What's New

What's New - May 2001

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What's new at EBRI this month:

The executive summary of the May 2001 EBRI Issue Brief: "Employment-Based Health Benefits: Trends and Outlook"

The executive summary of the May 2001 EBRI Notes: "Social Security: Not All Reform Approaches Are Equal"

May 22nd Lunch & Learn on 401(k) Plans:  The Senate/House Steering Committee on Retirement Security sponsored a Lunch & Learn on May 22nd from Noon - 1:00 in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 562.  The Lunch & Learn discussed results from the ongoing collaborative 401(k) plan data collection project between the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and the Investment Company Institute (ICI) that contains data on 10.3 million active 401(k) plan participants (about 26 percent of all 401(k) plan participants) in more than 32,000 plans with about $573 billion in assets (about 35 percent of all 401(k) assets).  The data was presented by Jack VanDerhei, Temple University and EBRI Fellow, and Sarah Holden, ICI. 

Small Employer Retirement Survey: EBRI released the results of the 2001 Small Employer Retirement Survey (SERS) on May 16, 2001, in Washington, DC.

Retirement Confidence Survey: EBRI released the results of the 2001 Retirement Confidence  Survey (RCS) and the Minority RCS on May 10, 2001, in Washington, DC, at the National Press  Club. 

PlanSponsor.com Question and Answer: In a three-part series beginning May 9, EBRI president Dallas Salisbury discusses the effects of the move away from DB plans, followed by why plan sponsors may find themselves in a strategic, profit-generating role.

The Portman-Cardin pension reform bill: EBRI has various resources and background papers available for reporters covering this issue, including:

Parents, Youth & Money: As a followup to the 1999 Youth & Money Survey, the Employee  Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and the American Savings Education Council (ASEC) released the 2001 Parents, Youth & Money Survey on April 12, 2001, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.  The survey looks at how parents interact with their children on financial issues.  For more information, contact Danny Devine or Variny Paladino.

Statement of Dallas L. Salisbury for the ERISA Advisory Council, Working Group on Preparing for Retirement, on April 9, 2001.

Statement of Paul Fronstin for the ERISA Advisory Council, Working Group on Challenges to the Employment-Based Health Care System, on April 10, 2001.

Statement of Dallas L. Salisbury for the ERISA Advisory Council, Working Group Studying Increasing Pension Coverage, on April 9, 2001.

Testimony of Dallas L. Salisbury before the Committee on Education and the Workforce, Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing on H.R. 10, The Comprehensive Retirement Security & Pension Reform Act on April 5, 2001.

Testimony of Paul Fronstin before the Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Health, U. S. House of Representatives, Hearing on Health Insurance Coverage and Uninsured Americans, April 4, 2001.

Testimony of Dallas L. Salisbury before the United States House of Representatives, Committee on Small Business Hearing held March 28, 2001, on Pension Reform for Small Business.

Statement of Paul Fronstin written for the United States Senate Finance Committee, Hearing on Living Without Health Insurance: Who's Uninsured and Why? held March 13, 2001.

The Consumer Health Education Council (CHEC) was founded in 1998.  Ray Werntz became CHEC's first president in 1999.  CHEC was established to heighten awareness among individuals and employers about the importance of health insurance.  In collaboration with partners and government liaisons, CHEC has sought, and continues to seek, a leadership role in the education of consumers and employers about health care and health insurance coverage in order that they may better understand and make informed choices about these issues.  Toward this end, the CHEC Web site includes the following main sections:

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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:

Mutual Fund Fees: SEC's Report Provides Useful Information and Recommends Improved Fee Disclosure. GAO-01-655R, May 3, 2001.

Nursing Workforce: Recruitment and Retention of Nurses and Nurse Aides Is a Growing Concern, by William J. Scanlon, managing director, health care issues, before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. GAO-01-750T, May 17, 2001.

Medicare: Cost Sharing Policies Problematic for Beneficiaries and Program, by William J. Scanlon, managing director, health care issues, before the Subcommittee on Health, House Committee on Ways and Means. GAO-01-713T, May 9, 2001.

Information Related to the Scope and Complexity of the Federal Tax System. GAO-01-301R, April 6, 2001.

Medical Privacy Regulation: Questions Remain About Implementing the New Consent Requirement.  GAO-01-584, April 6, 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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(5/31/01) The May 29 Compliance Alert, The Segal Company’s periodic electronic newsletter presents an “Overview of Title VI of HR 1836, as Passed by Congress.”  It “summarizes the provisions in H.R. 1836 that are most likely to be of interest to sponsors of employer-funded retirement plans.  (The provisions are marked to indicate the types of plan sponsors for which they are most likely to be of interest: C for corporate, PS for public sector and M for multiemployer.)”

