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July 1, 2008

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


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[Official Guidance] Text of Final IRS Regs: Dependent Child of Divorced or Separated Parents or Parents Who Live Apart (PDF)
26 pages. Excerpt: "This document contains final regulations relating to a claim that a child is a dependent by parents who are divorced, legally separated under a decree of separate maintenance, or separated under a written separation agreement, or who live apart at all times during the last 6 months of the calendar year. The regulations reflect amendments under the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004 (WFTRA) and the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005. . . . These regulations are effective July 2, 2008." (Internal Revenue Service)


[Guidance Overview] District Court Finds Abatie Standard Consistent With MetLife v. Glenn Requirements
Excerpt: "A California district court has essentially found the approach taken in Abatie v. Alta Health & Life Ins. Co., 458 F.3d 955 (9th Cir. 2006), consistent with that recently articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court in MetLife v. Glenn." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)


[Guidance Overview] IRS Issues 'Grab Bag' Guidance Addressing Many HSA Issues
Excerpt: "The HSA grab bag confirms earlier guidance and offers new guidance on topics previously unaddressed. All 42 of its Q/As deserve close, careful reading." (Employee Benefits Institute of America)


Employers Focusing Wellness Efforts on Affinity Groups
Excerpt: "[I]t only makes sense that there is an emerging trend in which employers are tailoring, you could even say personalizing, important healthcare (and other benefit) information to employees who belong to affinity groups -- people with commonalities (gender, race, disability) who form formal associations within employee populations." (Human Resource Executive Online)


Medication Managers and Drug Stores Merge Networks
Excerpt: "The drug store and pharmacy benefit management industries on Tuesday will announce a combination of their information systems in order to boost electronic prescribing by physicians." (AP via The New York Times; free registration required)


WellPoint Pays First Bonuses for Care Improvements
Excerpt: "WellPoint Inc. reached its goal of improving patient care in the first year of its new Member Health Index program, the insurer reported. Under the program, launched last year, 5 percent of the annual bonuses paid to all 42,000 WellPoint employees nationwide were linked to achieving measurable improvements in patient care received by enrollees in all WellPoint plans." (Workforce Management; free registration required)


Survey Shows Health Insurance and Fuel Costs Among Top Small Biz Owners Burdens
Excerpt: "The rising cost of health insurance, fuel and energy and inflation are the top worries among small business owners, according to a survey done every four years by the National Federation of Independent Business and Wells Fargo." (Atlanta Business Chronicle; bizjournals.com; free registration required)


Balanced Diets Equal More Productive Workers
Excerpt: "A new wellness study suggests a link between a worker's diet and productivity level. ComPsych Corporation's 2008 Health & Productivity Index revealed only 5% of employees with unbalanced diets had high levels of energy, while 50% of workers with balanced diets had high energy, according to a press release." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


New York Times Letters to the Editor Discuss Editorial Supporting Nationwide Adoption of Electronic Health Records
Excerpt: "The New York Times on Monday published several letters to the editor responding to a June 24 editorial about the need for nationwide adoption of electronic health records." (Kaiser Family Foundation)



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Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview] IRS Announces Mid-Year Increase in Mileage Rates for Transportation to Obtain Medical Care and Moving Expenses
Excerpt: "" (Employee Benefits Institute of America)


[Guidance Overview] Section 409A Compliance Deadline: December 31, 2008 (PDF)
4 pages. The newsletter provides a '409A Recommended 'To Do' List." (Powell Goldstein LLP)


Union at Con Ed Fears the Loss of High Pay and Solid Benefits
Excerpt: "As the power industry was deregulated over the past decade, Con Edison, like other utilities, has been under pressure from shareholders and customers to keep labor costs down, eroding some of the benefits that drew workers to the utility." (The New York Times; free registration required)


Relocation Policy Changes Show Employers Controlling Costs
Excerpt: "Recent relocation policy changes cited by employers participating in a recent survey indicate a greater focus on controlling costs. According to Prudential's Move Forward newsletter, adopting or increasing pre-decision counseling for homeowners (46%) is the single biggest reported change among those surveyed companies that have made, or plan to make, relocation policy revisions. Companies want to help homeowners effectively conduct risk-assessment that includes understanding the limits of the relocation policy, but are also increasingly focused on reining in downstream cost exposure by guiding homeowners in their purchase decisions." (PLANSPONSOR.com; free registration required)


Anheuser-Busch to Take $400M in Charges from Early Retirement Offer
Excerpt: "A-B said that on June 25, it had approved an enhanced retirement program to be offered to certain salaried employees in connection with its plan to reduce costs and improve efficiency. The program will provide enhanced pension and retiree medical benefits to salaried employees who are at least 55 years old as of Dec. 31 this year, according to the filing." (St. Louis Business Journal; bizjournals.com; free registration required)


Anheuser-Busch to Cut Health and Pension Benefits for Salaried Employees
Excerpt: "The nation's biggest brewer laid out its benefit-cut plan in a memo . . . . The memo says employees' individual, lump sum payouts under the pension plan will be reduced by approximately 5 percent to 6 percent in 2009 and approximately 15 percent by 2012. Workers also will make a bigger contribution to their health insurance plan, rising from approximately 21 percent today to 25 percent of the cost beginning in 2009." (AP via Forbes.com)




Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Keep Current On Pension Legislation and Non-Qualified Deferred Comp. 409A Regulations
in California on August 6, 2008
presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators



Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Watson Wyatt Data Services Releases 2008/2009 Survey Report on Non-Qualified Benefits and Perquisite Practices
Watson Wyatt Data Services

Alliance Benefit Group Completes Acquisition of RGS & Associates
Alliance Benefit Group

401k Widgets Announces Website Applications for Retirement Plan Industry
PensionOnline

FINRA, International Foundation Partner On Resources for Companies, Employees To Guard Against Early Retirement Seminar Scams
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

ING Closes Acquisition of CitiStreet; Solidifies Leadership Position in Defined Contribution Retirement Plan Market
ING Group

MassMutual Chosen as Full-Service Provider for Blue Bird Corporation
MassMutual

With Economy In Decline And Workers Increasingly On Edge, Joint Economic Committee To Examine Benefits Of Public Workers' Pension Plans
Joint Economic Committee

Employees Realize a 100% Increase in Company Contributions if Employer Sponsors a Cash Balance Plan
Kravitz



We're one of the top 350 employment sites on the web!Newly Posted or Renewed Job Openings
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DC Plan Administrator
for Campbell Albrecht
in CA

Product Manager - Retirement Services
for MassMutual Financial Group
in MA

Retirement Services Sales Professional
for ADP-Retirement Services
in CA, MD, MI, OH, TX

Pension Administrator
for Associated Pension Consultants
in CA

Compliance Specialist
for The Newport Group
in NC

Benefits Project Manager
for Quest Diagnostics
in NJ

Defined Contribution Plan Administrator
for Strategic Pension Services, Inc. ("SPS")
in CA

Pension Plan Analyst III
for CBIZ Benefits and Insurance Services
in MD




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