What's New

What's New - March 2000

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What's new at EBRI this month:

EBRI EDUCATION BRIEFING:

Retirement Plans, Personal Saving, and Saving Adequacy
Date: Friday, March 31, 2000
Time: 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Location: HC-5, U.S. Capital Building

RSVP: Danny Devine at EBRI at (202) 775-6308 or devine@ebri.org

The EBRI Issue Brief and EBRI Notes for the month of March are available online for ordering. The March Issue Brief is entitled "Retirement Plans, Personal Saving, and Saving Adequacy." The March Notes articles are "The Relationship Between Income and the Uninsured"  and "Health Insurance Coverage and the Near Elderly, 1998."

Savings Game Special: On Wednesday April 5, 2000, WJLA-TV Channel 7 will air the third "Savings Game" Choose to Save® special from 9pm - 10pm in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. The special offers various tips on retirement preparedness, educational resources, and a special surprise for our viewers.

EBRI-ERF Policy Forum: The next EBRI-ERF policy forum, "The Economic Costs of the Uninsured: Implications for Business and Government" will be held on May 3, 2000, in Washington, DC. Click here for the agenda and links to background materials, as they become available.

New EBRI/ICI Analysis: The average account balance for active 401(k) participants grew by 26 percent from 1996 to 1998, largely due to the continuing bull market in equities, according to the latest analysis by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and the Investment Company Institute (ICI).

EBRI Notes (February 2000): Click here for the executive summary of the two articles "Medicare Beneficiaries With Dual Sources of Coverage"   and "Retirement Annuity and Employment-Based Pension Income."

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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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(3/30/00) The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) released March 29, 2000, its 1999 Annual Report. Click here for the press release, from which you may link to the full report.

(3/30/00) The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) issued March 27, 2000, Technical Update 00-2, 2000 Model Participant Notice. "The Retirement Protection Act of 1994 requires certain underfunded plans to notify participants and beneficiaries annually of the plan's funding status and the limits of PBGC's guarantee. (See Section 4011 of ERISA and 29 CFR Part 4011.) The regulation includes a model notice that plans can use to meet this requirement. For the convenience of plan administrators, this Technical Update republishes the Model Participant Notice, updated to reflect the 2000 maximum guaranteed benefits.

(3/30/00) The 2000 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds was issued on March 30, 2000.

(3/30/00) The 2000 Annual Reports of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds have been posted.

(3/28/00) The American College of Physicians/American Society of Internal Medicine recently released No Health Insurance? It's Enough to Make You Sick: Latino Community at Great Risk. Click here for the press release.

(3/28/00) The Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health National Survey on Health Care and the 2000 Elections was released on January 19, 2000.

(3/27/00) InvestmentSeek.com provides access to the 1999 Nelson's Pension Fund Consultant Survey. This is a summary of the findings from Nelson's latest survey of pension fund consultants and the plan sponsors who hire them. This survey reports on the usage of consultants by plan sponsors with assets [of] about $100 million. The consultants are ranked by three measures: number of client relationships, total assets of their sponsor clients, and average sponsor asset size.

(3/27/00) William M. Mercer, Inc., has released a survey entitled Managing Multinational Retirement Programs. Click here for a summary of the survey report from which you may link to the survey.

(3/27/00) Watson Wyatt Worldwide recently released its Fifth Annual Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care, conducted jointly by Watson Wyatt Worldwide, the Washington Business Group on Health (WBGH) and the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

  • Click here to read the press release.
  • Click here to go to a summary of the survey report entitled Putting Employees in Charge: A Survey of Employers, Health Care Providers and Health Plans.

(3/27/00) The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, released a survey on March 10, 2000, entitled Medicare + Choice HMO Extra Benefits: Beneficiary Perspectives.

(3/27/00) In its Issue Brief #28, the Center for Studying Health System Change released a study March 9, 2000, entitled "Do HMOs Make A Difference? Comparing Access, Service Use and Satisfaction Between Consumers in HMOs and Non-HMOs."

(3/23/00) The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has posted a February 2000 working paper Large Bank Retirement Services: A Comparative Practices Study by Douglas Robertson, Jim Cambruzzi, Kevin Jacques, Peter Nigro, Bill Pate, Hugh Rich, and Art Steele. "This report analyzes information examiners gathered in the second half of 1998 from large national banks that offer retirement services. The information provides insight on these banks' strategic plans for retirement services, the banks' assessment of the risks associated with retirement services, their risk management processes, and how banks operate their 401(k) retirement services."

(3/23/00) This article is adapted from a paper Robert L. Brown presented at the Retirement 2000 conference, which was cosponsored by the American Academy of Actuaries: Productivity Gains Could Ease Baby Boom Retirement Crunch.

(3/23/00) The Internal Revenue Service has issued new rules on the tax treatment of cafeteria plans. "These proposed regulations provide guidance on cafeteria plan election changes for accident and health coverage, group term life insurance coverage, dependent care assistance and adoption assistance. When finalized, the regulations will affect many businesses, nonprofit organizations and individuals. The full text of the notice of proposed rulemaking for the proposed regulations can be found in the Federal Register for March 23, 2000." The IRS has said that the rules can be used immediately even though there is not yet a formal effective date.

