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September 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] Proposed Updates to HIPAA Electronic Data Interchange Rules
Excerpt: "The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed updates /1/ to the electronic data interchange (EDI) transaction standards and medical data code set rules of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), /2/ which were last modified in 2003. Health plans engaging in HIPAA standard transactions have been required to use the current standards and code sets since October 2003. This Capital Checkup discusses the proposed updates. Comments on the proposal are due to HHS no later than October 21, 2008." (The Segal Group, Inc.)


[Guidance Overview] Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide Updated September 17, 2008, for Health and Welfare Plans (PDF)
7 pages. This Federal Legislation Quick Guide provides short updates on federal legislation that is currently under active consideration by Congress or has recently been enacted into law regarding health and welfare benefit plans. (Hewitt Associates)


Research Teams Unveil Personal Health Record Application Prototypes
Excerpt: "[A] $5 million Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program unveiled nine prototype applications for personal health records . . . . The research teams participating in the Project HealthDesign initiative will publish details about their findings and work to implement their PHR applications in the clinical practices connected to their institutions." (California HealthCare Foundation)


No Rise in Monthly Medicare Premium for 2009
Excerpt: "The monthly premium for the elderly and disabled participating in Medicare will hold steady at $96.40 next year. It's the first time since 2000 that the charge for health coverage is not increasing." (The Washington Post; free registration required)


Google Health Presentation on Electronic Medical Records (PDF)
23 pages. Power point slides that explain what technology can do to increase value in the health care market. (Councial for Affordable Health Insurance)


House Committee Approves 10 Health-Related Bills
Excerpt: "The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday approved a number of health care-related bills, CQ Today reports. . . . [One is a] bill (HR 758) that would prohibit insurance companies from limiting hospital stays to less than 48 hours for patients who have had a mastectomy or breast-conserving surgery and less than 24 hours for patients who have had lymph node dissection for the treatment of cancer." (Kaiser Family Foundation)


[Opinion] Health Care Reform Must Start with a Plan to Simplify
Excerpt: "In case you missed it, Great Britain, in response to prolonged complaints from tourists, has decided to move its traffic from the left side of the road to the right, the same way we drive in the United States. But not all traffic. After taxi and truck drivers protested the cost of moving their steering wheels, a compromise was worked out. Cars will drive on the right and commercial vehicles on the left. They call this the American Medicine Plan." (San Francisco Chronicle)


[Opinion] Testimony: Making Health Care Reform Work for Small Businesses
Excerpt: "Small employers face substantial disadvantages relative to large employers when providing health insurance to their workers. These problems can largely be summarized as higher administrative costs of insurance, limited ability to spread health care risk, and a workforce with lower wages. All of these problems must be addressed if insurance coverage is to increase significantly among workers in small firms." (The Urban Institute)



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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.

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Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview] Hewitt Federal Legislation Quick Guide Updated September 17, 2008, on Human Resources & Employment Law (PDF)
5 pages. This Federal Legislation Quick Guide provides short updates on federal legislation that is currently under active consideration by Congress or has recently been enacted into law regarding human resources and employment law. (Hewitt Associates)


[Guidance Overview] Year End 409A Deadlines (PDF)
1 page. Excerpt: "In recent years, we have written to you at about this time with news that the deadline for adopting Code 409A amendments to deferred compensation plans had been extended for another year. That is not our current message, as it appears that this year the 409A deadline will not be extended again and the final 409A amendments will actually have to be finalized and signed by December 31, 2008." (Kelly, Hannaford & Battles P.A.)


[Guidance Overview] Qualification of Bonuses as 'Performance-Based Compensation' for Purposes of Section 409A Should be Reviewed Before Year-End (PDF)
Pages 1-3 of 7 pages. Excerpt: "Employers who have allowed deferral elections to be made with respect to bonus compensation in reliance on the six-month rule in Internal Revenue Code (Code) section 409A(a)(4)(B)(iii) should review their decisions in light of the changes made to the definition of performance-based compensation in the final regulations, the upcoming end of 'transition' under section 409A, and the January 1, 2009, effective date of the final regulations." (Miller & Chevalier Chartered)


Eleventh Circuit Panel Holds That Glenn Overrules Prior Precedent
Excerpt: "According to the [Eleventh Circuit opinion in Doyle v. Liberty Life], 'Glenn implicitly overrules and conflicts with our precedent requiring courts to review under the heightened standard . . ' The panel substituted a new opinion for its prior opinion in the case, holding that 'heightened scrutiny' and burdenshifting requirements no longer apply. This note is cross-posted to ERISABoard.com where the opinion is attached." (Health Plan Law blog by Attorney Roy F. Harmon III)




Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

DB Topics: Current Trends and Plan Administration
in Massachusetts on September 25, 2008
presented by ASPPA Benefits Council (ABC) of New England



Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

PBGC Protects Pensions Of Rand McNally & Co.
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

PBGC Protects Pensions Of Consumers Distributing Inc.
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

U.S. Labor Department Web Site Assists Hurricane Victims In Locating Employee Benefit Plan Sponsors
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

U.S. Labor Department Takes Legal Action Against Trustee Of AE Seven LLC 401(k) Plan For Failure To Administer Employee Assets
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Ascensus, LPL Financial and 401(k) Advisors Partner to Deliver a New Retirement Plan Offering with Fiduciary Protection
Ascensus

U.S. Retirement Partners Acquires Fourth Firm
U.S. Retirement Partners



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