What's New - May 2008

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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:

May 2008 EBRI Issue Brief - "Savings Needed to Fund Health Insurance and Health Care Expenses in Retirement: Findings from a Simulation Model"

May 2008 EBRI Notes - "Ownership of Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and 401(k)-Type Plans"

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New Survey Released March 19, 2008: Preparing for Their Future: A Look at the Financial State of Gen X and Gen Y - Press Release

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.

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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
The Nation's Long-Term Fiscal Outlook: April 2008 Update. GAO-08-783R, May 16.

Health Savings Accounts: Participation Increased and Was More Common among Individuals with Higher Incomes. GAO-08-474R, April 1.

Testimonies
Health Savings Accounts: Participation Grew, and Many HSA-Eligible Plan Enrollees Did Not Open HSAs while Individuals Who Did Had Higher Incomes, by John E. Dicken, director, health care, before the Subcommittee on Health, House Committee on Ways and Means. GAO-08-802T, May 14. Highlights.

Congressional Review Act: Applicability to CMS Letter on State Children's Health Insurance Program, by Dayna K. Shah, managing associate general counsel, before the Subcommittee on Health, House Committee on Energy and Commerce. GAO-08-785T, May 15. 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.


[5/30/08]  U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan:  Congressman Ryan Introduces “A RoadMap for America’s Future” [“a comprehensive proposal to solve America’s looming fiscal crisis”]

[5/30/08]  Congressional Budget Office:  Health Care and Behavioral Economics: A Presentation to the National Academy of Social Insurance

[5/30/08]  Congressional Research Service:

[5/29/08]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “Retirement Plan Contributions, Benefits and Assets: Highlights from Form 5500 Reports

[5/29/08]  Russell Investments:  “Russell Research Shows Ninety Percent of Retirement Income Is From Investment Returns, Not Savings/Contributions” [Press Release]

[5/29/08]  Kravitz:  “Kravitz Releases National Cash Balance Research

[5/29/08]  Investment Company Institute:  The Federal Thrift Savings Plan: A Model for the Private Sector?

[5/28/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Retirement News for Employers [Spring 2008]

[5/28/08]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act Is Signed

[5/28/08]  Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement:  The Female Factor 2008: Why Women Are at Greater Financial Risk in Retirement and How Annuities Can Help

[5/28/08]  Expedia.com:  2008 International Vacation Deprivation™ Survey Results

[5/23/08]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  National Compensation Survey: Retirement Benefits in State and Local Governments in the United States, 2007

[5/23/08]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  “Large Employers Slow Changes to Retirement Plans, Watson Wyatt Finds -- More Than Half of Fortune 100 Continue to Offer Defined Benefit Plans” [Press Release]

[5/23/08]  Deloitte and International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS):  2008 Top Five Total Rewards Priorities Survey

[5/23/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Fast Facts: Your source for Kaiser facts, slides, and online tools” [new online service]

[5/23/08]  Congressional Budget Office:

[5/23/08]  Sibson Consulting:  Comparison of Key Elements of FSAs, HRAs, and HSAs

[5/22/08]  H.R.493, “To prohibit discrimination on the basis of genetic information with respect to health insurance and employment.” [Signed into law by the President on 5/21/08]

[5/22/08]  Watson Wyatt Insider:

[5/22/08]  Families and Work Institute:  2008 National Study of Employers

[5/22/08]  H.R.6081, “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide benefits for military personnel, and for other purposes.”

[5/21/08]  American Medical Association:  2008 Presidential Candidates Respond to Ten Questions About Their Health Care Reform Proposals

[5/21/08]  New America Foundation:  Employer Health Costs in a Global Economy: A Competitive Disadvantage for U.S. Firms

[5/21/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Massachusetts Health Care Reform: Two Years Later

[5/21/08]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “FASB Proposes Additional Asset Disclosures for Pension Plans

[5/21/08]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Why Don’t Some States and Localities Pay Their Required Pension Contributions?

[5/20/08]  Congressional Research Service:  Real Earnings, Health Insurance and Pension Coverage, and the Distribution of Earnings, 1979-2006

[5/20/08]  The Segal Company:  Survey of Calendar-Year Plans’ Actual Zone Status

[5/20/08]  Society of Actuaries:  Understanding and Managing the Risks of Retirement: 2007 Risks and Process of Retirement Survey Report

[5/20/08]  American Academy of Actuaries:

[5/19/08]  Towers Perrin:  IASB Suggests Major Changes to IAS 19: Assessing the Implications for Plans Around the World [White Paper]

[5/19/08]  American Academy of Actuaries Issue Brief:  “Medicare’s Financial Condition: Beyond Actuarial Balance

[5/19/08]  Vanguard Center for Retirement Research:  Research Note: “Hardship Withdrawals and the Mortgage Crisis

[5/19/08]  National Conference of State Legislatures:  “The Guidance on SCHIP: States Wait, Watch and Hope

[5/16/08]  Milliman, Inc.:  2008 Milliman Medical Index

[5/16/08]  The Commonwealth Fund:  “Building Blocks for Reform: Achieving Universal Coverage with Private and Public Group Health Insurance

