What's New

What's New - April 2004

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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 “.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.

What's new at EBRI this month:


The “Business Case” For Investing in Employee Health: A Review of the Literature and Employer Self-Assessments

March 2004 EBRI Notes:
    "National Health Spending Rose 9.3 Percent in 2002; Sixth Consecutive Year of Faster Growth"
    "Health Insurance Coverage of Individuals Ages 55-64, 1994-2002”

From the EBRI-ERF Retirement Security Projection Model: “Can America Afford Tomorrow’s Retirees:" If current patterns continue, there will be an annual shortfall of at least $45 billion by 2030 between the amount retired Americans need to cover basic expenses and what they have.   A new study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute in collaboration with the Milbank Memorial Fund suggests that while many middle-income Americans could provide for their own future by saving 5 percent of compensation annually in addition to the retirement benefits they are already expected to receive, this remedy won’t work for many in the lower income brackets.  Results of the study were published as the November 2003 EBRI Issue Brief.

Press Release    Full Text of the November 2003 Issue Brief      Executive Summary

EBRI Research Findings for 2003-2004:


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:

Private Health Insurance: Employers and Individuals Are Vulnerable to Bogus or Unauthorized Entities Selling Coverage.   GAO-04-312, February 27, 2004.  Highlights

Private Pensions: Multiemployer Pension Plans Face Key Challenges to Their Long-Term Prospects, by Barbara D. Bovbjerg, director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the Subcommittee on Employee-Employer Relations, House Committee on Education and the Workforce.  GAO-04-542T, March 18, 2004 / Highlights

Mutual Funds: Assessment of Regulatory Reforms to Improve the Management and Sale of Mutual Funds, by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.  GAO-04-533T, March 10, 2004.  Highlights.

Mutual Funds: Additional Disclosures Could Increase Transparency of Fees and Other Practices, by Richard J. Hillman, director, financial markets and community investment, before the Subcommittee on Financial Management, the Budget and International Security, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. GAO-04-317T, January 27, 2004.  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 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.

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.

[4/1/04]  Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees:   Status of the Social Security & Medicare Programs: A Summary of the 2004 Annual Reports

[4/1/04]  Social Security Administration:  2004 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal-Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds

[4/1/04]  Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:  2004 Annual Report of the Boards of Trustees of the Hospital Insurance and Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds


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Updated 5/3/04