What's New

What's New - November 2002

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What's new at EBRI this month:

November 2002 Facts from EBRI: History of 401(k) Plans: An Update

November 2002 EBRI Notes:  Uninsured Up in 2001, Number With Job-Based Health Benefits Declines

November 2002 EBRI Issue Brief:  "Can 401(k) Accumulations Generate Significant Income for Future Retirees?" uses the newly developed EBRI/ICI 401(k) Accumulation Projection Model to analyze whether 401(k) accumulations are expected to generate significant  income for future retirees.  The model uses 401(k) participant behavior observed from millions  of individual observations in the EBRI/ICI Participant-Directed Retirement Plan Data Collection Project to project what 401(k) participants can expect from their 401(k) accumulations at retirement.

2002 Health Confidence Survey (HCS): The fifth annual HCS finds that despite news reports about the troubled state of health care in America, characterized by cost hikes, insurance coverage changes, and quality issues, Americans still have confidence in and satisfaction with health care--but respondents also are still concerned about the future.   Complete results of the 2002 HCS include a summary of findings and five topical fact sheets.  The HCS is sponsored by EBRI, the Consumer Health Education Council (CHEC), and Mathew Greenwald & Associates, and is underwritten by 12 organizations.

Kansas Future Retirement Income Assessment Project: Kansans who retire over the next three decades generally won't have enough money to cover their living expenses, according to an EBRI study presented July 12, 2002, to the state's Task Force on Long-Term Care Services.  The task force, which includes legislators and advocates for the elderly, is in its third year of a five-year study of the needs of senior citizens.  The Kansas Future Retirement Income Assessment Project was conducted by EBRI and underwritten by the Milbank Memorial Fund.

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EBRI Research Findings for 2002:

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What's new in employee benefits:

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

Health and Welfare

Human Resources

Retirement

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The following items have been added to the General Accounting Office's Web site in Portable Document (PDF) format:

Health Insurance: States' Protections and Programs Benefit Some Unemployed Individuals.  GAO-03-191, October 25, 2002.  

Private Pensions: Participants Need Information on the Risks of Investing in Employer Securities and the Benefits of Diversification.  GAO-02-943, September 6, 2002.

Answers to Key Questions about Private Pension Plans.
GAO-02-745SP, September 18, 2002.

Military Personnel: Active Duty Benefits Reflect Changing Demographics, But Opportunities Exist to Improve. GAO-02-935, September 18, 2002. 

U.S. Postal Service: Accounting for Postretirement Benefits. 
GAO-02-916R, September 12, 2002.

        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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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

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(11/22/02) Aon Consulting’s ALERT of November 18, 2002, helps to identify year-end administrative and planning issues and includes reminders about recent developments affecting benefit plans or participants.

(11/22/02) "The Puzzle of Later Male Retirement" by Richard Johnson, is in the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Economic Review, third quarter 2002.

(11/22/02) Pensions and Retirement Plan Enactments in 2002 State Legislatures, by Ron Snell, was posted yesterday by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

(11/22/02) The American Association of Health Plans posted a press release November 14 titled: "AAHP Post-Election Poll Shows New Opportunity for Partnership on Key Health Care Issues."  See also:

(11/22/02) The Segal Company released the 2003 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey.

(11/22/02) Reinventing Pension Actuarial Science written by Lawrence N. Bader and Jeremy Gold, and posted online at the Society of Actuaries, looks at the traditional pension actuarial model in light of financial economics and is followed by discussions.

(11/22/02) Watson Wyatt Worldwide analyzes disclosures under Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Statements 87 and 106 (FAS 87 and FAS 106), as amended by FASB Statement 132 (FAS 132), in Accounting for Pensions and Other Postretirement Benefits 2002.

(11/22/02) Legal and Institutional Impediments to Partial Retirement and Part-Time Work by Older Workers, by Rudolph G. Penner, Pamela Perun, and C. Eugene Steuerle, is published by the Urban Institute.

(11/21/02) The Knowledge@Wharton Newsletter contains a link to How Well Do 401(k) Plans Work, and Who Benefits Most From Them?

(11/21/02) The National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine has produced a new study on the U.S. health care system: Fostering Rapid Advances in Health Care: Learning from System Demonstrations.  It is available in fulltext and is searchable.

(11/21/02) The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has announced the release of the Annual Report of the National CAHPS Benchmarking Database 2000.  The National CAHPS Benchmarking Database (NCBD) is the national repository for data from the CAHPS family of surveys and was initiated in 1998 to support benchmarking and research related to consumer assessments of care.  Click here for a related publication, the NCBD 2002 Chartbook titled “What Consumers Say About the Quality of Their Health Plans and Medical Care,” dated September 2002.

(11/21/02) Hewitt Associates issued a press release November 19 which includes key findings from its 2002 Holiday Bonus and Gift Study.

(11/21/02) The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has released a new Issue in Brief: “Will the Rise in 401(k) Plans Affect Bequests?” by Alicia H. Munnell, Annika Sundén, Mauricio Soto, and Catherine Taylor.

(11/21/02) This Special Edition of the Employee Plans News contains information concerning Revenue Procedure 2002-73, which extends the time for making various amendments to qualified retirement plans.  In addition, this Special Edition contains information concerning the new minimum distribution rules, the proper completion of Form 5307, and the PWBA and IRS new compliance effort.

(11/19/02) The following document has been added to the Congressional Budget Office site: The Impact of Social Security and Medicare on the Federal Budget.

(11/19/02) The Health Insurance Association of America has posted the following: Benefits of Long-Term Care Insurance.

(11/19/02) Watson Wyatt Worldwide issued a press release November 2002 titled “Majority of Employees Believe They Can Find Better Pay/Benefits at Other Companies, WorkUSA 2002 Survey Shows,” which announces key findings from this survey.

(11/19/02) The National Women’s Law Center has just released The Little Engine That Hasn’t: The Poor Performance of Employer Tax Credits for Child Care, a report which examined tax credits in twenty states in which data were available.

(11/19/02) The Economic and Social Research Institute has posted “Nine Billion Dollars a Year To Cover the Uninsured: Possible Common Ground for Significant, Incremental Progress,” by Stan Dorn and Jack A. Meyer, from its Current Policy Series.

(11/19/02) The Association of Consulting Actuaries has made available Occupational Pensions: The Widening Gap -- Preliminary Results of the ACA 2002 Study Into UK Occupational Pension Scheme Trends.

(11/19/02) The National Retirement Planning Coalition (NRPC) issued a press release November 18 stating that   “Senator Bob Dole To Inaugurate National Retirement Planning Week.”  NRPC selected the week of November 18, 2002, for a “national campaign to heighten public awareness of the need for comprehensive retirement planning.”  EBRI's American Savings Education Council (ASEC) is a NRPC member.

(11/19/02) On November 13, 2002, Rep. John A. Boehner introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R.5716, “Mental Health Parity Reauthorization Act of 2002.”  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(11/19/02) The UnitedHealth Foundation has released America’s Health: UnitedHealth Foundation State Health Rankings, 2002 Edition.

(11/19/02) Mercer Human Resource Consulting issued a press release November 12 titled “Benefits More Generous at Utility, Insurance, and Manufacturing Firms,” which includes highlights from its newly released 2002 Spotlight on Benefits Report.

(11/19/02) The U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation posted “Description of the ‘Tax Technical Corrections Act of 2002.’”  The bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives as H.R.5713 and in the U.S. Senate as S.3153.  The JCT document includes subsections titled “Rounding rule for retirement plan benefit and contribution limits” and “SIMPLE plan contributions for domestic or similar workers.”

(11/15/02) The results of the 2002 Defined Contribution Survey of the services of DC providers will be printed in the November issue of Plan Sponsor.  Read the full survey results now on http://www.plansponsor.com (free registration required).

(11/15/02) The National Academy of Social Insurance issued a press release dated May 21, 2002, titled “Workers’ Compensation Benefits Decline Relative To Wages For Eight Years In A Row,” which includes highlights from its recent publication titled Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage, and Costs, 2000: New Estimates.

(11/15/02) Click here for “the first edition of the Kaiser Health Poll Report, a bimonthly report designed to provide key tracking information on public opinion about health care topics to journalists, policymakers and the general public,” replacing the Health News Index.  Each Current Feature in the report includes poll findings on a unique and timely topic, while the other sections track public opinion on some key broad questions over time.

(11/12/02) The Capitol Steps sing a comedy routine titled 401(k) to the tune of YMCA

(11/12/02) The North American Actuarial Journal published “A Behavioral Model for Predicting Employee Contributions to 401(k) Plans: Preliminary Results” by Jack VanDerhei and Craig Copeland in the January 2001 issue.

(11/12/02) “Kinder and Gentler: Physicians and Managed Care, 1997-2001,” Tracking Report No. 5, November 2002, by Bradley C. Strunk and James D. Reschovsky is a Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) study.

