What's New

What's New - December 2003

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EBRI Celebrates 25th Anniversary in 2003:  The Employee Benefit Research Institute celebrated its 25th anniversary on September 19, 2003, at a gala event at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.


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:

Sources of Health Insurance and Characteristics of the Uninsured: Analysis of the March 2003 Current Population Survey

Toward a More Complete History: Johnson & Johnson's 401(k) Nursery

Retirement Annuity and Employment-Based Pension Income

Assets in Qualified Retirement Plans, 1985--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 Notes, November 2003:  

  • National Health Spending Up 8.7 Percent Between 2000-2001; Spending for Health Care Will Continue to Grow 

  • Income of the Elderly Population: 2001

Facts from EBRI: Highlights From the 2003 Health Confidence Survey

The sixth annual Health Confidence Survey


EBRI Research Findings for 2002-2003:


What's new in employee benefits:

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

Health and Welfare

Human Resources



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


Private Pensions: Timely and Accurate Information Is Needed to Identify and Track Frozen Defined Benefit Plans.   GAO-04-200R, December 17, 2003.


Human Capital: Key Principles for Effective Strategic Workforce Planning. GAO-04-39, December 11, 2003. Highlights.

Postal Pension Funding Reform: Issues Related to the Postal Service's Proposed Use of Pension Savings.  GAO-04-238, November 26, 2003.  Highlights.

Postal Pension Funding Reform: Review of Military Service Funding Proposals.  GAO-04-281, November 26, 2003.  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.

[12/23/03]  Mellon Human Resources & Investor Solutions:   Year-End Review for Plan Sponsors and Administrators

[12/23/03]  Internal Revenue Service:  Notice 2004-2 [providing guidance on Health Savings Accounts]

[12/23/03]  Internal Revenue Service:  Publication 15-B [Rev. January 2004], Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits for Benefits Provided in 2004

[12/23/03]  The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Simulating the Distributional Consequences of Personal Accounts: Sensitivity to Annuitization Options

[12/23/03]  Prudential Financial:  Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans Have Become the Most Important Source of Future Retirement Income

[12/19/03]  AARP. The Public Policy Institute:  Impact of the Social Security Retirement Earnings Test on 62-64-Year-Olds

[12/19/03]   Pension Research Council:  Betting on Death and Capital Markets in Retirement: A Shortfall Risk Analysis of Life Annuities versus Phased Withdrawal Plans

[12/19/03]   Fiduciary Analytics:  Mutual Fund Family Fiduciary Rankings

[12/19/03]   The Commonwealth Fund:  Top 10 Health Policy Stories/Issues of 2003

[12/19/03]   UCLA Center for Health Policy Research:  "Women's Health Issues in California: Findings from the 2001 California Health Interview Survey"

[12/19/03]  The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Can Faster Growth Save Social Security?

[12/19/03]  TIAA-CREF Institute:  Retirement Payout Strategies That Provide for Lifetime Income

[12/19/03]  TIAA-CREF Institute: Reducing Retirement Income Risks: The Role of Annuitization

[12/19/03]  TIAA-CREF Institute:  Summary Table Presenting Key Features of Section 529 Savings Plans by State

[12/19/03]  TIAA-CREF Institute: Summary Table Presenting Key Features of Section 529 Prepaid Plans by State

[12/19/03]  TIAA-CREF Institute: Measuring Self Control [related to over-consumption, under-consumption, and wealth accumulation]

[12/19/03]  TIAA-CREF Institute:  Participant Communications: Strategies to Foster the Growth of Private Pensions

[12/19/03]  Financial Executives International and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business: CFO Outlook Survey

[12/19/03]  Fidelity Investments/PLANSPONSOR:  2003 Fidelity Investments/PLANSPONSOR report on optimizing pension plan funding

[12/19/03]  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:  Medicare Program; Medicare Prescription Drug Discount Card; Interim Rule and Notice

