What's New

What's New - July 2002

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What's new at EBRI this month:

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.

The Basics of Social Security -- Updated With the 2002 Board of Trustees Report: The July 2002 Facts from EBRI, monthly fact sheets providing timely statistics and background on a variety of employee benefit issues.

June 2002 EBRI Issue Brief: "An Analysis of the Retirement and Pension Plan Coverage Topical Module of SIPP"

June 2002 EBRI Notes: "IRA and 401(k)-Type Plan Ownership" and "Disability Income: Voluntary Employment-Based Plans"

The national "Save for Your Future" campaign: The Social Security Administration (SSA) and the American Savings Education Council (ASEC), announced plans to enhance national education efforts on the importance of saving.  SSA and ASEC will combine their efforts through the national "Save for Your Future" campaign, which will begin in spring 2003 and will include a partnership with State Farm Insurance Companies.

Small Employer Retirement Survey: Results of the 2002 Small Employer Retirement Survey (SERS) were released Tuesday, May 7, 2002, during a panel discussion entitled, "Closing the Small Business Retirement Security Gap for Employers and Employees," at the Small Business Week conference in Washington DC.

Company Stock Testimonies: Jack VanDerhei, Temple University and research director of the EBRI Fellows Program presented testimony at  congressional hearings during February:

Salisbury Testimony: The written testimony of EBRI President and CEO Dallas Salisbury, an expert witness at the February 7, 2002, hearing by the Senate Committe on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on “Protecting the Pensions of Working Americans: Lessons From the Enron Debacle” includes a copy of the recent EBRI survey on company stock in 401(k) plans.

EBRI Survey on Company Stock in 401(k) Plans: The EBRI survey polled members of the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS) with respect to company stock investment options, whether employer contributions are required to be invested in company stock, average percentage of company stock in the employees' accounts, restrictions on selling the company stock, and blackout periods.  Additional questions examined perceptions of the Enron situation, appropriate limits for investment in company stock and the role of the government, and perceptions on public policy issues related to company stock in 401(k) plans.

EBRI Fact Sheet on Company Stock:  The December 2001 EBRI Fact Sheet provides background on company stock in retirement plans, drawn from the EBRI book, Fundamentals of Employee Benefit Programs, and the EBRI/ICI 401(k) database.

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:

Federal Pensions: Judicial Survivors' Annuities System Costs.  GAO-02-763, June 26, 2002.

Social Security: Long-Term Financing Shortfall Drives Need for Reform.  Testimony by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the House Committee on the Budget. GAO-02-845T, June 19, 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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(7/25/02) The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) issued a press release dated July 23, 2002, titled “SHRM, EMA Investigate Costs Associated with Recruiting and Hiring,” which includes key findings from the 2002 Cost-per-Hire (CpH) Staffing Metrics Survey produced by SHRM in collaboration with the Employment Management Association.

(7/25/02) The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing July 23 titled “Insurance Coverage of Mental Health Benefits.”  A witness list with links to testimonies has been posted.

(7/25/02) America's Best Hospitals 2002, posted at usnews.com, is the latest edition of U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking of 205 medical centers in 17 areas of specialization.

(7/22/02) A white paper, Mutual Fund Costs: Risk Without Reward, from personalfund.com, looks at the last ten years of mutual fund returns. The paper explores the relationship between expense ratios, turnover and performance.

(7/22/02) Charles Schwab & Co. has posted "The Schwab Self-Directed Brokerage Account Indicators" for the first quarter 2002.

(7/22/02) The July 19, 2002, issue of USA Today featured an article by Christine Dugas titled "Retirement Crisis Looms as Many Come up Short--Stock Losses Just Part of the Problem: Often, Workers Don’t Own 401(k) Plans and Have Nothing Saved," which includes key findings from a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll.

(7/22/02) A June 2002 AARP Public Policy Issue Brief by Alison Shelton asks "Could Individual Accounts Lead to Government Interference in the Stock Market?"

(7/22/02) “HealthCareCoach.com is a project of the National Health Law Program (NHeLP), a non profit corporation, whose mission is to improve health care for people of limited means.  Since 1969, NHeLP has analyzed health care laws and policies from a consumer’s view and provided education and information to health advocates throughout the United States.”

(7/22/02) A July 2002 Issues in Brief, “401(k)s and Company Stock: How Can We Encourage Diversification?” by Alicia H. Munnell and Annika Sundén is available from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

(7/22/02) Aon Consulting's Scott Macey and Gretchen Young recently published an article in Benefits Law Journal titled "The Future of Employee Benefits: A Call for Reform."

(7/19/02) The Conference Board issued a press release today titled “Companies Increasingly Seeking to Outsource HR,” which includes key findings from a study released by Accenture in conjunction with The Conference Board.

(7/19/02) Employee Benefits in Private Industry, 2000 was released July 16, 2002, by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

(7/19/02) The Employers Council on Flexible Compensation is sponsoring a new website, HRA helper, directed to the education of employers and plan advisors on Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs).

(7/19/02) On July 15, 2002, U.S. Senator Tom Harkin’s office issued a press release titled “Harkin Creates Consumer Pension Protection Office at Labor Department.”

(7/19/02) The U.S. Census Bureau released this month data from the 2001 State and Local Government Employee Retirement Systems survey on fiscal year 2001 membership, payments, and investments of the nation's 2,208 public employee retirement systems.

(7/19/02) Health Care in France and the United States: Learning from Each Other is a recent paper from The Brookings Institution by Paul V. Dutton.

