What's New

What's New - July 2000

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What's new at EBRI this month:

The EBRI Issue Brief and EBRI Notes for the month of July 2000 are available online for ordering. The July Issue Brief is entitled "Personal Account Retirement Plans: An Analysis of the Survey of Consumer Finances." The July Notes articles are "National Health Spending Up 5.6 Percent Between 1997 and 1998; Public Spending for Health Care Understated" and "Finances of Employee Benefits."

The Working Uninsured: Campaign 2000 Proposals From the Presidential Candidates excerpts portions of the upcoming August 2000 EBRI Issue Brief dealing with presidential candidate proposals to reduce the number of uninsured Americans. Democratic and Republican proposals are explained and contrasted, and URLs for various health-group and national third-party policy statements on health coverage are also provided.

Facts from EBRI: Domestic Partner Benefits: Facts and Background (Updated June 2000) is a new fact sheet from the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

The Uninsured in Southwest Border States: The June 2000 EBRI Fact Sheet answers questions on the percentage of the population without health insurance in the Southwest border states, relative to the nation, and Hispanics who lack health insurance.

Value of Benefits Survey: "Most workers are generally satisfied with their employment-based benefits and continue to rank health care as the most important of their employee benefits, according to the findings of the 2000 Value of Benefits Survey conducted by WorldatWork in collaboration with the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)."

2000 Retirement Confidence Survey and Minority RCS: Results of the 2000 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) and the 2000 Minority RCS were released on May 16, 2000, at an event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Evaluating the Archer-Shaw Social Security Proposal:  Using the EBRI-SSASIM2 Policy Simulation Model, the June EBRI Notes article closely examines the Archer-Shaw 1999 proposal, which incorporates the key concept of individual accounts that Gov. Bush has endorsed.

Small Employer Retirement Survey (SERS): The 2000 Results of the survey are available.

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What's new in employee benefits:

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

If a title link above no longer works, click here for the GAO Index of Reports and Testimony, FY99, and search for the report by entering words or phrases from the title. Reports will also be added to GAO's searchable WAIS database in ASCII and PDF formats within 24 hours of the original posting. Any individual report may be retrieved directly in text and PDF formats with the following URL: http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?RPTNO replacing RPTNO with the report number (e.g., GAO/OCG-98-1).

 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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(7/31/00) The 2000 Retirement Guide issue of Fortune emphasizes investment strategies.

(7/28/00) The Association of Private Pension and Welfare Plans (APPWP) has posted a summary of the retirement savings provisions addressed in the Portman-Cardin bill (H.R. 1102) passed by the House July 19.

(7/28/00) The July/August 2000 issue of Health Affairs concentrates on state health policy; many articles are available in fulltext.

(7/28/00) "Raising Retirement Age: How Much of a Solution to Rising Support Burdens in the Developed World?" is a Data Digest from AARP's Public Policy Institute by Sara E. Rix. The report "examines the implications of population aging for retirement age policies in the United States and several other countries."

(7/28/00) According to a new Towers Perrin CompScan survey, companies are increasing amounts of stock for stock options and other stock-based incentives. For more information, go to the press release issued on July 11, 2000.

(7/27/00) Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence H. Summers spoke in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 25, 2000, at an investors' town hall meeting on the importance of saving and financial literacy for all Americans. Security and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt also participated in this event according to the press release.

(7/26/00) On July 19, 2000, the House Committee on Ways and Means passed H.R. 4865, Social Security Benefits Tax Relief Act of 2000, which would repeal some income taxes on Social Security benefits.

(7/26/00) The Medicare Rx 2000 Act, H.R. 4680, introduced in the House of Representatives on June 15, 2000, was passed by the House on June 28, 2000. This bill would provide a private-sector-based prescription drug plan to 39 million elderly and disabled people on Medicare.

By contrast, Senator William Roth, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, has proposed a government-administered prescription drug plan. The committee is expected to hold a closed-door meeting on this proposal with a possible vote later this month.