[12/19/03]  Weiss Ratings:  HMOs’ Profits Climb 81% to $5.5 Billion in 2002

[12/19/03]  TIAA-CREF Institute:  Ignorance Is Not Bliss: The Importance Of Financial Education

[12/17/03]   International Herald Tribune:  "Japan to Raise Mandatory Pension Payments"

[12/17/03]   U.S. Census Bureau: 2002 Service Annual Survey: Health Care and Social Assistance Services

[12/17/03]  U.S. Small Business Administration and Nationwide Financial Services, Inc.:  online guide on Retirement Plan Management for Small Business

[12/17/03]   Congressional Research Service Report for Congress: Mutual Fund Reform Bills: A Side-by-Side Comparison

[12/17/03]   Hewitt Associates:  Federal Legislation Quick Guide on Pending Legislation--Health and Welfare Plans

[12/17/03]  The Center for Studying Health System Change: Tracking Health Care Costs: Trends Slow in First Half of 2003

[12/17/03]   The Brookings Institution: Reforming Social Security: A Balanced Plan, by Peter Orszag and Peter Diamond

[12/17/03]  The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College: How Do Cash Balance Plans Affect the Pension Landscape? 

[12/17/03]   Clark Consulting:  2003 results of Executive Benefits: A Survey of Current Trends

[12/17/03]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Estimates: September 2002 - September 2003

[12/17/03]  U.S. Congress. Joint Economic Committee: New Insights on the 2000-2001 Economic Slowdown

[12/17/03]   U.S. Congress. Joint Economic Committee: The Health Benefit Tax Exclusion Distorts the Health Insurance Market

[12/17/03]   U.S. Congress. Joint Economic Committee: How the Tax Exclusion Shaped Today’s Private Health Insurance Market

[12/11/03]   Congressional Budget Office: H.R. 743, Social Security Protection Act of 2003

[12/11/03]  The National Academy of Social Insurance: Social Insurance Sourcebook (covers Social Security, Medicare, Workers’ Compensation and Disability, Unemployment Insurance, and Long-Term Care)


[12/11/03]  American Express:  “Year-end Bonuses and Holiday Parties Top the List of Holiday Plans for Employees,” OPEN Small Business Network 2003 Semi-Annual Monitor

[12/11/03]  Society for Human Resource Management: SHRM 2003 Elder Care Survey

[12/11/03]  MetLife Employee Benefits Trend Study:   “Benefits Satisfaction Declines Among Workers As Companies Focus on Cost-Shifting”

[12/11/03]  S.1929, Mental Health Parity Reauthorization Act of 2003:  Bill Summary & Status information

[12/11/03]  Society for Human Resource Management / CNNfn: Job Benefits Survey

[12/11/03]  Cerulli Associates: Cerulli Quantitative Update: Retirement Markets 2003

[12/11/03]  The Segal Company: 2004 Reporting & Disclosure Calendar for Multiemployer Plans

[12/11/03]  The Segal Company: 2004 Reporting & Disclosure Calendar for Benefit Plans (qualified, single employer benefit plans)

[12/11/03]  U.S. Treasury Department Secretary Snow:  Statement on Health Savings Accounts (a provision in the Medicare Prescription Drug legislation recently made law)

[12/9/03]  President Bush signed the Medicare bill (HR 1) yesterday.

[12/9/03]  Congressional Budget Office: Pension Stability Act

[12/9/03]  Internal Revenue Service (IRS): Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax [the tax year 2003 comprehensive tax guide for individuals] 

[12/9/03]  Watson Wyatt: Global Investment Review 2004

[12/9/03]  The American Shareholders Association: Lifetime & Retirement Savings Accounts: Ending the Double Tax on Savings

[12/9/03]  Alston & Bird: Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Advisory, December 2003, "Medicare Act Includes Important New Benefits Provisions"

[12/9/03]  The Heritage Foundation:  Time to Rethink the Disastrous Medicare Legislation

[12/9/03]  The Washington Business Group on Health has changed its name to the National Business Group on Health.

