What's New - December 2008

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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:

401(k) Balances and Changes Due to Market Volatility

Publications:

December 2008 EBRI Issue Brief - "401(k) Plan Asset Allocation, Account Balances, and Loan Activity in 2007"

December 2008 EBRI Notes - "Availability, Contributions, Account Balances, and Rollovers in Account-Based Health Plans"

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New Survey Released March 19, 2008: Preparing for Their Future: A Look at the Financial State of Gen X and Gen Y - Press Release

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.

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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
The Nation's Long-Term Fiscal Outlook: September 2008 Update. GAO-09-94R, November 6.

Testimony
State and Local Fiscal Challenges: Rising Health Care Costs Drive Long-term and Immediate Pressures, statement for the record by Stanley J. Czerwinski, director, strategic issues, for the Senate Committee on Finance. GAO-09-210T, November 19. 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.


[12/23/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Section 401: Qualified Pension, Profit-Sharing, and Stock Bonus Plans [includes 2009 Covered Compensation Table & 2009 Rounded Covered Compensation Table] – Rev. Rul. 2009-2

[12/23/08]  U.S. Department of Labor:  “Revised Final Regulations Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (RIN 1215-AB35)

[12/23/08]  Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement:  WISER Fact Sheet: The Saver’s Tax Credit

[12/23/08]  AARP Public Policy Institute:  The Characteristics of Social Security Beneficiaries Who Claim Benefits at the Early Entitlement Age [a research report prepared by the RAND Corporation]

[12/22/08]  Milliman’s Client Action Bulletin:  “PPA Technical Corrections, Pension Funding Relief Enacted

[12/22/08]  Hewitt Associates:  Chronological Summary of Major Post-ERISA Benefit Legislation

[12/22/08]  Principal Financial Group:  Navigating Your Way Through Market Turbulence [White Paper]

[12/22/08]  Vanguard Center for Retirement Research:  The Retirement Income Landscape

[12/22/08]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  How Much Risk Is Acceptable?

[12/19/08]  U.S. Chamber of Commerce:  Participate today in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 2008 Employee Benefits Survey.  Click here to participate.  [Note: The survey closes December 31, 2008.]

[12/19/08]  Investment Company Institute:  Retirement Saving in Wake of Financial Market Volatility

[12/19/08]  The Washington Post:  “IRS, Treasury Keep Rule Requiring Retirees to Withdraw Their Savings

[12/19/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Plans News [Volume 8/Winter 2009]

[12/19/08]  National Center for Policy Analysis Brief Analysis No. 638:  “Retirement Account Reforms: Good and Bad

[12/19/08]  Congressional Budget Office:  Budget Options, Volume I – Health Care

[12/18/08]  Hay Group Benefits Alert:  “Mandatory Medicare Secondary Payer Reporting Requirements Begin in 2009

[12/18/08]  Center for Studying Health System Change Research Brief No. 10:  “Living on the Edge: Health Care Expenses Strain Family Budgets

[12/18/08]  Wellness Council of America:  The ROI Calculator: A New Tool to Help You Calculate Your Wellness Return on Investment

[12/18/08]  Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured Policy Brief:  “Health Coverage in a Period of Rising Unemployment

[12/18/08]  Families USA:  A Painful Recession: States Cut Health Care Safety Net Programs

[12/17/08]  The Segal Company Bulletin:  “Pension Relief Bill’s Provisions Affecting Multiemployer Plans

[12/17/08]  Congressional Research Service:  Converting Retirement Savings into Income: Annuities and Periodic Withdrawals

[12/17/08]  U.S. Department of the Treasury:  2008 Financial Report of the United States Government

[12/17/08]  Investment Company Institute and Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association:  Equity and Bond Ownership in America, 2008

[12/16/08]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “Many Older Workers Unaware of Retirement Distribution Options

[12/16/08]  JPMorgan Chase & Co.:  “Advantages and Disadvantages of DC Designs

[12/16/08]  Mercer’ Retirement Perspective:  “Gullible’s Travels IV: Toward the 21st Century Plan Design

[12/16/08]  Social Security Bulletin:  “Cohort Differences in Wealth and Pension Participation of Near-Retirees

