What's New - January 2006

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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:

January 2006 EBRI Issue Brief - "Retirement Plan Participation and Retirees' Perception of Their Standard of Living"

January 2006 EBRI Notes - "IRA and Keogh Assets and Contributions" and "Income of the Elderly Population, Age 65 and Over, 2004"

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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
Federal Employees Health Benefits Program: Early Experience with a Consumer-Directed Health Plan. GAO-06-143, November 21.  Highlights.

Private Pensions: Information on Cash Balance Pension Plans. GAO-06-42, November 3.  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.


[1/30/06] Alliance for Health Reform:  The Uninsured and Rising Health Costs

[1/30/06] Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  2006 State Legislators’ Guide to Health Insurance Solutions and Glossary

[1/30/06] AARP:  Phased Retirement: Who Opts for It and Toward What End?

[1/30/06] American Benefits Council:  Analysis of U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service Proposed Regulations on Designated Roth Accounts

[1/26/06] U.S. Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service:  Designated Roth Accounts Under Section 402A; Notice of proposed rulemaking [published in the Federal Register on 1/26/06]

[1/26/06] Compensation and Working Conditions Online:  "Summary: New Research on Retirement Savings among Workers"

[1/26/06] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Access to and Participation in Employer-Provided Health Care Plans, Private Industry, 2005

[1/26/06] Employment Policies Institute:  The Effect of Increases in Health Insurance Premiums on Labor Market Outcomes

[1/24/06] The Segal Company Bulletin:  "Guidance on Disclosing Medicare Part D Creditable Coverage Status to CMS"

[1/24/06] CCA Strategies, LLC:  Common Employer Questions Regarding Medicare

[1/24/06] The Segal Company Capital Checkup:  "New Maryland ‘Fair Share’ Law Requires Large Employers to Either Provide Health Benefits or Contribute to a Medicaid Fund"

[1/24/06] Towers Perrin Perspectives:  "Employers Are Revisiting Their Long-Term Retiree Medical Strategies"

[1/24/06] Milliman, Inc.:  Key Multiemployer Pension Reforms Moving in Congress

[1/24/06] Pension Research Council:  The Importance of Default Options for Retirement Saving Outcomes: Evidence from the United States [Working Paper]

[1/20/06] Hewitt Associates:  2005 Legislative and Regulatory Year in Review and Outlook for 2006

[1/20/06] Aon Consulting Alert:  "2006 Limits for Benefit Plans--Updated"

[1/20/06] The Segal Company Capital Checkup:  "What’s Next for Plan Sponsors During Medicare’s Open Enrollment Season?"

[1/20/06] State Coverage Initiatives and AcademyHealth:  State of the States

[1/20/06] Center for Economic and Policy Research:  The Savings from an Efficient Medicare Prescription Drug Plan

[1/20/06] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Empirical Regularity Suggests Retirement Risks

[1/19/06] Employment Policies Institute:  An Analysis of the Dynamics of Health Insurance Coverage and Implications for Employer-Mandated Insurance

[1/19/06] U.S. Internal Revenue Service:  Retirement News for Employers [Special Edition, January 17, 2006]

[1/19/06] Buck Consultants LegiSlate:  "Congress Expected to Move Early to Fix Pension Funding"

[1/19/06] MSN Money:  "Can a 401(k) Make Up for a Lost Pension?"

[1/18/06] U.S. Internal Revenue Service:  FAQs Regarding Roth 401(k) Contributions

[1/18/06] Wisconsin Legislative Council:  2004 Comparative Study of Major Public Employee Retirement Systems

[1/13/06] Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Plans News [Special Edition, January 12, 2006]

[1/13/06] Benefits & Compensation Digest:  "Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Plans: A History, Market Overview and Comparative Analysis"

[1/13/06] Vanguard Center for Retirement Research:  401(k) Plan Design: Match, Loan, and Investment Menu Effects

[1/13/06] Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement:  The Female Factor: Why Women Face Greater Retirement Risk and What Can Be Done to Help Beyond Employer-Based Retirement Programs

[1/12/06] Aon Consulting Alert:  "Most Employers Must Disclose Drug Coverage to CMS by March 31"

[1/12/06] Employee Benefit News:  "Mind the Meds: Top 10 Pharmacy Benefits Management Strategies for 2006"

