What's New

What's New - February 2001

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What's new at EBRI this month:

Latest Analysis from the EBRI/ICI 401(k) Database: The latest analysis from the EBRI/ICI 401(k) Database has been published in the February 2001 EBRI Issue Brief, "401(k) Plan Asset Allocation, Account Balances, and Loan Activity in 1999."

The EBRI Notes publication for February 2001: The February Notes article is “Women on Savings and Retirement: Results From the 2000 Women's Retirement Confidence Survey.”

The EBRI monthly publications for January 2001, are available online for ordering.  The January Issue Brief is entitled “EBRI Research Highlights: Retirement and Health Data.”  The January Notes articles are “Retirement Plan Participation: Full-Time, Full-Year Workers Ages 18-64” and "IRA Assets Continue to Grow."

The RetireMint Educational Conference and Exhibition took  place on January 23-24, 2001, in New York City at the Hilton New York Hotel.   The conference consisted of two tracks each day.  The Unifi Network of PricewaterhouseCoopers   hosted track one, geared to institutional investors, such as plan sponsors, employee benefits and human resources professionals, and pension plan managers.  Topics for track one included mergers and acquisitions and managing retirement plans in a changing environment.  Track two, which was free and open to the public, was hosted by the American Savings Education Council (ASEC) and was geared to individual investors.  Topics for track two included investing in a volatile market, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and retirement planning for the individual.  EBRI President and CEO Dallas Salisbury made introductory remarks on January 23; while Robert Pozen, Vice Chairman, Fidelity Investments,  delivered the keynote address the same day.  Other speakers included experts from the fields of retirement investment management and financial planning.  

The Social Security Administration and the American Savings Education Council  Announce a New Partnership and the Establishment of the "National Save for Your Future" Campaign: Kenneth S. Apfel, Commissioner of Social Security, and Dallas L. Salisbury, Chairman of the American Savings Education Council (ASEC),  announce the first annual "National Save for Your Future" campaign, a partnership between the Social Security Administration (SSA) and ASEC.  The campaign, to be launched in the fall of 2001, will focus on educating Americans about the need to save and plan for a comfortable retirement. 

For more information contact Cathy Noe, SSA, at 410-965-8904; Variny Paladino, ASEC, at 202-775-6321 or Danny Devine, EBRI, at 202-775-6308.

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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 General Accounting Office's Web site in Portable Document (PDF) format:

Health Privacy:  Regulation Enhances Protection of Patient Records But Raises Practical Concerns, by Leslie G. Aronovitz, director of health care program administration and integrity issues, before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.GAO-01-387T, February 8. 2001.

Social Security Reform:  Potential Effects on SSA's Disability Programs and Beneficiaries.  GAO-01-35, January 24, 2001.

Medicare Home Health Care: OASIS Data Use, Cost, and Privacy Implications.  GAO-01-205, January 30, 2001.

Unemployment Insurance: Role as Safety Net for Low-Wage Workers Is Limited.  GAO-01-181, December 29, 2000. 

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 General Accounting 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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(2/28/01) The White House has recently released the following:

(2/26/01) State Net monitors “100% of all pending bills and regulations in the 50 states and Congress” through a computerized tracking system.

(2/23/01) A “Restated Version of 2001 Proposed Minimum Distribution Rules…shows the January 17, 2001 regulations after incorporating the corrections issued on February 21, 2001.”  Click here for the page prepared by BenefitsLink titled “Required Minimum Distributions from Qualified Plans, 403(b)s, 457s and IRAs (Incorporating 2/21/2001 Corrections).”

(2/23/01) The Commonwealth Fund has made available the following studies:

(2/22/01) The United Way of America has made available the United Way State of Caring Index, which analyzes thirty-two leading social and economic indicators at the state and national levels for measuring the health and well-being of the nation.

(2/22/01) WorldWideWeb Tax bills itself as “The first comprehensive U.S. tax directory on the Web.”

