What's New - April 2005

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As a research site, EBRI Online maintains old listings in the “What’s New” page, even though some of the older links may no longer function. If you reach a bad link, go back to the main site by deleting everything after “.com” or “.org” or “.net” in the address. Since we maintain www.ebri.org/ as a research and education resource, and not current news, we hope you will understand our policy and the use for which it is maintained.

What's new at EBRI this month:

          Publications:

April 2005 EBRI Issue Brief - "Encouraging Workers to Save: The 2005 Retirement Confidence Survey"

April 2005 EBRI Notes - "Benefit Cost Comparisons Between State and Local Governments and Private-Sector Employers"


Salisbury Testimony on Financial Literacy: EBRI President Dallas Salisbury testified at a Capitol Hill hearing on financial literacy, held April 20 by the House Committee on Financial Services.
Press release | Full testimony, including summary statement and complete written submission.

New Social Security Research From EBRI -- A far greater portion of all current and future Americans would have a higher initial retiree benefit from the current Social Security program than from an individual account plan if the existing $90,000 wage cap was eliminated and all local, state, and federal workers were brought into the program to fill the projected funding deficit, a new EBRI analysis of various Social Security options shows.  But the study also shows that more of today’s younger workers would have a higher initial retiree benefit from an individual account plan than if nothing is done to reform the currently projected underfunded program. Press Release. Futher information can be found in this supplemental material

Research findings from EBRI's Social Security Research Program [includes Information and Resources for Reporters]

Frequently Asked Questions About Benefits - This section of EBRI's Web site is designed to answer basic questions about major benefit issues and trends. It provides short, graphical answers, with links to the detailed data underlying the figure. In addition, references are provided to the relevant EBRI publication.


EBRI Research Findings for 2003-2004:

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What's new in employee benefits:

  • HR News Online -- a daily update from the Society for Human Resource Management

The following items have been added to the Government Accountability Office's Web site in Portable Document (PDF) format:

Reports
Social Security Statements: Social Security Administration Should Better Evaluate Whether Workers Understand Their Statements. GAO-05-192, April 1.

Testimonies
Redefining Retirement: Options for Older Americans, by Barbara D. Bovbjerg, director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. GAO-05-620T, April 27.  Highlights

Social Security Reform: Early Action Would Be Prudent, by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the House Committee on Ways and Means. GAO-05-397T, March 9.  Highlights

If a title link above no longer works, click here for the Find GAO Reports page and search for the report by report number,  title, abstract, agency/organization names, or subject terms.   Searches for reports can also be conducted in the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Reports Online via GPO Access database.

If your computer does not already have the free Adobe Acrobat viewer software to read PDF files, click here for the one-time download necessary to read PDF publications.


The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has established a National Call Center to serve its customers.  By calling 1-866-4-USA-DOL, America's employees and employers can find answers to questions on a range of employment issues.  This toll-free service offers live operator assistance and is a central access point for all DOL services and programs.  It serves both English and Spanish speaking callers.  The Call Center can assist workers and employers with questions about job loss, business closures, pay and leave, workplace injuries, safety and health, pension and health benefits, and reemployment rights for reservists.

 Additional Department of Labor toll-free numbers to call for questions regarding specific issues are listed below:

  •  1-877-US-2JOBS     Job Loss, Layoffs, Business Closures, Unemployment Benefits and Job Training

  •  1-866-4-US-WAGE     Pay, Overtime, Leave and Child Labor

  •  1-800-321-OSHA     Workplace Safety and Health

  •  1-877-889-5627     TTY number for all Department of Labor Questions


The Internal Revenue Service has announced that technical or procedural questions relating to retirement plans are answered at the EP Customer Account Services site.  Answers to many questions may already be available under Frequently Asked Questions about Retirement Plans.  If not:

Call:   TE/GE Customer Account Services at (877) 829-5500 (toll-free number).
            The call center is open 8:00am to 6:30pm Eastern Time.

Write:   Internal Revenue Service
               TE/GE Division, Customer Service
               P.O. Box 2508
               Cincinnati, OH 45201

Email:   RetirementPlanQuestions@irs.gov
               Note: All questions submitted via e-mail must be responded to via telephone,
               so please remember to include your phone number in your message.


