What's New - August 2006

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What's new at EBRI this month:

Publications:

August 2006 EBRI Issue Brief - "401(k) Plan Asset Allocation, Account Balances, and Loan Activity in 2005"

August 2006 EBRI Notes - "Britain's Answer for Future Retirement Income: Possible Lessons for the United States" and "An American Perspective on the Chinese Pension System"

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October 6, 2005 - Updated Ballpark E$timate Available, Americans trying to estimate how much they need to save for a comfortable retirement now have an updated and easy-to-use tool -- the Ballpark E$timate.

EBRI Fact Sheet on PBGC - A four-page fact sheet with background information, key data and charts, and information links about the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the federal agency that insures the traditional pensions of about 44 million Americans.

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
Baby Boom Generation: Retirement of Baby Boomers Is Unlikely to Precipitate Dramatic Decline in Market Returns, but Broader Risks Threaten Retirement Security. GAO-06-718, July 28.  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.

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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.


[8/31/06] U.S. Census Bureau:  Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2005

[8/31/06] National Public Radio:  "Employers Cut Back on Health Insurance" [a broadcast that aired August 30 featuring an interview with EBRI’s Paul Fronstin]

[8/31/06] Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  "Record 46.6M U.S. Residents Lack Health Insurance in 2005, Fewer Receive Coverage Through Employers, Census Figures Show"

[8/31/06] HR Policy Association Policy Brief:  "State and Local Attempts to Solve Health Care Crisis Threaten Nationwide Uniformity of Large Employer Plans"

[8/30/06] Internal Revenue Service:  "Delay in Effective Date for Regulations Under Section 403(b)"

[8/30/06] The Segal Company:  2007 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey

[8/30/06] Segal Sibson Bulletin:  "Final IRS Rules on Comparable Contributions to HSAs"

[8/30/06] AARP Data Digest:  "Pension Lump-Sum Distributions: Do Boomers Take Them or Save Them?"

[8/25/06] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in Private Industry in the United States, March 2006

[8/25/06] Los Angeles Times:  "Longtime 401(k) Savers Sit on Six-Figure Nest Eggs"

[8/25/06] The Segal Company:  2005 Survey of the Funded Position of Multiemployer Plans

[8/25/06] American Academy of Actuaries Issue Brief:  "The Value of Defined Benefit Plans"

[8/24/06] The White House:  "Executive Order: Promoting Quality and Efficient Health Care in Federal Government Administered or Sponsored Health Care Programs"

[8/24/06] Segal/Sibson:  Segal/Sibson’s 2006 Survey of Consumer-Driven Health Plans

[8/24/06] The Adviser:  "More Reasons to Integrate Medical and Disability Data"

[8/24/06] Vanguard Center for Retirement Research:  Managed Accounts and Participant Portfolios

[8/23/06] Buck Consultants LegiSlate:  "Will Congress Expand HSAs This Year?"

[8/23/06] MarketWatch:  "Plaintiffs Ask Full Court to Review IBM Pension Decision"

[8/23/06] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Estimating Pension Coverage Using Different Data Sets

[8/23/06] Deloitte:  Securing the Future: Defined Benefit Plans and the Pension Protection Act of 2006

[8/22/06] Internal Revenue Service:  Retirement News for Employers [Summer 2006]

[8/22/06] Hewitt Associates:  The Pension Protection Act of 2006

[8/22/06] Urban Institute:  Work and Retirement: Facts and Figures

[8/18/06] The White House: 

[8/18/06] Los Angeles Times:  "Tax Break Extended to All 401(k) Heirs"

[8/18/06] MarketWatch:  "Missing Something: Omissions in New Pension Law’s Advice Rules Hobble Consumers" [Opinion]

[8/18/06] BenefitNews Connect:  "Guidelines for Gauging ROI in Health Programs"

[8/18/06] Economic Policy Institute Economic Snapshots:  "Employers Shift Health Insurance Costs onto Workers"

[8/18/06] National Association of Health Underwriters and ChapterHouse (via Plan Sponsor):  2006 Benefit Buying Trends Study - Chartpack

[8/17/06] Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Pension Insurance Data Book 2005

[8/17/06] Internal Revenue Service:  Rev. Rul. 2006-36: Section 105-Amounts Received Under Accident and Health Plans (Also Section 106-Contributions by Employers to Accident and Health Plans) [Part I]

[8/17/06] The Commonwealth Fund:  Public Views on Shaping the Future of the U.S. Health Care System

[8/17/06] U.S. Department of Labor:  Charting the U.S. Labor Market in 2005

[8/16/06] Kaiser statehealthfacts.org:  50 State Comparisons: Average Single Premium per Enrolled Employee for Employer-Based Health Insurance, 2004

[8/16/06] Business Insurance:  "San Francisco Mandates Health Services Extension"

[8/16/06] National Center for Policy Analysis Brief Analysis:  "Automatic 401(k)s: A Win for Workers"

[8/16/06] National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems:  Provisions Beneficial to Public Employees Included in the Recently Passed House and Senate Compromise Pension Reform Legislation [H.R. 4]

[8/11/06] The Adviser:  "HMOs Account for One Quarter of Insurance Market"

[8/11/06] National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators:  “Resolution Introduced to Declare ‘National Save for Retirement Week’

[8/11/06] Congressional Research Service:  The Retirement Savings Tax Credit: A Fact Sheet [Updated August 7, 2006]

[8/11/06] Milliman’s Multiemployer Review:  "Congress Enacts Major Multiemployer Pension Reforms"