(2/21/01) "The Advisory Committee on Employee Welfare and Pension Plans, known more commonly as the ERISA Advisory Council, will hold its first meeting of the year on March 6." For additional information, click here.

(2/20/01) “Year-End Developments Affect Qualified Plans” is the subject of CIGNA's Pension Analyst February 2001 issue.

(2/20/01) The Internal Revenue Service has recently released the final regulations pertaining to “Continuation Coverage Requirements Applicable to Group Health Plans.”

(2/16/01) The Health and Medical Care Archive (HMCA), a project of The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  “HMCA's holdings consist of empirical data collected by health care researchers in universities as well as in public and private agencies with the aid of grants from the Foundation.”  The data collections are organized according to subject matter in five classifications: Cost/Access to Health Care, Substance Abuse and Health, Chronic Health Conditions, Health Care Providers, and Other Topics.

(2/16/01) On January 22, 2001, Senator Thomas Daschle introduced S.6, Patients' Bill of Rights Act.  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(2/16/01) On January 22, 2001, Senator Thomas Daschle introduced S.8, "A bill to improve the economic security of workers, and for other purposes."  A Bill Summary & Status is available.  On the same date, Senator Daschle also introduced S.77, "A bill to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, and for other purposes."  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(2/16/01) On January 22, 2001, Senator Max Baucus introduced S.133, “A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make permanent the exclusion for employer-provided educational assistance programs, and for other purposes.”  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(2/15/01) The U.S. Department of Commerce issued a press release February 7, 2001, titled "Revenue for Health Care and Social Assistance Up 4 Percent, Census Bureau Reports," which includes the most recent data available for 1999 from its annual service surveys.

(2/15/01) William M. Mercer, Inc., issued a press release on February 12, 2001, announcing the availability of Employers' Time-Off and Disability Programs Survey--2000.

(2/15/01) The Commonwealth Fund has made available a December 2000 report titled Challenges and Options for Increasing the Number of Americans with Health Insurance by Sherry A. Glied.

(2/14/01) “Range of Benefits Turns Exceptional at Innovative Firm” by Carol Kleiman was published February 13, 2001, in the Chicago Tribune.

(2/14/01) Mutual Fund Directors: The Dog that Didn't Bark by John C. Bogle, President of Bogle Financial Markets Research Center, founder and past chairman of The Vanguard Group, concerns mutual fund fees.

(2/14/01) The February 12, 2001, issue of Harris Interactive Health Care News features an article titled "The Managed Care Paradox: Many Dislike Managed Care, Yet They Like Their Own Health Plans."

(2/14/01) The Department of Labor released February 5, 2001, a new fact sheet labeled: Your Employer’s Bankruptcy: How Will It Affect Your Employee Benefits?

(2/14/01) The Benefits Canada January 2001 edition contains an article on health spending accounts (HSAs) which are financed in a manner similar to defined contribution retirement plans.

(2/13/01) The U.S. Department of Labor has made available a recently-released report titled Telework and the New Workplace of the 21st Century.

(2/13/01) The National Association of Employee Benefit Administrators (NAEBA), is an association of third party administrators (TPAs) specializing in self-funded health benefits and managed health care administration, providing benefit plan design and administration services to more than 6,000 employers throughout the U.S.

(2/12/01) “The Aging of Aquarius: The Baby Boom Matures,” a February 2001 Segal Special Report from The Segal Company, is an analysis of the implications of certain demographic patterns.

(2/12/01) The December 2000 issue of Drug Benefit Trends features an article entitled "Federal and State Laws and Regulations Affecting Managed Care" by Daniel B. Moskowitz.

(2/12/01) Watson Wyatt Worldwide issued a press release on February 7, 2001, announcing key findings from a survey entitled Maximizing the Potential of Your 401(k) Plan.

(2/12/01) The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) has posted information about its universal health care initiative, as well as a chart analyzing current proposals for health care reform entitled “One Problem, Multiple Approaches: Making Sense of the Myriad Plans for Health Insurance Expansion.”

(2/9/01) The Coalition for Affordable Quality Healthcare has issued a first year progress report.

(2/8/01) Senator John McCain issued a press release on February 6, 2001, announcing the "Bipartisan Patient Protection Act of 2001," introduced in the Senate by himself along with Senators John Edwards, Ted Kennedy, Lincoln Chafee, Tom Harkin, and Bob Graham.

(2/8/01) “Historical Limits and Other Values Affecting Retirement Plans” is the title of the January 2001 Hay Benefits Reference Guide.

(2/7/01) The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association has released its ninth annual State Legislative Health Care and Insurance Issues: 2000 Survey of Plans.

(2/7/01) In a speech delivered on January 31, 2001, to Women in Housing and Finance in Washington, DC, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commissioner Paul R. Carey discussed the topic of Social Security privatization.

(2/6/01) Workforce.com features “ Employers Taking Health Into Cyberspace” by Peter Mead with related linked articles:  The Four Stages of Digital Health, Health-Related Products and Services, and Wellness Program Regulations Proposed.

(2/6/01) Janette Hoisington, librarian at the National Council on the Aging, has written Finding Reliable Consumer Health Information on the Internet and provides a link to Selected Sites.

(2/5/01) On February 7, Plan Sponsor's Editor-in-Chief and CEO Charlie Ruffel will be discussing pension reform with Representatives Rob Portman (R-Oh) and Benjamin Cardin (D-Md).  Send questions for the congressmen to editors@plansponsor.comClick here for more information.

(2/5/01) “Data Reveal Workers with Health and Retirement Benefits Less Likely to Leave” is an analysis in Deloitte & Touche’s Human Capital I.Q. January 2001 publication.

(2/5/01) The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics has published an article entitled “Putting Stock in Benefits: How Prevalent Is It?” by William Wiatrowski in the Fall 2000 issue of Compensation and Working Conditions.

(2/2/01) Posted on BenefitsLink: “Proposed regulations under section 401(a)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code, relating to required minimum distributions from retirement plans, were published in the Federal Register on January 17, 2001.”  “The 2001 Proposed Regulations are proposed to be effective for distributions for calendar years beginning on or after January 1, 2002.  The first sentence of the model amendment, as published in the Federal Register on January 17, 2001, referred to distributions made in calendar years beginning on or after January 1, 2000, but was intended to refer instead to distributions made for calendar years beginning on or after January 1, 2001."

(2/1/01) The full text of FY 2002 Economic Outlook, Highlights from FY 1994 to FY 2001, FY 2002 Baseline Projections, dated January 2001, has been made available.

(2/1/01) The report entitled Review of Assumptions and Methods of the Medicare Trustees' Financial Projections, dated December 2000, presents the findings and recommendations of the 2000 Technical Review Panel on the Medicare Trustees Report.

(2/1/01) Survey findings from the 2000 Quicken Fiscal Literacy Survey, conducted by Roper Starch Worldwide, have been made available.

(2/1/01) In a press release on January 29, 2001, Towers Perrin announced the release of its latest annual survey entitled Towers Perrin Health Care Cost Survey.

(2/1/01) In a press release on January 23, 2001, the U.S. Department of Labor's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA) announced the publication of a notice in the Federal Register extending the deadline to February 22, 2001, for submitting public comments regarding the adequacy of its current rules requiring the disclosure of information by employers and employee benefit plans to participants and beneficiaries in such plans. 

(2/1/01) “ Legal Developments: Defining the Limits of Prudence and Fiduciary Responsibility” by David R. Levin was published in the Journal of Pension Benefits, Autumn 2000.  It examines recent court rulings reinforcing procedural prudence and foresight in the application of ERISA-mandated fiduciary responsibilities.

(2/1/01) Click here for the Mental Health Parity Publications & Web Sites page presented by the The Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute at the University of South Florida.

(2/1/01) Jagadeesh Gokhale and Laurence Kotlikoff wrote " The Baby Boomers' Mega-Inheritance--Myth or Reality?" which was published in Economic Commentary, October 1, 2000, from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

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Updated 2/28/01