What's New - August 2007

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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 ".gov" 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.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

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What's new at EBRI this month:

Publications:

August 2007 EBRI Issue Brief - "401(k) Plan Asset Allocation, Account Balances, and Loan Activity in 2006"

August 2007 EBRI Notes - "Employment Status of Workers Age 55 and Older" and "Assets in Qualified Retirement Plans, 1985-2005: Updated"

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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:

Presentations
"Saving Our Future Requires Tough Choices Today," by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, on the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour, before the Rotary Club, in Des Moines, Iowa. GAO-07-1164CG, July 26.

Reports
Retirement Decisions: Federal Policies Offer Mixed Signals about When to Retire. GAO-07-753, July 11.
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.


[8/27/07]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Health Care Plans in 2007

[8/27/07]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  "Massachusetts Holds Hearing on Rule Requiring Certain Residents To Contribute Copayments, Deductibles To Receive Care"

[8/27/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Retirement News for Employers [Summer 2007]

[8/27/07]  National Academy of Social Insurance:  Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage, and Costs, 2005. Full Report. Press Release.

[8/23/07]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in Private Industry in the United States, March 2007

[8/23/07]  Business Insurance:  "Review of Retiree Health Care Bias Ruling Denied"

[8/23/07]  International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans:  "MEPS Releases 2005 Health Insurance Data"

[8/23/07]  Ameriprise Financial (via PLANSPONSOR):  The 2007 Ameriprise Workplace Financial Planning Benefit Decisions Study

[8/22/07]  Milliman, Inc.:  Ready or Not: The First New 403(b) Regulations in More Than 40 Years Are Here [White Paper]

[8/22/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Medical and Accident Insurance Benefits Under Qualified Plans; Notice of proposed rulemaking and notice of public hearing [published in the Federal Register on August 20, 2007]

[8/22/07]  Urban Institute:  Stabilizing Future Fiscal Policy: It’s Time to Pull the Trigger

[8/21/07]  Aon Consulting Alert:  "IRS Issues New Proposed Section 125 Cafeteria Plan Regulations"

[8/21/07]  The Segal Group:  2007 Segal Medicare Part D Survey of Multiemployer Health Funds

[8/21/07]  Health Affairs:  "Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Progress Report: Findings from a 2006 National Survey of Seniors"

[8/21/07]  Thrivent Financial for Lutherans:  Baby Boomers and Retirement: A Generation’s Catch-22 -- America’s Largest Generation Faces a Large Gap Between Retirement Readiness and Expectations

[8/20/07]  Congressional Research Service:  Tax Benefits for Health Insurance and Expenses: Overview of Current Law and Legislation [Updated July 20, 2007]

[8/20/07]  The Segal Group’s Capital Checkup:  "Gearing Up for the Next Round of Medicare Part D Notices of Creditable Coverage"

[8/20/07]  Buck Consultants FYI:  "IRS Provides Temporary Relief for NRA [Normal Retirement Age] Amendments"

[8/17/07]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Change Is Coming to the NCS Benefits Products [Q&A]

[8/17/07]  Kaiser State Health Facts:  Average Single Premium per Enrolled Employee for Employer-Based Health Insurance, 2005

[8/17/07]  The Segal Group’s Capital Checkup:  "More States Enact Cafeteria Plan Mandates"

[8/17/07]  Center for American Progress:  An Oldie But Goodie: The Importance of Social Security as Source of Retirement Income

[8/16/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Relief Related to Plan Amendment of Definition of Normal Retirement Age [Notice 2007-69]

[8/16/07]  NGA Center for Best Practices Issue Brief:  "Leading the Way: State Health Reform Initiatives"

[8/16/07]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  "Tying Health Benefits to Health Status: A Few Words of Caution"

[8/16/07]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  "Massachusetts Offices Overwhelmed by Number of State Health Plan Applicants"

[8/16/07]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  The 2008 Presidential Candidates on Health Care Reform

[8/15/07]  Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments, August 2007

[8/15/07]  AARP Public Policy Institute:  Future of Medicare: Report on Expert Views

[8/14/07]  American Benefits Council:  401(k) Fast Facts: Differences between 401(k) Plans and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)

[8/14/07]  The Segal Company Bulletin:  "GASB Issues New Pension Disclosure Rules"

[8/14/07]  Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:  Consumer-Oriented Strategies for Improving Health Benefit Design: An Overview

[8/14/07]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  RAND/Watson Wyatt Study of Consumer-Directed Health Plans

[8/14/07]  AARP Data Digest:  "Health Coverage among 50- to 64-Year-Olds"

