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December 11, 2006

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The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans is a comprehensive resource for those working with benefit plans. Members enjoy personalized secondary research services, informative publications and online information, as well as discounted educational programs, books and distance learning options. Known as the cosponsor of the CEBS designation, the International Foundation also offers numerous ways to keep current with benefit issues, so you are prepared to answer your participants' questions.

Congress Overhauls HSAs; Supercharged Rules Apply for 2007 (PDF)
Excerpt: "The U.S. Senate early yesterday morning passed the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, a last-minute piece of House-initiated legislation that includes exciting changes to the health savings account landscape. The President is expected to sign the bill. The law dramatically shakes up the options for high deductible health plan sponsors who are preparing for, are in the midst of or recently closed an open enrollment window for 2007. . . . Here's an overview of the law . . . :" (Lockton Benefit Group)

Opinion: How HSAs Can Drain Your Wallet and Harm Your Health (PDF)
8 pages. Excerpt: "While [high-deductible plans and Health Savings Accounts] may be attractive at first glance, a closer look shows that high-deductible health plans represent a tremendous gamble and may impose significant financial burdens on people who get sick. Three examples [in the target document] illustrate what can happen to employees working for a hypothetical company . . . ." (Families USA)

U.S. House Approves Compromise Bill with HSA Revisions
Excerpt: "The US House [last] Friday approved a tax package hammered out with Senate negotiators that would enhance the appeal of health savings accounts (HSA) through a variety of improvements." (; free registration required)

Intel Cuts Employee Education Benefits
Excerpt: "Intel confirmed Tuesday that it has decided to reimburse tuition only for students attending universities with professional accreditation accepted by the company." (The Oregonian)

Pilot's On-Call Hours Did Not Count As Hours of Service Under the FMLA, Tenth Circuit Rules
Excerpt: "An airline pilot's on-call 'reserve-duty' hours did not qualify as hours of service for purposes of determining her eligibility for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This was the ruling of the Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Knapp v. America West Airlines (No. 05-4322)." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Tenth Circuit Upholds DOL's Interpretation of 75-Mile Rule for Liability Under the FMLA
Excerpt: "from Spencer's Benefits Reports: A federal district court properly applied the Department of Labor's interpretation of the requirement of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that an employer employ at least 50 employees in a 75-mile radius in order to be subject to the FMLA." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Overview: San Francisco Employers Required to Offer Paid Sick Days
Excerpt: "Employers with workers in San Francisco should immediately review their current sick leave policy to determine whether it complies with the new law. No action is required if the current policy meets or exceeds the requirements of the ordinance." (Dorsey & Whitney LLP)

Workers Forced to Back Up Health Insurance Eligibility of Dependents
Excerpt: "[M]ore employers are conducting 'dependent eligibility audits' . . . ." (The Dallas Morning News; free registration required)

A Seven Point Checklist for Health Care Provider Revenue Cycle Enhancement
Excerpt: "Here is a short list of tips for a healthcare provider self-audit of revenue cycle efficiency. 'Claims denial management' often includes letter campaigns and claims procedure processes. For the significant claims, more is needed." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

Five U.S. Firms to Fund EHR Network for Employees as Way to Reduce Costs
Excerpt: "Five U.S. companies that provide health care coverage for 2.5 million employees, retirees and dependents announced on Wednesday that they will offer an interoperable electronic health record system beginning in mid-2007, the Los Angeles Times reports." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Senate Bill Would Extend Mental Health Parity Provisions
Excerpt: "A broader tax bill offered by the two top members of the US Senate Finance Committee would extend for another year a law requiring employers to offer limited parity for mental health care expenses in their health care plans." (; free registration required)

Higher Out-of-Pocket Costs, Healthier Members Account for Lower Nongroup Health Insurance Premiums
Excerpt: "from Spencer's Benefits Reports: Data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) has consistently shown that premiums for individually purchased, or nongroup, health care plans are much lower than premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance plans." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Opinion: Congress Votes No Funds for Children's Insurance -- Only for HSAs for the Rich
Excerpt: "It is stunning that as one of its final acts, Congress chose to attach to the tax extenders bill a provision making Health Savings Accounts more lucrative as tax shelters for wealthy individuals even as Congress refused to provide funds needed to ensure that up to 600,000 low-income children keep their health insurance through the State Children's Health Insurance Program in 2007." (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities via Physicians for a National Health Program)

