What's New - December 2010

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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


December 2010 EBRI Issue Brief - "Findings from the 2010 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey"

December 2010 EBRI Issue Brief - "Funding Savings Needed for Health Expenses for Persons Eligible for Medicare"

December 2010 EBRI Notes - "Employee Tenure Trend Lines, 1983-2010" and "Who Might Respond to Financial Incentives That Use Lower Cost Sharing to Change Behavior? Findings from the 2010 Health Confidence Survey"


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:

Social Security Reform:  Raising the Retirement Ages Would Have Implications for Older Workers and SSA Disability Rolls.  GAO-11-125, November 18.

Private Pensions:  Changes Needed to Better Protect Multiemployer Pension Benefits.  GAO-11-79, October 18. Highlights.

Health Care Delivery:  Features of Integrated Systems Support Patient Care Strategies and Access to Care, but Systems Face Challenges. GAO-11-49, November 16. Highlights.

The Federal Government's Long-Term Fiscal Outlook:  Fall 2010 Update.  GAO-11-201SP, November 15. Highlights. Podcast.

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Improvements Needed to Strengthen Governance Structure and Strategic Management, by Barbara D. Bovbjerg, managing director, education, workforce, and income security, before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.  GAO-11-182T, December 1. 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.

[12/22/10]  CFO.com:  “401(k) Participants Shun Company Stock

[12/22/10]  Employee Benefit Adviser:  “IRS Issues Withholding Details for Payroll Tax Cut

[12/22/10]  The New York Times:  “Health Insurers to Be Required to Justify Rate Increases Over 10 Percent

[12/22/10]  Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, Department of Health and Human Services:  Rate Increase Disclosure and Review; Notice of proposed rulemaking

[12/22/10]  PricewaterhouseCoopers:

[12/22/10]  Center for Studying Health System Change Research Brief No. 18:  “Who Are the Uninsured Eligible for Premium Subsidies in the Health Insurance Exchanges?

[12/22/10]  The Commonwealth Fund:  Realizing Health Reform’s Potential: Adults Ages 50-64 and the Affordable Care Act of 2010

[12/21/10]  Business Insurance:  “Obama Signs Bill Extending Benefits Tax Breaks

[12/21/10]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Plans News [Dec. 17, 2010]

[12/21/10]  The Wall Street Journal:  “Could You Retire Without Social Security?

[12/21/10]  Goldman Sachs Global Markets Institute:  2011 Pension Preview: Challenges and Changes

[12/20/10]  U.S. Senate Committee on Finance:  S.A. 4753: The Reid-McConnell Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010

[12/20/10]  The Wall Street Journal:  “The Best In…Financing Your Future

[12/20/10]  Deloitte:  Annual 401(k) Survey: Retirement Readiness

[12/20/10]  Profit Sharing/401k Council of America:  401(k) and Profit Sharing Plan Response to Current Conditions

[12/20/10]  Investment Company Institute:  The IRA Investor Profile: Traditional IRA Investors’ Rollover Activity, 2007 and 2008

[12/20/10]  Internal Revenue Service:

[12/17/10]  The New York Times:

[12/17/10]  Employee Benefit News:  “Benefits Tighten Employees’ Ties to Their Jobs, EBRI Poll Finds

[12/17/10]  Forbes:  “Social Security: Small Change to Have a Big Impact on Benefits

[12/17/10]  MarketWatch:  “401(k) Changes Give Savers a Brighter Future -- Positive developments in 2010 set stage for even better 2011

[12/17/10]  Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies:  Educational Matters: The Impact of Educational Attainment on Worker Retirement Outlook

[12/17/10]  WISER and The MetLife Mature Market Institute®:  What Today’s Woman Needs to Know and Do: The New Retirement Journey

[12/16/10]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Insurance Benefits Costs for Employers in Private Industry, September 2010

[12/16/10]  The New York Times:

[12/16/10]  Pensions & Investments:  “Battle Lines Form Over Public Plan Disclosure

[12/16/10]  Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index:  Milliman Analysis: A Step Back as Corporate Pensions Prepare for Year End: Defined Benefit Plan Funded Status Decreased by $22 billion during November - Forecast for End of Year 2011 and 2012

[12/16/10]  Aon Hewitt:  Retirement Readiness: Bridging the Gap Across Generations: Survey Highlights

[12/16/10]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Allocation of Assets in Single-Employer Plans; Benefits Payable in Terminated Single-Employer Plans; Interest Assumptions for Valuing and Paying Benefits; Final rule [as published in the Federal Register on Dec. 15, 2010]

[12/15/10]  Profit Sharing/401k Council of America:  403(b) Plan Response to Changing Conditions

[12/15/10]  MetLife:

[12/15/10]  Callan Associates:  The Callan DC Index™: Third Quarter 2010 [“The Callan DC Index™ is an equally-weighted index tracking the cash flows and performance of more than 70 plans, representing greater than 800,000 defined contribution participants and more than $70 billion in assets.  The index is updated quarterly and reflects 401(k) plans as well as other types of defined contribution plans.”]

[12/15/10]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “IRS Extends Amendment and Cutback Relief Dates for Benefit Restrictions and Certain Hybrid Plan Provisions

[12/15/10]  Segal Health Care Reform Insights:  “Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Dental and Vision Benefits

[12/15/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation Issue Brief:  “Income-Relating Medicare Part B and Part D Premiums: How Many Medicare Beneficiaries Will Be Affected?

