What's New - April 2009

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What's new at EBRI this month:

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

401(k) Balances and Changes Due to Market Volatility


April 2009 EBRI Issue Brief - "The 2009 Retirement Confidence Survey: Economy Drives Confidence to Record Lows; Many Looking to Work Longer"

April 2009 EBRI Notes - "Public Pension Plan Asset Allocations"


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


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:

Private Health Insurance: 2008 Survey Results on Number and Market Share of Carriers in the Small Group Health Insurance Market. GAO-09-363R, February 27.

Defined Benefit Plans: Proposed Plan Buyouts by Financial Firms Pose Potential Risks and Benefits. GAO-09-207, March 16. Highlights.

Defined Benefit Pensions: Survey Results of the Nation's Largest Private Defined Benefit Plan Sponsors. GAO-09-291, March 30. Highlights.

Private Pensions: Conflicts of Interest Can Affect Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Plans, by Charles A. Jeszeck, acting director, education, workforce, and income security, before the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, House Committee on Education and Labor. GAO-09-503T, March 24.


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.

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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.

[4/29/09]  U.S. Senate Committee on Finance:

[4/29/09]  Investment Company Institute:  2009 Investment Company Fact Book: A Review of Trends and Activity in the Investment Company Industry

[4/29/09]  U.S. Departments of the Treasury (IRS), Labor (EBSA) & Health and Human Services (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services):  Request for Information Regarding the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 [as published in the Federal Register on April 28, 2009]

[4/29/09]  The Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College:  Engaging the 21st Century Multi-Generational Workforce: Findings from the Age & Generations Study

[4/28/09]  BlueCross BlueShield Association:  Healthcare Trends in America: A Reference Guide from BCBSA, 2009 Edition

[4/28/09]  Pensions & Investments:  “VEBA May Get 38% of GM Stock Under Plan

[4/28/09]  National Center for Policy Analysis:  Ten Ways to Wreck Your Retirement

[4/28/09]  The SPARK Institute:  The Case for Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans: Benefits and Accomplishments

[4/27/09]  Hewitt Associates:  Cost Reduction and Engagement Survey, 2009

[4/27/09]  Towers Perrin:  Value-Based Strategies: Driving Down Costs by Improving Quality of Care

[4/27/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Kaiser Health Tracking Poll -- April 2009

[4/27/09]  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:  Beyond Health Care: New Directions to a Healthier America

[4/24/09]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “Economic Crisis Prompts Many Companies to Suspend Contributions to Employee Savings Plans

[4/24/09]  Urban Institute:  What the 2008 Stock Market Crash Means for Retirement Security

[4/24/09]  American Benefits Council:  The Savings Recovery Act [Summary]

[4/24/09]  MetLife:  Managing Global Benefits: Challenges and Opportunities

[4/23/09]  Hewitt Associates:  “IRS Revises Employer’s Tax Guide to Comply with ARRA

[4/23/09]  U.S. House Committee on Education & Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions:

[4/23/09]  U.S. House Committee on Ways & Means:  Hearing on “Health Reform in the 21st Century: Insurance Market Reforms” [Hearing held April 22, 2009, includes links to testimonies]

[4/23/09]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  “Access to Wellness and Employee Assistance Programs in the United States

[4/23/09]  National Center for Policy Analysis Brief Analysis No. 654:  “Health Care Spending Forecasts

[4/22/09]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  Effect of the Economic Crisis on HR Programs [Update: April 2009]

[4/22/09]  Gallup, Inc.:  “Americans Increasingly Concerned About Retirement Income -- Expected Reliance on 401(k) Plans Shows Major Drop from Last Year

[4/22/09]  U.S. Senate Committee on Finance:  Roundtable to Discuss Reforming America’s Health Care Delivery System [held April 21, 2009, including links to witness statements]

[4/22/09]  NPR/Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health:  The Public and the Health Care Delivery System

[4/21/09]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  “More U.S. Workers Are Making Greater Use of Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits, Survey Finds

[4/21/09]  Congressional Research Service:

[4/21/09]  Wilshire Consulting:  2009 Wilshire Consulting Report on Corporate Pension Funding Levels

[4/21/09]  Pensions & Investments:  “Plan Participants Play It Cool Amid Crisis

[4/20/09]  Congressional Research Service:  Retirement Savings and Household Wealth in 2007

[4/20/09]  Urban Institute:  The Impact of Changing Earnings Volatility on Retirement Wealth

[4/20/09]  AARP Public Policy Institute:  Employment Support for the Transition to Retirement: Can a New Program Help Older Workers Continue to Work and Protect Those Who Cannot?

[4/20/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Pulling It Together: 19.7” from Drew Altman [includes a brief history of health reform]

[4/17/09]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  The Keys to Continued Success: Lessons Learned from Consistent Performers - 14th Annual National Business Group on Health/Watson Wyatt Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care [Executive Summary]

[4/17/09]  Mathematica Policy Research:  State Policies to Encourage High-Deductible and Limited-Benefit Health Plans: Costs, Constituents, and Concerns [Policy Brief]

[4/17/09]  Families USA Special ReportStates Act to Help People Laid Off from Small Firms: More Needs to Be Done

[4/17/09]  Towers Perrin:  Benefits in Crisis -- Weathering Economic Climate Change [Pulse Survey Report]

[4/16/09]  Towers Perrin:  “Towers Perrin Survey Finds Most Companies ‘Staying the Course’ When It Comes to Employee Benefits” [Press Release]

[4/16/09]  National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators:  NAGDCA 2009 Survey of Defined Contribution Plans

[4/16/09]  Mercer:  Suspending the 401(k) Match: Look Before You Leap

[4/16/09]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Plans News [Special Edition, April 2009: Announcement 2009-34 - Request for Comments on Revenue Procedure for §403(b) Prototype Plans and Sample Plan Language]

[4/15/09]  Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies:

[4/15/09]  National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future:  Learning Teams: Creating What’s Next [includes a discussion of teachers and retirement policy]

[4/15/09]  The Detroit News:  “Retiree Pensions Are at Risk: Fed Insurer Fears Auto Failures

[4/15/09]  The Wall Street Journal:  “The End of Private Health Insurance - When Government ‘Competes,’ Guess Who Always Wins?

