BenefitsLink
Welfare Plans
Newsletter
To BenefitsLink home page Fill your job openings fast by advertising on BenefitsLink

December 28, 2006


Sponsored by: Benefit Software Inc.

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for Benefit Software Inc.

Do your employees know the value of their employer paid benefits?

Chances are they don't. We can help.

Benefit Software has over 25 years of experience helping thousands of employers communicate the full value of their benefits. From traditional personalized printed statements to secure 24/7 employee benefits communication portals, we have the right solution for your organization.

Email sales@bsiweb.com or call 800-533-1388 to request free samples.


A Landmark Plan to Issue Bonds to Cover Ballooning Retiree Health Costs
Excerpt: "Gov. Jennifer Granholm has until Jan. 10 to sign a bill approved in mid-December that would allow . . . cities and counties across the state to issue bonds to cover up to 75 percent of their unfunded retiree health care liability." (The Detroit News)

Health Insurance's New Wave And the Man Behind the Plans
Excerpt: "If you struggled with the choice of a newfangled high-deductible health insurance option during open enrollment this fall, you can thank -- or perhaps curse -- conservative economist John C. Goodman for the experience." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Overview: Congressional Enhancement of Health Savings Accounts
Excerpt: "Currently, the adjustments for HDHP and HSA limits are not published until November of each year for the following year. The Act amends Code section 223 to require that Treasury publish the adjustments for HDHP and HSA limits by June 1st for the following calendar year." (Kilpatrick Stockton LLP)

Opinion: First Circuit's Opinion in Disability Case is a Gem; Carefully Discusses Procedural Flaws
Excerpt: "One of the frustrating things about litigating ERISA benefit cases is the unwillingness of many judges to take the time and energy to review thoroughly the pre-litigation appeal record and give proper weight to the procedural shortcuts ERISA administrators usually attempt. So it is gratifying to see the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit review an ERISA disability claim with careful attention to the procedural requirements and details of the specific case." (Attorney Brian S. King)

Parental Concerns About After-School Time Hurt Productivity
Excerpt: "Parents' concerns about what kids are doing after school create significant levels of stress and lost productivity, which potentially affects one-third of the labor force, according to a new study by Catalyst, a nonprofit research and advisory organization." (BenefitNews Connect)

Future Caregivers Have Stake in Long-Term Care
Excerpt: "Across the nation, 70 million baby boomers are at or nearing retirement age. So, what have they done to prepare for care as they age? Probably not much, considering only 14% of people over 65 have long-term care insurance, according to a Wall Street Journal/Harris poll." (Employee Benefit News)

Credit Counseling Service Helping Employees Help Themselves
Excerpt: "Recognizing the productivity drain from having workers bogged down with debt worries - not to mention fielding calls from creditors permitted to contact employees at work - employers are stepping up efforts to provide access to financial education as a benefit." (Employee Benefit News)

Idaho's St. Luke's Health System Offers Paid Leave for Volunteer Work
Excerpt: "St. Luke's officials developed the Humanitarian Paid Time Off fund this year for any employee in its four-hospital system. The fund offers employees up to 80 hours of paid leave every two years if they go on humanitarian missions with recognized nonprofit organizations and match the paid leave with their own vacation time." (Idaho Statesman)

Overview: Final Rules Governing HIPAA Nondiscrimination and Wellness Programs (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "The final rules caution that compliance with the HIPAA nondiscrimination rules does not ensure compliance with any other provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), or any other state or federal law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)." (Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC)

Online Tools Help Employees Find Health Plan that Best Suits Them and Employers Receive Data
Excerpt: "Should an employee select a healthcare insurance provider the same way he or she might select a potential mate on an Internet dating site? Asparity Decision Solutions Inc., a provider of benefit and risk management solutions, doesn't see why not." (Treasury & Risk)

Hanesbrands Cuts Key Retiree Benefit
Excerpt: "Hanesbrands Inc. will eliminate its subsidy for retiree medical benefits in December 2007, and it will soon reduce several other employee benefits to cut costs, the company has said in two internal memorandums." (Winston-Salem Journal)

Overview: Changes In HSA Rules under the New Health Opportunity Patient Empowerment Act of 2006
Excerpt: "As premium costs increase for group health plans and employers shift a greater share of those premium costs to employees, the combination of HDHPs with lower premium costs and HSAs with their portability and year to year accumulation of unused amounts may become more attractive to both employers and employees. Changes effected by the HOPE Act of 2006 make HSAs even more attractive." (Littler Mendelson P.C.)