(7/25/00) Read "Part-Time Work and Hourly Wages" by Daniel Aaronson annd Eric French in the August 2000 issue of the Chicago Fed Letter published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

(7/25/00) Health Insurance: Purchasing and Privacy Online for Individuals and Small Groups is a new eHealth Report released today by the California HealthCare Foundation.

(7/25/00) A study released June 9 by the Blue Cross and Blue Association (BCBSA) evaluates the House association health plan (AHP) proposal in H.R. 2990.

(7/24/00) The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey has made new data available on the out-of-pocket health care expenses paid in the United States. The press release has links to two charts. The publications page has links to the full documents: Per Capita Health Care Expenses, 1996 and Distribution of Health Care Expenses, 1996.

(7/21/00) A new study released by Hewitt Associates, in conjunction with faculty and researchers from Harvard University and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, concerns the practice of automatic enrollment of employees in a company's 401(k) plan unless they specifically choose not to participate.

(7/20/00) The statement of Peter J. Tobiason on behalf of The Erisa Industry Committee before The Working Group on Benefit Continuity in Organizational Restructuring of The Erisa Advisory Council on July 18, 2000, is available.

(7/20/00) The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has announced a new publication series called "Just the Facts." The first issue, dated June 5, is titled: Household Borrowing From 401(k) Plans.

(7/20/00) Are the 100 Best Better? An Empirical Investigation of the Relationship Between Being a Best Employer and Firm Performance discusses Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work for in America" and their financial performance. Hewitt Associates has posted the press release about the report.

(7/20/00) The National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics has submitted the "Report to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services on Uniform Data Standards for Patient Medical Record Information as required by the Administrative Simplification Provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996" (HIPAA).

(7/20/00) Results from a recent Gallup Poll question, "Regardless of who wins the election, what single issue or challenge are you most interested in having the next president address when he takes office next January?" shows that Social Security and health care were two of the top three answers.

(7/20/00) The Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA) has posted "Coverage Status Of Workers Under Employer Provided Pension Plans: Findings From the Contingent Work Supplement to the February, 1999 Current Population Survey."

(7/18/00) Switzerland's National Retirement Approach is a Heritage Foundation lecture by David Harris dated July 14, 2000.

(7/18/00) The complete text of H.R.4843, the Comprehensive Retirement Security and Pension Reform Act of 2000, as approved by the Ways and Means Committee this past Thursday is now available.

(7/17/00) Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has introduced S.2853, a bill to encourage employers to let individuals work part-time while enjoying partial retirement benefits. In the House of Representatives, Rep. Earl Pomeroy introduced the same proposal, H.R. 4837, The Phased Retirement Liberalization Act. The press release contains further information on the Grassley/Pomeroy proposals.

(7/17/00) In March 2000, employer costs for employee compensation for U.S. civilian workers (private industry and State and local government) averaged $21.16 per hour worked, the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on June 29, 2000,  in a news releaseEmployer Costs for Employee Compensation, 1986-99, a March 2000 publication, is also available online.

(7/14/00) H.R. 4843, the Comprehensive Retirement Security and Pension Reform Act of 2000, with the official title To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for retirement security and pension reform, was introduced on July 13, 2000, by Rep. Bill Archer.  The bill would allow workers to increase pension plan contributions among other provisions.

(7/14/00) Integrated benefits: Who Has the Key to the Health Care Data Warehouse? by Vicki Lankarge of Insure.com reports on results of Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) work including a June 2000 IBI health and productivity study.

(7/13/00) The New York Times on the Web reported today that the International Business Machines Corporation has established a $50 million fund to aid employees with child and elder care.

(7/13/00) The New York Times has provided a page to search for a doctor, dentist, hospital, or health plan, by specialty or location: Healthcare Provider Search.

(7/12/00) H.R.1102, the Comprehensive Retirement Security and Pension Reform Act bill, also known as the Portman-Cardin Plan, was introduced in the House on March 11, 1999, by Rep. Rob Portman. The bill would allow workers to increase contributions to pension plans, including IRAs.

