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May 22, 2008

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


Today's sponsor is Employee Benefits Institute of America (EBIA)

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for Employee Benefits Institute of America (EBIA)

EBIA Adds a One-Two Punch to Your Employee Benefits Library!

Our Cafeteria Plans manual is the nation’s #1 resource for cafeteria plan sponsors and administrators. The Cafeteria Plans manual provides detailed coverage of all legal requirements for cafeteria plans, health FSAs, and DCAPs. Our Consumer-Driven Health Care manual is the country's best HSA and HRA Guidebook. With both manuals, subscribers get EBIA's top-notch analysis, copies of critical source documents, examples, administration tips, and sample documents. For more information, visit our manuals page.

[Guidance Overview] Landmark Genetic Nondiscrimination Legislation
Excerpt: "[President] Bush signed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 ('GINA'), which Congress passed in late April. GINA sets forth new nondiscrimination prohibitions that apply to group health plans, health insurance companies and employers." (Kilpatrick Stockton LLP)


House Approves FSA Funds for Reservists Called to Duty
Excerpt: "Legislation approved Tuesday, May 20, by the House of Representatives would allow individuals called up from the reserves for active military service for at least six months to take unused balances in their health care flexible spending accounts as a taxable distribution." (Workforce Management; free registration required)


Massachusetts Refines Health Care Coverage Rules
Excerpt: "Massachusetts regulators plan to clarify final rules soon on the design requirements of health plans state residents must be enrolled in to avoid financial penalties." (Workforce Management; free registration required)


Text of the Contra Costa County, California, Grand Jury Report on OPEBs (PDF)
Excerpt: "Contra Costa County has reached a critical juncture regarding its escalating retiree health care benefit costs. The unfunded financial liability is now estimated to be approximately $1.74 billion. That figure is more than Contra Costa County's total annual operating budget, and nearly equal to the unfunded liabilities for Alameda, Orange, and San Diego Counties combined." (Contra Costa County, California)


Wellness Panel Explains Bottom Line for Initiatives
Excerpt: "Money and culture are two of the biggest challenges to starting healthy programs in the workplace, according to a panel of wellness program professionals. Four regional wellness experts gave their views at a recent Michigan Business Review roundtable to discuss priorities and changing issues in employee health initiatives." (Michigan Live LLC)


New Florida Law Allows Low-Cost Health Policies
Excerpt: "With considerable fanfare, Gov. Charlie Crist traveled the length of his state on Wednesday to sign a bill aimed at providing low-cost health coverage to the uninsured by allowing the sale of stripped-down insurance policies." (The New York Times; free registration required)


Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Bill Signed into Law
Excerpt: "The measure bars employers from using information from genetic testing to hire, fire, or promote workers, and also prohibits insurance companies from using genetic testing results for determining eligibility or setting premiums . . . .' (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


Wellness Programs Win Employer Awards for Promoting Healthy Lifestyles
Excerpt: "The fourth annual Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles awards recognized more than 50 U.S. employers for their efforts to promote healthy work environments and lifestyles for employees." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


Insurers Urge Gov. Rell To Veto Legislation That Would Expand State Employee Health Insurance Pool
Excerpt: "Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell (R) on Monday released letters from two insurance companies that raised concerns about the cost of legislation that would allow workers at small businesses, municipalities and not-for-profit groups to join the state employee health insurance pool, the Hartford Courant reports." (Kaiser Family Foundation)



Sponsored by: WorldatWork

(Click on company name or banner to learn more.)
Banner ad for WorldatWork

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

Consider a Matrix of the Key Roles and Responsibilities for the Compensation Process and Governance
Excerpt: "As the executive compensation process continues to become more complex important, and investors, the media and some plaintiffs' lawyers continue to focus on it, more companies and compensation committees are creating a matrix of the key roles and responsibilities of the parties involved in compensation and governance. These parties include the Compensation Committee, the full Board, the CEO, and HR and other company management, inside counsel and/or outside counsel and the compensation consultant. The input of each party is critical in preparing the matrix." (Michael S. Melbinger of Winston & Strawn LLP)


Comprehensive Executive Compensation 'Reform' Bill Introduced into Senate (PDF)
4 pages. Excerpt: "Senator Clinton's bill is a broad response to concerns over executive pay practices at publicly traded companies, and it is currently unclear whether it will be voted out of Committee. As of the date of this writing, there are no co-sponsors; however, it is realistic to expect that similar legislation will be introduced next year under a new Administration." (Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc.)


Wachovia Offers Employees 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." (Workforce Management; free registration required)


House Bill Extends Benefits Breaks to Active Reservists
Excerpt: "Several provisions of a bill passed unanimously by the U.S. House of Representatives - including one allowing penalty-free withdrawals from a flexible spending account – affect workplace benefits for armed services members. The bill (H.R. 6081), the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax (HEART) Act of 2008, gives a series of tax breaks and other economic incentives to U.S. Armed Services members. Representative Charles B. Rangel (D-New York) was the sponsor of the measure that passed 403 to 0." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)




Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Account-Based Health Plans: What Works, What Doesn't and Why Webcast
Nationwide on June 19, 2008
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

ERIU Interactive Webinar to Examine How the Health Reform Landscape Has Changed Since 1994
Nationwide on June 2, 2008
presented by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Gearing Up For A Downturn - A Primer On Key Benefits Issues -- Free Webinar
Nationwide on June 3, 2008
presented by Ogletree Deakins

Lessons Learned From Hawaii's Prepaid Health Care Act Webcast
Nationwide on June 5, 2008
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

Retirement Plans in Mergers and Acquisitions: An Overview
Nationwide on June 12, 2008
presented by SunGard Relius

The Latest on Federal Legislative and Regulatory Activity for Public Plans Webcast
Nationwide on June 10, 2008
presented by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans



Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Large Employers Slow Changes to Retirement Plans, Watson Wyatt Finds
Watson Wyatt

U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao Highlights Accomplishments in Reforming Employee Benefits System at ‘DOL Speaks’ Conference
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Employers Using Benefits to Help Employees Fill the Tank
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

National Coalition on Benefits Marks Milestone 100 Members Strong, Still Growing
National Coalition on Benefits

Leading Pioneer of Retirement Advice is Providing The "411" on 401(k) Investing
Scarborough Capital Management, Inc.

Pacific Life Extends Support to the 401k Market
Pacific Life

New Retirement Organization Issues First Research Brief, Launches Web Site
National Institute on Retirement Security

STOP Obesity Alliance Announces New Research Indicating That Employers Want to Address Obesity in the Workplace, Need More Guidance
Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance



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Compliance Testing Consultant
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in NY

401(k) / Defined Contribution Administrator
for Pension Investors Corp.
in FL

Director, Plan Services
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in NY

Sales Implementation Specialist
for ePlan Services, Inc.
in CO

Employee Benefits Service Coordinator
for Growing Financial Services Firm
in TX

Retirement Distribution Manager
for Charles Schwab & Company
in AZ

Defined Contribution Analyst
for Medium sized TPA firm in Central Ohio
in OH

Defined Benefit/Defined Contribution Administrator
for Red Bank Pension Services, Inc.
in NJ

IRA Product Manager
for Merrill Lynch
in NJ

ML Retirement Income Service Product Manager
for Merrill Lynch
in NJ

401(k) Administrator
for Pension Performance, Inc.
in IL

Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Consultant
for Retirement Capital Group, Inc
in CA




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