(3/23/00) The Internal Revenue Service has issued final regulations relating to section 125 cafeteria plans. The final regulations clarify the circumstances under which a section 125 cafeteria plan election may be changed. The final regulations permit an employer to allow a section 125 cafeteria plan participant to revoke an existing election and make a new election during a period of coverage for accident or health coverage or group-term life insurance coverage. These regulations are effective March 23, 2000.

(3/23/00) EBRI's Paul Yakoboski is cited in the February 2000 issue of Mutual Funds in the article "What's Ahead for 457s."

(3/22/00) Plan Sponsor Exchange, Inc. has changed its name to Investorforce.Com.

(3/22/00) The Budgetary Treatment of Personal Retirement Accounts is a March 21, 2000, report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

3/22/00) The Hudson Institute has recently published Health Care 2020: The Coming Collapse of Employer-Provided Health Care. Click here for the press release.

(3/22/00) The Albany Law School Web site provides a guide to Some Basic Tax Research Materials and how to use them.

(3/22/00) Hewitt Associates has posted the following reports:

(3/21/00) The U. S. Department of Labor’s Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA) published March 14 a notice adopting the Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (VFCP), which will help plan officials quickly and completely correct certain employee benefit plan violations. Click here to read a fact sheet about the program.  Click here for the press release.

(3/21/00) The Department of Health and Human Services has released its proposed medical records privacy regulations, which would also apply to data held by employer health plans. Click here to read Proposed Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information.

(3/20/00) Click here for the Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate of March 15, 2000, for H.R. 1304, Quality Health-Care Coalition Act of 1999 As introduced on March 25, 1999.

(3/20/00) Click here for the March 2000, Issue Brief from the Health Insurance Association of America "Why Do Health Insurance Premiums Rise?"

(3/17/00) The World Bank recently published Managing Public Pension Reserves Part I: Evidence from the International Experience by Robert Palacios and Augusto Iglesias [Social Protection Discussion Paper No. 0003; Publication Date: 01/2000]. Click here for the abstract which provides a link to the fulltext in pdf format.

(3/17/00) Towers Perrin publishes Worldwide Pay and Benefits Headlines. Click here for the January/February 2000 issue.

(3/17/00) Gail Wilensky, senior fellow at Project Hope and chair of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, offered her analysis of managed care and Medicare during a presentation on March 3 at the Leonard Davis Institute Health Policy Seminar Series.

(3/16/00) Duke University, Center for Health Policy, Law and Management's Health Policy Cyberexchange provides an extensive set of links to international, federal, state, local, and research organizations, and to health media and journals. Also, of particular interest, are the set of Health Data Sources and the Key Health Policy Issue Areas section which lists health policy related reports.

(3/16/00) The Life Office Management Association, Inc. (LOMA) provides an extensive glossary of insurance terms at InsWeb.

(3/15/00) The National Council on Teacher Retirement (NCTR) has released the third edition of The Preservation of Defined Benefit Plans, a resource book which explains how defined benefit plans work very well for teachers and other public employees. The publication also provides an update on efforts in 1998 and 1999 to convert defined benefit plans into defined contribution plans.

(3/15/00) Pending Patient Protection Legislation: A Comparative Analysis of Key Provisions of the House and Senate Versions of H.R. 2990 has been prepared for the Kaiser Family Foundation by Phyllis Borzi and Sara Rosenbaum of the Center for Health Services Research and Policy, The George Washington University Medical Center.

(3/15/00) The Cash Balance Debate: A Legislative Overview (12/2/99) by Tom Dawson has been posted by the Financial Executives Institute.

(3/14/00) Automatic Enrollment 2000: A Study of Automatic Enrollment Features in 401(k) Plans was released March 2, 2000, by the Profit Sharing/ 401(k) Council of America (PSCA).

(3/14/00) Click here for "IRA Ownership in 1999," published in Fundamentals, December 1999, by the The Investment Company Institute.

(3/14/00) Brian Graff, Executive Director of the American Society of Pension Actuaries, has written a BenefitsLink guest article, "Small Business Retirement Plans Will Terminate Due to Potential Treasury Changes to Qualified Plan Regulations: More Time is Needed to Study the Issue."

(3/13/00) Click here for Plan Sponsor's annual Defined Benefit Client Satisfaction Survey for the year 2000.

(3/13/00) The AFL-CIO recently released the year 2000 edition of the Ask a Working Woman survey, reflecting issues of importance to working women. Click here for the press release.

(3/13/00) Click here to read an executive summary of Health Promotion/Managed Health Provided by Major U.S. Employers in 1999 from the Hewitt Associates' survey.

(3/13/00) An Analysis of the President's Budgetary Proposals for Fiscal Year 2001: A Preliminary Report was released by The Congressional Budget Office, March 9.

