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May 7, 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] New Jersey's Paid Family Leave Law: The Hidden Costs to Employers
Excerpt: "Unlike the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA), which generally cover the full-time workforce of employers with 50 or more employees, the Paid Family Leave Law covers all New Jersey employers subject to the unemployment compensation law, regardless of the number of employees they employ." (Littler Mendelson P.C.)


[Guidance Overview] The Effect of Conflicts of Interest on the Scope of Discovery
Excerpt: "The scope of judicial review in ERISA claim for benefit cases has presented one of the classic debates that belie the tired old bromide to the effect that ERISA is a 'comprehensive and reticulated' statute needing no supplementation." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)


Tennessee Legislature Addresses Health Coverage for Small Business
Excerpt: "The Tennessee Legislature has passed a bill that would allow a larger number of businesses to get health insurance for employees. The House and Senate approved an expanded version of the Tennessee Small Employer Group Health Coverage Reform Act. The bill altered the state's definition of 'small employers' from 25 to 50 employees, which would make it easier for some businesses to get access to more insurance products." (Memphis Business Journal via bizjournals.com; free registration required)


Podcast: 'Five Minutes with... ' Rita Sororen of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
Excerpt: "[The] podcast stars Rita Sororen of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, who talks about workplace adoption benefits on ebn.podhoster.com. . . . The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption recently released its annual list of the nation's 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces." (Employee Benefit News; free registration required)


Health Plan Study Shows Performance Varies Region to Region
Excerpt: "Employers hope that a health insurer managing regional plans across the country will deliver consistent services to all members. New research by J.D. Power and Associates shows that may not always be the case." (Employee Benefit News; free registration required)


Cancer Remains Top Cause for Long-Term Disability Claims
Excerpt: "[Unum, a provider of group disability insurance] reports that 12.2% of its long-term disability claims resulted from cancer cases." (Employee Benefit News; free registration required)


Ten Prescription Drugs Accounted For More Than $1 Billion In Spending Across Upstate New York In 2007
Excerpt: "Out of more than 3,000 prescribed drugs in upstate New York last year, 10 brand-name drugs accounted for more than $1 billion in spending, or nearly 20 percent of the total amount spent on prescription medications, according to a new report issued by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield." (Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association)


Long-Term Care Insurance: Partnership Plans and the Impact of Other Legislation
Excerpt: "Why is true group long-term care so important? Many Americans will have no way to pay for long-term care services when they are needed. Insurance for long-term care will not become widespread if only available on an individual basis, which means that the change will need to come first from employers. Group coverage needs to include employer contributions to make it affordable to employees and vesting to make it affordable to employers." (Milliman)


Health Care Price, Quality Information Missing from Consumer-Directed Health Plan Equation
Excerpt: "The term 'consumer-directed health plans' (CDHPs) is a misnomer because the price and quality information tools necessary to make well-informed health care decisions are not yet available, two recent articles in The Financial Times reported. Any price reductions that CDHPs have achieved thus far may be attributed to continued cost shifting to employees and reduced utilization of services, the articles observed." (Wolters Kluwer)


[Opinion] State Health Insurance Mandates
Excerpt: "Keith R. McMurdy has some interesting comments on state insurance benefit mandates. [See http://insurancebloggers.com/state-health-insurance-mandates-2008/]" (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)


[Opinion] American Benefits Council Amicus Brief in Noe v. PolyOne Corporation (PDF)
16 pages. Regards retiree health care benefits. (American Benefits Council)



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? Thatís 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

[Guidance Overview] DOL's Proposed Form T-1 Would Require Detailed Financial Reporting for Most Union-Negotiated Benefit Plans (PDF)
Pages 3-7 of 10 pages. Excerpt: "The Form T-1 annual report would be in addition to, not in lieu of, a Form 5500. However, unlike the Form 5500, which must be prepared and filed by the employee benefit plan itself, Form TĖ1 must be prepared and filed by each labor union whose members are plan participants provided that union has annual revenues of $250,000 or more." (Trucker Huss)


[Guidance Overview] Benefits Quiz from the April 2008 Trucker Huss Benefits Report (PDF)
Pages 1-2 of 10 pages. Excerpt: "The . . . questions are designed to refresh, and to fine tune, your benefits expertise. Some of the answers (which are found on page 8 of this Newsletter) may surprise you." (Trucker Huss)


Communicating the Value of Benefits Helps Offset Anxiety of Tough Economic Times
Excerpt: "Though the investment in benefits that each organization makes is obvious to executives, studies show that employees generally don't recognize how much their benefits are actually worth. . . . [S]howing employees that their compensation is as much as 25% more than what they thought it was can help . . . ." (Employee Benefit News; free registration required)


Milliman's Monthly Benefit News and Developments, May 2008 (PDF)
2 pages. The newsletter provides a summary of the previous month's legislative, regulatory, and judicial information on employee benefits. (Milliman)


DOL Web Site Helps Employers Navigate Federal Law Dictates
Excerpt: "A new Web site from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) contains an elaws advisor designed to help employers figure out which of the agency's record keeping, reporting, and notice requirements apply to them." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)




Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Employee Benefits Conference: Strategic Directions
in Minnesota on June 26, 2008
presented by Employers Association, Inc.

The Deloitte Tax LLP Inaugural Compensation & Benefits Symposium - Compensation and Benefits Strategies
in Illinois on October 21, 2008
presented by Deloitte



Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Employees Without Access to Health Coverage Outside Work Are Far Less Likely to Retire
Watson Wyatt

ExpertPlan Partners with MPAY, Inc. to Provide Bundled Payroll/401(k) Product
ExpertPlan

Report Finds Women Can Anticipate Nearly Half the Retirement Income of Men
Americans for Secure Retirement (ASR)

MBGH Annual Employer Benefit Survey Reveals Growing Shift to Value-Based Benefit Design
Midwest Business Group on Health

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Achieves Bridges to Excellence Certification
Bridges to Excellence (BTE)

The SPARK Institute Releases Final 403(b) Plans Best Practices Documents
The SPARK Institute



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Account Manager
for National Retirement Services, Inc.
in CA

Sr. Counsel, Benefits & Compensation
for Wyeth
in NJ

Defined Contribution Administrator
for Merit Benefits Group, Inc.
in IL

Defined Benefit Client Consultant
for Prudential Financial
in CT

Actuarial Consultant / Senior DB Plan Administrator
for Tegra Financial Partners
in GA

Consultant
for Pension Benefits Unlimited, Inc.
in CA

Actuarial Consultant-US Insurance Group
for MassMutual Financial Group
in CT

Defined Contribution Plan Consultant
for Long Island, New York
in NY




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