[1/12/06] U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Annual Funding Notice for Multiemployer Defined Benefit Pension Plans; Final Rule [published in the Federal Register on 1/11/06]

[1/12/06] The Segal Company:  2006 Reporting & Disclosure Calendar for Multiemployer Plans

[1/12/06] The Segal Company:  2006 Reporting & Disclosure Calendar for Benefit Plans

[1/12/06] Ameriprise Financial:  The New Retirement Mindscape

[1/11/06] Watson Wyatt Insider:  "HSA/FSA Grace Period Guidance Restricts Employer Options But Provides Limited Transition Relief"

[1/11/06] Employee Benefit News:  "HIPAA Limits Curb Some Wellness Incentives"

[1/11/06] Watson Wyatt Insider:  "Final Regulations on Roth 401(k)s Issued"

[1/11/06] Hewitt Associates:  "Hewitt Survey Reveals New Employer Trends in Retirement"

[1/11/06] Business Insurance:  "More Employers Likely to Freeze DB Plans: Survey"

[1/11/06] Towers Perrin Capital Market Update:  "Review of Pension Plan Financial Results for 2005"

[1/10/06] Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments

[1/10/06] Watson Wyatt Insider:  "GAO’s Report on Cash Balance Plans: Flawed and Misleading"

[1/9/06] Watson Wyatt Insider:  "2006 Welfare Benefit Limits"

[1/9/06] Aon Consulting Forum:  "The Consumer As Gatekeeper: Evidence Shows Consumer-Driven Health Care Working"

[1/9/06] Watson Wyatt Insider:  "Defined Contribution Provisions Gain Traction as Pension Reform Moves Ahead"

[1/9/06] Employee Benefit News:  "Employer Coalition Seeks Benefits Tax Equity for Domestic Partners"

[1/6/06] HealthLeaders News:  "Top 10 Managed Care Trends for 2005 and 2006"

[1/6/06] The ERISA Industry Committee:  CMS Info on [Medicare] Part D Auto-Enrollees

[1/6/06] Employee Benefit News:  "Five Steps to Implementing a Benefit Portal"

[1/6/06] Employee Benefit News:  "401(k) Administration Leads Benefits Outsourcing"

[1/5/06] Business Insurance:  "Limited Mental Health Parity Extended for One Year"

[1/5/06] U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Frequently Asked Questions about Mental Health Parity

[1/5/06] Employee Benefit News:  "LTCI Disconnect: With the ‘Long’ in Long-Term Care Increasing, Americans Worry More, Insure Less"

[1/5/06] AARP:  Reforming Social Security: Lessons from Abroad

[1/4/06] Employee Benefit News:  "The Top 10 Funding Issues for HSA Account Owners and Employers"

[1/4/06] Investment Advisor:  "Retirement Plan Advisor: The Income ConundrumRetirement Income Industry Association Home Page

[1/4/06] U.S. Congress:  H.R.4440, Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005 [see Title II, Tax Benefits Related to Hurricanes Rita and Wilma, Sec. 1400Q, Special Rules for Use of Retirement Funds]

[1/4/06] Watson Wyatt Global News Briefs:  "US Accounting for Pensions: FASB Addresses Technical Issues"

[1/3/06] U.S. Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service:  Designated Roth Contributions to Cash or Deferred Arrangements Under Section 401(k); Final Regulations [published in the Federal Register on 1/3/06]

[1/3/06] The ERISA Industry Committee:  "White House Conference on Aging Approves Retirement Planning Resolutions"

[1/3/06] American Academy of Actuaries Issue Brief:  "Health Coverage Issues: The Uninsured and the Insured"

[1/3/06] HR Magazine:  "Preventive Medicine - Employee Wellness Programs Are Prone to Legal Maladies That Require Careful Monitoring"

[1/3/06] The Commonwealth Fund:  Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey: Assessing Health Care Experts’ Views on Long-Term Care

[1/3/06] AARP:  State Profiles: Reforming the Health Care System 2005 [13 th Edition]

[1/3/06] Governmental Accounting Standards Board:  Other Postemployment Benefits: A Plain-Language Summary of GASB Statements No. 43 and No. 45

[1/3/06] Watson Wyatt Global News Briefs:  "Social Security Agreement Takes Effect" [U.S. & Japan]

Updated 1/30/06