Study Reveals Effect of Gender and Age on Voluntary Benefits Purchasing
Excerpt: "Research from Tennessee-based disability insurance giant UnumProvident is giving employers new insight on how to tailor voluntary benefit offerings to best suit employees' differing needs during different life stages." (Employee Benefit News)


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

Title: The biggest cost problem facing American employers.
Past Comment: "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 - Univ. of Pittsburgh - 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

Overview: EBSA's Semiannual Regulatory Agenda
Excerpt: "Items in the final rule stage are actions for which EBSA plans to publish a final or interim rule as the next step in the rulemaking process. Final rules generally affecting both pension and welfare plans include: Revision of the Form 5500 Series and regulations to conform to electronic filing of annual reports requirement; and, Default investment alternatives under participant-directed individual account plans." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

GE to Disclose Compensation Consultant's Work for First Time
Excerpt: "General Electric Co., the world's second-largest company by market value, will go beyond a new federal disclosure rule on executive pay and tell shareholders for the first time the full extent of its compensation consultant's work for the company." (Bloomberg News)

SEC Change of Rules for Disclosing Executive Pay Rules Criticized
Excerpt: "A recent change by the Securities and Exchange Commission in its new executive pay disclosure rules has been greeted with a mix of concern and praise, reviving a debate about corporate pay 'transparency' that seemed to be over." (Cox News Service via theday.com)

Overview: Backdated Stock Options under Code 409A
Excerpt: "The application of Code 409A to backdated options will require immediate action (i.e., before year end), which in some cases will be either infeasible or impossible. Where this is the case, the employer or contractor will need to follow the tax treatment prescribed by Notice 2006-100." (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.)

New SEC Pay Rule To Benefit Executives -- About-Face on How To Report Options
Excerpt: "On the Friday before Christmas, without advance notice or a public vote, the SEC announced an amendment that generally would make top executives' annual pay appear smaller than it otherwise would have." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Ready to Retire? Readers Offer Advice to Their Federal Colleagues
Excerpt: "With so many members of the federal workforce becoming eligible for retirement in the near future, where do our readers stand in terms of retirement planning and when do they plan to retire?" (FedSmith Inc.)

Government Insurance Inquiries Expand to Include Benefits Advisors
Excerpt: "Government investigations into intermediary compensation practices, which focused initially on property/casualty placements, have expanded into the employee benefits arena and have resulted in divergent industry expectations." (Business Insurance via Workforce Management; free registration required)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

401(k) Testing Techniques Workshop
in California on February 1, 2007
presented by SunGard Corbel

401(k) Testing Techniques Workshop
in Washington on February 2, 2007
presented by SunGard Corbel

Participant Forms and Notices Workshop
in California on February 1, 2007
presented by SunGard Corbel

Participant Forms and Notices Workshop
in Washington on February 2, 2007
presented by SunGard Corbel

Pension Protection Act Developments Conference
in District of Columbia on February 7, 2007
presented by Investment Company Institute

Plan Design Workshop - Strategies for PPA
in Ohio on January 24, 2007
presented by SunGard Corbel

Plan Design Workshop - Strategies for PPA
in Kansas on January 25, 2007
presented by SunGard Corbel

Plan Design Workshop - Strategies for PPA
in Colorado on January 26, 2007
presented by SunGard Corbel

The New SEC Proxy Disclosure and Pension Accounting Rules
in California on January 16, 2007
presented by Western Pension & Benefits Conference - Los Angeles Chapter


Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Benefits Changes to Continue in 2007
Watson Wyatt

Edward Jones Survey Shows Health-Care Cost No. 1 Retirement Concern
Edward Jones


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Client Service Manager
for Merrill Lynch Retirement Group
in CO

Trust Administrator II or III
for Associated Pension Consultants
in CA

DC / 401(k) Compliance Consultant
for The Savitz Organization
in PA

Defined Benefit Administrator
for Associates in Excellence
in CA

Installation Administrator
for Transamerica Retirement Services
in CA

Senior Attorney - Benefits/M & A
for Pitney Bowes
in CT

NA Benefits Manager
for Hewitt Associates
in IL

Vice President Client Services
for New York City based financial services software firm
in NY

Relationship Manager - Small Market (TX)
for Fidelity Investments
in TX




Handy Links:

NOTE TO AOL MEMBERS: PLEASE DO NOT REPORT THIS EMAIL AS SPAM. This email is not unsolicited. We do not send unsolicited email. This email is coming to you because you asked to receive it by entering your email address on our web page at

https://benefitslink.com/newsletter/

These emails are sent each workday except federal holidays.

This email has been published by:
BenefitsLink.com, Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park FL 32789
(407) 644-4146
Fax: (407) 644-2151

David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor

Copyright 2006 BenefitsLink.com, Inc.; except that you can forward this email in full (including this boilerplate part) or otherwise reprint this email in full (including this boilerplate part) without obtaining our permission.

Anyone can receive these emails; just have them sign up at this web page: https://benefitslink.com/newsletter/

Other useful links: