What's New - May 2010

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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:

New EBRI Blog Is Now Live! [March 23, 2010]

“EBRI Now on Twitter” [EBRI Press Release, 2/6/09]

401(k) Balances and Changes Due to Market Volatility

Publications:

May 2010 EBRI Issue Brief - "The Impact of the Recession on Employment-Based Health Coverage"

May 2010 EBRI Notes - "Total Individual Account Retirement Plan Assets, by Demographics, 2007, With Market Adjustments to March 2010" and "Retirement Annuity and Employment-Based Pension Income, Among Individuals Age 50 and Over: 2008"

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Sixth Edition of EBRI's Fundamentals of Employee Benefit Programs Is Now Available

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

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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:

Correspondence
Retirement Income:  Challenges for Ensuring Income throughout Retirement.  GAO-10-632R, April 28.

Health Coverage Tax Credit: Participation and Administrative Costs.  GAO-10-521R, April 30.

Reports
Consumer Finance:  Factors Affecting the Financial Literacy of Individuals with Limited English Proficiency.  GAO-10-518, May 21.

Troubled Asset Relief Program:  Automaker Pension Funding and Multiple Federal Roles Pose Challenges for the Future.  GAO-10-492, April 6. Highlights.

The Federal Government's Long-Term Fiscal Outlook:  January 2010 Update.  GAO-10-468SP, March 2.

Electronic Personal Health Information Exchange:  Health Care Entities' Reported Disclosure Practices and Effects on Quality of Care.  GAO-10-361, February 17. Highlights.

Testimony
Private Pensions: Long-standing Challenges Remain for Multiemployer Pension Plans, by Charles A. Jeszeck, acting director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.  GAO-10-708T, May 27. Highlights.

If a title link above no longer works, click here for the GAO home page and search for the report by keyword or report number. Click here to browse by date,  topic, or agency.   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 Retirement Plans Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).  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.


[5/28/10]  U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions:  Hearing titled “Building a Secure Future for Multiemployer Pension Plans” [Hearing held May 27, 2010, includes downloadable testimonies]

[5/28/10]  The Vanguard Group:

[5/28/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[5/28/10]  National Institute for Health Care Reform Policy Analysis:  “Health Coverage for the High-Risk Uninsured: Policy Options for Design of the Temporary High-Risk Pool

[5/27/10]  U.S. Census Bureau:  The Next Four Decades: The Older Population in the United States: 2010 to 2050

[5/27/10]  Towers Watson:  “More Fortune 100 Companies Offering Account-Based Retirement Plans to New Salaried Employees, Towers Watson Analysis Finds” [Press Release]

[5/27/10]  Bureau of Labor Statistics, Compensation and Working Conditions:  “How Does Your 401(k) Match Up?

[5/27/10]  TIAA-CREF Institute Policy Brief:  “Increased Longevity and the Annuity Solution: How Retirement Policy Reforms Can Reduce Longevity Risk

[5/27/10]  Pension Research Council:  2010 Symposium: Financial Literacy: Implications for Retirement Security and the Financial Marketplace [Log-in is required to download presentations]

[5/27/10]  National Retail Federation:  Health Mandate Cost Calculator

[5/27/10]  Hewitt Associates:  “Most U.S. Companies Planning to Apply for Temporary Federal Reinsurance Program, According to New Hewitt Survey” [Press Release]

[5/27/10]  Urban Institute:  Social Security and the Budget

[5/26/10]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “2011 HSA/HDHP Limits Released

[5/26/10]  Towers Watson:

[5/26/10]  The Washington Post:  “Popular Benefit of Health Care Law Excludes Military Families

[5/26/10]  Congressional Research Service:

[5/25/10]  U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor:

[5/25/10]  The Los Angeles Times:

[5/25/10]  Hewitt Associates:  “Hewitt, National Business Group on Health Survey Shows Most U.S. Workers Will Continue to Rely on Employer-Provided Health Benefits” [News Release]

[5/25/10]  Congressional Research Service:

[5/24/10]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Plans News: “401(k) Questionnaire Coming to 1,200 Employers” [Special Edition, May 2010]

[5/24/10]  The New York Times [Blog]:  “Some Novel Ideas for Improving Retirement Income

[5/24/10]  Sibson Consulting Spotlight:  “How Would Pension Accounting Change if the U.S. Decides to Follow the International Accounting Standards Board’s Requirements?