[5/16/08]  The Wall Street Journal:  “Older Staffers Get Uneasy Embrace

[5/16/08]  AARP:  The Economic Slowdown’s Impact on Middle-Aged and Older Americans

[5/15/08]  State Legislatures:  “Pension Tension -- Very Few States Hold All the Assets They Should for Future Retirement and Health Care Benefits

[5/15/08]  Healthcare Leadership Council:  Closing the Gap: A Proposal to Deliver Affordable, Quality Health Care to All Americans

[5/15/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Viewpoints: The Health Care Debate

[5/14/08]  U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health:  Hearing on “Health Savings Accounts and Consumer Driven Health Care: Cost Containment or Cost-Shift?” [includes links to testimonies]

[5/14/08]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “2009 HSA/HDHP Limits Released

[5/14/08]  JPMorgan Compensation and Benefit Strategies:  “401(k) Fee Bill Reported Out of Education and Labor Committee

[5/14/08]  Contingencies:  “The Real Truth About Defined Benefit Plans” [Commentary]

[5/13/08]  Internal Revenue Service: 
Employee Plans News [Special Edition, May 9, 2008]: Governmental Plans Roundtable Discussion

[5/13/08]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  The Basics of Health Insurance

[5/13/08]  Health Affairs (via Center for Studying Health System Change):  “Employment-Based Health Benefits Under Universal Coverage

[5/13/08]  The Commonwealth Fund:  “Universal Mandatory Health Insurance in The Netherlands: A Model for the United States?

[5/12/08]  PBS’ Nightly Business Report:  “Get Your Finances Ready for Retirement” [Series premieres May 12, 2008]

[5/12/08]  Congressional Research Service:  Genetic Information: Legal Issues Relating to Discrimination and Privacy

[5/12/08]  Mayo Clinic Health Solutions:  The True Cost of Poor Health

[5/12/08]  Republican Study Committee:  RSC Policy Brief: HSA Enrollment, May 1, 2008

[5/12/08]  Alliance for Health Reform:  Employer-Sponsored Coverage: Shape It Up? Ship It Out?

[5/9/08]  Congressional Research Service:  H.R. 3185: The 401(k) Fair Disclosure for Retirement Security Act of 2007 [Updated April 24, 2008]

[5/9/08]  Prudential Retirement’s Pension Analyst:  “IRS Issues Plan Valuation Regulations for Single-Employer Defined Benefit Plans

[5/9/08]  Harvard Law School:  “Can VEBAs Alleviate Retiree Health Care Problems?” by Aaron Bernstein [Occasional Paper Series]

[5/9/08]  AARP Public Policy Institute:  Boomers at the Bottom: How Will Low-Income Boomers Cope with Retirement?

[5/8/08]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:

[5/8/08]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:

[5/8/08]  Prudential Financial:

[5/8/08]  Investment Company Institute:  2008 Investment Company Fact Book

[5/7/08]  Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefits News and Developments, May 2008

[5/7/08]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  “Trends in State Mandated Benefits, 2008” [Updated May 2008]

[5/7/08]  PlanAdviser Magazine:  “Getting Down to Business with the New 403(b) Regulations

[5/7/08]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Why Does Funding Status Vary Among State and Local Plans?

[5/6/08]  Internal Revenue Service:

[5/6/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation Snapshots:  “Offer Rates for Smaller Establishments by Business Age

[5/6/08]  Society of Actuaries:  Understanding Changes During Retirement: Results of Two Studies Webcast, April 2008

[5/6/08]  HayGroup’s The Executive Edition:  “The Wall Street Journal / Hay Group CEO Compensation Study

[5/5/08]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employment Cost Index--March 2008

[5/5/08]  The Commonwealth Fund Issue Brief:  “Who Pays for Health Care When Workers Are Uninsured?

[5/5/08]  National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators:  “403(b) Plans Frequently Asked Questions

[5/5/08]  National Center for Policy Analysis Brief Analysis:  “Social Security and Medicare Projections: 2008

[5/2/08]  Business Insurance:  “House Passes Genetics Discrimination Bill

[5/2/08]  Associated Press (via The New York Times):  “Report Boosts Bipartisan Health Plan

[5/2/08]  America’s Health Insurance Plans:  January 2008 Census Shows 6.1 Million People Covered by HSA/High-Deductible Health Plans

[5/2/08]  J.D. Power and Associates Reports:  “Satisfaction with Health Plans Varies Dramatically from Region to Region, Largely Due to Poor Communication from Insurance Providers

[5/2/08]  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:  Squeezed: How Costs for Insuring Families Are Outpacing Income: A State-by-State Analysis

[5/2/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Pulling It Together: Health IN the Economy

[5/1/08]  U.S. Department of Labor:

[5/1/08]  TIAA-CREF Institute:  Defined Contribution Pension Plans in the Public Sector: A Best Practice Benchmark Analysis

[5/1/08]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “Who Prefers Annuities? Observations About Retirement Decisions

[5/1/08]  Barclays Global Investors InvestmentInsights:  “The Future Shock of Retirement” [Reprinted from The Journal of Investing]

[5/1/08]  Investment Company Institute:

Updated 5/30/08