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November 14, 2006
Today's sponsor: Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc. (EBIA)

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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.
Available now at the introductory price of $195.
Please enter priority code BL195. For more information and to order, visit

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

Health Insurance Industry Urges Expansion of Medicaid Coverage
Excerpt: "The health insurance industry proposed an expansion of Medicaid and new tax breaks on Monday with the goal of guaranteeing coverage for all children in three years and for virtually all adults within 10 years. New members of Congress, especially those elected on a pledge to help the uninsured, are likely to embrace many of the proposals, which provide a benchmark for debate on the issue." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Major Changes in Benefit Design: A Plausible Way to Control Costs? (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "[A recent] meeting brought together health care stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives to engage in intellectual discourse on outcomes of previous changes, recently implemented changes, and promising policies for future changes that could help to control costs. In an informal, anonymous, and facilitated discussion, participants explored . . . ." (Changes in Health Care Financing & Organization)

Brief of the Secretary of Labor As Amicus Curiae on November 6, 2006 re: Rila v. Fielder (PDF)
37 pages. The brief concerns the Maryland Health Care Fair Share Act. (U.S. Department of Labor)

Overview: 2007 Limits: Qualified Transportation Benefits, Adoption Assistance Programs, and HSAs
Excerpt: "Adoption Assistance Expenses. For 2007, the maximum amounts that can be excluded from an employee's gross income for qualified adoption assistance expenses, and for expenses related to adoption of a child with special needs, will increase from $10,960 to $11,390 per child. In 2007, the exclusion will begin to phase out for taxpayers with adjusted gross income above $170,820, and will be completely phased out at $210,820." (Faegre & Benson LLP)

Overview: Standard Mileage Rates for 2007
Excerpt: "Employers may use the standard mileage rate to pay for auto expenses incurred by employees under a reimbursement or expense allowance arrangement and thereby substantiate and adequately account for such expenses, provided that the accountable plan requirements are satisfied." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Will Privacy Officers Be 'The Odd Man Out' Under Electronic Health Records?
Excerpt: "At many organizations, the information technology (IT) officer has taken the spotlight, or maybe it's the electronic medical records guru. The privacy officer's job is morphing in some cases to include security, or for an unlucky few, downsized out of existence." (REPORT ON PATIENT PRIVACY via

Data Brief from the Commission on a High Performance Health System (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "The National Committee for Quality Assurance's 2006 report on the performance of U.S. health plans found overall improvement in HEDIS clinical quality measures for those plans that collect and publicly report performance data. Improvements, moreover, were broad-based.There are several lessons for those pursuing high performance of the U.S. health system as a whole." (The Commonwealth Fund)

Grades to Transform U.S. Health Care, Health Secretary Says
Excerpt: "A scorecard that lays out how well a hospital or doctor does on a treatment -- and how much they charge for it -- can help transform U.S. health care, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said [yesterday]." (Reuters via The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Automakers to Meet with Bush Today After Frequent Delays
Excerpt: "The Big Three leaders -- General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner, Ford's new CEO Alan Mulally and Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda -- are expected to discuss: •Health care. Auto companies are looking for ways to ease rising costs. Cole says they might ask that Medicare be expanded to cover more prescription costs, or for a catastrophic health care coverage plan." (USA TODAY)

San Francisco Restaurant Group Sues Over City Health Plan
Excerpt: "A legal battle over a plan to offer free or low-cost health care to all uninsured residents here has been set in motion by a group of the city's most important and beloved constituents: restaurants. A culinary trade group with more than 800 members has sued the city, saying a central provision of the health care program, established by the city's Board of Supervisors in July, violates federal employment law." (The New York Times; one-time registration required)

Study: Comparison of Expenditures in Non-Group and Employer-Sponsored Insurance
Excerpt: "Data from the insurance industry and reviews of premiums offered through on-line sellers show that premiums for nongroup health insurance are much lower than premiums reported on national surveys for employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI)." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Benefit Design and Formularies of Medicare Drug Plans: A Comparison of 2006 and 2007 Offerings (PDF)
30 pages. Excerpt: "[The authors] present some results for all PDP offerings nationwide and others for the ten PDPs with the highest enrollment in 2006, depending on data availability. [The authors] begin by describing attributes of PDP offerings nationwide. [They] then examine changes in PDP features, such as formularies, cost sharing and utilization management tools, based on the ten PDPs with the highest 2006 enrollment." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Prepaid Legal Services Plans Can Be Important Benefit That Enhances Quality of Life in the Workplace (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Prepaid legal plans are a cooperative opportunity for better work environments and the best end product or service. Prepaid legal plans promote positive employer/employee relations. Everyone benefits." (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

NAGDCA Notes: Contribution of Sick and Vacation Pay to Defined Contribution Plans (PDF)
2 pages. The notes were prepared by the NAGDCA Legislative Committee in 2004 and updated in 2006. (National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators Inc.)

Overview: New Code Section 409A -- Some Surprises for Colleges and Universities
Excerpt: "A common source of trouble for colleges and universities will be severance arrangements. A severance arrangement that pays all benefits in one lump sum shortly after termination or falls within an exception for involuntary severances that pay all benefits by the end of the second calendar year following termination will generally not be subject to 409A." (Warner Norcross & Judd LLP)

What Will the New Congress Mean for Employee Benefits?
Excerpt: "One of the easier predictions to make at this point is that health policy issues will return to prominence in the 110th Congress. Specific priorities may include extending health coverage to the approximately 42 million uninsured Americans, with a renewed emphasis on implementing a universal health insurance system and/or employer mandates." (Deloitte)

Editorial: The Stock Options Blood Bath -- Reform Is More Attractive Than Revenge
Excerpt: "If the ousting of executives provokes mixed feelings, what of reforms that might prevent abuses? Backdating was partly a way of granting executives 'in-the-money' options -- ones that grant the right to buy a share for less than its current value -- without having to report them as an expense." (The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Organized Labor Pushes Pro-Worker Agenda
Excerpt: "[In addition to an increase in the minimum wage,] Labor also wants: Changes in the Medicare prescription drug program to introduce price negotiations with pharma.ceutical companies. Changes in bankrup.tcy laws that allow companies to abandon pension and health care commitments to workers. Trade agreements that protect workers' rights. Improved mining safety laws. Increased retirement protections." (AP via The Washington Post; one-time registration required)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Equity Compensation Plans for Private Companies
Nationwide on November 15, 2006
presented by Beyster Institute

Plan Design Workshop
in Minnesota on December 1, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Plan Design Workshop
in Louisiana on December 7, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Plan Design Workshop
in Texas on December 8, 2006
presented by SunGard Corbel

Repurchase Planning & Cash Management
Nationwide on December 13, 2006
presented by Beyster Institute

Strategic Benefits Through Employee Involvement - We're in This Together Teleweb
Nationwide on November 30, 2006
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!) announces the availability of 2006 DOL-approved 5500 Forms

Hoping to Combat Rising Health Care Costs, Twice as Many Employers Offer HSA or HRA Options This Year
(Wolters Kluwer Financial Services)

Product Choices Expand in the Retirement Income Market
(Diversified Services Group, Inc. (DSG))

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Employee Benefits Attorney
for Frost Brown Todd LLC
in OH

Employee Benefits Administration
for Primary Consulting, Inc.

for Pension Specialists, Inc.
in CA, IL

Manager, Retirement Income Plans
for Alcoa Inc.
in PA

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