[12/15/08]  H.R. 7327:  Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008

[12/15/08]  American Benefits Council:  Pension Bill Technical Corrections Key Provisions

[12/15/08]  U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation:  Technical Explanation of the H.R. 7327, the “Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008,” as Passed by the House on December 10, 2008

[12/15/08]  Contingencies:  “A Fragile Equilibrium: The Past, Present, and Future of Private Pensions

[12/15/08]  The Wall Street Journal:  “How to Fix 401(k)s

[12/12/08]  The New York Times:  “Pensions Get a Reprieve in Congress

[12/12/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Relief from Immediate Compliance with 2009 § 403(b) Written Plan Requirement [Notice 2009-3]

[12/12/08]  Hewitt Associates:  “Hewitt Survey Finds Companies Providing Holiday Bonuses Despite Weak Economy

[12/12/08]  Health Affairs:  “Who Chooses a Consumer-Directed Health Plan?

[12/11/08]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employer Costs for Employee Compensation--September 2008

[12/11/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Reporting and Wage Withholding Under Internal Revenue Code §409A [Notice 2008-115]

[12/11/08]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  Closing the Gap:  2008/2009 Employee Perspectives on Health Care

[12/11/08]  The Segal Company:  Updated Survey of Plans’ Actual Zone Status

[12/10/08]  Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments, December 2008

[12/10/08]  Monthly Labor Review:  “401(k) Plans Move Away from Employer Stock as Investment Vehicle

[12/10/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Pulling It Together: The ‘R’ Word Is Back” from Drew Altman

[12/9/08]  Towers Perrin:  Obama Health Care Reform Plan Raises Host of Questions for Employers

[12/9/08]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  Workforce Planning in an Economic Downturn

[12/9/08]  Investment Company Institute Research Fundamentals:  “The Economics of Providing 401(k) Plans: Services, Fees, and Expenses, 2007

[12/9/08]  Congressional Research Service:  Military Retirement: Background and Recent Developments

[12/8/08]  Internal Revenue Service:

[12/8/08]  Congressional Research Service:  The Tax Exclusion for Employer-Provided Health Insurance: Policy Issues Regarding the Repeal Debate

[12/8/08]  Vanguard Center for Retirement Research:  “Participants Calmer Than You’d Think amid Market Turmoil

[12/8/08]  TIAA-CREF Institute Research Dialogue:  “The Role of Retirement Personality Type in Motivating Women to Plan for Retirement” 

[12/5/08]  NASRA/NCTR Issue Brief:  “Market Declines and Public Pensions

[12/5/08]  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:  “Study Shows Small Business Owners Support Health Reform

[12/5/08]  America’s Health Insurance Plans:  The Factors Fueling Rising Health Care Costs, 2008 [prepared for AHIP by PricewaterhouseCoopers]

[12/5/08]  Dallas-Ft. Worth Business Group on Health’s Partnership for Peak Healthcare Performance:  2008 Consumer Awareness Survey Results

[12/4/08]  National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems:  Health and OPEB Funding Strategies: 2008 National Survey of Local Governments

[12/4/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation Issue Brief:  “The Emerging Role of Group Medicare Private Fee-for-Service Plans

[12/4/08]  Center for Studying Health System Change Research Brief No. 9:  “Word of Mouth and Physician Referrals Still Drive Health Care Provider Choice

[12/4/08]  Right Management:  “US Employees Earn Least Amount of Severance

[12/2/08]  U.S. News & World Report:  “10 Benefits Your Employer Will Cut Next Year

[12/2/08]  Center for State & Local Government Excellence:  Retiree Health Care in the American States

[12/1/08]  Human Resource Executive Online:  “What the Obama Presidency May Bring,” by Dallas Salisbury

[12/1/08]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  PBGC Flat Premium Rates; Notice of Flat Premium Rates [as published in the Federal Register on December 1, 2008]

[12/1/08]  Vanguard Strategic Retirement Consulting:  Improving Plan Diversification Through Reenrollment in a QDIA

[12/1/08]  Urban Institute:  Are Baby Boomers Saving Enough for Their Retirement?

Updated 12/23/08