[12/5/03]   The Pension Research Council:  Electronic Symposium: The US Transition to Hybrid Pensions

[12/5/03]   Fast Facts from Mathematica Policy Research:  "Shifting Medicare Choices, 1999-2003"

[12/5/03]  Fidelity Investments’ Building Futures IV report: Building Futures: Plan Options and Participant Choices in Workplace Savings

[12/5/03]  The Segal Company:  Abstract of 2004 Segal Health Plan Trend Survey

[12/5/03]   A Center for Studying Health System Change study: Patient Cost Sharing: How Much is Too Much?

[12/5/03]   Hewitt Associates study: Health Care Expectations: Future Strategy and Direction 2004

[12/3/03]   The December 2, 2003, Alert from Aon Consulting, discusses Medicare legislation (HR 1) passed by Congress.

[12/3/03]  The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics released the third quarter report, Employer Costs for Employee Compensation--September 2003.

[12/3/03]   The following documents have been added to the Congressional Budget Office's Web site:

[12/3/03]  The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities posted Health Savings Accounts in Final Medicare Conference Agreement Pose Threats Both to Long-Term Fiscal Policy and to the Employer-Based Health Insurance System  as revised December 1, 2003, by Robert Greenstein and Edwin Park.

[12/3/03]  The Commonwealth Fund report, Churn, Churn, Churn: How Instability of Health Insurance Shapes America's Uninsured Problem, is available to download.

[12/3/03]   The Investment Company Institute posted U.S. Household Ownership of Mutual Funds in 2003Click here for a summary.

[12/3/03]  "Are H & P [Health & Productivity] Programs for You? " Read the Strategic Finance December 2003 article.

[12/3/03]  The National Women's Law Center has released Contraceptive Equity Laws in Your State: Know Your Rights -- Use Your Rights: A Consumer Guide.

[11/28/03]  A provision of H.R. 1, the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, creates a health care reform group.   It authorizes the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to fund a 15-member Citizens Health Care Working Group.

[11/28/03]   Private Insurance and End-of-Life Coverage by Mark Merlis was funded by Last Acts, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiative.

[11/28/03]  The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report features details of the provisions of the Medicare bill passed by the House and the Senate (HR 1).

[11/28/03]  The survey report, National Small Business Poll: Health Insurance, is published by the National Federation of Independent Business.

[11/28/03]  The California HealthCare Foundation’s Health Benefits Game Yields Surprising Results by Kathy Robertson assesses what happens when employees are asked to design their own benefit plan.

[11/28/03]   Revenue Ruling 2003-124 provides tables of covered compensation under the Internal Revenue Code and the Income Tax Regulations, for the 2004 plan year.

[11/28/03]   The following have been added to the Congressional Budget Office site:

[11/28/03]   Dallas Salisbury will participate in the Employee Benefit News Web Seminar, Pass or Fail? What Consumers Don't Know About Retirement Income and What the Media is Telling Them, on December 1st.  It is a Webcast of MetLife’s conference on retirement financing. 

[11/28/03]   Work-Life Balance: Key Factor for Part-Time Workers During Prime Working Years is a study released by the Employment Policy Foundation.

[11/28/03]  The IRA Rollover Trends: Distribution & Product Strategies for Successful Asset Growth study was released by the Financial Research Corp.

[11/28/03]  Access to food and health care findings drawn from the Pew Global Attitudes Project’s surveys of 38,000 people in 44 nations, conducted during the summer/fall of 2002 under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International, show that Most of the World Still Does Without.

[11/28/03]  The World Development Report 2004, an annual report from the World Bank, proposes that global human welfare improvements will occur when "poor people receive wider access to affordable, better quality services in health, education, water, sanitation, and electricity."

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Updated 12/31/03