(5/30/01) On May 26, 2001, the U.S. House and Senate approved a final compromise tax relief bill, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (H.R. 1836).  Click here for the final statutory text of the bill.  Go to pages 91-175 for the retirement savings provisions.

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Rules has posted a “Summary of Provisions Contained in the Conference Agreement for H.R. 1836, The Economic Growth & Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001” (prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation) and a “Joint Explanatory Statement,” which compares the House, Senate, and final version of this bill.

The American Benefits Council has posted a chart titled “Major Retirement Savings Provisions,” comparing current law, House, Senate, and final provisions of Title VI, “Pension and Individual Retirement Arrangement Provisions” from the “Joint Explanatory Statement” cited above.

This version of the chart from the American Benefits Council compares only current law and the final provisions of Title VI of the tax bill.

Additionally, Plan Sponsor magazine has posted “Pension Reform Provisions of The Economic Growth & Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001”; while the Profit Sharing/401k Council of America has posted a document detailing the Internal Revenue Code sections affected by the changes to retirement savings provisions resulting from the passage of H.R. 1836.

The Joint   Committee on Taxation has posted “Estimated Budget Effects of the Conference Agreement on H.R. 1836, the Tax Bill.”  (JCX-51-01, May 26, 2001. For Fiscal Years 2001 - 2011)

(5/25/01) Click here to preview the forthcoming book from the University of Chicago Press: Coping with the Pension Crisis: Where Does Europe Stand?  The papers, preliminary drafts unless otherwise noted, will become chapters in the conference volume being edited by Martin Feldstein and Horst Siebert. 

(5/25/01) In a press release dated May 22, 2001, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research announced key findings from its report titled “Uninsured Californians in Assembly and Senate Districts, 2000.”  The report was conducted in collaboration with The California Endowment.

 (5/25/01) The Federal Reserve Bank of New York features an article titled “Stocks in the Household Portfolio: A Look Back at the 1990s” by Joseph Tracy and Henry Schneider in the April 2001 issue of Current Issues in Economics and Finance.

 (5/24/01 The International Longevity Center issued a press release on January 2, 2001, announcing key findings from a report titled “The Incidence of Job Loss: The Shift from Younger to Older Workers 1981-1996.”

(5/24/01) The National Center for Employee Ownership has posted an executive summary of its publication titled “Current Practices in Stock Option Plan Design.”

(5/24/01) Click here for the summary, titled “Proceed With Caution: A Report on the Quality of Health Information on the Internet,” from the report, “Health Information on the Internet: Accessibility, Quality, and Readability in English and Spanish,” in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association.

(5/23/01) The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has made available a December 2000 working paper titled “Savings of Young Parents,” by Annamaria Lusardi, Ricardo Cossa, and Erin L. Krupka.

(5/23/01) The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has made available a December 2000 study titled “Delivery of Financial Literacy Programs” by Maude Toussaint-Comeau and Sherrie L.W. Rhine.

(5/22/01) A recent Gallup poll deals with Americans’ personal finances and retirement planning.

(5/22/01) The Society of Actuaries site includes EBRI in its Acronym Listing page which provides full names/words for acronyns from ABP, MEPPAA, and MUMPS to YTD.

(5/22/01) Feeling Overworked: When Work Becomes Too Much, a new study from Families and Work Institute and supporter PricewaterhouseCoopers, was released May 16, 2001.

(5/22/01) The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced in a news release “the selection of the 18 members of the first Tax Exempt/Government Entities Advisory Committee (TEAC).  The group will serve as an organized public forum for the IRS and representatives who deal with employee plans, exempt organizations, tax-exempt bonds, and federal, state, local and Indian tribal governments.  The TEAC will allow the IRS to receive regular input on administrative policy and programs affecting these customer groups.”

(5/22/01) The April 2001 issue of Monthly Labor Review Online includes the article “Changing Retirement Age: Ups and Downs” by William J. Wiatrowski.

(5/21/01) The Actuarial Education and Research Fund Homepage site contains a list of sites to “provide information regarding research papers, reports, studies, journals, articles & discussion forums relating to Finance, Health, Life, Pension, Property & Casualty.”

(5/21/01) A recent conference organized by Wharton's Pension Research Council titled Benefits for the Workplace of Tomorrow addressed the issue of “Shifting U.S. Population Calls for New Approaches to Employee Benefits.”

(5/18/01) The TIAA-CREF Institute has established a Web site. The mission of the “TIAA-CREF Institute is to broaden and strengthen TIAA-CREF’s longstanding leadership role in supporting lifelong financial security for individuals and their families.  The Institute’s fields of research and education include:

Pension and retirement issues,
Health, life and long-term care insurance,
Investment products and strategies,
Endowments and planned giving,
Higher education financing and trends,
Corporate governance, and,
Financial literacy

(5/18/01) In a press release dated March 13, 2001, American Express Retirement Services released key findings from its 2000 participant satisfaction survey.

