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November 21, 2008

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

Today's sponsor is International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

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E-learning Benefit Courses From the International Foundation

If you need compliance education and are under pressure to cut travel expenses, the International Foundationís e-learning courses are the perfect choice. With the Foundationís commitment to high quality education, you can be certain you are receiving need-to-know employee benefit information. A wide range of benefit topics are available, from the basics to compliance technicalities. Stay within your travel budget and stay on top of benefit complexities with the International Foundationís e-learning courses.

[Guidance Overview] Subrogation Claims In Complex Litigation -- The Whole Is Less Than The Sum Of Its Parts
Excerpt: "This recent order in the Vioxx Multidistrict Litigation demonstrates the problem inherent in health plan attempts to recoup expenditures associated with the plaintiffs' injuries or sickness in such cases." (Health Plan Law Blog by attorney Roy F. Harmon III)

High-Deductible Health Plans Might Flourish in Economic Downturn
Excerpt: "Health insurers are aggressively marketing high-deductible insurance plans that allow patients to reduce their out-of-pocket costs by improving their health. But employers, concerned with legal issues and upsetting employees, have largely stayed away. A prolonged recession could change that, consultants and health insurers say." (Workforce Management)

Tom Daschle's Blueprint for Health Reform
Excerpt: "The former Senator who will be Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services shares a lot of his new boss's views. But in his recent book on health reform, Tom Daschle goes beyond Obama's agenda." (Health Blog published by the Wall Street Journal)

Town Hall Meetings Beginning on Fixing Healthcare System
Excerpt: "Seizing on the momentum of the presidential election and the promise of change on a historic scale, a grassroots 'conversation' about health care reform under the Obama administration began Thursday with town hall meetings around the nation, including several in the Bay Area." (San Francisco Chronicle)

CCH Projects Inflation-Adjusted 2009 Personal Vehicle Use Limits
Excerpt: "CCH has projected the maximum allowable value for employer-provided vehicles under the cents-per-mile method for computing the fringe benefit of personal use of a company vehicle. Relying on the consumer price index recently published for October 2008 (the measuring month specified under Code Sec. 280F(d)(7)), these amounts will remain at $15,000 for cars and drop to $15,200 for trucks and vans." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Insurance Company Providing Patients Option for Surgery in India
Excerpt: "The health insurer Wellpoint is testing a new program that gives covered patients the option of going to India for elective surgery, with no out-of-pocket medical costs and free travel for both the patient and a companion." (New York Times; free registration required)

[Opinion] Daschle Pick Signals Obama's Plan to Resurrect National Health Care
Excerpt: "Twila Brase, president of Citizens' Council on Health Care, releases the following statement: 'Mr. Obama's choice for Secretary of HHS signals a plan to eliminate free-markets and resurrect national health care.'" (Citizens Council on Health Care)

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Links to Items on Executive Comp, Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview] Obscure Election Can Avoid Potential Executive Payroll Tax Hike
Excerpt: "Companies have a unique opportunity to consider minimizing the adverse impact of potential payroll tax increases affecting executives and employers under the Obama administration by taking advantage of various payroll elections available to employers on behalf of executives." (Morgan Lewis)

New Risk Management Requirements for Executive Compensation?
Excerpt: "[W]e expect that the new risk review requirements of EESA Section 111(b)(2)(A) will become best practices for board compensation committees, including outside the world of financial institutions participating in TARP." (Executive Compensation Blog by Winston & Strawn)

Cities Ask for Economic Assistance for Pensions
Includes link to the text of the letter. Excerpt: "On November 13, the Mayors of Atlanta, Philadelphia and Phoenix wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Paulson asking that the federal government provide economic assistance to cities. The letter asked that money be made available, for among other purposes, to help in paying for unfunded accrued actuarial liabilities in public pension funds." (National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems)

CRS Releases Report on the Taxation of Social Security Benefits
Excerpt: "In 1983, Congress approved recommendations from the National Commission on Social Security Reform (also known as the Greenspan Commission) to tax Social Security benefits above a specified income threshold." (Internal Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

2009 Policy Resources from EBRI: Facts on Benefits Issues
Excerpt: "Health and retirement issues were prominent in the 2008 election and will be addressed by the new administration and Congress in 2009. To help provide a factual basis of reference for reporters and others involved in these campaign issues, EBRI is providing the following questions and answers about major employee health and retirement benefits. Hotlinks to relevant tables and charts of data are provided at the end of each answer." (Employee Benefit Research Institute)

Newly Posted Events
(Post Yours!)

All-Day Seminar with Sal Tripodi, Esq., APM
in Colorado on December 9, 2008
presented by Western Pension and Benefits Conference-Denver Chapter

December Luncheon - The Impact of the Financial Crisis on Defined Benefit Plans
in Ohio on December 11, 2008
presented by ASPPA Benefits Council of Cleveland

Free Webinar - 403(b) plan documents on
Nationwide on November 25, 2008
presented by

Newly Posted Press Releases
(Post Yours!)

MassMutual Retirement Services Appoints New TPA Channel Managers
MassMutual Retirement Services

ERIC Supports Pension Funding Relief Bill, But Further Action Will Be Necessary
ERIC (ERISA Industry Committee)

Transamerica Ranks Among the Very Best Retirement Plan Providers in Annual Defined Contribution Survey
Transamerica Retirement Services

John Hancock Retirement Plan Services Honored with 14 Awards
John Hancock Retirement Plan Services

Vanguard Report Cites Reenrollment as Way to Improve Diversification and Retirement Security for Participants in Defined Contribution Plans

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Senior Account Executive
for Diversified Investment Advisors
in DC, MD, VA

Client Services Assistant-Retirement Plans
for Mueller Financial Services Inc.
in IL

Administrative Manager
for Wisconsin Electrical Employees Health and Welfare Fund
in WI

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