What's New

What's New - February 2004

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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:


Americans' Future Retirement Security: Implications of the EBRI-ERF Retirement Security Projection Model


EBRI Notes for February 2004:  "IRA and Keogh Assets" and "Evidence-Based Medicine: Putting Research Into Practice”

American Savings Education Council Joins National Organizations to Sponsor Sixth Annual National Consumer Protection Week

EBRI Testimony, January 27, 2004, presenting results from the EBRI-ERF Retirement Security Projection Model, before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing titled: Retirement Planning: Do We Have a Crisis in America?

Reforming the Retirement Savings System:  In the January 20, 2004, State of the Union address, President Bush again called for reforms of the retirement savings system.  EBRI provides background information below on the current system:

Recent Publications:

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 Research Findings for 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.


Mutual Funds: Additional Disclosures Could Increase Transparency of Fees and Other Practices, by Richard J. Hillman, director, financial markets and community investment, before the Subcommittee on Financial Management, the Budget and International Security, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. GAO-04-317T, January 27, 2004.  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.

[2/25/04]  Health Affairs:  The Cost Of Tax-Exempt Health Benefits In 2004

[2/25/04]  Health Affairs:  The Effect Of Tax Credits For Nongroup Insurance On Health Spending By The Uninsured

[2/25/04]   U.S. Department of Labor:  Fiduciary Responsibilities Related to Mutual Funds: Statement of Assistant Secretary Ann L. Combs on the Duties of Fiduciaries in Light of Recent Mutual Fund Investigations

[2/25/04]  The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:   Supply-Side Consequences of Social Security Reform: Impacts on Saving and Employment

[2/25/04]  The Commonwealth Fund:  Lack of Prescription Coverage Among the Under 65: A Symptom of Underinsurance

[2/25/04]   Demos:  Retiring in the Red: The Growth of Debt Among Older Americans

[2/25/04]   Greenwich Associates:  Internet Tools Fail to Reach Most 401(k) Participants [Wednesday, February 18, 2004, press release]

[2/25/04]   Towers Perrin:  Benefits Boost for Captives: Captives to Finance Employee Benefits Set to Rise

[2/25/04]   HRO Today:  Year-End Trends and Forecasts: The Auld Lang Syne of the Benefits World

[2/25/04]   Briggs and Morgan, P.A. / Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development:  An Employer's Guide to Employee Benefits (2004 Edition)

[2/25/04]  American Academy of Actuaries:   The "New Retirement:" Emerging Issues Affecting Financial Security (February 20, 2004, Capitol Hill Briefing)

[2/25/04]   Mathew Greenwald & Associates, Inc. / Employee Benefit Research Institute:   2003 Risks and Process of Retirement Survey: Report of Findings

[2/20/04]  International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists and the Human Capital Practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP:  Top Five Benefit Priorities for 2004: A Survey of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists

[2/20/04]  Aetna, Inc.:  Aetna Research Shows Positive Impact of Consumerism on Health Care Decisions

[2/20/04]  American Express National Survey [Personal Economy Survey spotlighting Retirement Savings] Finds Multiple and Duplicate Retirement Accounts Pervasive

[2/20/04]   Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  My Plan Administration Account (My PAA) --the secure Web-based application that provides pension plan practitioners with an electronic alternative to the current paper-based premium filing process

[2/20/04]   National Center for Policy Analysis:  Social Security, Women and Working Families

[2/20/04]   Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  A Mixed Bag: Treasury's Proposed Cash Balance and Pension Equity Plan Legislation

[2/20/04]   Society of Actuaries and The American Academy of Actuaries:  Retirement Plan Preferences Survey: Report of Findings

[2/20/04]   The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  It's All Relative: Understanding the Retirement Prospects of Baby-Boomers   Executive Summary    Full Paper

[2/20/04]   Urban Institute:  Promoting Work at Older Ages: The Role of Hybrid Pension Plans in an Aging Population

[2/20/04]   The ERISA Industry Committee:  Understanding Cash Balance Plans

[2/18/04]   Galen Institute Briefing:  Consumer Choice Health Care: Reports from the Field

[2/18/04]   401khelpcenter.com:  Benchmark Your 401k Plan – 2004: How Does Your 401k Plan Compare With The "Typical" 401k?

[2/18/04]   Internal Revenue Service:  Employee [retirement] Plan Abusive Tax [shelter schemes and] Transactions

[2/18/04]  Office of U.S. Representative Jim Kolbe:  21st Century Retirement Security Act: A Comprehensive, Bipartisan Plan to Save Social Security.   Bill Summary; Press Release

[2/18/04]  National Retirement Planning Coalition:  National Retirement Planning Coalition Report Reveals Risks to Retirement Income

[2/12/04]   Pension Research InstituteOn The Difference Between Investing, Saving, and Speculation

[2/12/04]   Hewitt Associates:  Total Retirement Income at Large Companies: The Real Deal

[2/12/04]  U.S. Census Bureau:  2003 Statistical Abstract of the United States (the National Data Book)

[2/12/04]   Health Affairs:  "Health Spending Projections Through 2013"

[2/12/04]  Mercer Investment Consulting:  Plan Sponsors Report Positive Fourth-Quarter and Yearly Results in the Summary Performance of US Institutional Portfolios survey (4th quarter 2003)

[2/12/04]   Joint Committee on Taxation:  Technical Explanation of the Tax and Pension Provisions of H.R. 3108, the “Pension Stability Act,” as Passed by the Senate on January 28, 2004

[2/12/04]  ComPsych Corporation:  Reality of Financial Trouble Hits Hard for Employees, According to ComPsych [click on press release title to open]

[2/12/04]  Office of U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald:  Summary of Key Provisions of  The Mutual Fund Reform Act of 2004

[2/12/04]   Congressional Research Service Report for Congress:  "Retirement Savings Accounts: President’s Budget Proposal for FY2005"

[2/12/04]   Center on an Aging Society:  Disease Management Programs: Improving health while reducing costs?

[2/9/04]  Council of Economic Advisers:  2004 Economic Report of the President

[2/9/04]   Changes in Health Care Financing & Organization:  "State Variation in Insurance Laws a Major Driver of Employers' Self-Insurance Decisions"

[2/9/04]   San Francisco Chronicle:  "The 43 Million Uninsured Free-Market Health Insurance, the Ignored Alternative"

[2/9/04]   MSN Money:  7 Reasons Americans Save So Little

[2/9/04]   AARP:  The State of [age] 50+ America

[2/9/04]  H.R.3780, Balancing Act of 2004: To improve the lives of working families by providing family and medical need assistance, child care assistance, in-school and afterschool assistance, family care assistance, and encouraging the establishment of family-friendly workplaces:  Bill Summary & Status Information

[2/9/04]  Nationwide Financial:  Lack of Information Deters American Workers from Retirement Planning, Nationwide Survey Reveals

[2/5/04]  2003 Towers Perrin Retirement StudyBack to the Future: Redefining Retirement in the 21st Century

[2/5/04]  Urban Institute:  Balances in Defined Contribution Plans and IRAs

[2/5/04]  Benefits and Compensation International:  Development of a Global Approach to Retirement Planning

[2/5/04]   American Benefits Council:  Summary/Comparison of Bush Administration Savings Proposals

[2/5/04]  National Bureau of Economic Research:  Are Americans Saving "Optimally" for Retirement?

[2/5/04]  MetLife:  The MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends: Findings from the 2003 National Survey of Employers and Employees

[2/4/04]  The National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators (NAGDCA):  Mutual Funds in Crisis: Issues for Plan Sponsors and Future Developments: covering the emerging mutual fund issues, their effect on plan sponsors, and future developments [free webcast on Wednesday, February 11, 2004]

[2/4/04]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Health Insurance Coverage of Women Ages 18-64, by State, 2001-2002

[2/4/04]  The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:   Just the Facts on Retirement Issues, "Basic Investment Theory Explained

[2/4/04]  Managed Care Magazine [January 2004 issue]:   Health Plan 2009: Eight health policy experts [including EBRI’s Paul Fronstin] predict the shape of managed health care at the end of the decade

[2/4/04]  MEDTAP:  The Value of Investment in Health Care: Better Care, Better Lives

[2/4/04]   American Academy of Actuaries:  The Impact of Consumer-Driven Health Plans on Health Care Costs: A Closer Look at Plans with Health Reimbursement Accounts

[2/4/04]   American Academy of Actuaries:  Assumptions Used to Project Social Security’s Financial Condition

[2/3/04]  U.S. Office of Management and Budget:  Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2005

[2/3/04]  U.S. Budget, fiscal year 2005:  Explanation of the Administration's Retirement Savings Proposals

[2/3/04]  U.S. Department of the Treasury:  Preserving Cash Balance Plans for Workers: Treasury Proposes Legislation to Protect Defined Benefit Plans and Ensure Fair Treatment of Older Workers in Cash Balance Conversions

[2/3/04]  Nikko Financial Intelligence, Inc., Institute of Pension Research:  Pension Data in Japan 2003 Winter

[2/3/04]   Nikko Financial Intelligence, Inc., Institute of Pension Research:  Highlights of Results in Japanese Pension Field 2003

[2/2/04]  U.S. Department of the Treasury:  The President’s Savings Proposals: Tax-Free Savings and Retirement Security Opportunities for all Americans

[2/2/04]  U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security:  Field Hearing on Social Security’s Future

[2/2/04]  Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured:   Lack of Coverage: A Long-Term Problem for Most Uninsured


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Updated 2/27/04