[8/10/06] U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Pension Reform Web Site

[8/10/06] Aon Consulting Alert:  "Pension Protection Act of 2006: Impact on Your Retirement Programs"

[8/10/06] Watson Wyatt Insider:  "FASB to Implement Postretirement Benefit Accounting Reform in 2006"

[8/10/06] Buck Consultants Newsflash:  "Seventh Circuit Decides Cash Balance Case in Favor of IBM"

[8/9/06] U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (via BenefitsLink):  Cooper, et al., v. IBM Personal Pension Plan and IBM Corporation -- Decision

[8/9/06] Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America:  Description of Private Sector Defined Contribution Provisions in HR 4, the Pension Protection Act of 2006, As Passed by the House of Representatives on July 28, 2006, and by the Senate on August 3, 2006

[8/9/06] Financial-Planning.com:  "Pension Reform Bill to Result in Diluted Guidance"

[8/9/06] Benefits & Compensation Digest:  "Retirement Horizon Looking Brighter: Research on Plan Design, Other Trends"

[8/9/06] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  An Update on Private Pensions

[8/7/06] U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation:  Technical Explanation of H.R. 4, the “Pension Protection Act of 2006,” As Passed by the House on July 28, 2006, and As Considered by the Senate on August 3, 2006

[8/7/06] Deloitte:  Securing Retirement: An Overview of the Pension Protection Act of 2006Full Report.

[8/7/06] U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Private Pension Plan Bulletin: Abstract of 2002 Form 5500 Annual Reports

[8/7/06] Employee Benefit News:  "Reassessing Retirement Plans: Five Aspects to Consider"

[8/4/06] U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions:  "Senate Passes Bill to Reform Pensions, Secure Retirements of Millions of Americans, Enzi Says"

[8/4/06] Employee Benefit News:  "States, Businesses Snuff Out Smoking"

[8/4/06] Business Insurance:  "NCQA Updates Plan Accreditation Standards"

[8/4/06] National Center for Policy Analysis Daily Policy Digest:  "Making Saving for Retirement Automatic"

[8/3/06] U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee Legislative NoticeH.R. 4 - Pension Protection Act of 2006

[8/3/06] Congressional Budget Office (via American Benefits Council):  CBO Letter to Senator Enzi on Estimated Changes in Direct Spending and Revenues under H.R. 4, The Pension Protection Act of 2006

[8/3/06] National Press Foundation:  Retirement Issues in the 21st Century: Audio Files Now Available - This four-day fellowship program for business, personal finance, and consumer reporters addressed the critical aspects of retirement. Download PowerPoints on the savings crisis, the elements necessary for a happy retirement, and an overview of U.S. retirement plans.  Dallas Salisbury, president and CEO of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, spoke with journalists at the program.  The audio and PowerPoint from his presentation and others are now available at the NPF website.

[8/3/06] Segal Sibson Bulletin:  "Progress on Pension Reform: House of Representatives Acts"

[8/3/06] Watson Wyatt Insider:  "New Tax Law Affects Benefit Plans, IRAs -- And Possibly Pension Reform"

[8/3/06] Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments, August 2006

[8/2/06] Internal Revenue Service:  Employer Comparable Contributions to Health Savings Accounts Under Section 4980G; Final Regulations [published in the Federal Register on July 31, 2006]

[8/2/06] Segal-Sibson Bulletin:  "Massachusetts Health Care Reform Affects Employers"

[8/2/06] HR Magazine:  "Is Self-Funded Health a Path for Small Firms?"

[8/2/06] CFO.com:  "Pension Dissension: FASB Gets an Earful as CFOs Protest Key Details of Pension-Accounting Reform"

[8/2/06] The Vanguard Group:  "Targeted Maturity Funds: New Research Supports Growing Popularity"

[8/2/06] Los Angeles Times:  "Making Saving for Retirement Automatic"

[8/1/06] U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce:  Bill Summary -- The Pension Protection Act (H.R. 4)

[8/1/06] The Segal Company Bulletin:  "Pension Reform Bill’s Key Multiemployer Plan Provisions"

[8/1/06] Deloitte Research:  Paying for Tomorrow: Practical Strategies for Tackling the Public Pension Crisis

[8/1/06] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Emerging Benefits: Access to Health Promotion Benefits in the United States, Private Industry, 1999 and 2005

[8/1/06] Business Insurance:  "HSAs Preferred over HRAs: Study"

[8/1/06] Towers Perrin:  Assessing the Impact of the Planned Changes in Accounting for Pensions and Other Postretirement Benefits -- An Updated Analysis

[8/1/06] Internal Revenue Service:  IRA Online Resource Guide - Information About Rollovers

[7/31/06] U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means:  H.R. 4, Pension Protection Act of 2006

[7/31/06] U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation:  Estimated Budget Effects of H.R. 4, the “Pension Protection Act of 2006,” As Introduced in the House of Representatives on July 28, 2006 -- Fiscal Years 2007 - 2016

[7/3/06] The TIAA-CREF Institute is accepting submissions for the 2006 Paul A. Samuelson Award, which recognizes outstanding scholarly writing on issues related to lifelong financial security.  Submissions may be theoretical or empirical in nature but must cover a subject directly relevant to lifelong financial security.  To be considered, an article or a book must be scholarly in nature, written in English, and published between January 1, 2005, and June 30, 2006.  The deadline for submissions is September 8, 2006.  More information about the competition, along with an application form, is available on the Institute’s Web site at http://www.tiaa-crefinstitute.org/awards/samuelson/index.html.

Updated 8/31/06