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October 24, 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] Massachusetts November 15, 2008, 'Fair Share Contribution' Filing Deadline Approaches
Excerpt: "The filing deadline is November 15, 2008. The DUA will assess penalties on employers who fail to pay required contributions at the rate of 12% per annum on unpaid contribution amounts. Additionally, continued failure of the employer to file and/or pay the required contribution may result in legal enforcement actions by DUA, such as bank levies and property liens." (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.)


[Guidance Overview] Congressional Passage of Mental Health Parity Legislation
Excerpt: "Enacted as part of the Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008, the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (the 'Act') requires that the financial requirements and treatment limitations applied to mental health and substance use disorder benefits under a group health plan be no more restrictive than the financial requirements and treatment limitations applied to medical and surgical benefits covered by the plan." (K&L Gates LLP)


Senator Kennedy Secretly Crafts Health Care Plan: Turns 'cause of His Life' into '09 Bipartisan Bill
Excerpt: "Mr. Kennedy's goal, his aides say, is to introduce a universal health care bill as soon as the new Congress convenes next year and to push quickly for its passage - a much-accelerated timetable compared with the last time that a health care overhaul was on the agenda, at the start of the Clinton administration. 'Senator Kennedy has spent the last several weeks laying the groundwork for reform so that we can be ready to go in 2009,' said his spokesman Anthony Coley. 'This is and has been the cause of Senator Kennedy's life." (The Washington Times)


State Health Reform Update
Excerpt: "For the last few years, states have been leading the way toward more comprehensive health care coverage to ensure that more people have or can obtain health insurance. Even though the health reform proposals of the 2008 presidential candidates would provide a national framework, state health reform efforts continue to lead in implementation. Because of the potential impact of this ongoing activity on employer-provided health insurance benefits, Spencer's Benefits Reports will be providing regular updates about state health reform." (Wolters Kluwer)


[Opinion] A Taxpayers' Benefits Bill of Rights
Excerpt: "Summary: It's time to look hard at plan design from the taxpayers' viewpoint. Based on national experience with the problems of [retiree medical benefits, also called OPEB (for 'other post-employment benefits')] plans, very few public officials have looked at their plans through the prism of a taxpayer's perspective, and it will become increasingly important that they do so. Many OPEB plans will simply flunk the sustainability text, and employers ultimately will have no choice but to trim their generous benefits, to make ends meet." (Girard Miller via Governing)


[Opinion] How to Take American Health Care from Worst to First
Excerpt: "IN the past decade, baseball has experienced a data-driven information revolution. Numbers-crunchers now routinely use statistics to put better teams on the field for less money. Our overpriced, underperforming health care system needs a similar revolution." (Billy Beane, Newt Gingrich and John Kerry via The New York Times; free registration required)



Sponsored by: Employee Benefits Institute of America (EBIA)

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(Please visit our sponsors. We try to make sure their products and services will be of interest to you. Thanks! --Editor)

Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview] Recent Legislation Alters Executive/Deferred Compensation and Mental Health Parity Rules (PDF)
6 pages. Excerpt: "The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (the 'Act' or 'EESA'), which was signed into law on October 3, 2008, makes a number of changes to the federal income taxation of deferred compensation arrangements, provides new federal tax rules for executive compensation of financial institutions participating in the new relief programs authorized by such legislation, and adopts a new Mental Health Parity rule. The [target page] is a summary of those provisions." (Miller & Chevalier Chartered)


[Opinion] Text of Answers by Barack Obama; 2008 Presidential Candidate Employee Benefit Questionnaire (PDF)
11 pages; 14 questions from the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries, the National Small Business Association, the Employers Council on Flexible Compensation, the United States Chamber of Commerce, the National Association for the Self-Employed, the American Academy of Actuaries' Pension Practice Council, the National Association of Women Business Owners, the Society of Professional Benefit Administrators, the National Retail Foundation, the National Institute of Pension Administrators, the Profit Sharing/401k Council of America, the Small Business Council of America, Pensions & Investments Magazine, and the Pension Forum. (American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA); Other Organizations)


[Opinion] Text of Answers by John McCain; 2008 Presidential Candidate Employee Benefit Questionnaire (PDF)
12 pages; 14 questions from the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries, the National Small Business Association, the Employers Council on Flexible Compensation, the United States Chamber of Commerce, the National Association for the Self-Employed, the American Academy of Actuaries' Pension Practice Council, the National Association of Women Business Owners, the Society of Professional Benefit Administrators, the National Retail Foundation, the National Institute of Pension Administrators, the Profit Sharing/401k Council of America, the Small Business Council of America, Pensions & Investments Magazine, and the Pension Forum. (American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA); Other Organizations)


[Opinion] Impact of the 2008 Election on Health Care and Retirement Policy
Symposium Sessions Recording. Length: 1 Hour 51 Minutes 28 Seconds. Excerpt: "Panelists Jim Klein, Jamey DeLaPlane, and Dean Rosen discussed the upcoming election and the impact it would have on the American society. Moderator Mike Jensen made the observation that in his four decades as a correspondent, he could not recall more unpredictable time for the markets and for the overall economy. Calling it a 'perfect storm,' he noted that the presidential campaign was too close to call, markets are extremely volatile, and the economy is on the edge. He noted that amid the turmoil, two issues are always on the front burner: health care and retirement." (International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists)




Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

Health and Welfare Roundup 2008: This Year's New Laws and How They Affect You
Nationwide on December 4, 2008
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

HRAs and HSAs for Rookies: Basic Training in Consumer-Driven Health Care
Nationwide on October 16, 2008
presented by EBIA / Thomson Reuters

Medicare Secondary Payer Mandatory Reporting: Managing the Complexities and Finding the Silver Lining
in Illinois on October 30, 2008
presented by Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP

Medicare Secondary Payer Mandatory Reporting: Managing the Complexities and Finding the Silver Lining Webcast
Nationwide on October 30, 2008
presented by Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP



Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

Claymore Securities Selects ExpertPlan for 401k Product
ExpertPlan

U.S. Labor Department Sues California Investment Advisor And Executives To Recover Losses And Hidden Fees Charged To Employee Benefit Plans
U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Great-West Retirement Services® Appoints Daniel Schatz To National Accounts Staff
Great-West Retirement Services

New FAS 123R-Related Capabilities Define Latest Release Of Two Step Software's Stock Plan Management Tool
Two-Step Software, Inc.

Retirement Software Firm Announces New Director of Sales
Archimedes



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