[4/29/05]  U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce:   Hearing on “Challenges to Employee Efforts to Preserve Retiree Health Care Benefits”   Press Release

[4/29/05]  BenefitNews.com:  "Minimum Benefits Budgets for Employers Proposed in 30 States"

[4/28/05]  The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:  Characteristics of the Uninsured: A View from the States

[4/28/05]  Reuters:  "Some Companies Hold Back Pension Contributions"

[4/28/05]  Workforce Management:  "Employers Keep It Simple With Fewer Choices"

[4/28/05]  U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging [Hearing]:   Living Stronger, Earning Longer: Redefining Retirement In the 21st Century Workplace

[4/27/05]  Employee Benefit News:  "Study Rekindles Debate Over 401(k) Options"

[4/27/05]  U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions:  Hearing on PBGC Reform: Mending the Pension Safety Net

[4/27/05]  U.S. Senate Committee on Finance:  Hearing on Proposals To Achieve Sustainable Solvency, With and Without Personal Accounts

[4/27/05]  Economic Policy Institute Issue Brief:   "Social Security’s Fixable Financing Issues: Shortfall in Funds Is Not Inevitable"

[4/27/05]  H.R.1776, Social Security Personal Savings Guarantee and Prosperity Act of 2005:  “To reform Social Security by establishing a Personal Social Security Savings Program and to provide new limitations on the Federal Budget.”  Bill Summary & Status Information

[4/27/05]  Milliman Inc.:  True Group Long-Term Care Coverage:  A Better Design for the Final Piece in the Employee Benefit Safety Net

[4/26/05]  Social Security Administration Issue Paper:   "Poverty-level Annuitization Requirements in Social Security Proposals Incorporating Personal Retirement Accounts"

[4/26/05]  Business Insurance:  "U.K. Bosses Fear Cost of Closing Pension Gap: Study"

[4/26/05]  Employee Benefit News:  "Eleven States Tax Health Savings Accounts"

[4/26/05]  Kaiser Health Poll Report:  "The Public on Prescription Drugs for Seniors"

[4/25/05]  U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions:  Hearing on Small Businesses and Health Insurance: Easing Costs and Expanding Access

[4/25/05]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:   "National Saving and Social Security Reform"

[4/25/05]  S.861, Employee Pension Preservation Act of 2005:   "A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide transition funding rules for certain plans electing to cease future benefit accruals, and for other purposes."  Bill Summary & Status Information

[4/25/05]  S.875, Save More for Retirement Act of 2005:   "A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to increase participation in section 401(k) plans through automatic contribution trusts, and for other purposes."  Bill Summary & Status Information

[4/22/05]  Employee Pension Preservation Act of 2005:  Fact Sheet.   Press Release

[4/22/05]  BenefitNews Connect:  "Employers Push for FMLA Reforms"

[4/22/05]  Milliman Inc.:  PERiScope: "Managing OPEB Costs under New GASB Rules"

[4/22/05]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  The New Pensions Framework [includes fact sheets on UK pensions legislation]

[4/21/05]  The Commonwealth Fund:  How High Is Too High? Implications of High-Deductible Health Plans

[4/21/05]  The Commonwealth Fund Issue Brief: "The Effect of Health Savings Accounts on Health Insurance Coverage"

[4/21/05]  Congressional Budget Office Testimony:  The Cost and Financing of Long-Term Care Services

[4/21/05]  Pensions Policy Institute [UK]:  General Election Pensions Briefing

[4/20/05]  U.S. House Committee on Financial Services:  Hearing entitled “Generations Working Together: Financial Literacy and Social Security Reform”

[4/20/05]  Bloomberg.com:  "Americans, Already Retiring Later, May Help Fix Social Security"

[4/20/05]  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:  HIPAA Administrative Simplification; Enforcement; Proposed Rule [published in the 4/18/05 issue of the Federal Register]

[4/19/05]  Towers Perrin Monitor:  "Companies Face September Deadline to Apply for Medicare Prescription Drug Subsidy"

[4/19/05]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance’s Issues & Answers:  "HSAs: Need Only the Healthy and Wealthy Apply?"

[4/19/05]  Chubb Group of Insurance Companies:  The Perils of Holding Company Stock in Sponsored Plans

[4/19/05]  Association of Consulting Actuaries:  UK Pension Trends Survey Report…1

[4/18/05]  The Segal Company:  The Segal Company’s 2004 Survey of Consumer-Driven Health Plans: Highlights

[4/18/05]  The ERISA Industry Committee:  CQ Chronology Report (Pension Bills, 109th Congress)

[4/18/05]  Business Week Online:  "A Nest Egg That’s a No-Brainer: Automatic 401(k)s Are Taking Hold - And Getting Employees to Salt More Away"

[4/18/05]  HR Policy Association Policy Brief:   "Proposed Reform of Single Employer Defined Benefit Insurance Would Increase Premiums for All Employers, But Ensure PBGC Solvency"

[4/18/05]  Towers Perrin Monitor:  "Roth Accounts Offer New Savings Opportunity for Employees"

[4/18/05]  Employment Policy Foundation Issue Backgrounder:   "The Cost and Characteristics of Family and Medical Leave"

[4/15/05]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  401(k) Study of the Fortune 100 Employers

[4/15/05]  National Underwriter:  "Savings Tax Break Costs Exceed Actual Savings"

[4/15/05]  S.256, Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005:  Bill Summary & Status Information

[4/15/05]  Workforce Management:  "States Looking at Myriad Ways to Get Business to Cover the Uninsured"

