Health & Welfare Plans

To BenefitsLink home page Fill your job openings fast on!
Search Earlier Newsletters:

Sort by date
Sort by closest match

April 29, 2008

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

Today's sponsor is International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

E-learning Benefit Courses From the International Foundation

You don't need a navy suit to get ahead at your job. Put on those fuzzy slippers, grab your computer mouse and learn with the International Foundation. The International Foundationís e-learning courses provide the highest quality education covering all employee benefit topics, from the basics to compliance technicalities. Prove you know your stuff and get to the next level with the International Foundationís e-learning courses. And bring your pink bunny slippers along for the ride.

[Guidance Overview] Health Plan Fears Eased in Genetic Nondiscrimination Bill
Excerpt: "Legislation that would ban genetic discrimination by employers, group health plans and insurers has been amended to address plan sponsors' concerns that health plans could face unusually severe penalties. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA, H.R. 493) passed the full Senate April 24 by a vote of 95-0." (Thompson Publishing Group Inc.)

A Serious Look at Expensive Drugs Used by Federal Employees and Retirees
Excerpt: "The Office of Personnel Management is undertaking a review of how much federal employees and retirees pay for certain types of expensive, specialized prescription drugs that help treat such diseases as cancer, multiple sclerosis and hepatitis." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

How to Streamline Health Care Delivery Through Organization
Excerpt: "Moving toward organized delivery may also require regulatory changes to facilitate integration between hospitals, physicians, and other providers, multidisciplinary care delivery with delegation of selected tasks to a team of health professionals, and accreditation of delivery systems. Such changes should improve quality of care for patients and enhance value for resources invested in health care." (The Commonwealth Fund)

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll - Election 2008, April 2008
Excerpt: "An April 2008 poll finds that health care costs rank among Americans' top personal economic problems, and their struggles to deal with those costs have affected both their financial well-being and their family's health care. Conducted by the Foundation's public opinion researchers, the poll probes into the economic concerns facing Americans and the ways they have dealt with the cost of health care." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Gingrich Urges Switch to Electronic Medical Records
Excerpt: "'It's been a very great disappointment that the administration has not proposed to go to 100 percent electronic health records,' Gingrich said yesterday. . . . He said Congress could have paid for such a changeover with the money now being directed to the subprime mortgage loan bailout. During a wide-ranging speech, he likened the changes in the medical industry to Major League Baseball, which in recent years has increasingly focused on using data to make personnel decisions." (The Baltimore Sun)

Another Reason to Get Married - Health Insurance
Excerpt: "In a poll released today, 7% of Americans said they or someone in their household decided to marry in the last year so they could get healthcare benefits via their spouse. 'It's a small number but a powerful result, because it shows how paying for healthcare is reflected not only in family budgets but in life decisions,' said Drew E. Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which commissioned the survey as part of its regular polling on healthcare." (Los Angeles Times)

Study Warns Job Losses Will Strain Government Health Programs
Excerpt: "Leading health researchers projected Monday that each percentage-point rise in unemployment during the economic downturn would swell the uninsured by 1.1 million, stoking demand for government health coverage just as states face pressure to cut benefits." (The New York Times; free registration required)

Employers Divided on Fines for Smokers
Excerpt: "Whirlpool Corp.'s move to suspend 39 smokers last week for lying on their benefits enrollment forms to avoid a $500 annual tobacco-use surcharge could be seen as part of a growing trend of employers cracking down on employees' unhealthy habits. But the Tribune Co.'s announcement just a few days later saying it was dropping its recently instituted $100-a-month smoker penalty indicated that some employers may be getting cold feet." (Workforce Management; free registration required)

Big-Box Retailers Factor Largely Into Employers' Vision Plan Network Selections
Excerpt: "It's no secret that the main attractions big-box stores have among consumers are convenience, accessibility and low prices. Such attributes also attract employers when they are selecting providers for vision plan networks, particularly for serving workers in more rural areas, experts say." (Employee Benefit News; free registration required)

Are Consumer-Driven Health Plans Working?
Excerpt: "At the moment, the question of whether consumerism is the wave of the future remains open, although some surveys suggest these plans have significant growth potential. So far, employers are still waiting for definitive evidence about cost savings as they weigh the criticism that these plans could have an adverse impact on worker health and morale." (The Wall Street Journal)

[Opinion] Status and Significance of the San Francisco Health Care Ordinance for Employers (PDF)
Excerpt: "Because of the considerable impact on all employers if state and local governments are allowed to dictate benefit terms, employers across the country are keeping a close eye on the developments in this case. The best result would be for either the Ninth Circuit's three-judge panel or an en banc review by a fifteen-judge panel to decide that the San Francisco ordinance is preempted. Such a decision would likely resolve the matter in the near term and send a strong signal to future state and local governments to keep future health care reform within ERISA's current framework." (Miller & Chevalier, Chartered)

[Opinion] Is the Tipping Point in Employment-Based Health Benefits Near?
Excerpt: "The nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute has examined this question through a recent survey of large employers and a day-long policy forum in Washington, DC. We found that private-sector employers are still committed to playing the role of sponsor in the health benefits system. Why? Because they feel they can provide better control and results than the government would." (The Wall Street Journal)

Sponsored by: University Conference Services

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for University Conference Services

Walking the Benefits Management Tightrope

Do you sometimes feel like a high wire acrobat performing without a net? That's how it can seem as you try to span the chasm between managing an attractive benefits program and reigning in costs. The Health and Welfare Plan Management for Mid-Sized Employers, June 8Ė11, 2008, in Chicago, guides you through todayís complex benefit issues and offers solutions to help you master your technique.

