What's New

What's New - January 2002

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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:

EBRI Survey on Company Stock in 401(k) Plans: The EBRI survey polled members of the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS) with respect to company stock investment options, whether employer contributions are required to be invested in company stock, average percentage of company stock in the employees' accounts, restrictions on selling the company stock, and blackout periods.  Additional questions examined perceptions of the Enron situation, appropriate limits for investment in company stock and the role of the government, and perceptions on public policy issues related to company stock in 401(k) plans.  Click here for Survey Results.

FEI Retirement Survey: "Barriers to Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans" is a brief online survey for financial executives responsible for employee benefits.  The survey was developed by the FEI (Financial Executives International) Research Foundation and the FEI Committee on Benefits Finance and co-sponsored by EBRI.  To take the survey, click here.

The executive summary of the January 2002 EBRI Issue Brief: "Consumer Health Care Finances and Education: Matters of Values"

The executive summary of the January 2002 EBRI Notes article: "Contingent Workers and Alternative Work Arrangements, 1995-2001"

401(k) Plan Account Balances, Asset Allocation, and Loan Activity Plan Year 2000: The January 2002 issue of Facts from EBRI, a monthly fact sheet providing timely statistics on a variety of employee benefit issues.

“Number Of Americans With Job-Based Health Benefits Grew Through Early 2001 Despite Higher Benefit Costs: Largest Increases in Coverage Occurred in Wholesale and Retail Trade Industries” is the press release headline announcing a study, conducted by Paul Fronstin of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, published in the January/February issue of the journal Health Affairs.  The study was based on Current Population Survey data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.

EBRI Fact Sheet on Company Stock:  The December 2001 EBRI Fact Sheet provides background on company stock in retirement plans, drawn from the EBRI book, Fundamentals of Employee Benefit Programs, and the EBRI/ICI 401(k) database.

Dallas Salisbury article in the Fourth Quarter 2001 WorldatWork Journal: “No Time to Snooze: Meeting the Needs of an Aging Work Force” explains the “why” of employment-based benefits.  If you would like further access to this special edition of the Journal, click here for guest access.

EBRI Releases 2001 HCS: The 2001 Health Confidence Survey (HCS) finds Americans are satisfied with various aspects of the health care they receive, but continue to be pessimistic about the future of the nation’s health care system, about their future ability to choose the doctors they want, and about their ability to afford prescription drugs.

EBRI Research Findings for 2001:

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What's new in employee benefits:

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

Health and Welfare

Human Resources

Retirement

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

U.S. Postal Service: Information on Retirement Plans.  GAO-02-170, December 31, 2001.

Social Security: Issues in Evaluating Reform Proposals, testimony by Barbara Bovbjerg, Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues, before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. GAO-02-288T, December 10, 2001.

Prescription Drugs: Prices Available Through Discount Cards and From Other Sources.  GAO-02-280R, December 5, 2001.

        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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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

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(1/24/02) PLANSPONSOR presents its list, "Participation Greats," of the top 100 defined contribution plans by participation rate. 

 (1/24/02) Free Medical Journals.com, a new metasite, has organized a list of over 800 titles of online medical publications into the following categories: free full text, free one to six months after publication, free one year after publication, free two years after publication, new, and cancelled.  The ever expanding list of titles is sorted alphabetically or by specialty.

(1/24/02) Health Affairs has posted on its website a paper titled "The Sad History Of Health Care Cost Containment As Told In One Chart," by Drew Altman and Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

(1/24/02) Reprinted from the Economist January 17, 2002, print edition is "Treatment of Choice" on corporate health plans.

 (1/24/02) freeERISA.com currently posts Re-Crafting and Communicating Retirement Benefits to Help Create Employee Loyalty by Ronald H. Wohl.

 (1/24/02) USA Today published January 22, 2002, "Firms Offer Medical Data Services Benefit: Helps Workers Make Health  Decisions," by Julie Appleby.

(1/23/02) The Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America (PSCA) issued a press release January 21, 2002, titled “PSCA Releases Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Lock-Out Periods.”

 (1/23/02) The U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation released January 17, 2002, the report titled Estimates of Federal Tax Expenditures for Fiscal Years 2002-2006.

 (1/23/02) The Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association (LIMRA) recently published a study titled Long Term Care Insurance: Trends and Outlook.

(1/22/02) PLANSPONSOR.com provides a resource on issues relating to company stock in 401(k) plans: Insights on Company Stock.

 (1/22/02) Hewitt Associates issued a press release January 16 titled “Number of U.S. Employees Enrolling for Benefits Online Nearly Doubles.”

 (1/22/02) "Defined Benefit vs. 401(k) Returns: The Surprising Results," in the Watson Wyatt Worldwide Insider, provides an analysis of investment performance.

(1/22/02) Hewitt Associates has posted Employer Reaction to EGTRRA Legislation: 2001 Survey Findings.

(1/22/02) The Brookings Institution has posted "Bringing Unbanked Households Into the Banking System," an article by John P. Caskey, in the January 2002 Capital Xchange.

(1/18/02) Enron Disaster Might Spur Call for 401(k) Insurance reads the title of an article posted on InsuranceNewsNet.com.

 (1/18/02) The Census Bureau has released a December 2001 report titled Home-Based Workers in the United States: 1997.

 (1/18/02) In July 2001, the Central Intelligence Agency published a report on global aging and its strategic implications titled Long-Term Global Demographic Trends: Reshaping the Geopolitical Landscape.

 (1/17/02) Olivia Mitchell, a member of the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security, discusses the Commission's three proposed models for reform in Social Security Reform? Wait Until Next Year.

 (1/17/02) The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and Money Magazine’s MONEY FOR WOMEN have posted Women's Financial Health Week, January 14 - 18, 2002.

 (1/17/02) Rep. E. Clay Shaw, Jr., introduced December 13, 2001, in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R.3497, Social Security Guarantee Plus Act of 2001A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(1/17/02) The Alliance for Investor Education (AIE) provides ten specific online resources for organizing personal finances and saving and investing.

 (1/17/02) The Federation of European Employers has posted a guide, Pay and Working Conditions Across Europe 2000, which includes countries from Albania to Yugoslavia.

 (1/17/02) The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare has posted a white paper written by Dean Baker, The Impact of Social Security Privatization on the Disability Program.

(1/16/02) Two separate surveys on Americans' financial and investment decisions are examined in the Report on American Priorities from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America.  Click here for the executive summary.

 (1/16/02) The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments today “in a case that will clarify whether the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) pre-empts state laws requiring an independent external review of health care claims decisions” according to PlanSponsor.com.  The case is Rush Prudential HMO Inc. v Debra C Moran and State Of Illinois.

 (1/16/02) The lead article in the December 11, 2001, issue of IOMA’s DC Plan Investing is titled “Enron Debacle Will Force Cleanup of Company Stock Use in DC Plans.”

 (1/16/02) Watson Wyatt Worldwide issued a press release January 15 titled Employer–Sponsored 401(k) Plans Outperformed Traditional Pension Plans in 1997, 1998.

(1/14/02 Bloomberg University (BU) is now offering two new classes, "Investing 101" and "Fundamentals of the Futures Market."  BU will be adding four new courses each month in 2002, allowing individuals to take as many as 12 free courses at a time.  Of interest also, the Bloomberg Financial Glossary has over 6,000 entries with 15,000 links for supplemental information.

 (1/14/02) Should ESOPs Be Subject to Stricter Diversification Rules? by Corey Rosen of The National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) addresses the diversification rules’ issue as applied to employee stock ownership plans.

(1/14/02) A report on Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) titled, PEOs and Payrolling: A History of Problems and a Future Without Benefits, was released in December 2001 by the Center for a Changing Workforce.

 (1/14/02) pensionsurveys.com provides a single point of access to the summaries or press releases of pensions’ industry surveys and research papers, currently mostly from the United Kingdom.

 (1/14/02) The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has published the following titles:

 (1/11/02) The January 11, 2002, issue of The Wall Street Journal includes an article by Jon E. Hilsenrath titled “Economics Professor's Retirement Project Puts Future Pay Raises Into Savings Plan.”

 (1/11/02) The White House issued a press release January 10 titled “President Calls for Review of Pension Regulations and Corporate Disclosure Rules.”

 (1/11/02) People, Events, and Trends that Shaped HR: First of Four Parts is the first of a four part Workforce article about 80 people, events, trends, and innovations that have influenced human resources.

 (1/11/02) The Office of Legislative Research of the Connecticut General Assembly has published 50-State Survey of Certain Teacher Retirement Plan Provisions.

(1/10/02) The Associated Press reports today that “Bush Orders Review of Pension Rules.”

(1/10/02) The Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America (PSCA) has released Investment Advice Survey 2001.

 (1/10/02) On December 18, 2001, Senator Barbara Boxer introduced in the U.S. Senate S.1838, “Pension Protection and Diversification Act of 2001.”  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

 (1/10/02) On November 16, 2001, Rep. David L. Hobson introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R.3323, “To ensure that covered entities comply with the standards for electronic health care transactions and code sets adopted under part C of title XI of the Social Security Act, and for other purposes.”   The bill was signed by President Bush on December 27, 2001, becoming Public Law 107-105.  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(1/10/02) The AARP Research Center posts the report State Taxation of Social Security and Pensions in 2000 which was published in November 2001.

(1/9/02) The January/February Issue of Health Affairs concentrates on the 'Business of Health' in the United States.

 (1/9/02) The Vanguard Group issued a press release January 3 titled “401(k) Participants Expect Single-Digit Stock Market Returns In The Near Term-But Remain Optimistic About the Long-Term Outlook,” which included key findings from a recent study.  The executive summary of the study, Vanguard Participant Monitor: Expecting Lower Market Returns in the Near Term, is available.

(1/9/02) Fidelity Investments issued a press release January 3 headed “Fidelity Survey Shows That Despite Low Awareness Of New Savings Opportunities, Most American Savers Plan To Save More, Regardless Of Sluggish Economy.”  The report, How Workplace Savings Are Shaping the Future of Retirement, is Volume III of Building Futures.

(1/9/02) National Health Care Expenditure estimates for 1960-2000 are available in data files or in published articles from the Health Care Financing Administration Web site.

(1/7/02) The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) warns in a press release “that many of the pension and benefit reform provisions enacted in 2001 as part of the Economic Growth and   Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA) may be undermined or even in jeopardy due to the disparity between the new federal law and tax codes in at least 10 states.”   A letter was sent January 3, 2002, to the governors and state legislators of Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wisconsin on this issue.

(1/7/02) Workforce. com’s HR Vendor Directory 2002 is available online.

 (1/07/02) According to a press release, a new Brookings Institution “Survey of Academics Shows Need to Redress Past Failures as Well as Meet New Challenges.”  The survey report, Government's Greatest Priorities of the Next Half Century, shows both financial security in retirement and health care access are among the top six priorities.

(1/3/02) The Current Developments in 457(b) Plans page has been updated by the Calhoun Law Group, P.C.

(1/3/02) Click here for the recent Federal Reserve Board of Governors Finance and Economics Discussion Series paper, “The Importance of Employer-to-Employer Flows in the U.S. Labor Market.”

(1/3/02) The National Association of Insurance Commissioners' (NAIC) Consumer Protection Working Group now provides the Consumer Information Source.  The site enables consumers to find basic information on insurance companies, including assets, liabilities, licensing details and the dollar amount of premiums in force.

(1/3/02) The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans has posted survey results of a Census of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists.  Click here for the December 2001 report, “New Kid on the Block: Financial Planning as an Employee Benefit.”

(1/02/02) The press release Employee Benefits in Private Industry, 1999, announcing the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest data from the Employee Benefit Survey, has been released. 

(1/2/02) On December 26, 2001, Nationwide Financial released key findings from its “Nationwide Financial Small Business Retirement Study.”

(1/2/02) On December 13, 2001, Rep. William Coyne introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R.3488, “Retirement Opportunity Expansion Act of 2001.”  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(1/2/02) “Determining the True Cost of Retirement Services: Insights from McHenry Consulting Group” is published online by Financial Executives International.

(1/02/02) “Assessing Retirement Preparedness With Planning Software: 1998 Update,” a Benefits Quarterly Fourth Quarter 2001 article is from the TIAA-CREF Institute.

 (1/02/02) “Making Retirement Income Last a Lifetime,” an article in the December 2001 issue of the Journal of Financial Planning is from the TIAA-CREF Institute.

(1/02/02) “An Aging World: 2001, a new 190-page release from the Census Bureau and the National Institute of Aging (NIA), presents comparative data related to aging, including population and projected population internationally, life expectancy, retirement, health information, and social support.”

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