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December 20, 2006


Sponsored by: 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.
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.

States and Small Business Health Insurance: An Overview -- Updated December 18, 2006
The site compiles online expert resources and opinions on health insurance for small business. (National Conference of State Legislatures)

Managed Care State Laws and Regulations, Including Consumer and Provider Protections
Updated December 2006. Excerpt: "The details and the extent of these state laws vary considerably, but they remain in force as a mechanism for regulating HMOs and other forms of managed care organizations. The actual extent of these laws varies, and is not detailed . . . ." (National Conference of State Legislatures)

Newspapers Address Employer Health Care Cost-Related Issues
Excerpt: "The Houston Chronicle recently published two articles, [and The Washington Times an editorial,] related to employer health costs." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Getting More Health Care for Less Dollars
Excerpt: "By 2005 some 60% of large employers are expected to roll out what the industry calls disease-management programs, according to consulting firm Hewitt Associates. This is up from 39% in 2003." (SmartMoney.com via Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc. and KSAT.com)

The Growing Appeal of Disability Insurance
Excerpt: "Sales of disability insurance . . . had been stagnant after industry losses drove out many providers. But now sales are on the rise, driven by more-affordable policies, as well as a growing number of employers making disability insurance available for workers to purchase at a discount." (The Wall Street Journal via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Prior Work Counts Toward FMLA Eligibility, Says Appeals Court
Excerpt: "The 12 months of service an employee is required to work before becoming eligible for leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act does not necessarily have to be continuous, said a federal appellate court in overturning a lower court's decision." (Business Insurance)

Facing a Tight Labor Market, Employers Dish Out the Perks
Excerpt: "When it's time reel in that potential hire, it's true that a cushy salary can be the dealmaker. But what got them to send in their resume in the first place? As more companies are learning, reputation, company culture, and the unique perks that come with it are playing a bigger and bigger role in recruitment." (Inc. com via WorldNow and CBS 6)

Washington State Unveils Health Data Exchange Map
Excerpt: "Washington has two well-regarded and established HIEs: Whatcom County Health Information Network in Bellingham connects community health services, payers, hospitals and physician offices via an Intranet, and Inland Northwest Health Services connects Spokane-area hospitals and regional medical services." (Healthcare IT News)

DOL Sues Employer Seeking Payment of Health Plan Claims
Excerpt: "As perennial as the ragweed, unscrupulous health plan operators surface each year and cover large areas of the country with consternation and misery. Meridian Benefits, Inc. was one of the more prevalent forms of this pestilence. . . . Recently, the DOL took to task one of the employers using Meridian." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

Seniors and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Survey
Excerpt: "The survey, which assessed seniors' views of and experiences with the Medicare drug benefit, was conducted November 9-19 by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. [Links to the survey's chartpack and toplines are on the target page.]" (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Overview: HIPAA Health Nondiscrimination and Wellness Rules Finalized (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "The rules apply to both self-insured ERISA plans and insured plans. The final regulations reaffirm the interim final rules published in 2001 and the proposed rules on wellness programs. The new rules apply to the first plan year on or after July 1, 2007 (e.g., January 1, 2008, for calendar year plans)." (Aon Consulting)

A Blueprint for Universal Health Insurance Coverage in New York
Excerpt: "[The authors] present the estimated costs and coverage impacts of . . . expansion scenarios as prepared by The Lewin Group using its Health Benefits Simulation Model." (The United Hospital Fund and The Commonwealth Fund)

Overview: Mental Health Parity Act and Archer MSA Pilot Program Extended Through 2007
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: The MHPA, which is found in substantially similar provisions of ERISA, the Code, and the PHSA, prohibits a group health plan from applying a lower annual or aggregate lifetime dollar limit to mental health benefits than the plan applies to medical/surgical benefits." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Opinion: Would Europe's Health-Care-for-All Model Work in the United States?
Excerpt: "In our debate over health care reform we don't need more anecdotes about C-T scans for dogs, or ideological discussions about freedom to pay for your own health care. We need serious discussions about policies that will work. Unless the opponents come up with something better than national health insurance, they should get out of our way and let us heal our very, very sick system." (The Press-Enterprise and Physicians for a National Health Program)

