What's New - December 2007

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What's new at EBRI this month:


December 2007 EBRI Issue Brief - "The Future of Employment-Based Health Benefits: Have Employers Reached a Tipping Point?"

December 2007 EBRI Notes - "IRA Assets and Contributions, 2006" and "Income of the Elderly Population Age 65 and Over, 2006"


Asset Allocation and Default Investments in 401(k) Plans, This information sheet on the Department of Labor’s final ruling on default investments in 401(k) plans provides data on assets held in stable-value, GICs (guaranteed investment contracts, an insurance product), or money-market funds (excluded from the rule) and balanced funds (included in the rule).

October 6, 2005 - Updated Ballpark E$timate Available, Americans trying to estimate how much they need to save for a comfortable retirement now have an updated and easy-to-use tool -- the Ballpark E$timate.

EBRI Fact Sheet on PBGC - A four-page fact sheet with background information, key data and charts, and information links about the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the federal agency that insures the traditional pensions of about 44 million Americans.

Frequently Asked Questions About Benefits - This section of EBRI's Web site is designed to answer basic questions about major benefit issues and trends. It provides short, graphical answers, with links to the detailed data underlying the figure. In addition, references are provided to the relevant EBRI publication.

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 Government Accountability Office's Web site in Portable Document (PDF) format:

"Saving Our Future Requires Tough Choices Today" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, on the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour at Michigan State University, in East Lansing, Michigan. GAO-08-353CG, December 6. [slides]

"Fiscal and Health Care Challenges" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the National Conference on Health Care Consumerism, in Washington, D.C. GAO-08-338CG, December 5.

"America's Fiscal Future" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Greater Washington Society of CPAs' Annual Not For Profit Organization Symposium, in Washington, D.C. GAO-08-339CG, December 5.

"Saving Our Future Requires Tough Choices Today" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, on the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. GAO-08-337CG, December 3.

State Children's Health Insurance Program: Program Structure, Enrollment and Expenditure Experiences, and Outreach Approaches for States That Cover Adults. GAO-08-50, November 26. Highlights.

Private Pensions: Low Defined Contribution Plan Savings May Pose Challenges to Retirement Security, Especially for Many Low-Income Workers. GAO-08-8, November 29. Highlights.

Social Security: Issues Regarding the Coverage of Public Employees, by Barbara D. Bovbjerg, director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy, Senate Committee on Finance. GAO-08-248T, November 6. 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 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 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.

[12/21/07]  S.1974, “A bill to make technical corrections related to the Pension Protection Act of 2006”:  Bill Summary

[12/21/07]  Milliman, Inc.:  Lump-Sum Pension Payments: 2008 and Beyond

[12/21/07]  Reish Luftman Reicher & Cohen Adviser Report:

[12/21/07]  ICMA-RC:

[12/21/07]  U.S. Department of Labor:  Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities - An Update on Pension Protection Act and Related Guidance for Practitioners - Archived from December 6, 2007 Webcast [Registration may be required]

[12/20/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Extension of Transitional Relief for Diversification Requirements for Certain Defined Contribution Plans [Notice 2008-7]

[12/20/07]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “DOL Issues Final Form 5500 Regulations

[12/20/07]  Compensation and Working Conditions Online:  “Comparing Employer-Provided Medical Care Benefits for Lower and Higher Wage Full-Time Workers

[12/20/07]  America’s Health Insurance Plans:  Individual Health Insurance 2006-2007: A Comprehensive Survey of Premiums, Availability, and Benefits

[12/19/07]  The Pew Charitable Trusts' Center on the States:

[12/19/07]  America’s Health Insurance Plans:

[12/19/07]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:

[12/19/07]  Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review:  “The Decline in the U.S. Personal Saving Rate: Is It Real and Is It a Puzzle?

[12/18/07]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Premium Rates; Payment of Premiums, Flat Premium Rates, Variable-Rate Premium Cap, and Termination Premium; Deficit Reduction Act of 2005; Pension Protection Act of 2006; Final Rule [as published in the Federal Register on December 17, 2007]

[12/18/07]  JPMorgan Chase & Co.:  “Final Revised Form 5500 – New Fee Reporting Rules
[12/18/07]  The Commonwealth Fund:  Bending the Curve: Options for Achieving Savings and Improving Value in U.S. Health Spending

[12/17/07]  Investment Company Institute Research Fundamentals:  “The U.S. Retirement Market, Second Quarter 2007

[12/17/07]  Community Catalyst, Inc.:  Revisiting Massachusetts Health Reform: 18 Months Later

[12/17/07]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  Debunking Executive Compensation Myths: 2007/2008 Report on Executive Pay

[12/17/07]  National Governors Association:  The Fiscal Survey of States

[12/13/07]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employer Costs for Employee Compensation -- September 2007

[12/13/07]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:

[12/13/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Plans News [Volume 7/Winter 2008]

[12/13/07]  Towers Perrin:  Account-Based Health Plans: Employees Weigh In [Executive Summary]

[12/13/07]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  “Election 2008: ABC News Survey Examines Presidential Candidates’ Approaches to Health Care Reform

[12/13/07]  JPMorgan Chase & Co.:  “America’s Health Crisis: Is Consumer Driven Health Care An Enabler or Antidote?