[4/14/05]  National Center for Policy Analysis Brief Analysis:   Social Security Reform: The Cost of Delay

[4/14/05]  U.S. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate:   H.R.525: Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2005

[4/14/05]  Internal Revenue Service Rev. Rul. 2005-25:  Health Savings Accounts: HDHP Family Coverage

[4/14/05]  National Center for Employee Ownership:  SEC to Delay Expensing Rules Six Months

[4/13/05]  U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging:  Hearing on The Role of Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans in Increasing National Savings

[4/13/05]  The Retirement Security Project:  The Automatic 401(k): A Simple Way to Strengthen Retirement Saving

[4/13/05]  Milliman Inc.:  Milliman 2005 Pension Study

[4/13/05]  BenefitNews Connect:  "State Bill Wants to Tax Employers for Health Care"

[4/13/05]  Business Insurance:  "Bill Would Publish Firms Shirking Health Benefits"

[4/13/05]  American Academy of Actuaries Issue Brief:   "Frequently Asked Questions on Association Health Plans"

[4/12/05]  Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:  The Retiree Drug Subsidy: Why Employers and Union Plan Sponsors Should Consider It

[4/12/05]  Employee Benefit News:  "CDHP-401(k) Parallels Can Help Employers Explain Plan Changes"

[4/12/05]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Trends and Indicators in the Changing Health Care Marketplace

[4/12/05]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Impact on Contributions, Funded Ratios, and Claims against the Pension Insurance Program of the Administration’s Pension Reform Proposal [white paper]

[4/12/05]  Employee Benefit News:  "IBM, SBC Retirement Plans May Give Glimpse of Future"

[4/11/05]  Hay Group:  Containing Rising Healthcare Costs: Ten Innovative Strategies for Employers to Consider

[4/11/05]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:   "What Is Progressive Price Indexing?"

[4/11/05]  H.R.1508, 401(k) Automatic Enrollment Act of 2005:   Bill Summary & Status Information

[4/11/05]  H.R.1517, Social Security Benefits Tax Relief Act of 2005:  Bill Summary & Status Information

[4/8/05]  Workforce Management:  "Voluntary Benefits Go by the Wayside Amid an Uncertain Economy"

[4/8/05]  National Underwriter:  "IRS Rules Against Efforts to Tinker with HRA Designs"

[4/8/05]  Business Insurance:  "Union Health Plans Offering HSAs"

[4/8/05]  National Center for Policy Analysis Brief Analysis:   "Social Security & Medicare Forecast: 2005"

[4/7/05]  Hewitt Associates:  Option to Offer Roth 401(k) Accounts Available to Employers Beginning in 2006

[4/7/05]  Prudential Financial Washington Update:   "IRS Proposes Rules for Roth 401(k) Accounts"

[4/7/05]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:   Design and Implementation Issues in Swedish Individual Pension Accounts [working paper]

[4/7/05]  U.S. Department of the Treasury:  Health Savings Accounts Brochure

[4/6/05]  Health Affairs:  "It’s the Premiums, Stupid: Projections of the Uninsured Through 2013"

[4/6/05]  Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:  2004 National Healthcare Quality Report

[4/6/05]  Business Insurance:  "Proposed Rules Allow Plans to Correct Pension Mistakes"

[4/6/05]  Hewitt Associates:  Survey Findings:  Hot Topics in Retirement 2005

[4/5/05]  Employment Policy Foundation Fact Sheet:   "Rising Benefit Costs Crowd Out Wage Growth"

[4/5/05]  Employee Benefit News:  "Ending Use-It-or-Lose-It Could Be Risky Business"

[4/5/05]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  "2006 Budget Includes New Details on Funding Reform"

[4/5/05]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  "President’s Budget Proposal Also Addresses Hybrid Pension Plans, Other Issues"

[4/4/05]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  Managing Health Care Costs in a New Era:  10th Annual National Business Group on Health/Watson Wyatt Survey Report 2005 [Executive Summary]

[4/4/05]  Social Security Advisory Board:  Retirement Security: The Unfolding of a Predictable Surprise

[4/4/05]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  "Workers’ Retirement Plan Preferences and Expectations"

[4/1/05]  U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:  EEOC Seeks to Appeal Court Order on Retiree Health Benefits Rule

[4/1/05]  Mellon For Your Information:  "Mellon’s HR&IS Conducts Thirteenth National Health Care Trend Survey"

[4/1/05]  American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research:  "A New Approach to Personal Social Security Accounts"

[4/1/05]  U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission:  SEC’s Office of the Chief Accountant and Division of Corporation Finance Release Staff Accounting Bulletin 107

[4/1/05]  U.S. Department of Labor:  SIMPLE IRA Plans for Small Businesses

[4/1/05]  Compensation and Working Conditions Online:   "Defined Benefit Plans at the Dawn of ERISA"

                            

Updated 4/29/05