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October 9, 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)

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EBIA's In Person Seminar Series

EBIA's In Person seminars provide education on employee benefits topics to professionals, including TPAs, attorneys, benefits consultants, human resources managers, plan administrators, insurance professionals, and accountants. For information about CE credit, course materials, speakers, locations, and agenda details, and to register, please visit EBIA's In Person Seminars.

[Guidance Overview] Outline of Ninth Circuit's Decision Allowing San Francisco 'Pay-or-Play' Healthcare Law (PDF)
3 pages. Excerpt: "As states and municipalities increasingly look for creative solutions to the increasing cost of health care for the under- and un-insured, 'pay or play' mandates continue to grow in popularity. The resulting impact on employers is substantial. Employers that operate in multiple states find themselves subject to conflicting state and city statutes that require them to pay varying amounts for employee benefits and/or penalties to the state or city government. Similarly, plan administrators are subjected to different state reporting requirements, creating confusion within the plan's recordkeeping procedures." (Proskauer Rose LLP)

[Guidance Overview] Mental Health Parity, Other Health-Related Requirements Enacted (PDF)
2 pages. (Milliman)

[Guidance Overview] Expansion of Medical Health Parity Requirements
Excerpt: "The new provisions will generally not apply to a group health plan until the first plan year beginning at least one year after the date of the new law's enactment, which was October 3, 2008. For calendar year plans, the new rules will take effect January 1, 2010." (Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP)

[Guidance Overview] New York State Extends Health Care Reform Act and Introduces an Additional, Temporary Assessment (PDF)
2 pages. This Bulletin for health plan sponsors that cover New York State residents notes the extension of the State's Health Care Reform Act, which had been scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2008, through December 31, 2011. It also discusses a new additional, Professional Education Pool (PEP) temporary covered lives assessment. (The Segal Group, Inc.)

Automakers Not Requesting Additional Delays in Funding Payments to Union's Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Associations
Excerpt: "United Auto Workers president Ron Gettelfinger said Tuesday, October 7, that he hasn't been approached by the Detroit Three to allow additional delays in funding payments to the union's voluntary employee beneficiary associations. Gettelfinger said in Detroit that the UAW would do nothing to risk the integrity of the funds, promised by the union chief to last at least 80 years. The funds, which are to cover future UAW retiree health care costs, were established as a key part of the UAW's 2007 national contracts with General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler." (Workforce Management; free registration required)

Debit Cards Advance Cash for Health Bills
Excerpt: "Financial investment firm Edward Jones helps employees pay unexpected medical bills by advancing cash interest-free from future paychecks. The plan helps calm employees' fears of not being able to pay for high deductibles." (Workforce Management; free registration required)

Group Health Plans Have 1-2 Years to Comply With Expanded Mental Health Parity Act
Excerpt: "The MHPA provisions of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-343) require group health plans that offer both medical/surgical and mental health coverage to provide parity between the two in deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, out-of-network coverage and limits on the scope or duration of treatment. HIPAA's original MHPA requirements applied only to annual and lifetime dollar limits on coverage." (Thompson Publishing Group Inc.)

President Signs Expanded Parity Rules for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Benefits
Excerpt: "Under the new provisions, a group health plan cannot impose more restrictive cost-sharing requirements (such as deductibles and copays) or treatment limits (including caps on hospital stays or outpatient visits) for mental health and substance abuse coverage than for medical and surgical benefits. The restrictions apply to in- and out-of-network benefits." (Mercer LLC)

New Jersey Proposes First Part of Paid Family Leave Regulations
Excerpt: "Proposed paid family leave regulations in New Jersey explain state taxation of benefits and define terms under the new law. Starting Jan. 1, 2009, New Jersey workers must contribute to the state disability benefits fund or their employer's private plan for family leave insurance benefits. . . . State regulators expect to propose rules for processing family leave benefits claims at a later date." (Mercer LLC)

[Opinion] The Problem With Limited Medical Plans
Excerpt: "Commentary: Some companies are scrapping their traditional plans altogether and replacing them with these limited offerings for full-time employees. That's where I see a long-term problem." (Workforce Management; free registration required)