(5/17/01) On April 24, 2001, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a press release titled “U.S. Chamber Finds Employee Benefits Add More Than A Third to Payroll Costs,” which announced key findings from its latest Employee Benefits Study.

(5/17/01) The Social Security Administration has added new features to its Web site:

(5/17/01) A May 2001 report by The National Institute for Health Care Management Research and Educational Foundation (NIHCM Foundation) is titled Prescription Drug Expenditures in 2000: The Upward Trend Continues.

(5/17/01) The National Council on Teacher Retirement has posted the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds’ Wisconsin Transitional Retirement Study titled Changing the Look of Retirement

(5/17/01)   freeERISA.com has added a new database of Common or Collective Trusts which provides summary information on plan sponsors who participate in Common or Collective Trusts managed by banks, trust companies and other investment entities.  The site has also launched the "Benefits Forum" -- a new section of the web site where experts provide in-depth analysis and discussion of current pension and benefits topics.

(5/16/01) The National Committee for Quality Assurance has enhanced its online Health Plan Report Card   by adding information on.preferred provider organizations (PPOs).

(5/16/01) Mutual Fund Connection, the website of the Investment Company Institute has posted the 2001 edition of the Mutual Fund Fact Book.

(5/16/01) In a press release dated March 12, 2001, Towers Perrin released key findings from its report titled “Global Capital Market Update: Review of Year 2000 Results for Pension Plans in Selected Countries.”

(5/16/01) In a press release dated May 1, 2001, Towers Perrin released key findings from its survey titled “Facing Health Care Challenges in an Era of Change.”

(5/14/01) The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) released May 1, 2001, the second edition of Quality Profiles™: In Pursuit of Excellence in Managed Care, a publication produced with support from Pfizer Inc. that catalogs notable quality improvement (QI) efforts from NCQA-Accredited health plans.

(5/14/01) "Assumptions Used To Project Social Security's Financial Condition" is the American Association of Actuaries’ May 2001 Issue Brief.

(5/14/01) Click here for the 2000 Annual Report of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas: “Have a Nice Day! The American Journey to Better Working Conditions.”

(5/14/01) The U.S. Department of Labor’s Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration has posted the Winter 2001 edition of the Private Pension Plan Bulletin -- Abstract of 1997 Form 5500 Annual Reports.

(5/14/01) On February 15, 2001, Sen. John Breaux introduced in the U.S. Senate S. 358, “Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act of 2001.”  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(5/14/01) On March 8, 2001, Sen. Judd Gregg introduced in the U.S. Senate S. 489, “A bill to amend the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to clarify the Act, and for other purposes.”  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(5/14/01) On March 29, 2001, Rep. Steny Hoyer introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R. 1307, “To amend chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code, to increase the Government contribution for Federal employee health insurance.”  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(5/10/01) The April 2001 issue of KPMG's Benefits Spectrum on the Web contains the following articles:

  • 2001 FICA, FUTA, and Income Tax Withholding on Selected Employee Benefits - Part I: Health, Welfare, and Fringe Benefits

  • Ninth Circuit Finds Fiduciary Breached Duty By Not Informing Beneficiary of Arbitration Rights

  • DOL Letter Discusses Treatment of Welfare Plans on Demutualization

  • Contribution of Stock That Reduced Employer's Obligation to Plan Is a Prohibited Transaction

(5/10/01) The National Retiree Legislative Network, Inc. (NRLN) is a nonprofit social welfare organization started by several large corporate retiree organizations.

(5/10/01) The May/June 2001 issue of Health Affairs includes  “Corporate Health Care Purchasing Among Fortune 500 Firms” by James Maxwell, Peter Temin, and Corey Watts.

(5/9/01) “Disentangling the Wealth Effect: A Cohort Analysis of Household Saving in the 1990s” by Dean M. Maki and Michael G. Palumbo has been published by the Federal Reserve Board.  Click here for the abstract where a link to the full paper is provided.

(5/9/01) The Census Bureau released Household Net Worth And Asset Ownership: 1995 based on national data on the characteristics of householders.

 (5/9/01) The Internal Revenue Service has announced its new quarterly electronic newsletter called Employee Plans News.  The Spring 2001 issue has been posted with an option to subscribe to future editions.

 (5/9/01) In a press release dated May 1, 2001, OppenheimerFunds announced key findings from its Gen X Women Survey.  The survey was commissioned by OppenheimerFunds and conducted in collaboration with Third Millennium and The Sutra Foundation.

(5/9/01) In a press release dated May 7, 2001, LIMRA International announced key findings from a report titled “U.S. Small Businesses in 2000: A Dynamic Market.”