[5/24/10]  America’s Health Insurance Plans:  January 2010 Census Shows 10 Million People Covered by HSA/High-Deductible Health Plans [May 2010]

[5/24/10]  Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate:  S. 1102: Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009

[5/24/10]  TeleworkResearchNetwork.com:  Workshifting Benefits: The Bottom Line

[5/21/10]  H.R. 4213:  “American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act of 2010” [see Title III--Pension Funding Relief]

[5/21/10]  Fidelity Investments:  “401(k) Balances Up 55 Percent in One Year from 2009 Market Bottom” [News Release]

[5/21/10]  MetLife:

[5/21/10]  Towers Watson:  “Cadillac Health Plan Tax to Penalize Majority of Employers by 2018 -- Top-Performing Companies on Target to Hold Costs Below Excise Threshold Until 2023

[5/21/10]  U.S. Treasury Department Office of Economic Policy:  COBRA Insurance Coverage Since the Recovery Act: Results from New Survey Data

[5/20/10]  Internal Revenue Service:

[5/20/10]  USA Today:

[5/20/10]  U.S. News & World Report:  “Few Seniors Get Retirement Income Guarantees

[5/19/10]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Plans Compliance Unit (EPCU) - Featured Project - 401(k) Compliance Check Questionnaire Project - Frequently Asked Questions

[5/19/10]  U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging:

[5/19/10]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Should You Convert a Traditional IRA into a Roth IRA?

[5/19/10]  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:  Employer Responsibility in Health Reform

[5/18/10]  Pensions & Investments:  “34 Billion Shortfall Estimate Sparks Renewed Talk of Taxpayer Help for PBGC

[5/18/10]  Internal Revenue Service:  Tax Credit for Employee Health Insurance Expenses of Small Employers [Notice 2010-44]

[5/18/10]  Congressional Research Service (via National Conference of State Legislatures):  Requiring Individuals to Obtain Health Insurance: A Constitutional Analysis

[5/18/10]  Wellness Council of America:  At Last! The Health Care Bill Has Passed

[5/17/10]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  151st Meeting of the Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans; Notice of Meeting [as published in the Federal Register on May 13, 2010].  The three-day open meeting will be held on June 29-July 1, 2010, and will address the following issues:

[5/17/10]  Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index:  Milliman Analysis: Pension Funded Status Declined in April -- Funded Status Decreased by $33 Billion Last Month

[5/17/10]  The Washington Post:

[5/17/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Health Care Reform and the CLASS Act

[5/14/10]  Aon Consulting Insight:

[5/14/10]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  The Shrinking Tax Preference for Pension Savings: An Analysis of Income Tax Changes, 1985-2007 [Working Paper]

[5/14/10]  The Washington Post:

[5/14/10]  In the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan:  Thomas More Law Center et al. v. Obama et al. [re: minimum coverage provision of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act]:  Defendants’ Response to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Brief in Support [Case No. 2:10-cv-11156]

[5/14/10]  Congressional Budget Office:  Letter dated May 11, 2010, to Rep. Jerry Lewis (including an updated analysis of potential discretionary spending under PPACA that CBO provided on March 13, 2010)

[5/13/10]  National Conference of State Legislatures:  Pensions and Retirement Plan Enactments in 2010 State Legislatures [Preliminary Report]

[5/13/10]  San Francisco Chronicle:

[5/13/10]  U.S. Departments of the Treasury (IRS), Labor (EBSA), Health and Human Services:

[5/13/10]  Milliman, Inc.:  2010 Milliman Medical Index: 2010 Healthcare Costs Increase $1,303 for Family of Four

[5/13/10]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Does Staying Healthy Reduce Your Lifetime Health Care Costs?

