What's New - April 2011

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What's new at EBRI this month:

Visit EBRI's Blog!

EBRI's Recent Media Coverage

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

401(k) Balances and Changes Due to Market Volatility


April 2011 EBRI Issue Brief - "The Impact of the 2007-2009 Recession on Workers' Health Coverage"

April 2011 EBRI Notes - "Innovations in Employment-Based Health Benefits" and "Retirement Income Adequacy: Alternative Thresholds and the Importance of Future Eligibility in Defined Contribution Retirement Plans"



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:

Key Events Leading to the Termination of the Delphi Defined Benefit Plans.  GAO-11-373R, March 30.

Private Health Insurance Coverage:  Expert Views on Approaches to Encourage Voluntary Enrollment.  GAO-11-392R, February 25.

Private Pensions: Some Key Features Lead to an Uneven Distribution of Benefits. GAO-11-333, March 30. Highlights.

The Federal Government's Long-Term Fiscal Outlook:  January 2011 Update.  GAO-11-451SP, March 18.

Private Health Insurance:  Data on Application and Coverage Denials.  GAO-11-268, March 16. Highlights.

401(k) Plans:  Certain Investment Options and Practices That May Restrict Withdrawals Not Widely Understood.  GAO-11-291, March 10. Highlights.

Financial Literacy: The Federal Government's Role in Empowering Americans to Make Sound Financial Choices, by Gene L. Dodaro, comptroller general of the United States, before the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. GAO-11-504T, April 12. Highlights.

401(k) Plans:  Issues Involving Securities Lending in Plan Investments, by Charles A. Jeszeck, acting director, education, workforce, and income security, before the Senate Special Committee on Aging.  GAO-11-359T, March 16. 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.

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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.

[4/29/11] Prudential: Fifth Annual Study of Employee Benefits: Today & Beyond

[4/29/11] AARP:

[4/29/11] Human Resource Executive Online: “Take the Money and Run

[4/29/11] National Academy of Social Insurance Fact Sheet: “Should Social Security’s Cost-of-Living Adjustment Be Changed?

[4/29/11] USA Today: “What to Look for in a Financial Adviser

[4/28/11] U.S. News & World Report: “The New Ideal Retirement Age

[4/28/11] Employee Benefit News: “72% Do Not Think a Secure Retirement Is Possible for the Middle Class

[4/28/11] USA Today: “Can I Opt Out of Paying Social Security and Invest on My Own?

[4/28/11] Social Security Administration: Congressional Statistics, December 2010 [“These annual fact sheets present data on the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs. Data are given for the number of people receiving benefits and the amount of total monthly payments made to persons in the United States, in each state, and in each congressional district within the state.”]

[4/27/11] National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems and Cobalt Community Research: 2011 NCPERS Public Fund Study: Preliminary Results

[4/27/11] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College: A Role for Defined Contribution Plans in the Public Sector

[4/27/11] PIMCO DC Dialogue™: “A Step in the Right Direction” [“In this PIMCO DC Dialogue, we talk with Don Butt, retired plan sponsor and active leader in the pension community, about defined contribution plan design.”]

[4/27/11] Employee Benefit News:

[4/26/11] The Pew Center on the States:

[4/26/11] The Washington Post: “States Face $1.26 Trillion Shortfall in Funds to Pay Retiree Benefits

[4/26/11] Employee Benefit News:

[4/26/11] Plan Sponsor: “What About Dental and Vision Benefits Under PPACA?