[12/12/07]  U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor:  “New Report: Today’s Young Workers Expected to Reach Retirement Age with Little 401(k) Savings -- Workers Nearing Retirement Also Have Insufficient 401(k) Savings, Says GAO

[12/12/07]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:

[12/12/07]  AARP and American Council of Life Insurers:  What Now? How Retirees Manage Money To Make It Last Through Retirement

[12/12/07]  Thompson Publishing Group:  Consumer-directed Health Care: What’s the Next Stage?

[12/11/07]  Consumer Federation of America and Wachovia:  “More Than Half of Americans Say They Are Not Saving Adequately

[12/11/07]  Milliman, Inc.:  Ten Considerations for Section 125 Plans [White Paper]

[12/11/07]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  “Supplemental Health Insurance Coverage as Excepted Benefits under HIPAA and Related Legislation” [Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2007-04]

[12/11/07]  Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation:  An Analysis of the Essential Role of Employers in Massachusetts Health Care Reform

[12/11/07]  Congressional Research Service:  SCHIP:  Differences Between H.R. 3963 and the Vetoed H.R. 976 [Updated October 29, 2007]

[12/11/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Listing of Published Guidance (January – November 2007)

[12/10/07]  Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments, December 2007

[12/10/07]  Managed Care Magazine:  “Conversations on the Changing Face of Managed Care: Insights from the 2006-2007 Podcast Series” [Supplement 9, September 2007]

[12/10/07]  Congressional Research Service:  Lump-Sum Distributions Under the Pension Protection Act

[12/10/07]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “Recent and Prospective Developments in Retirement Programs in the United Kingdom

[12/10/07]  Economic Policy Institute Briefing Paper:  “Building on Social Security’s Success

[12/7/07]  David Macchia’s Online Magazine:  “Interview with Dallas Salisbury: President & CEO of EBRI Offers Fascinating Historical Perspective on Today’s Retirement Security Challenges; Reveals Preference for Mandatory, National Retirement Savings Program in Addition to Social Security

[12/7/07]  Prudential Retirement’s Pension Analyst:

[12/7/07]  Monthly Labor Review:  “Labor Force Projections to 2016: More Workers in Their Golden Years

[12/7/07]  AARP Public Policy Institute:  Employment at Older Ages and the Changing Nature of Work [Research Report]

[12/5/07]  Society of Actuaries:  2007 Risks and Process of Retirement Survey: Report of Findings

[12/5/07]  Investment Advisor Magazine:  “Target Date: Now -- The Future Is Very Bright for the Already Popular Lifecycle Funds

[12/5/07]  Congressional Research Service:  Electronic Personal Health Records

[12/5/07]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  “Employers Use Stick-and-Carrot Approach for Wellness Programs

[12/4/07]  Compensation and Working Conditions Online:  “The Likelihood of Having Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance” 

[12/4/07]  Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:  Deductibles for Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance in the Private Sector, by Firm Size Classification, 2002-2005

[12/4/07]  Center for American Progress:  Unequal Taxes on Equal Benefits: The Taxation of Domestic Partner Benefits

[12/4/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Plans News [Special Edition, November 30, 2007]

[12/4/07]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Technical Update 07-2: Funding-Related Determinations for Reporting Under Parts 4010 and 4043; Effect of the Pension Protection Act of 2006; Transitional Guidance.

[12/3/07]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: 

[12/3/07]  The Segal Group Spotlight:  “Options for Managing the Cost and Risk Associated with Retiree Health Coverage, Including Remarks on the Current Interest in VEBAs

[12/3/07]  The Commonwealth Fund:  Health Care: Solutions Without Borders

[12/3/07]  Economic Policy Institute Briefing Paper:  “Protecting Social Security’s Beneficiaries: Achieving Balance Without Benefit Cuts

[12/3/07]  Social Security Administration:  Social Security as a Retirement Resource for Near-Retirees, by Race and Ethnicity, Nativity, Benefit Type, and Disability Status [Working Paper]

[12/3/07] Society of Actuaries:  The SOA’s Committee on Living to 100 Research Symposia invites you to its third, triennial international symposium on high-age mortality and related issues taking place January 7-9, 2008, in Orlando, Florida.  Actuaries, demographers, gerontologists, and other professionals from around the world will be among those presenting papers on such thought-provoking subjects as:

  • mortality trends and projection methods;
  • theories on aging;
  • enhanced mortality rate and population projections; and
  • implications of an aging population for social, financial, health care, and retirement systems.

Click here for further information.

Updated 12/21/07