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August 20, 2008

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

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Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Election 2008 for August 2008
Excerpt: "The latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Election 2008 poll finds that one in four (24%) Americans continues to struggle with paying for health care. Health care ranks as a 'serious problem' above paying for food (18%), problems with debt (16%), and paying the rent or mortgage (15%) and below paying for gas (37%) or getting a good paying job or raise in pay (26%)." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

HSA Contributions - Recouping Employer Contributions
Excerpt: "If an employer contributes to the HSA of an employee who ceases to be an eligible individual during a year, can the employer recoup amounts that the employer contributed after the employee ceased to be an eligible individual?" (Wolters Kluwer)

Lack of Insurance, High Medical Costs a Problem for More Americans
Excerpt: "Americans are struggling to pay medical bills and are accumulating medical debt at an increasing rate, according to a survey released today. 'A perfect storm of negative economic trends is battering working families across the United States,' said the survey by the Commonwealth Fund . . . ." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

States Push Laws to Require Paid Sick Leave Days
Excerpt: "Some 46 million U.S. workers lack paid sick days, but lawmakers in 12 states -- including California, Connecticut, Minnesota and West Virginia -- have proposed legislation in the past year that would require businesses to provide them." (AP via The New York Times; free registration required)

Abstract of 2009 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey
Excerpt: "The 2009 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey, which is based on a survey of managed care organizations (MCOs), health insurers, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and third party administrators (TPAs), forecasts continued declines in trends for most of the coverages surveyed. Trend is the projected change in health plans' per-capita claims cost determined by insurance carriers, MCOs and TPAs." (The Segal Group, Inc.)

How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2008 (PDF)
144 pages. Excerpt: "This report analyzes obesity rates in the United States and finds the epidemic is spreading at an alarming rate in most states, and that the programs and policies designed to reverse the disease have not yet had any significant effect." (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

HSA Savings Insufficient to Fund Retiree Health
Excerpt: "According to the [Employee Benefit Research Institute] analysis, one of the difficulties in using an HSA to save money for premiums and out-of-pocket expenses during retirement is that individuals also can (and might need to) use the money in the account to pay for health care services during their working years or to pay COBRA premiums and insurance premiums during periods of unemployment." (Wolters Kluwer)

Health Information Technology: Standards Alone Will Not Lead to Adoption, Let Alone Transform Health Care (PDF)
8 pages. Excerpt: "Proponents of health IT must resist 'magical thinking,' such as the notion that technology will transform our broken system, absent integrated work on policy or incentives. The alternative route to transforming the system sets all of its sights on the destination." (Health Affairs)

HHS Office Resolves More Than Half of HIPAA Complaints Without Investigation
Excerpt: "An HHS office has resolved more than half of complaints about possible violations of the medical privacy rule issued after the passage of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act without investigation, according to a Des Moines Register review of state and federal records." (Kaiser Family Foundation)

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Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

Principal Announces 2008 10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security
Excerpt: "By providing financial security in what some are calling a recession, 10 growing companies have earned national acclaim for standing by their employees. An independent panel of benefits experts selected The Principal 10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security -- 2008, in large part for finding ways to maintain and expand benefits rather than slash them." (; free registration required)

Lower Costs, Higher Morale Benefits of Four-Day Work Week
Excerpt: "Chrysler LLC is the latest to propose workers shift to four 10-hour days. The state of Utah adopted it earlier this month, and so have hundreds of U.S. cities. Closer to home, officials in Nova Scotia and the city of Hamilton are interested in the idea, and some industrial plants have quietly made the change." (The Globe and Mail)

ESOP Rules for Government Contractors Finalized
ESOP consultant Ronald Gilbert discusses recently finalized rules for federal government contractors who sponsor ESOPs. The rules address the 'allowable cost' that federal government contractors may claim for contributions or dividends paid to an ESOP. (National Center for Employee Ownership)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Changes to Cafeteria Plans: What You Need to Know to Prepare
in Alaska on October 6, 2008
presented by Lorman Education Services

The Open Enrollment Challenge - Strategies for Success
Nationwide on October 1, 2008
presented by Lorman Education Services

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

AHIP Welcomes New Pro-Reform Ad Featuring Harry and Louise
America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)

ZAG: 2009 Will Be The Year That Tougher Fiduciary Standards For Investment Advisors Take Hold, Group Urges Lifetime Ban For Breach Of Trust
Zero Alpha Group

CFA Institute to Focus on Six Key Investor Initiatives from U.S. SEC Financial Reporting Standards Report
CFA Institute Centre

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ERISA Attorney
for Ascensus
in MN

Retirement Services Supervisor
for County of Sacramento
in CA

Retirement Plan Conversion Manager
for Charles Schwab
in OH

Attorney - Counsel - Retirement Plans Division
for Transamerica Retirement Services
in CA

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