[4/25/11] National Association of State Retirement Administrators: Public Fund Survey Summary of Findings for FY 2009

[4/25/11] Bloomberg: “Double-Dippers Earning Pensions Plus Paychecks Are Targeted by U.S. States

[4/25/11] Grand Forks Herald: “Key Strategies to Boost Your Retirement Savings

[4/25/11] Healthcare Town Hall [Milliman Blog]: “Healthcare Costs Rise 6.19% over the 12-months Ending February 2011

[4/22/11] SmartMoney: “Medicare Won’t Cover All Drug Costs

[4/22/11] Center for State & Local Government Excellence Issue Brief: “A Role for Defined Contribution Plans in the Public Sector

[4/22/11] NASRA/NCTR Issue Brief: “Strong Investment Gains and Legislative Changes Speeding Public Pension Recovery

[4/22/11] Profit Sharing/401k Council of America [Blog]: “Debt Commission DC Limits--Policy Change, Not Deficit Reduction

[4/22/11] U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration: ERISA Advisory Council Reports 2010:

[4/21/11] Deloitte and International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists: 2011 Top Five Total Rewards Priorities Survey

[4/21/11] Workforce Management: “Small Businesses Take on the 401(k) Challenge

[4/21/11] Urban Institute: Retirement Account Balances (Updated 4/11) -- Accumulations in Retirement Accounts, 2007 to 2010

[4/21/11] Plan Sponsor: “Large Employers Reconsidering Retiree Health Care

[4/21/11] The New York Times [Blog]: “What Health Insurance Does Cover, and Doesn’t

[4/21/11] Securities & Exchange Commission:

[4/20/11] Kaiser Family Foundation: The Independent Payment Advisory Board: A New Approach to Controlling Medicare Spending

[4/20/11] McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP: How to Maintain “Grandfathered” Status

[4/20/11] Plan Sponsor:

[4/20/11] Fiduciary News: “What 401k Plan Sponsors Might Expect from Proposed Fiduciary Rules

[4/19/11] Kaiser Family Foundation:

[4/19/11] Plan Sponsor:

[4/19/11] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College Brief: “Do Social Security Statements Affect Knowledge and Behavior?

[4/19/11] Urban Institute: Who Purchases Long-Term Care Insurance?

[4/18/11] U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Medicare Program; Changes to the Medicare Advantage and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Programs for Contract Year 2012 and Other Changes; Final rule [as published in the Federal Register on April 15, 2011]

[4/18/11] Kaiser Family Foundation: Proposed Changes to Medicare in the “Path to Prosperity” -- Overview and Key Questions

[4/18/11] The New York Times: “Comparing Ryan’s Medicare Plan to What Congress Gets” by Uwe E. Reinhardt

[4/18/11] American Academy of Actuaries: Pension Risk and Your Retirement: Understanding Retirement Risk and Overcoming Challenges through Public Policy Options

[4/18/11] Economic Policy Institute: Discounting Public Pensions: Reports of Trillions in Shortfalls Ignore Expected Returns on Assets

[4/18/11] USA Today: “Deficit-Reduction Efforts Threaten Tax Breaks

[4/15/11] U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:

[4/15/11] BNA Tax & Accounting: “Obama Signs Measure Into Law Repealing Expanded Form 1099 Rules

[4/15/11] Towers Watson: Expanded Reporting and Disclosure Requirements Calendar: Single-Employer Pension and Welfare Plans Under ERISA

[4/15/11] House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform: Hearing on “State and Municipal Debt: Tough Choices Ahead” [Hearing held April 14, 2011, includes links to testimonies]

[4/14/11] USA Today:

[4/14/11] Senate Committee on Finance: Hearing titled “Perspectives on Deficit Reduction” [Hearing held April 13, 2011, includes links to statements and testimonies]

[4/14/11] Prudential Financial: Benefits Planning in a Challenging Environment: A Report Prepared by CFO Research Services in Collaboration with Prudential Financial, Inc.

