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March 21, 2008

Here are the Web's best new links about compliance and cost aspects of plan operation, design and policy.


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WorldatWork publications in the BenefitsLink Bookstore

WorldatWork, a not-for-profit professional association, is a leading publisher of compensation, benefits and total rewards information. With a portfolio of books, reports, survey briefs, booklets and online learning programs, WorldatWork creates, markets and distributes publications that are critical to improved organizational performance. WorldatWork has contributed to the education and development of business professionals worldwide since 1955.

[Guidance Overview] Highlights of the Proposed Changes to the FMLA (PDF)
Excerpt: "On February 11, 2008, the Department of Labor issued its proposed revisions to the Family and Medical Leave Act ('FMLA'). These revisions clarify the existing regulations and signal significant changes in the implementation of FMLA leave. Employers should familiarize themselves with these changes and evaluate how they will affect company policies and procedures, if they are ultimately enacted." (Snell & Wilmer L.L.P.)


[Guidance Overview] Proposed FMLA Regulations: What Employers Should Know (PDF)
35 pages. Excerpt: "On January 28, 2008, President Bush signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. Law amends the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) to provide broader leave protections related to a family member's military deployment, illness or incapacity. New provisions do not deal with problematic issues under existing law. But that gap didn't take long to fill... On February 11, 2008, Department of Labor (DOL) proposed new regulations on existing problems and some interim guidance on new provisions." (Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP)


[Guidance Overview] Web Cast: What the HCSO Means for Companies That Have Employees Working in San Francisco (PDF)
37 pages. The presentation covers: Who is covered? What are the obligations? What is the spending requirement? What are options for employers? What is the penalty? Where is ERISA preemption? (Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP)


[Guidance Overview] Massachusetts Announces New Required HIRD 2008 Form
Excerpt: "Massachusetts Health Care law recently made public, with little fanfare, the 2008 version of the required Employee HIRD form. Employers should immediately discontinue use of the 2007 version." (Corporate Synergies Group, Inc.)


Tax Subsidies and Health Insurance - Webcast available by Video and Podcast
Excerpt: "[A webcast covering tax subsidies and health insurance reviewed] the current system of employer-sponsored insurance tax preferences and address proposals to change that structure, including those advocated on the campaign trail. In addition, panelists discuss how tax subsidies for non-group coverage might work." (Kaiser Family Foundation)


More States to Force Firms to Provide Paid Family Leave; Related Push Would Require Employers to Offer Paid Sick Leave
Excerpt: "At least 14 more states will mull proposals in this year's legislative session. They are: Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania." (Kiplinger)


Health Care Reform Survey Shows Costs Are Top Worry
Excerpt: "Consumers have an important role to play in making needed changes in American health care, but they are pessimistic that reform will happen in the next 10 years, according to a new national consumer survey on health care and reform options." (Mayo Clinic)


Chart: Employer Costs for Paid Leave in Private Industry, December 2007
Excerpt: "Employer costs for paid leave benefits were highest for management, professional, and related occupations, $3.93 per hour, or 8.4 percent of total compensation, in December 2007." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


State Health Plan Underfunded - Finance Secretary Seeks Proposals on Closing Gap
Excerpt: "The state's new subsidized health insurance program will cost 'significantly' more than the $869 million Governor Deval Patrick proposed in his 2009 budget just two months ago, the state's top financial official said yesterday, after insurers were granted an increase of about 10 percent. To close the gap, the Patrick administration has asked insurers, hospitals, healthcare advocates, and business leaders to propose ways to cut costs and raise revenue." (The Boston Globe)


Sen. Wyden Touts His Reform Bill as 'Good Alternative to Single-Payer System,' Challenges Health Industry Not to Fight It
Excerpt: "A 'significantly different' private health insurance market, such as the one proposed in the Healthy Americans Act of 2007, would be good not just for the American people, but also for health insurers, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said . . . . 'If your profession responds, as it did in 1993 and 1994 by spending millions of dollars to preserve the status quo, you may delay reform, but you will increase the likelihood of a government-run health system with no genuine role for the private sector,' he warned." (AISHealth.com)


Health Insurers Collaborate With Providers to Develop Pay-for-Performance Standards for Specialists
Excerpt: "As insurers expand pay-for-performance (P4P) programs to cover specialists, they sometimes must collaborate with providers to establish standards if nationally recognized quality measures aren't available." (AISHealth.com)


Union Retirees Win Health Benefits Cutback Fight
Excerpt: "A federal appellate court has ruled that an employer can't cut retired union members' health benefits because a union contract links the benefits to pension eligibility." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


Legislation Could Provide 'Useful Antidote' to Pharma.ceutical Industry Influence on Physicians, Editorial States
Excerpt: "Sens. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) plan to introduce a bill that could provide a 'potentially useful antidote to drug company influence over the prescribing practices of doctors,' a New York Times editorial states." (Kaiser Family Foundation)


[Opinion] 'Lumping And Slicing' - Efficient Allocation of Finite Resources
Excerpt: "Lawrence Solum at the Legal Theory Blog notes a recent publication by Lee Anne Fennell (University of Chicago Law School) that takes a look at some of the issues attending allocation of entitlements. The essay provides analysis of the incentives and hindrances that are involved in reconfiguring resources. This issue has significant bearing on the health care reform debate. In a reconfiguration of the allocation of resources, one must begin with the acknowledgment that resources are finite. . . . While Fennell's observations are not directed at any particular legislation, much less health care reform, her analysis alerts us to important concepts that are constitutive of any legislative allocation of entitlements." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)


[Opinion] Health Insurance Reform based on the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program
Excerpt: "The Democratic presidential candidates are suggesting that Americans should have access to health insurance just like members of Congress, and propose allowing them to enroll in the lawmakers' program, known as the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). And Reps. Jim Langevin, Rhode Island Democrat, and Christopher Shays, Connecticut Republican, recently introduced legislation that would create an FEHBP-like program that any individual or employer could join." (Council for Affordable Health Insurance)



Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Survey Shows Most Boards Not Renegotiating Severance Packages
Excerpt: "According to a new report from Watson Wyatt, 54 of the 70 companies studied by the consulting firm, or 77%, did not provide their exiting CEOs with any termination payments beyond what was disclosed to shareholders in their 2007 proxies." (Financial Week; free registration required)




Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Upcoming 401k Seminar
in Virginia on April 1, 2008
presented by AFS Financial Group



Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Variable Rate Premium Final Rule
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

2 New Essential Resources for Consumer Driven Care Consumer Driven Care Guidebook 2008 Edition and Consumer Driven Care Resource Kit CD-ROM
Healthcare Web Summit

Upcoming 401k Seminar
AFS Financial Group



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