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October 13, 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] Bicycle Commuting Fringe Benefit Added to Code Section 132(f)
Excerpt: "The new law allows employers to reimburse employees on a tax-free basis for certain bicycle commuting expenses incurred after December 31, 2008. The maximum annual benefit is $20 times the number of months during the calendar year in which the employee regularly uses a bicycle for a substantial portion of the travel between the employee's residence and place of employment." (Employee Benefits Institute of America (EBIA))

[Guidance Overview] Legislation Extends Existing Health Coverage for Dependent College Students in Cases of Medically Necessary Leaves of Absence
Excerpt: "On October 9, 2008, President Bush signed Michelle's Law, which is intended to allow seriously ill college students, who are covered dependents under health plans, to continue coverage for up to one year while on medically necessary leaves of absence. . . . This law is effective for plan years beginning on or after October 9, 2009 (calendar-year plans must comply beginning January 1, 2010) and to medically necessary leaves of absence beginning during such plan years." (Employee Benefits Institute of America (EBIA))

[Guidance Overview] New Law Expands Mental Health Parity Requirements for Group Health Plans
Excerpt: "The legislation amends the mental health parity provisions in ERISA, the PHSA, and the Code, eliminating the sunset provision under which existing requirements would have expired on December 31, 2008, and adding new requirements regarding mental health and substance use disorder benefits that apply for plan years beginning after October 3, 2009 (with a special rule for plans maintained pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement)." (Employee Benefits Institute of America (EBIA))

[Guidance Overview] Adoptions Act Narrows the Definition of Qualifying Child Under Code Section 152
Excerpt: "President Bush has signed into law legislation that includes a provision limiting who can be considered a 'qualifying child' under the definition of dependent in Code Section 152. (Under Code Section 152, a person is considered a dependent only if he or she is either a qualifying relative or a qualifying child.)" (Employee Benefits Institute of America (EBIA))

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Vice President -Benefits
for Mid-Size Financial Services/Investment Bank
in NY

Operations Supervisor (TPA/Employee Benefits)
for Zenith Administrators
in WI

Pension Consultant
for CAI Benefits, Inc.
in NY

DC Adminstrator
for Summit Benefit & Actuarial Services, Inc.

Plan Administrator
for JCCS Benefit Consulting Group
in MT

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