[4/14/09]  The Wall Street Journal:  “Retirement Outlook Drops to Record Low

[4/14/09]  Investment Company Institute:  Defined Contribution/401(k) Fee Study: Inside the Structure of Defined Contribution/401(k) Plan Fees: A Study Assessing the Mechanics of What Drives the ‘All-In’ Fee [conducted by Deloitte for the Investment Company Institute, Spring 2009]

[4/14/09]  Social Security Administration:  Social Security and Marginal Returns to Work Near Retirement [Issue Paper]

[4/13/09]  JPMorgan Chase & Co.:  “Current Pension Legislative Outlook

[4/13/09]  Investment Company Institute Research Fundamentals:  “Trends in the Fees and Expenses of Mutual Funds, 2008

[4/13/09]  National Center for Policy Analysis:

[4/13/09]  National Conference of State Legislatures:  “States to Get Bonuses if They Increase Enrollment of Kids in Medicaid

[4/10/09]  Money Management International:   April -- Financial Literacy Month: Thirty Steps to Financial Wellness

[4/10/09]  The White House:

[4/10/09]  J.D. Power & Associates:  “2009 Health Insurance Plan Satisfaction Study

[4/10/09]  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation:  Shared Responsibility--Government, Business, and Individuals: Who Pays What for Health Reform?

[4/9/09]  Society for Human Resource Management:  “Recent Survey Findings: Financial Challenge to the U.S. & Global Economy and Its Impact on Organizations

[4/9/09]  Mercer:  DC Quick Survey Results, December 2008 [how the financial crisis is affecting DC plans]

[4/9/09]  American Benefits Council:  “The Savings for American Families’ Future Act of 2009” [Summary]

[4/9/09]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  How Much Do Households Really Lose by Claiming Social Security at Age 62?

[4/8/09]  Colonial Life:  Benefiting the Bottom Line:  How a Strong Benefits Communication and Education Strategy Helps Drive Business [White Paper]

[4/8/09]  Plan Adviser:  “Turmoil Dents Participant Confidence

[4/8/09]  The Segal Group’s Public Sector Letter:  “Managing Through Fiscal Stress: Avoiding Health Plan Side Effects During an Economic Recession

[4/8/09]  Massachusetts Division of Health Care Finance and Policy:

[4/7/09]  The Lewin Group:  The Cost and Coverage Impacts of a Public Plan: Alternative Design Options

[4/7/09]  HR Policy Association:  “Bill to Lock in Retiree Health Benefits Forever Draws Strong Opposition from Employers

[4/7/09]  Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:  Retiree Drug Subsidy User Guide [Released March 6, 2009]

[4/7/09]  PensionTsunami.com:  Pension Watch: Newsclips Focusing on Public Employee Pensions, Corporate Pensions, Social Security, and International Trends

[4/6/09]  Office of U.S. Senator Tom Harkin:  “Sens. Harkin, Cornyn, and Reps. Blumenauer and Bono Mack Reintroduce Healthy Workforce Act -- Congressional Leaders Join with the U.S. Workplace Wellness Alliance to Highlight Importance of Worksite Wellness Programs” [News Release]

[4/6/09]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  Health Savings Accounts and Preventive Care

[4/6/09]  America’s Health Insurance Plans:  Innovations in Recognizing and Rewarding Quality

[4/6/09]  U.S. Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration:  Comparison of State Unemployment Laws

[4/3/09]  AARP:  AARP Bulletin Survey on Retirement Savings: Executive Summary

[4/3/09]  U.S. News & World Report:  “The 401(k) Plans With the Highest Fees

[4/3/09]  Center for Studying Health System Change Tracking Report No. 24:  “Financial and Health Burdens of Chronic Conditions Grow

[4/3/09]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Strange But True: Free Loan from Social Security

[4/2/09]  International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans:  National Employee Benefits Day, April 2, 2009 [Note: IFEBP will be offering two free video presentations on retirement security in the current economy featuring Dallas Salisbury, EBRI, and Brett Hammond, TIAA-CREF.  These will be available April 2.]

[4/2/09]  Internal Revenue Service:  Premium Assistance for COBRA Benefits [Notice 2009-27]

[4/2/09]  Charles Schwab:  Charles Schwab 2009 Young Adults & Money Survey Findings: Insights into Money Attitudes, Behaviors, and Concerns of 23- to 28-Year-Olds

[4/2/09]  U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:  America’s Health Literacy: Why We Need Accessible Health Information

[4/1/09]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Long-Term Care Costs and the National Retirement Risk Index

[4/1/09]  Vanguard Investment Counseling & Research:  Stock Market Volatility Measures in Perspective

[4/1/09]  AlixPartners LLP:  “New AlixPartners Survey: Americans Say Their ‘New Normal’ Spending Levels to be 86% of Pre-Recession Levels” [News Release]

[4/1/09]  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:  The Costs of Inaction--The Urgent Need for Health Reform

[4/1/09]  The Commonwealth Fund:  Reforming Provider Payment: Essential Building Block for Health Reform

[4/1/09]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “San Francisco Employer Health Mandate Upheld - 2008 Employer Filing Required by April 30

Updated 4/29/09