(11/12/02) The National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) has released the 5th edition of The Stock Options BookClick here for excerpts and the table of contents.  The book covers incentive stock options, nonqualified options, and employee stock purchase plans (ESPPs).

(11/7/02) Aon Corporation has posted, The Beat Goes On: Outsourcing Your Human Resource Operations, an “article based on insights from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and interviews with Aon leaders.” 

(11/7/02) On November 5, 2002, Mercer Human Resource Consulting issued a press release titled “Plan Sponsors Report Large Negative Third-Quarter Results,” which includes key findings from Mercer’s Summary Performance of US Institutional Portfolios Survey.

(11/7/02) Social Security Programs Throughout the World: Europe, 2002 was released September 2002.  The report is now divided into a four-volume series with the volumes being published at six-month intervals over the next 2 years.  Each volume will be dedicated to one of four geographic regions: Europe, Asia and the Pacific, Africa, and the Americas.  It is the product of a cooperative effort between the Social Security Administration and the International Social Security Association (ISSA).

(11/7/02)   At NCQA Health Choices the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) provides a searchable database of health insurance plans ranked by the NCQA quality standards.

(11/5/02) The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics has recently made available the National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in Private Industry in the United States, 2000.

(11/5/02) The November 2002 issue of Deloitte & Touche’s Human Capital I.Q. features highlights from the "Deloitte & Touche/Pensions & Investments 2002 Annual 401(k) Benchmarking Survey."

(11/5/02) The Internal Revenue Service has published a 2003 update of the cost-of-living adjustments for fringe benefits in Revenue Procedure 2002-70.

(11/5/02 The President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health released November 1 its Interim Report on the U.S. mental health system.

(11/4/02) "Perky Places To Work: Who says the best fringe benefit you can expect these days is a paycheck?" The October 21 Fortune Small Business, in an article by Jennifer Keeney, tells us “about four small companies that give perks to employees regardless of the Dow.”

(11/4/02) This morning, USA Today featured an article titled “Rising Health Insurance Costs Eat Up Raises.”

(11/1/02) A new Institute of Medicine report, titled Leadership by Example: Coordinating Government Roles in Improving Health Care Quality, is available online. 

(11/1/02) The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) has posted The Magic of Pension Accounting, dated September 27, 2002, published by Credit Suisse First Boston.

(11/1/02) The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association has posted What’s Behind the Rise: A Comprehensive Analysis of Healthcare Costs, which includes links to a variety of relevant materials.

(11/1/02) Peter L. Bernstein and Robert D. Arnott published their study, “What Risk Premium is ‘Normal’” in the March/April 2002 issue of the Financial Analysts Journal.

(11/1/02) The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has posted “Frequently Asked Questions About the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule.”

(11/1/02) Financial Planning Interactive features ERISA Arising: Planners Who Know the Basics Can Avoid the Serious Consequences of Fiduciary Errors, dated October 1, 2002.

(11/1/02) Workforce Magazine has posted an article from its October 2002 issue titled “How to Choose: 401(k) Advice or Education?

(11/1/02) A recent issue of the Institute of Management & Administration’s IOMA's Managing Benefits Plans includes “401(k) Plans: Which Providers Have the Best Diversification and Participation Rate?

(11/1/02) The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has posted a fact sheet summarizing specific AHRQ research focusing on health care costs.   Click here for Fact Sheet: Health Care Costs.

(11/1/02) Aon Consulting’s October 22 Alert provides the full set of  “2003 Limits for Benefit Plans.”

(11/1/02) The U.S. Department of Labor Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration issued a press release October 18 titled “Labor Department Issues Rules on Disclosure of Pension Plan ‘Blackout Periods.’

(11/1/02) The Internal Revenue Service released a news release October 3 titled “IRS Helps Taxpayers Preserve Retirement Savings by Allowing a Change to Pension Distribution Amounts.”  The IRS has also posted Revenue Ruling 2002-62, which includes additional details on this subject.

(11/1/02) Watson Wyatt Worldwide issued a September 16 press release stating “Companies Accelerating Cutbacks in Retiree Health Benefits,” which includes highlights from its study: Retiree Health Benefits: Time to Resuscitate?

(11/1/02) The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards released the results of its 2002 Consumer Survey.

(11/1/02) The Congressional Research Service has released the annual update to Older Workers: Employment and Retirement Trends by Patrick J. Purcell.

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Updated 12/31/02