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May 19, 2008

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

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[Guidance Overview] ADA and ERISA Claims Proceed for Employees Terminated After Child Incurred Large Medical Expenses
Excerpt: "The employees were terminated following an investigation that commenced just eleven days after a relapse of their son's cancer; the investigation showed discrepancies between their time sheets and security gate entrance/exit records. The Tenth Circuit noted concerns expressed by the employer about the son's health care costs and the close 'temporal proximity' between the son's relapse and the employees' termination (less than three weeks for the father and approximately six weeks for the mother)." (Employee Benefits Institute of America (EBIA))

[Opinion] Further Comments About Facing Up to The Hard Questions About Health Care Reform
Excerpt: "When we have so little transparency in costs that the federal courts must serve as battleground for state laws requiring disclosure of rebates, kickbacks and soft dollar compensation of PBM's, it is highly unlikely that any change in health care funding presently under discussion by the candidates will lead to realistic solutions to the deficiencies in delivery of health care services. Under any set of assumptions, however, limited resources will of necessity lead to rationing of health care as in the case of any other resource." (Attorney Roy F Harmon III in the Health Plan Law blog)

[Opinion] Economists Ask, Do Individual Mandates Matter?
Excerpt: "In this policy brief from the Urban Institute, health economists Linda Blumberg and John Holahan contend that it is not possible to achieve universal coverage without an individual mandate." (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

[Opinion] Healthcare Reform -- Nobody's Asking the Hardest Question: Who Gets Care and When
Excerpt: "I believe that without a mechanism to control what care is available and to whom and at what time, costs will continue to be a problem. We have more technology than we can afford. In national health care systems care is rationed by either long waits or guidelines that restrict access." (Jeffrey Clayton on the BNA Pension & Benefits Blog)

Young Lives at Risk: Our Overweight Children
Excerpt: "We are all responsible for the childhood obesity epidemic: parents, government, schools, communities, companies, the health system. This five-day series searches for solutions." (Washington Post; free registration required)

Wachovia Banks on Three-Year Leave Plan
Excerpt: "The program does not grant job protection. Once on leave, individuals are considered inactive employees and their benefits are on hold. But the program provides a formal way for employees to maintain a presence with the nation's fourth-largest bank. " (

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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.

(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] California Supreme Court Rules to Allow Same-Sex Marriage: Decision Could Lead to Constitutional Issues
Excerpt: "By elevating se.xual orientation to a constitutionally protected classification like race or religion, the ruling raises the potential for state constitutional challenges to various government programs and policies and to certain private actions." (Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP)

[Guidance Overview] DOL Seeks More Union Disclosure
Excerpt: "The proposed financial regulations would require unions to itemize benefits and indirect reimbursements, as well as increase the filing requirements of smaller unions. Some confidentiality provisions would also be affected. " (Human Resource Executive Online)

ERISA Preemption Means California G.ay Marriage Ruling Not a Slam-Dunk for Benefits
Excerpt: "[B]ecause the federal government doesn't recognize g.ay marriage and California already has a strong domestic partnership law, the new ruling's nuts-and-bolts impact on g.ay couples' personal finances is expected to be limited, analysts said. For example, Social Security survivor benefits and Cobra, the continuation of employer health insurance after a job loss or divorce, still apply exclusively to the traditionally married." (Marketwatch)

Delay G.ay Marriage, California Court Urged
Excerpt: "The marriage amendment will be on the ballot regardless, he said. If it passes, the words of the voter-approved Proposition 22 -- 'Only the marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California' -- will be added to the state constitution, even though the high court yesterday declared those same words unconstitutional." (

Older Staffers Get Uneasy Embrace
Excerpt: "Surveys by Boston College's Center for Retirement Research found that employers expect about a quarter of employees currently in their 50s will want to work two to four years longer than past workers. Then employers were asked if they would accommodate half those who wanted to work later. 'On a scale of 1 (unlikely) to 10 (likely), the median response was a lukewarm 6,' the researchers say." (The Wall Street Journal)

International Survey of Actuarial Issues and Practices
Excerpt: "The role of the health actuary is different from one country to another. This survey, prepared by Milliman in partnership with the International Actuarial Association Health Section, examines the many actuarial practices and work issues around the world, identifying the many similarities and differences." (Milliman)

Calif. G.ay Marriage Ruling Sparks New Debate
Excerpt: "The California Supreme Court reignited a political wildfire with its ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in the most populous state in the union, but the issue already has burned out in more than half the states." (

[Opinion] U.S. House of Representative Committee Again Approves Restrictions on Offshore Nonqualified Deferred Compensation
Excerpt: "This week, the House Ways and Means Committee approved legislation extending corporate tax breaks for one year and paying for them by, among other things, imposing limits on offshore nonqualified deferred compensation. Although the provisions are aimed at hedge funds in low tax countries, the Energy and Tax Incentives Act of 2008 (H.R. 6049) would arguably treat stock appreciation rights, restricted stock units and other performance-based compensation as nonqualified deferred compensation under section 409A of the tax code" (HR Policy Association)

[Opinion] NCCMP Comments to DOL Proposed Regulation on Form T-1 (PDF)
33 pages. Excerpt: "[The] latest effort to establish a Form T-1, in large part, fails to take into account the predominant role of ERISA in establishing rigorous reporting and disclosure requirements on all employee benefit plans. More troubling still, the [Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, or 'NPRM'] exhibits little understanding of the body of employee benefits law that has developed since 1974 that has drastically altered the regulatory framework governing employee benefit plans. Finally, nowhere in the NPRM will one find any analysis that would indicate a nexus between the financial affairs of ERISA plans and circumvention or evasion of reporting requirements under the LMRDA." (National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans)

[Opinion] Updated American Benefits Council Talking Points on the Offshore Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Provision (PDF)
Excerpt: "This provision should be rejected for the following reasons . . . It is extremely broad and would apply to non-abusive compensation practices. . . . It targets equity compensation. . . .It targets performance-based compensation. . . . It would create great uncertainty and would be virtually impossible to administer. . . . It is retroactive." (American Benefits Council)

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Parish National Bank Selects Gilsbar, Inc. for 360° Benefit Plan Management®
Gilsbar, Inc.

Wachovia Names New President of Retirement And Investment Products Group
Wachovia Corporation

New NAG Toolbox for MATLAB® Gives Actuaries and Benefits Consultants Access to 1,300+ Computational Routines
Numerical Algorithms Group

WiredBenefits Launches Ordinance Compliant San Francisco Health Care Benefit
WiredBenefits, Inc.

Genworth Study Shows QDIAs with Guaranteed Income Increase Lifetime Financial Security
Genworth Financial, Inc.

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Defined Contribution Plan Administrator
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409A Plan Administrator / 409A Senior Plan Administrator
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Branch Manager (Insurance/TPA/Employee Benefits)
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in NM

Defined Contribution Administrator
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in AZ

DC Implementation Analyst
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Senior Benefits Consultant / Team Leader
for High performance, technical and client-focused environment
in NC

Vice President, Client Communications
for HR & Benefits Consulting Firm
in NY

Project Manager - Retirement Practice
for Cammack LaRhette Consulting
in NY

Client Relations Representative
for The Online 401k (Decimal, Inc)
in CA

Assistant Director
for 1199SEIU Benefit & Pension Funds
in NY

Health and Welfare Professionals
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in DC, NJ, NY, PA

DC/DB Project Support Analyst
for New York Life Retirement Plan Services
in MA

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