Video: The Healthcare Solution: California OneCare, as Viewed on YouTube
Excerpt: "The OneCareNow campaign is designed to inform the citizens of California about the advantages of single payer reform and Sen. Sheila Kuehl's legislation to enact it. The OneCareNow campaign has produced a 22 minute video explaining the advantages of single payer reform. The video is of value not only for Californians, but for the entire nation in that it describes the imperative for a single payer solution, albeit from the California perspective." (California OneCareNow Campaign via

Overview: Consensus Lacking in Public's Health Care Reform Preferences
Excerpt: "[E]qual premiums regardless of health status or age; a choice of health care plans; and coverage for routine health care services at no additional cost are U.S. consumers' preferences for elements of health care reform, according to the survey report, Exploring the Public's Views on the Health Care System: A National Survey on the Issues and Options." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Working Paper: State Age Protection Laws and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
Excerpt: "Some anti-discrimination laws have the perverse effect of harming the very class they were meant to protect. This paper provides evidence that age discrimination laws belong to this perverse class. . . . These findings suggest that in an anti-age discrimination environment, firms seek to avoid litigation through means not intended by the legislation -- by not employing older workers in the first place." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)

Working Paper: Age, Women, and Hiring -- An Experimental Study
Excerpt: "As the baby boom cohort reaches retirement age, demographic pressures on public programs such as Social Security may cause policy makers to cut benefits and encourage employment at later ages. This prospect raises the question of how much employer demand exists for older workers. This paper reports on a labor market experiment to determine the hiring conditions for older women in entry-level jobs . . . ." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)

Overview: IRS Guidance on Reporting and Withholding for Nonqualified Deferred Compensation (PDF)
Excerpt: "The Notice emphasizes that the rules for reporting and withholding for 2005 and 2006 are on an interim basis only, and that the IRS is now in the process of formulating permanent rules for future years." (Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP)

Overview: Exec Comp Disclosure: Related Party Transactions & Beneficial Ownership of Stock Reporting (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "As amended, Item 404 of Regulation S-K streamlines related person disclosure requirements, making it much less prescriptive and more principles-based." (Powell Goldstein LLP)

Top Ten Things to Remember As You Draft Your 2007 Proxy Disclosures (PDF)
55 pages. Excerpt: "One of the most significant changes: new 'Compensation Discussion and Analysis' section. Intended to be the compensation disclosure centerpiece. Should be analytical, describing the results, decisions and compensation objectives. Include material factors that the compensation committee reviewed." (Baker & McKenzie International)

Milliman's Monthly Benefit News and Developments, December 2006 (PDF)
2 pages. The newsletter provides a summary of the previous month's legislative, regulatory, and judicial information on employee Benefits. (Milliman)

Contingent Workforce: Challenge for Benefits Managers
Originally published Winter 2004. Excerpt: "Cautious service recipients define these new arrangements by contracting with any such contingent workers to ensure that they understand the consequences of this arrangement. Controversies often arise, however, when a worker, the IRS, or a court decides to challenge these arrangements by reclassifying the previously agreed-upon status of the worker." (Steptoe & Johnson LLP)

Regulators Unveil PPA Changes to Form 5500
Excerpt: "Federal pension regulators on Friday announced a series of proposed changes to the 2008 Form 5500." (; free registration required)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

16th Annual National Health Benefits Conference & Expo (HBCE)
in Florida on January 25, 2007
presented by Health Benefits Conference & Expo

Consumer-Driven Health Benefits
Nationwide on December 8, 2006
presented by Kaiser Family Foundation

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Council Applauds Senate Passage of Health Savings Account Legislation
American Benefits Council

National Business Coalition on Health Releases 2007 eValue8 RFI
National Business Coalition on Health

Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

ERISA Associate
for Baker & McKenzie LLP
in CA

Retirement Plan Processor
for Heaton and Eadie, PSC
in IN

Daily Valuation Manager
for Fringe Benefits Design
in MN

Data Analyst
for Vanguard
in PA

401(k) Administrator
for R-Tech Consultants, Inc.
in CA

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

Internal Wholesaler
for Securian Financial Group
in MN

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