[8/14/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Expenses for Household and Dependent Care Services Necessary for Gainful Employment; Final Regulations [published in the Federal Register on August 14, 2007]

[8/13/07]  The Commonwealth Fund:  Rite of Passage? Why Young Adults Become Uninsured and How New Policies Can Help

[8/13/07]  Benefits Quarterly (via Milliman, Inc.):  "Confronting the Fear Factor: The Coverage/Access Disparity in Universal Health Care"

[8/13/07]  AARP Data Digest:  "Social Security: Basic Data"

[8/13/07]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  "A Comparison of Limits in Tax-Qualified Retirement Plans With Those in Social Security: 1987 to 2007"

[8/9/07]  American Benefits Council:  401(k) Fast Facts: Automatic Enrollment

[8/9/07]  Massachusetts Institute of Technology:  "Study Sees U.S. Retirement Wealth Up Sharply by 2040"

[8/9/07]  New York Life Insurance Company and Wharton Financial Institutions Center:  Investing Your Lump Sum at Retirement, by David F. Babbel and Craig B. Merrill

[8/9/07]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  "[IRS] Proposed Regulations Would Affect Health, Other Benefit Plans"

[8/9/07]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  "Most People Satisfied With Their Health Insurance Plans, Consumer Reports Finds"

[8/9/07]  An Alliance for Health Reform Toolkit:  Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and State Health Reform

[8/8/07]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Health Care Costs: A Primer -- Key Information on Health Care Costs and Their Impact

[8/8/07]  IMS Special Report:  "Medicare Part D: The First Year"

[8/8/07]  American Benefits Council:  401(k) Fast Facts: Financial Literacy and Investment Education

[8/8/07]  National Center for Policy Analysis:  How Much Do Americans Depend on Social Security?

[8/7/07]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employment Costs in Private Industry, June 2007

[8/7/07]  Buck Consultants FYI:  "New Rules for Providing Medicare Part D Creditable Coverage Notices"

[8/7/07]  American Benefits Council:  401(k) Fast Facts: 401(k) Plan Fees

[8/7/07]  Prudential’s Four Pillars of Retirement Series:  The Fourth Pillar: Retirement Choices

[8/6/07]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  "Benefits Legislation Active as 2007 Session Hits Midpoint"

[8/6/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Benefits--Cafeteria Plans; Withdrawal of prior notices of proposed rulemaking; Notice of proposed rulemaking and notice of public hearing [published in the Federal Register on August 6, 2007]

[8/6/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Listing of Published Guidance (January - July 2007)

[8/6/07]  U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation:  Description of the “Pension Protection Technical Corrections Act of 2007” [JCX 60-07]

[8/2/07]  The Segal Group’s Public Sector Letter:  "Retiree Health Care: Implications of OPEB Liabilities"

[8/2/07]  Aon Consulting Forum:  "The New Health Care Currency: Keeping Employees Well"

[8/2/07]  Benefits Quarterly:  "Single-Payer Health Care Systems: The Roles and Responsibilities of the Public and Private Sectors"

[8/2/07]  Journal of Accountancy:  "Managed Accounts: A New Direction for 401(k) Plans"

[8/1/07]  U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor:  "Chairman Miller Introduces Legislation to Require Full Disclosure of 401(k) Fees & Provider Conflicts of Interest" - The 401(k) Fair Disclosure for Retirement Security Act of 2007

[8/1/07]  AARP:  401(k) Participants’ Awareness and Understanding of Fees

[8/1/07]  The ERISA Industry Committee:  Joint Submission to the Department of Labor: Recommendations for Participant-Level Disclosure of Defined Contribution Plan Fee Information

[8/1/07]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Is There Really a Retirement Savings Crisis? An NRRI Analysis

[8/1/07]  National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators:  "Social Security Offsets: Policies Public Employees Love to Hate and Don’t Understand"

[8/1/07]  International Accounting Standards Board:  Post-employment Benefits (including pensions)

[8/1/07] Society of Actuaries:  The SOA’s Committee on Living to 100 Research Symposia invites you to its third, triennial international symposium on high-age mortality and related issues taking place January 7-9, 2008, in Orlando, Florida.  Actuaries, demographers, gerontologists, and other professionals from around the world will be among those presenting papers on such thought-provoking subjects as:

  • mortality trends and projection methods;
  • theories on aging;
  • enhanced mortality rate and population projections; and
  • implications of an aging population for social, financial, health care, and retirement systems.

Click here for further information.

Updated 8/27/07