[5/12/10]  National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans:  Multiemployer Pension Plans: Main Street’s Invisible Victims of the Great Recession of 2008: The Results of the NCCMP 2009 Survey of the Funded Status of Multiemployer Defined Benefit Plans

[5/12/10]  Profit Sharing/401k Council of America:

[5/12/10]  The Vanguard Group:  “Voluntary Enrollment Spurs Target-Date Funds’ Surging Popularity

[5/12/10]  Hewitt Associates:  Research Highlights: Retirement Income Adequacy at Large Companies: The Real Deal 2010

[5/11/10]  TIAA-CREF:  Minimizing Risk and Maximizing Outcomes: Basic Requirements and Best Practices for Today’s Plan Sponsors

[5/11/10]  Mercer:  “A Third of Employers May Be Penalized for Health Coverage Deemed ‘Unaffordable’ -- Analysis Reveals Which Employers Most at Risk for Reform’s ‘Shared Responsibility’ Penalty” [Press Release]

[5/11/10]  Sibson Consulting’s Health Care Reform Insights:  “Prohibition on Lifetime and Annual Limits” 

[5/11/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[5/10/10]  Investment Company Institute Research Fundamentals:  “The U.S. Retirement Market, 2009

[5/10/10]  BLR®:  BLR/HRDailyAdvisor Employee Fringe Benefit Survey Series: 401(k) Practices

[5/10/10]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “IASB Proposes Changes to Accounting for Employers’ Defined Benefit Plans

[5/10/10]  USA Today:  “Health Care Law Helps Companies Insure Early Retirees

[5/10/10]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration: Young Adults and the Affordable Care Act: Protecting Young Adults and Eliminating Burdens on Businesses and Families [FAQs]

[5/10/10]  The New York Times:  “Fight Erupts Over Rules Issued for ‘Mental Health Parity’ Insurance Law

[5/7/10]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:

[5/7/10]  Treasury & Risk2010 Retirement Survey

[5/7/10]  The Segal Company:  Survey of Calendar-Year Plans’ 2010 Zone Status

[5/7/10]  The Brookings Institution:  The Financial Crisis’ Effects on the Alternatives for Public Pensions

[5/7/10]  Employee Benefit Adviser:  “Health Reform ‘Study Groups’ under Consideration

[5/7/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[5/6/10]  Towers Watson:  “Pension Funding Relief Moves Forward in Congress

[5/6/10]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Lifetime Income Options for Participants and Beneficiaries in Retirement Plans - RFI [includes links to public comments]

[5/6/10]  U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Education and Labor:  “GOP Savings Solutions Group Warns Against Plan to Federalize Workers’ 401(k)s” [Press Release]

[5/6/10]  Thrivent Financial for Lutherans:  Thrivent Financial/Kiplinger Survey of Family Finances

[5/6/10]  Ameritrade:  Life Stage and Money Management Survey

[5/6/10]  Deloitte Center for Health Solutions:  2010 Survey of Health Care Consumers: Key Findings, Strategic Implications

[5/6/10]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “IRS Provides Guidance on Taxation of Adult Children’s Health Benefits under Health Reform Law

[5/6/10]  U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy:  elaws - Disability Nondiscrimination Law Advisor [new website]

[5/5/10]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  PBGC Annual Report 2009

[5/5/10]  U.S. News & World Report:

[5/5/10]  University of Michigan Retirement Research Center:  Financial Literacy and Financial Sophistication in the Older Population: Evidence from the 2008 HRS [Working Paper]

[5/5/10]  The White House:  Fact Sheet: The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program

[5/5/10]  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

[5/5/10]  Internal Revenue Service:  Section 45R--Average Premium for Small Group Market for Determining the Small Employer Health Insurance Credit [Rev. Rul. 2010-13]

[5/5/10]  PricewaterhouseCoopers:  New Health Care Legislation Expands Nondiscrimination Requirements for Employer-provided Health Insurance

[5/4/10]  Associated Press (via The Washington Post):  “Feds Offer $5b to Shore Up Early Retiree Coverage

[5/4/10]  The New York Times:  “New York’s Cobra Extension

[5/4/10]  U.S. Chamber of Commerce:  Letter to U.S. Department of Labor (EBSA) re: Request for Information Regarding Lifetime Income Options for Participants and Beneficiaries in Retirement Plans

[5/4/10]  The Register-Guard [Eugene, OR]:  “Web Site Can Help You Calculate Your Cash Needs

[5/3/10]  American Institute of Certified Public Accountants:  “Uninsured Medical Expenses Rival Retirement as Americans’ Top Financial Concern: AICPA Survey” [Press Release]

[5/3/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[5/3/10]  The Los Angeles Times:  “States Resist Creating Pools to Help People Denied Health Insurance

[5/3/10]  Journal of Accountancy:  “Health Care Reform Reshapes Tax Code

[5/3/10]  USA Today:  “IRS Lacks Clout to Enforce Mandatory Health Insurance

Updated 5/28/10