[12/14/10]  The New York Times:

[12/14/10]  Alliance for Health Reform:  Implementing Health Reform: Employer & Consumer Issues

[12/14/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[12/14/10]  Plan Sponsor:  “Saxon Angle: ‘(b)(2)’ Business: Tips for Plan Sponsor Compliance with Fee Disclosure Regs

[12/14/10]  J.P. Morgan Asset Management:  Analyzing Defaulted Participant Behavior and QDIA Target Date Design

[12/13/10]  Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments [December 2010]

[12/13/10]  Kaiser Health News:  “New Rules Spell Out Protections for Consumers with ‘Limited Benefit’ Insurance Policies

[12/13/10]  FINRA Investor Education Foundation:  States Ranked Most and Least Likely to Engage in Five Key Measures of Financial Capability

[12/13/10]  USA Today:  “Payroll Tax Cut Worries Social Security Advocates

[12/13/10]  RAND:  Does the Social Security Statement Improve Americans’ Knowledge of Their Retirement Benefits?

[12/13/10]  National Academy of Social Insurance:  “Strengthening Social Security for the Long Run

[12/10/10]  U.S. News & World Report:  “Changes to Flex Spending Accounts Could Hurt Consumers

[12/10/10]  Center for Studying Health System Change Research Brief:  “Workplace Clinics: A Sign of Growing Employer Interest in Wellness

[12/10/10]  Towers Watson:  Retirement Attitudes -- Part III: Attraction and Retention

[12/10/10]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  How Will Higher Tax Rates Affect the National Retirement Risk Index?

[12/10/10]  Society of Actuaries and WISER:  Key Findings and Issues: The Impact of Retirement Risk on Women -- 2009 Risks and Process of Retirement Survey Report

[12/10/10]  The New York Times:  “Accounting for Public Pensions

[12/9/10]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employer Costs for Employee Compensation -- September 2010

[12/9/10]  The Los Angeles Times:  “Some Employers Offering Wellness Programs to Cut Health Costs

[12/9/10]  Mercer:  “Few Employers Offering In-Plan Roth Conversions before 2012” [Press Release]

[12/9/10]  Principal Financial Group:  The Principal Financial Well-Being Index - Summary 4th Quarter 2010

[12/9/10]  Plan Sponsor:  “Many Americans Have ‘Heads in the Sand’ for Retirement

[12/8/10]  Health Affairs:  “The 2007-09 Recession and Health Insurance Coverage

[12/8/10]  AHIP Center for Policy and Research:  An Analysis of Health Savings Account Balances, Contributions, and Withdrawals in 2009

[12/8/10]  PBS NewsHour:

[12/8/10]  Prudential Retirement Pension Analyst:

[12/8/10]  The New York Times:  “What the Tax Deal Means for You

[12/7/10]  The New York Times:

[12/7/10]  Milliman, Inc.:  401(k), 403(b), and 457(b) Plans - Key Features and Contribution Limits for 2011

[12/7/10]  Profit Sharing/401k Council of America:  401(k) and Profit Sharing Plan Eligibility Survey 2010

[12/7/10]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Technical Update 10-4: Reportable Events; Funding-Related Determinations; Missed Quarterly Contributions; Guidance for 2011 Plan Years

[12/6/10]  The New York Times:

[12/6/10]  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:  Employer-Based Health Coverage Declined Sharply Over Past Decade

[12/6/10]  Congressional Research Service:  Tax-Advantaged Accounts for Health Care Expenses: Side-by-Side Comparison

[12/6/10]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “Social Security Benefits Will Not Increase in 2011 -- Revised

[12/3/10]  The Los Angeles Times:  “Majority on Deficit Panel Expected to Back Its Recommendations

[12/3/10]  Internal Revenue Service:  Small Business Health Care Tax Credit: Frequently Asked Questions

[12/3/10]  The Commonwealth Fund:  Realizing Health Reform’s Potential: State Trends in Premiums and Deductibles, 2003-2009: How Building on the Affordable Care Act Will Help Stem the Tide of Rising Costs and Eroding Benefits

[12/3/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Rate Review: Spotlight on State Efforts to Make Health Insurance More Affordable

[12/3/10]  Investment Company Institute:

[12/2/10]  The Washington Post:

[12/2/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Comparison of Medicare Provisions in Deficit-Reduction Proposals

[12/2/10]  Plan Sponsor:  “Retirement Industry Reps Blast Fiscal Commission Report

[12/2/10]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Allocation of Assets in Single-Employer Plans; Valuation of Benefits and Assets; Expected Retirement Age; Final Rule [as published in the Federal Register on Dec. 1, 2010]

[12/2/10]  Internal Revenue Service:

[12/1/10]  FiscalCommission.gov:  The Moment of Truth: Report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform

[12/1/10]  The New York Times:

[12/1/10]  U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:  Health Insurance Issuers Implementing Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) Requirements Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Interim Final Rule with Request for Comments [as published in the Federal Register on Dec. 1, 2010]

[12/1/10]  Plan Sponsor:  “EBRI Estimates up to $240K Cost for Health Care in Retirement

[12/1/10]  Health Affairs and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:  Health Policy Brief: Early Retiree Insurance

[12/1/10]  Employee Benefit News:  “DOL Proposes Rule to Amend Target-Date Fund Disclosures

[12/1/10]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  The Treatment of Married Women by the Social Security Retirement Program [Working Paper]

[11/30/10]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Target Date Disclosure; Proposed regulation [as published in the Federal Register on Nov. 30, 2010]

[11/17/10]  Bipartisan Policy Center Debt Reduction Task Force:  Restoring America’s Future: Reviving the Economy, Cutting Spending and Debt, and Creating a Simple Pro-Growth Tax System

[11/12/10]  FiscalCommission.gov:

[11/12/10]  The Pew Charitable Trusts:  No Silver Bullet: Paths for Reducing the Federal Debt

Updated 12/22/10