(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

Why Riskier Companies Grant More Employee Stock Options
Excerpt: "This paper documents that riskier firms grant more options to non-executive employees using a large panel of US firms from 1992 to 2005. These results are not explained by factors on the industry level. A simple model in which a risk-neutral firm and an employee with cumulative prospect theory preferences bargain over the employee's pay package can provide an explanation for this otherwise puzzling behavior." (Social Science Research Network)

Worker Misclassification - Creating Employee Benefit Problems
Excerpt: "In addition to the problems of having insurance coverage defeated based upon 'employee' definitions, inadvertently promising benefits to those you did not intend, and jeopardizing the qualified status of your retirement plans, there is a another significant issue - ERISA preemption may not be available as a defense to claims brought by independent contractors." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

Multicultural Marketing of Employee Benefits (PDF)
12 pages. Excerpt: "This article examines how cultural studies that explore the way different demographic groups tend to approach issues of health, wealth, and career have important implications for the design, development, and delivery of HR products and services." (Hewitt Associates)

[Opinion] Pay Gap Fuels Worker Anger
Excerpt: "The gap between top executive and employee compensation has never been greater. That's triggering lower morale and productivity on some corporate staffs, and making it more difficult to attract and keep talent, even in a slowing economy." (The Wall Street Journal)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

2009 Health and Welfare Planning: What Should Employers Be Doing Now?
Nationwide on May 14, 2008
presented by Kilpatrick Stockton LLP

Health on the Hill Audio Report
Nationwide on April 30, 2008
presented by Kaiser Family Foundation

Loans to Participants and Beneficiaries
Nationwide on July 9, 2008
presented by Qualified Pension Consulting, Inc.

QOSA: The QJSA Alternative
Nationwide on July 23, 2008
presented by Qualified Pension Consulting, Inc.

The Final 415 Regs: Not Just for Defined Benefit Plans
Nationwide on June 4, 2008
presented by Qualified Pension Consulting, Inc.

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Guidance and Technical Corrections to Default Investment Alternatives Regulation
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

EBRI Resources on Covering the Uninsured
Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)

The ESOP Association Applauds Introduction of Resolution Supporting Employee Ownership through ESOPs by Congressmen Maurice Hinchey and Dana Rohrabacher
ESOP Association

John Hancock Retirement Plan Services Launches New 'Forum Coach' Training Program for TPAs
John Hancock Retirement Plan Services

Fiduciary360's Enhanced Analytical And Reporting Software Lets Users Create Highly Customized Due Diligence Reports
Fiduciary360 (fi360)

Benefit Funding Services Group, LLC Is Certified For Fiduciary Excellence
Centre for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX)

American Pensions Inc. Is Certified For Fiduciary And Recordkeeping Excellence
Centre for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX)

We're one of the top 350 employment sites on the web!Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
(Post a Job | View All Jobs | RSS feed for jobs RSS Feed )

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Limestone Pension Associates, LLC
in DE

Processing Specialist
for Citi
in ME

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Lebenson Actuarial Services
in NV

Defined Contribution --401(k) Administrator
for Third Party Defined Contribution Administrator
in OH

Employee Benefits Paralegal
for Armington Recruiting LLC
in PA

Sales Consultant
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in CA

Plan Administrator/Trust Accountant
for Thomas F. Barrett, Inc.
in DC, MD, VA

401(k) Administrator
for Sunwest Pensions
in AZ

Team Support Specialist
for Virchow, Krause & Company, LLP
in MN

Retirement Plan Consultant
for Virchow, Krause & Company, LLP
in WI

Compliance Specialist -Year End Services
for Ascensus
in MN, PA

401(k) Client Service Associate
for Ascensus
in MN, PA

DC / 401(k) Administrator
for TPA Company in Oklahoma City Metro Area
in OK

Defined Contribution Team Manager/401K Plan Administrator
for National Life Group
in VT

Retirement Plan Specialist (Part-Time)
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in FL

Retirement Plan Specialist (Part-Time)
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in IN

Handy Links:

Subscribe to the BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter, Too!

Sign-up form is at (free).

This newsletter is sent to you each workday except federal holidays.

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

David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor

Copyright 2008, 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:

Other useful links: