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December 29, 2006


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 - 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


Mental Health Bill to Face House Vote
Excerpt: "After years of trying, advocates think they have a good chance of getting Congress to pass legislation next year that would require equal health insurance coverage for mental and physical illnesses, if their policies include both." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Long-Term Care Insurance: Federal Program's Profit Structure and Marketing Challenge (PDF)
34 pages. Excerpt: "In this report, GAO compared the federal program's profit structure and marketing efforts with those of other plans and updated its analysis of the program's claims experience. [Highlights of the report are at http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d07202high.pdf.]" (U.S. Government Accountability Office)

Houston Firm Offers Home Care Benefit to Ease Worry and Increase Productivity
Excerpt: "The Houston law firm is rolling out a new benefit for 2007 that offers up to 80 hours of around-the-clock at-home care each year for family members. Employees pay a subsidized price of just $4 an hour." (Houston Chronicle)

Provider Claims Against Blue Cross Dismissed As Preempted
Excerpt: "ERISA provides a narrow channel for advancing claims for benefits. The recent case, Gregory Surgical Services, LLC v. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield 2006 WL 3751385 (D.N.J.) (December 19, 2006) illustrates the hazards of relying upon state law in negotiating that channel." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

Health `Trust Fund' Proposal -- $400M Surplus Pension Money Could Pay for Retiree Health Care
Excerpt: "[The Los Angeles County Chief Administrative Officer] has recommended his successor and the supervisors place a $400 million pension fund surplus into a trust fund to pay for retiree health care costs.' (Long Beach Press Telegram)

The Way Forward for National Health Service Health Informatics (PDF)
20 pages. Excerpt: "[The report] starts with a summary of . . . recommendations, a brief examination of where the NHS is headed, and an assessment of NHS CFH now. [It goes] on to list the strategic changes that are necessary, and the detail behind . . . proposals. Finally [it suggests] which proposals should be regarded as a priority." (British Computer Society)

Medicare Premiums Will Surge for Some -- Capital Gains Can Sharply Raise Part B Payments
Excerpt: "When new income-based premiums for Medicare's Part B program go into effect next month, some seniors will get an unwelcome surprise: Their monthly costs will be going up considerably more than expected because of the government's method of counting their income." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Americans Cite Health Care in Retirement as Top Concern
Excerpt: "Echoing the findings of other similar polls, a new survey from Edward Jones found that nearly one-third of Americans are most concerned about not having enough to pay for their health care needs in retirement." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)

Containing Health Costs by Helping Retirees Follow Doctor Orders
Excerpt: "Employers with large retiree populations could be losing a lot of money to pills that aren't taken, or pills taken in the wrong amount. Dr. Ed Pezalla, medical director at Prescription Solutions, Costa Mesa, Calif.-based pharmacy benefit manager, says the prescription noncompliance problem is 'pretty big' among retirees." (Employee Benefit News)

In Rush to Cut Medical Costs, Workers May Pay with Their Premiums, Their Privacy, Their Free Choice
Excerpt: "The approach [of using a wellness experiment that ties what employees pay for health benefits to the effort they make to be healthy] represents a novel and relatively benevolent ripple in what has become a sea change in how employers are addressing health benefits." (Pacific Northwest Magazine, The Seattle Times)

Towers Perrin U.S. Legislative Tracking Charts -- Health and Welfare -- Updated December 27, 2006 (PDF)
35 pages. Excerpt: "These charts summarize selected federal legislation that would affect employee benefit programs. The bills included on the charts are based on judgments regarding the prominence of the issue, the likelihood of enactment, and the influence of the sponsors." (Towers Perrin)

Overview of New Law that Expands Flexibility of Health Savings Accounts (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "Comment: The new law provides employers with new options for addressing certain restrictions under HSAs. Employers who are struggling to coordinate Health FSA and HRA arrangements with HSAs, particularly during the Health FSA grace period, may find the new guidance helpful." (Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP)


Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Text of SEC Interim Final Rules on Executive Compensation Disclosure (PDF)
14 pages. Excerpt: "The amendments to Item 402 of Regulations S-K and S-B revise Summary Compensation Table and Director Compensation Table disclosure with respect to stock awards and option awards to provide disclosure of the compensation cost of awards over the requisite service period . . . . The revised disclosure replaces disclosure in the Summary Compensation Table and Director Compensation Table of the aggregate grant date fair value of awards computed in accordance with FAS 123R." (Securities and Exchange Commission)

Same-Sex Benefits Ban Gets Alaska Governor's Veto
Excerpt: "Gov. Sarah Palin vetoed a bill Thursday that sought to block the state from giving public employee benefits such as health insurance to same-sex couples." (Anchorage Daily News)

Overview: SEC Amends Rules on Proxy Disclosure of Equity Awards Effective for 2007 Proxy Season (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "The new rules require inclusion in the salary or bonus column of the SCT of any amount that an NEO elects to forego in exchange for an award of stock, options or non-equity incentive plan compensation." (Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc.)

Pay Packages Allow Executives to Jump Ship With Less Risk
Excerpt: "[G]olden hello payments are intended to make the executive 'whole' -- in essence to treat the executive as if his career were one smooth ascent with no costly interruptions. And these multimillion-dollar payments and perks are used to draw in not only chief executives, but virtually every member of the executive suite." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Towers Perrin U.S. Legislative Tracking Charts — Human Resources -- Updated December 27, 2006 (PDF)
11 pages. Excerpt: "These charts summarize selected federal legislation that would affect employee benefit programs. The bills included on the charts are based on judgments regarding the prominence of the issue, the likelihood of enactment, and the influence of the sponsors." (Towers Perrin)

Hewitt Global Report: Asia-Pacific Monthly Legislative Updates
Excerpt: "[These] monthly updates summarize recent legislative activity in the Asia-Pacific region, by country, for the following issues: labor environment, cost of employment, employment terms and conditions, retirement and social security, health care system, taxation of compensation and benefits, and issues for expatriate employees." (Hewitt Associates)

Hewitt Global Report: Latin America Monthly Legislative Updates
Excerpt: "[Hewitt's] monthly updates summarize recent legislative activity throughout Latin America, by country, for the following issues: labor environment, cost of employment, employment terms and conditions, retirement and social security, health care system, taxation of compensation and benefits, and issues for expatriate employees." (Hewitt Associates)


Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in South Carolina on January 16, 2007
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in New Hampshire on January 16, 2007
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in North Carolina on January 17, 2007
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in New Hampshire on January 17, 2007
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Virginia on January 18, 2007
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Journey deep into the world of IRAs
in Massachusetts on January 18, 2007
presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Managing the Health of Your Workforce
in Ohio on January 17, 2007
presented by WEB (Worldwide Employee Benefits Network) Cleveland Chapter


Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
Post a Help Wanted Ad

Pension Administrator
for Pension Dynamics Corporation
in CA

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Berry, Dunn, McNeil & Parker
in ME

Account Manager (Insurance/TPA)
for Zenith Administrators
in NV

Benefits Administrator
for Phillips - Van Heusen Corp.
in NJ




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