[4/14/11] Bloomberg Businessweek: “The Rising Price of Retirement

[4/14/11] Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia: Hearing on “Financial Literacy: Empowering Americans to Make Informed Financial Decisions” [Hearing held April 12, 2011, includes links to testimonies]

[4/13/11] Prudential Research: The African-American Financial Experience: 2011 Prudential Research Study

[4/13/11] Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index: Milliman Analysis: Corporate Pension Funded Status Improves as Interest Rates Rise in March

[4/13/11] The Washington Post: “Obama Plan to Boost Retirement Security, Shore Up Pension Agency Faces Hurdles

[4/13/11] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Medicare Program; Medicare Shared Savings Program: Accountable Care Organizations; Proposed Rule [as published in the Federal Register on April 7, 2011]

[4/13/11] Plan Sponsor: “New Budget Deal Repeals [Two] Health Care Law Provisions

[4/12/11] Milliman, Inc.: Monthly Benefit News and Developments [April 2011]

[4/12/11] Express Scripts: 2010 Drug Trend Report: A Market and Behavioral Analysis

[4/12/11] Kaiser Family Foundation: “Data Spotlights Examine Financial Burden of Health Care on Medicare Beneficiaries

[4/12/11] The Los Angeles Times: “Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare Privatization Plan Increases Costs, Budget Office Says

[4/12/11] Towers Watson Insider: “Impact of the Financial Crisis on Retirement Plans Through 2008

[4/12/11] The Economist: “Pick a Number, Any Number -- The discount rate makes all the difference” [A special report on pensions]

[4/7/11]  Plan Sponsor:  “Repeal of HCR 1099 Reporting Requirement Goes to President

[4/7/11]  American Medical Association:  “Defining Essential Benefits: How Much Is Too Much?

[4/7/11]  Wellness Council of America:  Making the Case for Workplace Wellness Programs

[4/7/11]  Workforce Management:  “Raising Medicare Age Could Cost Employers $4.5 Billion

[4/7/11]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:

[4/5/11]  Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement:  Celebrate Financial Literacy Month -- “This month tune in to our blog’s Financial Literacy series: “I’m Ready to Save, Now What?” as we explore the in and outs of I Bonds, Mutual Funds, CDs and IRAs throughout the month.”

[4/5/11]  Grant Thornton, Drinker Biddle, and Plan Sponsor Advisors:  Retirement Plan Survey 2011 -- Trends and Insights: Focusing on the Fiduciary Agenda

[4/5/11]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Fact Sheet: Definition of the Term “Fiduciary” [March 30, 2011]

[4/5/11]  The Vanguard Group:  “Fiduciary Resource Centers Target Specific Needs

[4/5/11]  Business Insurance:  “CMS to Stop Accepting Early Retiree Reimbursement Applications

[4/5/11]  U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:  Early Retiree Reinsurance Program; Notice [as published in the Federal Register on April 5, 2011]

[4/4/11]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  FAQs About Affordable Care Act Implementation Part VI

[4/4/11]  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

[4/4/11]  The Los Angeles Times:  “GOP Budget Plan Would Revamp Medicare and Medicaid to Slash Deficit

[4/4/11]  Financial Literacy Center:  An Empirical Analysis of 401(k) Loan Defaults [Working Paper prepared for the Social Security Administration]

[4/4/11]  Bureau of Labor Statistics Program PerspectivesDefined Contribution Plans: “Six Ways to Save for Retirement”

[4/4/11]  TIAA-CREF Institute Trends and Issues:  “Rethinking Defined Contribution Retirement Plan Design

[4/1/11]  National Retirement Planning Coalition:  National Retirement Planning Week®, April 11-15, 2011 – This website includes information about events and educational resources that will assist both consumers and financial professionals alike in achieving long-term financial goals. 

[4/1/11]  U.S. Department of Labor:

[4/1/11]  Associated Press (via The New York Times):  “Retiree Health Cost Estimate Falls, for a Change

[4/1/11]  Milliman, Inc.:  2011 Pension Funding Study -- Modest Increase in 2010 Funded Status as a Result of Record Employer Contributions

[4/1/11]  Senate Committee on Finance:  Hearing titled “How Do Complexity, Uncertainty and Other Factors Impact Responses to Tax Incentives?” [Hearing held March 30, 2011, includes links to statements and testimonies]

[4/1/11]  ICI Research Perspective:  “Trends in the Fees and Expenses of Mutual Funds, 2010

Updated 4/29/11