(7/12/00) Hewitt Associates provides a chart titled: Worldwide Vacation Allowances Manadated for Employees With One Year of Service (1999 data).

(7/12/00) "Message to Japan: Beware the Defined Contribution Plan" by Les Lohmann is a feature article in the American Academy of Actuaries' July/August 2000 issue of Contingencies.

(7/11/00) Dateline "Brookline, MA, June 23, 2000 -- The 10 million people in the United States with employee stock options -- and millions more worldwide -- now have a free Web site devoted to all of their complex personal finance challenges, questions, and information needs. myStockOptions.com combines meaningful original content, calculators, an online options record keeper, modeling tools, a discussion forum, and "Ask the Experts" in an attractive, intuitive Web interface."

(7/10/00) The latest issue of Capital Checkup, The Segal Company's periodic electronic newsletter summarizing activity in Washington with respect to health care and related subjects, discusses the new DOL guidance on Form M-1 filings, Medicare's reimbursement for all routine patient care costs for those in clinical trials, and the HHS finding that nonconfinement clauses violate HIPAA.

(7/10/00) The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has added an Inflation Calculator  to the Consumer Price Indexes page.  The calculator can compare prices of goods and services for all the years since 1913.

(7/10/00) What Happens To Replacement Rates Over The Course of Retirement?, by Eugene Steuerle and Christopher Spiro, is number 25 in the Urban Institute series "Straight Talk on Social Security and Retirement Policy."

(7/10/00) A new chartbook by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Health Care Trends and Indicators in California and the United States, compares key trends and indicators in California's health care system with those in the rest of the country.

(7/10/00) The New York State Health Accountability Foundation's NY State HMO Report Card 2000 can be viewed on-line.

(7/10/00) A new study (Data Bulletin #17) released by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) is titled: " Patients Concerned about Insurer Influences."

(7/7/00) The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania discusses the fact that benefits for gay employees are still not easily attainable in a short article titled Booming Economy Encourages More Gay-Friendly Companies.

(7/7/00) The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) seeks public comments on how the agency should deal with certain valuation issues raised by terminated cash balance pension plans with variable indices. Comments are due to PBGC by September 22, 2000.

(7/6/00) The Choose to Save education program has linked to more than 100 financial calculators on its Web site to help with a wide array of financial planning issues including credit, home mortgage, and budgeting.

(7/6/00) Pension Reform in Sweden: Lessons for American Policymakers by Göran Normann and Daniel J. Mitchell is about Sweden's pension system which is similar to the United States Social Security system.

(7/6/00) The Social Security full-retirement age will gradually be raised beginning with people born in 1938 or later, from 65 to 67 for people born after 1959. Click here for background information on this change, as well as a chart that shows the steps in which the age will increase.

(7/6/00) Prices and Earnings around the Globe: An International Comparison of Purchasing Power provides a global comparison of wage and price levels in 56 cities around the world. The survey appears every three years (most recent edition available is 1997) in German, French, and English.

(7/1/00) First Consulting Group has posted a report titled: Where Will the Road to E-Health Lead? Ten E-Health Trends about electronic trends in the health care market.

(7/1/00) The Investor Responsibility Research Center (IRRC) has posted a newsletter, Labor's Money, focused solely on money management for Taft-Hartley pension funds.

(7/1/00) The Many Faces of Educational Benefits: Characteristics of and Opinions About Educational Benefit Programs is a January 2000, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans' report on a survey of a random sample of corporate members.

(7/1/00) The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released new data about the cost of health care.

(7/1/00) The Human Rights Campaign provides a complete list of companies that offer domestic partner benefits.

(7/1/00) BenefitsLink has provided a listing of all recent benefits-related IRS documents -- revenue rulings, revenue procedures, announcements, notices, news releases, technical advice memoranda and general counsel memoranda -- available on the BenefitsLink site. Also available elsewhere is a longer listing that includes a short description of each document.

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Updated 7/31/00