Overview: 2006 Version of Form 8889 for Use by HSA Account Holders
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: The worksheet on employer contributions clarifies that what is to be reported on Form 8889 is all contributions attributable to 2006, even if they were made in first quarter 2007." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 Changes the HSA Landscape
Excerpt: "EBIA Comment: The potential for higher contribution limits will make HSAs more attractive for some employees, and qualified HSA distributions from health FSAs and HRAs may provide planning opportunities for employers transitioning to HDHP coverage." (Employee Benefits Institute of America Inc.)

'Aid and Attendance' an Under-Used Military Benefit
Excerpt: "The Department of Veterans Affairs is reaching out to inform wartime veterans and surviving spouses of deceased wartime veterans about an under-used, special monthly pension benefit called Aid and Attendance." (Freedom Interactive Newspapers of Florida, Inc.)


Sponsored by: Health Benefits Conference & Expo (HBCE)

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for Health Benefits Conference & Expo (HBCE)

16th Annual National Health Benefits Conference & Expo (HBCE)

16th Annual Nat'l Health Benefits Conference & Expo - Jan. 25-26, Tampa

"The Biggest Cost Problem Facing American Employers"..." the topics & speakers were wonderful, this Conference can't be beat"

Leading Employers & Best Practices from: Bank of America - IBM - State of MN - AOL - IAP World Services - Schneider Transportation - FPL - MO State Univ - Perkins' Restaurants - San Mateo Co. - HEB Retail - Martin Co. Schools - and many more. Actionable Advice: info@HBCE.com 941-484-1430 www.HBCE.com


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

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Court Upholds Ruling in ERISA Conversion of Assets Case
Excerpt: "The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a conviction for conversion of plan assets under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) for an employer who never forwarded employee payroll deductions for health insurance and 401(k) contributions, while paying himself and making other purchases." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

Overview: Internal Revenue Service Additional Transitional Relief Under Code Section 409A (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "The IRS also clarified that the notice did not limit the scope of any transitional relief otherwise available under Code Section 409A. The notice, while not unexpected, is obviously a relief to sponsors of nonqualified deferred compensation plans." (Winston & Strawn LLP)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Health Risk Appraisal and Action Planning Teleweb
Nationwide on January 11, 2007
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

More Businesses Aware of Pandemic Flu Threat; Despite Progress, Not All Have Adequately Planned, Finds a Deloitte, ERIC Survey
Deloitte

AARP Encourages Use of New 'Split Refund' Tax Filing Option to Save and Invest
AARP

Workplace Options Poll Shows U.S. Employees Prioritize Health During the Holidays
Workplace Options

BenefitsCheckUp® Helps Brighten Seniors' Holidays
National Council on Aging (NCOA)

Commuter Check Benefit Solutions Now Available In NYC
Accor Services North America


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Defined Contribution Plan Administrator
for Pension Specialists, Inc.
in AZ

Daily Val Recordkeeper
for Ingham Group
in SC

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

401(k) Plan Administrator
for Hessel & Associates, LLC
in IL

Defined Contrib Analyst I
for Standard Insurance Company
in OR

Pension Administrator (Consultant I)
for Qualified Benefits, a BenefitStreet company
in CA

Plan Administrator / Account Manager - 401(k)
for Oak Brook-based Employee Benefits Consulting Firm
in IL

Corporate Attorney, ERISA
for Paychex
in NY

Product Manager, Retirement Services
for Paychex
in NY

Client Relationship Mgr
for P.R. & Associates
in NE

General Clerk / Receptionist
for Laborers' National Pension Funds
in DC




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