(7/18/02) The Joint Committee on Taxation has posted Present Law and Background Relating to Employer-Sponsored Defined Benefit Plans, dated June 18, 2002.

(7/18/02) The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing July 17 titled “Harming Patient Access to Care: The Impact of Excessive Legislation.”  A witness list with links to testimonies has been posted.

(7/18/02) On July 16, 2002, Sen. Jeff Bingaman introduced in the U.S. Senate S.2733, “Secure Retirement for America Act.”  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(7/18/02) Health Affairs has posted a Web exclusive titled How Long Can You Go? The Impact of Reduced Benefits and Increased Cost Sharing, by Jason S. Lee and Laura Tollen.

(7/18/02) Hewitt Associates issued a press release July 8 titled “Hewitt Research Shows U.S. Employees Not Interacting with 401(k) Plan for Optimal Benefit,” which includes highlights from the recent report titled “How Well Are Employees Saving and Investing in 401(k) Plans, 2001 Hewitt Universe Benchmarks.”

(7/18/02) On July 10, 2002, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued a press release titled “Treasury, IRS Release 2002-2003 Priority Guidance Plan.”  The plan is titled: “2002-2003 Priorities for Tax Regulations and Other Administrative Guidance.”

(7/18/02) The Wall Street Journal Europe featured an article July 5 titled “In Europe, Private Pension Funds Become Popular Savings Vehicle,” which includes key findings from the semiannual survey of European savings habits done for The Wall Street Journal Europe by Brussels-based GfK Ad Hoc Research Worldwide.

(7/18/02) Click here for The Commonwealth Fund report, Developing a Health Plan Report Card on Quality of Care for Minority Populations.

(7/18/02) The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality released a new chartbook titled, The Uninsured in America: 1996-2000.

(7/15/02) Blue Cross Blue Shield Association has posted a new report titled State of the States: Mid-2002 Update: State Lawmakers’ Health Agenda Derailed by Fiscal Crisis and Cost Spiral.

(7/15/02) Hewitt Associates has issued a press release titled “New Study to Focus on Retiree Health Coverage.”  The Kaiser Family Foundation and Hewitt are conducting the study.

(7/15/02) The U.S. House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform and Oversight held a hearing July 11 titled “The Small Business Health Market: Bad Reforms, Higher Prices, and Fewer Choices.”  A witness list with links to testimonies has been posted.

(7/15/02) The Vanguard Group has posted: Insights on America's Attitudes Toward Retirement.  It is a conversation with Mathew Greenwald on the results of the 2002 Retirement Confidence Survey, sponsored by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

(7/12) President Bush called for a New Ethic of Corporate Responsibility on July 9th.  The White House’s Corporate Responsibility Web page contains the fulltext of The President's Comprehensive Corporate Reform Agenda.

(7/12/02) The U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations held a hearing July 9 titled “Expanding Access to Quality Health Care: Solutions for Uninsured Americans.”  A witness list with links to testimonies has been posted.

(7/12/02) The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, recently published the Summer 2001, edition of Compensation and Working Conditions which includes the following article: “Childcare Benefits Continue to Evolve.”

(7/8/02) The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued new life expectancy tables to use in determining required minimum distributions.  Click here for a copy of Supplement to Publication 590: Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).

(7/8/02) The Investment Company Institute has released 2001 data on Mutual Funds and the U.S. Retirement Market.  Click here for the full research report.

(7/8/02) On June 18, 2002, Sen. Edward Kennedy introduced in the U.S. Senate S.2639, “Health Care for Working Families Act.”  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(7/8/02) The Center for Strategic and International Studies has published The Global Retirement Crisis: The Threat to World Stability and What to Do About It by Richard Jackson.

(7/1/02) Click here to read Corporate Pension Reform in Japan from Hewitt Associates.

(7/1/02) On June 26, 2002, the Treasury Department’s Office of Public Affairs issued a press release titled “Treasury and IRS Issue Guidance on Health Reimbursement.”  The guidance will consist of IRS Notice 2002-45 and Revenue Ruling 2002-41 and will be published in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2002-28, dated July 15, 2002.

(7/1/02) The European Financial Services Round Table (EFR) released a new report on June 27 titled One Europe, One Pension: Affording the Future.  This report was produced by pensions experts from within the member companies of the EFR.

(7/1/02) On June 24 the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (Opra) released Opra and Pension Scheme Auditors: A Guide to Help Pension Scheme Auditors Understand Their Role.   Opra is the United Kingdom  regulator of pension arrangements offered by employers.

(6/27/02) The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation has released Pension Insurance Data Book 2001.

(6/27/02) USA Today featured an article on June 25 by Julie Appleby titled “IRS Rule May Foster New Type of Health Plan.”

(6/27/02) Families USA has released a report titled “Bitter Pill: The Rising Prices of Prescription Drugs for Older Amerians.”

(6/27/02) The Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) has released a special report titled “Your Future Paycheck: What Women Need to Know About Pay, Social Security, Pensions, Savings and Investments.” Click here for the executive summary.

(6/27/02) Medscape Money & Medicine’s June 2002 issue features an article by Christine Wiebe titled “Consumer-Driven Health Plans Gaining Momentum.” [Note: A brief registration may be required to access this article.]

(6/27/02) On June 13, 2002, Rep. Rob Portman introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R.4931, “Retirement Savings Security Act of 2002.” A Bill Summary & Status is available.

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Updated 7/25/02