[Opinion] How the Republicans Should Frame McCain's Healthcare Coverage Proposal
Excerpt: "To be a genuine alternative, Republicans should follow their own logic and make the ownership of private health insurance an entitlement. Fund the purchase of a basic health insurance plan completely, through a refundable tax credit, so every low-income American can afford insurance. Help consumers exercise their newfound choice of health plans by requiring the disclosure of comprehensive information on health costs and outcomes." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

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Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview] Detailed Summary of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (PDF)
16 pages. Excerpt: "Section 111 – Executive Compensation and Corporate Governance. Section 111 provides that where troubled assets are purchased from an individual financial institution where no bidding process or market prices are available, and the Secretary receives a meaningful equity position in that financial institution, such financial institution must meet certain standards for executive compensation and corporate governance (additional executive compensation provisions are contained in Section 302 of the Act)." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

[Guidance Overview] The Present and Future of Executive Compensation Regulation
Excerpt: "Perceived excessive executive compensation is one of Congress' primary concerns as a result of the current financial crisis. The final 'bailout' or rescue legislation contains a number of provisions affecting executive compensation. Moreover, in the current environment, these provisions may signify just the beginning of a new era in executive compensation regulation." (Nixon Peabody LLP)

[Guidance Overview] Certain Tax Provisions of the Economic Emergency Stabilization Act of 2008 and IRS Guidance Relating to the Economic Crisis
Excerpt: "Specifically, the Act contains provisions that: provide special rules with respect to executive compensation paid by employers participating in the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP); treat certain sales of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac preferred stock by financial institutions as giving rise to ordinary income or loss; prevent the deferral of certain compensation from 'tax indifferent' parties . . . ." (Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP)

[Guidance Overview] Impact of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 on Executive Compensation Design (PDF)
2 pages. Excerpt: "The EESA executive compensation restrictions are noteworthy in part because they restrict certain elements of executive compensation design, as opposed to just imposing federal tax consequences for certain types of compensation. The scope of the EESA executive compensation restrictions depends on how the troubled assets are sold to the Treasury: through market mechanisms such as auctions or reverse auctions, or via direct purchases. The remainder of this client alert summarizes EESA's executive compensation provisions." (Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC)

New edition of Equity-Based Compensation for Multinational Corporations
The NCEO presents excerpts from the new (10th) edition of its book Equity-Based Compensation for Multinational Corporations. (National Center for Employee Ownership)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

2008 Annual Employee Benefits Update
in Kansas on October 21, 2008
presented by Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP

Ask the Experts: The McCain Health Reform Proposal Webcast
Nationwide on October 16, 2008
presented by

Ask the Experts: The Obama Health Reform Proposal Webcast
Nationwide on October 10, 2008
presented by

DOL Speaks: The 2009 Employee Benefits Conference
in District of Columbia on April 29, 2009
presented by ASPPA & DOL

Great Lakes Benefits Conference
in Illinois on April 20, 2009
presented by ASPPA & IRS

Hearing On Investment Advice Proposals
in District of Columbia on October 21, 2008
presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Los Angeles Benefits Conference
in California on January 29, 2009
presented by ASPPA & IRS

Mid-Atlantic Benefits Conference
in District of Columbia on April 30, 2009
presented by ASPPA & IRS

Northeast Area Benefits Conference - Boston
in Massachusetts on July 16, 2009
presented by ASPPA & IRS

Northeast Area Benefits Conference - New York
in New York on July 17, 2009
presented by ASPPA & IRS

The ASPPA Cincinnati Pension Conference
in Ohio on November 13, 2009
presented by ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

The Nuts and Bolts of Health Insurance for the Aspiring Health Reformer Webcast
Nationwide on October 9, 2008
presented by

Women’s Business Leader Forum
in Tennessee on June 18, 2009
presented by ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries)

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Treasury Expands Temporary Money Market Guarantee Program
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

U.S. Labor Department Sues Defunct Charlotte, N.C., Employee Staffing Company To Protect Participants Of 401(k) Plan
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

As 401(k) Plan Sponsors Enter Economy-Fueled 'Termination Season,' RolloverSystems Offers 401(k) Plan Termination Services Suite

OppenheimerFunds, Inc. Retirement Services Releases White Paper by Fred Reish On The Value Of Tru(k)ourse(tm) Feature
OppenheimerFunds, Inc.

Lawmakers Consider Legislation to Reduce Obesity in the Workplace
Reality Coalition

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