscrimination requirement that applies to fully insured health plans." (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.)

Ford Cuts Health Benefits and Merit Pay
Excerpt: "Salaried workers at Ford Motor Co. won't get pay raises next year and they'll pay more for health insurance under benefit changes announced by the struggling automaker. In addition, Ford will stop providing health insurance for Medicare-eligible salaried retirees over 65 starting in January 2008, company spokeswoman Marcey Evans said [today]." (AP via The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Panelists Examine Employer Role In Health Coverage Declines
Excerpt from Spencer's Benefits Reports: 'Recent Census Bureau figures tie the increase in the number of uninsured to declines in employer-sponsored coverage, and an October 19 briefing by the Alliance for Health Reform and the Kaiser Family Foundation further explored the employer connection to the uninsured." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Tenth Circuit Rejects 'Make Whole' Relief under ERISA Section 502(a)(3)
Excerpt: "Joining the Second and Fourth Circuit Courts of Appeal, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an interpretation of Section 502(a)(3) that would allow some form of 'make whole' relief against plan fiduciaries. Lind v. Aetna Health, Inc., 2006 WL 3072606 (C.A.10 (Okla.)) (October 31, 2006)" (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

Research Project Abstract: A Cross-National Comparison of Self-Employment Dynamics at Older Ages
Excerpt: "Using variation arising from differences in retirement, employment and health policies across countries, over time, and for groups of workers, we examine the effects of pensions and health insurance on transitions between self-employment, wage and salary work and retirement." (Regents of the University of Michigan)

Human Resources' New Expanded Role in Executive Pay
Excerpt: "The new federal rules requiring detailed public disclosure of top executives' compensation are putting HR professionals in the spotlight -- not for the size of their paychecks but because of their important role in assembling the information." (Society for Human Resource Management)

IRS Seeks Applications for TE/GE Advisory Committee
Excerpt: "The Internal Revenue Service is seeking applications for vacancies on the Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT). The committee provides a venue for public input into critical tax administration areas. Vacancies exist in the following customer segments: Employee Plans - two vacancies, Exempt Organizations - two vacancies, Tax Exempt Bonds - one vacancy, and Indian Tribal Governments - one vacancy." (Internal Revenue Service)

Tax Court Again Applies Dollar Limitations to ISO Stock Losses in Computing AMT
Excerpt: "The Tax Court has sustained IRS's disallowance of a taxpayer's claimed alternative minimum tax (AMT) adjustment stemming from large losses realized from a sale of stock acquired by exercising an incentive stock option (ISO), which gave rise to a large AMT liability in the prior year." (Pension & Benefits Week via RIA News Briefings)

Research Project Abstract: Errors in Subjective Survival Probabilities Relative to Life Table Data
Excerpt: "Recent SSA-supported research has demonstrated that retirement planning and well-being are closely tied to probabilistic forecasts about future events. This project will use longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study to show that individuals' subjective survival forecasts exhibit systematic biases relative to life table data." (Regents of the University of Michigan)

Compensation Costs in Private Industry Up 3.0 Percent Over the Year
Excerpt: "Compensation costs in private industry rose 3.0 percent in the year ended September 2006, compared with a 2.9-percent increase in September 2005." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

2006 Pension Protection Act - Web Seminar
Nationwide on November 10, 2006
presented by Nicholas Paleveda, David M. Camp, Charles B. Gramp

Do-It-Yourself Compliance Reviews for Caf Plans & Health Plans—Ten Ways to Identify and Fix Problems Before They Cost You
Nationwide on November 30, 2006
presented by Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

Fiduciaries and Fees: Managing Risks and Improving Your 401K Plan
in Illinois on November 21, 2006
presented by Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

Fiduciaries and Fees: Managing Risks and Improving Your 401K Plan - Webcast
Nationwide on November 21, 2006
presented by Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

Pension Protection Act of 2006: What You Need to Know
in Idaho on November 14, 2006
presented by The ERISA Law Group, P.A.


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Form 5500 Data now available at www.free5500.com
(Pension Data Resources, Inc.)

More Women Workers Than Men Have a Retirement Plan in Key Employment Group
(Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI))

The Principal Financial Group Unveils New Tools to Help Navigate Pension Protection Act
(Principal Financial Group)

Aon Proposes Changes in U.S. and U.K. Pension Plans to Maintain Competitive Benefit Plans and Reduce Pension Costs
(Aon Consulting)

Year-end Tax Planning Opportunities with Long Term Care Insurance
(Republic Marketing Group, Inc.)

Chrysler Group Launches 'BP Success - You Auto Know' to Improve Blood Pressure Control Among Employees
(Chrysler Group)


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Pension Assistant
for R.J.L. Pension Services, Inc.
in FL

Relationship Manager / Senior Pension Analyst
for Boyce & Associates, Inc.
in AZ

Internal Sales Consultant - Boston, MA & Philadelphia, PA
for Transamerica Retirement Services
in MA, PA

Stop-Loss Senior Underwriter
for Great-West Healthcare
in CO

Account Manager
for CitiStreet
in NJ

Client Relations Manager
for ING
in MA

Senior Account Manager - Micro/Small Market
for CitiStreet
in NJ

Chaired Professorship
for University of Pennsylvania
in PA

Senior Business System Analyst
for CitiStreet
in NJ

Strategic Project Manager
for CitiStreet
in NJ

401K Compliance Analyst
for Stanton Group
in MN

Compliance Consultant
for Milliman, Inc.
in TX

Project/Transition Manager
for MassMutual Financial Group
in MA

Pension Administrator
for Advantage Benefits Consultants, Inc.
in CT

401 (k) Administrator
for B & B Benefits
in CA




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