(3/13/00) The Employment Policy Foundation released March 1, 2000, a Policy Backgrounder titled: "Patients' Bill of Rights: A Step Toward Expanding the Ranks of the Uninsured."

(3/10/00) The resource site for information about Defined Care presents an article: Defined Care: Introducing the Term for the Emerging Health Care System of the 21st Century by Clive Riddle, President, Managed Care Online (MCOL), March 2000.

(3/10/00) The European Commission released a report in November 1999 entitled The Economic Consequences of Ageing Populations by K. Mc Morrow and W. Roeger which examines the issue in the EU, the U.S. and Japan.

(3/10/00) "The Liberated, Exploited, Pampered, Frazzled, Uneasy New American Worker" is the title of the New York Times Magazine issue for March 5, 2000.

(3/10/00) Click here for a Tax Alert from Ernest & Young LLP: "Proposed Regulations Issued on Compensation Reduction Arrangements for Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits."

(3/10/00) The American Association of Health Plans has issued a report, Improving Access to Health Insurance: Now and in the Future, on their proposals to expand health insurance coverage for low-income, uninsured employees.

(3/10/00) Third Millennium released a new study: The President's Medicare Plan: The Costs for 21st Century Workers by Dr. Laurence J. Kotlikoff.

(3/9/00) Retirement Income Programs: An Inventory of Data/Information Available at Statistics Canada is available free on Statistics Canada's Web site.

(3/8/00) Who Pays the Payroll Tax? Understanding the Tax and Income Dynamics of the Social Security Program by D. Mark Wilson, a report of the Heritage Center for Data Analysis, is posted.

(3/8/000 The International Group Program (IGP) is a network of major life insurance companies (Associate Insurers) working throughout the world to meet the group insurance and pension needs of international corporations and their subsidiaries. IGP Country Profiles provide information regarding the social security system and customary private benefit practice in numerous countries. When you reach the site, click on Country Info and News for summaries of the available country profiles.

(3/7/00) InterStudy HMO Forecasting Report is available online in an executive summary format, made available on the Web by MCO Executives Online. Billed by InterStudy as "a ground-breaking new report for the managed care industry. This report projects HMO enrollments and other statistics at the national, state, metro, and plan level to the year 2005."

(3/7/00) Cash Balance Plans & Other Hybrid Links is a topic on the RETIREMENT, HEALTHCARE & LTC RESEARCH STATION section of M. OKUBO'S HOMEPAGE.

(3/7/00) The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has posted Retirement Trends and Policies to Encourage Work Among Older Americans by Gary Burtless and Joseph F. Quinn.

(3/6/00) The "Retirement 2000" conference, held February 23-24, 2000, in Washington, D.C., was sponsored by the Society of Actuaries and four other organizations, with eight additional cooperating organizations. Two papers from the conference are below:

 (3/6/00) The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) released February 29 "its new Health Plan Report Card, the first and only resource on the Web to give consumers free access to comprehensive information about the clinical performance, member satisfaction, access to care and overall quality of the nation's managed care plans."

(3/3/00) The President has proposed providing paid family leave for new parents funded by state unemployment insurance (UI) trust funds without subjecting these workers to work tests. Click here for the Employment Policy Foundation's analysis of the proposal.

(3/2/00) Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate of H.R. 5: Senior Citizens' Freedom to Work Act of 2000: As Ordered Reported by the House Committee on Ways and Means on February 29, 2000, is available.

(3/2/00) President Clinton released February 29 a new report called America’s Seniors and Medicare: Challenges for Today and Tomorrow, providing a state-by-state snapshot of the demographic and health care challenges confronting Medicare.  Click here for the press release.

(3/1/00) A Behavioral Model for Predicting Employee Contributions to 401(k) Plans: Preliminary Results by Jack VanDerhei, Craig Copeland, and Carol Quick was prepared for Retirement 2000: A Multi-Disciplinary Symposium.  Click below to read the paper.

http://www.sbm.temple.edu/~jvanderh/final%20draft%20modified%20on%20feb%2020.pdf

(3/1/00) "Greg Anrig, vice president for programs at The Century Foundation, looks at a proposed savings vehicle, Universal Voluntary Accounts (UVAs), in the newest idea brief in The Century Foundation’s series, Ideas2000: New Ideas for a New Century.  In A Plan for Increasing Personal Savings, Anrig examines this new strategy for helping American families save more for their retirement needs...."

(3/1/00) The GE Center for Financial Learning was developed to promote financial literacy.

(3/1/00) A special communication in the January 26, 2000, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has implications for workers' compensation: "Recommendations to Guide Revision of the Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment."

(3/1/00) The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Economic Review, vol. 35, no. 4 (1999 Quarter 4), includes an article entitled "Population Aging and Fiscal Policy in Europe and the United States" by Jagadeesh Gokhale and Bernd Raffelh├╝schen, comparing population aging and fiscal policy in 13 European countries and the United States.

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Updated 3/31/00