(5/9/01) On March 15, 2001, Rep. Robert Andrews introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R. 1062, “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a credit against income tax to C corporations which have substantial employee ownership and to encourage stock ownership by employees by excluding from gross income stock paid as compensation for services, and for other purposes.”  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(5/9/01) On March 15, 2001, Rep. Robert Andrews introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R. 1064, "Screening Mammography Act of 2001."   A Bill Summary & Status is available.

 (5/9/01) On March 15, 2001, Rep. Gerald Kleczka introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R. 1078, "Broken Promises Retiree Health Coverage Act of 2001."  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(5/9/01) On March 15, 2001, Senator Pete Domenici introduced in the U.S. Senate S. 543, "Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act of 2001."  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(5/8/01) In a press release dated April 24, 2001, John Hancock Financial Services announced key findings from its latest survey of defined contribution plan participants.

(5/8/01) On February 13, 2001, Rep. Jo Ann Emerson introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R. 578, “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow penalty-free distributions from qualified retirement plans on account of the death or disability of the participant's spouse.”   A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(5/8/01) On February 13, 2001, Rep. Louise Slaughter introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R. 602, “To prohibit discrimination on the basis of genetic information with respect to health insurance.”  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(5/8/01) On March 1, 2001, Rep. Pete Sessions introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R. 849, "Savings Account for Every American Act of 2001."  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(5/8/01) The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM) issued a press release announcing key findings of a study titled “Unmet Health Needs of Uninsured Adults in America.”  The study was coauthored with the Harvard Medical School and was published in the October 25, 2000, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

(5/7/01) U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Acting Chairman Laura Unger announced May 3 that the agency had launched an online survey to learn more about how investors are using the Internet in making investment decisions.  The survey will be posted on the SEC's Web site until July 1.

(5/7/01) The National Adoption Information Clearinghouse Web site titled: Adopt: Assistance Information Support presents Adoption Benefits: Employers as Partners in Family Building.

(5/7/01) On April 27, 2001, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released Fatal Occupational Injuries -- United States, 1980-1997.

(5/3/01) On May 2, 2001, the White House issued the following press releases:

(5/3/01) The Social Security Administration has posted a Fact Sheet titled “President Bush Establishes New Social Security Commission.”

(5/2/01) CNN.com has posted an article on a new White House panel aimed at overhauling Social Security.    The 16-member Moynihan-Parsons Commission on Social Security will be led by former Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-New York, and Richard Parsons, chief operating officer of CNN's parent company, AOL Time Warner.

(5/2/01) The XPDNC Labour Directory includes a “Benefits Programs” set of links to union sites with posted benefit programs and to benefits-related organizations.

(5/2/01) The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has introduced a new feature on its web site: summaries of 30 ongoing research projects on Social Security, private pensions, and household saving.

(5/2/01) The U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation has posted “A Study of the Overall State of the Federal Tax System and Recommendations for Simplification, Pursuant to Section 8022(3)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986” (JCS-3-01).

(5/2/01) Click here to read “Cash Balance Plan Update 2001,” the Kilpatrick Stockton Legal Alert, April 2001.

(5/1/01) On April 25, 2001, the U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation released “Estimated Revenue Effects of H.R.10, ‘The Comprehensive Retirement Security and Pension Reform Act of 2001,’ As Ordered Reported by the Committee on Ways and Means on April 25, 2001, Fiscal Years 2002 - 2011.”

(5/1/01) The U.S. Department of Labor has posted The Secretary’s 21st Century Workforce Initiative Web site in conjunction with the new Office of the 21st Century Workforce created by Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao in anticipation of the changing needs of workers in the new global economy.  Suggestions, questions, or comments about this office are welcome.

(5/1/01) On April 25, 2001, Towers Perrin issued a press release announcing key findings from its survey titled “Managing Global Pension Assets.”

(5/1/01) Blue Cross Blue Shield Association in Washington, DC, has posted a report conducted by the Robert E. Nolan Company titled “Analysis of HHS Cost Estimates for the Final HIPAA Privacy Regulation.”

(5/1/01) “Defined Contributions: The Search for a New Vision,” Issue Brief  #37, April 2001, from the Center for Studying Health System Change concerns defined contribution health benefits.

(5/1/01) Employee Portals: Embracing 'Disruptive Technology' concerns health plans, purchasers, and providers who are implementing Internet and Intranet innovations to revitalize their most basic work processes.

(5/1/01) In a press release dated April 23, 2001, Hewitt Associates announced key findings from its survey titled “Work/Life SpecSummary.”

(5/1/01) The "New Economy" and Its Impact on Executive, Administrative and Professional Exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a January 2001 report prepared for the University of Tennessee under a contract with The Wage & Hour Division, Employment Standards Administration, U.S. Department of Labor.

(5/1/01) Below are articles published in Compensation and Working Conditions Online, Winter 2000:

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Updated 5/31/01