What's New - February 2008

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What's new at EBRI this month:


February 2008 EBRI Issue Brief - "ERISA Pre-emption: Implications for Health Reform and Coverage"

February 2008 EBRI Notes - "The Future of Employment-Based Health Benefits: Will Employers Reach a Tipping Point?"


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:

"Addressing Fiscal Sustainability and Fixing the Social Security System: Two Challenges Facing the Nation," by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the AARP Board of Directors Annual Public Policy Meeting, in Washington, D.C. GAO-08-524CG, February 14, 2008. [slides]

"Saving Our Future Requires Tough Choices Today," by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, on the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, in Chandler, Arizona. GAO-08-489CG, February 4, 2008.

Medicare Advantage: Increased Spending Relative to Medicare Fee-for-Service May Not Always Reduce Beneficiary Out-of-Pocket Costs. GAO-08-359, February 22. Highlights.

State and Local Government Retiree Benefits: Current Funded Status of Pension and Health Benefits. GAO-08-223, January 29. Highlights.

Health Information Technology: HHS Is Pursuing Efforts to Advance Nationwide Implementation, but Has Not Defined a National Strategy, by Valerie C. Melvin, director, human capital and management information systems issues, before the Senate Committee on the Budget. GAO-08-499T, February 14. 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.

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.

[2/29/08]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Amendment of Regulation Relating to Definition of “Plan Assets”--Participant Contributions; Proposed Rule [as published in the Federal Register on February 29, 2008]

[2/29/08]  Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies:

[2/29/08]  Thompson Publishing Group:  Pension Protection Act of 2006: Implementation and Aftermath

[2/27/08]  Congressional Budget Office:  The Outlook for Spending on Health Care and Long-Term Care

[2/27/08]  The Segal Company:  Survey of Dental Coverage

[2/27/08]  National Association of Insurance Commissioners:  “Baby Boomers Confused About Medicare, According to NAIC Survey -- What Retirees Need to Know About Medicare, Health Insurance Options

[2/27/08]  AARP Public Policy Institute:  The Saver’s Credit: What Does It Do for Saving?

[2/26/08]  Milliman’s Client Action Bulletin:  “New Law Creates Leave Rights under FMLA for Military Families

[2/26/08]  Health Affairs:  “Health Spending Projections Through 2017: The Baby-Boom Generation Is Coming to Medicare

[2/26/08]  U.S. Department of Labor:  Report of the Taskforce on the Aging of the American Workforce

[2/26/08]  Council of Economic Advisers:

[2/25/08]  Health Affairs:  “The U.S. Economy and Changes in Health Insurance Coverage, 2000-2006

[2/25/08]  Congressional Research Service:

[2/25/08]  Congressional Budget Office:  Geographic Variation in Health Care Spending

[2/25/08]  Prudential Retirement’s Pension Analyst:  “PBGC Provides Premium Guidance for Defined Benefit Plans

[2/22/08]  Milliman, Inc.:  Benefits Perspectives [Winter 2007-8]

[2/22/08]  Prudential Financial’s Pension Analyst Compliance Bulletin:  “IRS Delays Effective Date of Certain Funding Regulations

[2/22/08]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Annual Financial and Actuarial Information Reporting; Pension Protection Act of 2006; Proposed Rule [as published in the Federal Register on February 20, 2008]

[2/22/08]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:

[2/21/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Retirement News for Employers [Winter 2008]

[2/21/08]  Los Angeles Times:  “High Court Allows Workers to Sue over 401(k) Losses

[2/21/08]  Supreme Court of the United States: LaRue v. DeWolff, Boberg & Associates, Inc., No. 06-856

[2/21/08]  Congressman Christopher Shays:

[2/21/08]  Economic Policy Institute:  Health Care for America

[2/20/08]  Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments, February 2008

[2/20/08]  CFO.com:  “Benefits in 2020 - The Future of Health and Retirement Plans Presents Big Challenges for Employers and Employees

[2/20/08]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Health Care Costs Drive Up the National Retirement Risk Index

[2/20/08]  National Center for Employee Ownership:  “ESOPs Grow Significantly in 2007” [Update for February 14, 2008]

[2/15/08]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Wellness Program Analysis [Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2008-02]

[2/15/08]  U.S. Representative Ron Kind:

[2/15/08]  Monthly Labor Review:  “Older Workers: Increasing Their Labor Force Participation and Hours of Work

[2/15/08]  U.S. Department of the Treasury:

[2/13/08]  U.S. Department of Labor:

[2/13/08]  AARP:  Who Is Ready for Retirement, How Ready, and How Can We Know?

[2/13/08]  National Academy of Social Insurance:  Social Security: An Essential Asset and Insurance Protection for All

[2/13/08]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  An “Elastic” Earliest Eligibility Age for Social Security

[2/12/08]  Milliman’s Client Action Bulletin:  “IRS Validates Most ‘Greater-of’ Pension Formulas

[2/12/08]  Workforce Management:  “Pension and Retirement Benefits: Phased Retirement--Firms Wing It” [registration may be required]

[2/12/08]  State Coverage Initiatives:  State of the States: Rising to the Challenge

[2/12/08]  The Commonwealth Fund:  What Public Employee Health Plans Can Do to Improve Health Care Quality: Examples from the States

[2/11/08]  Department of the Treasury:  General Explanations of the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2009 Revenue Proposals [“The Blue Book”]

[2/11/08]  ConsumerReports.org:  “Six Prescriptions for Change: Our Survey Shows What Americans Demand of Health Reform

[2/11/08]  National Conference of State Legislatures:  State Family and Medical Leave Laws

[2/11/08]  Sun Life Financial:  The Expense Reality: What Lessons Pre-Retirees Can Draw from the Experiences of Today’s Retiree

[2/7/08]  The Hay Group’s Executive Edition Newsletter:  “Elective Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans--A Primer

[2/7/08]  AmericaSavesWeek.org:  America Saves Week Is February 24-March 2, 2008

[2/7/08]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “Pension Funding Improves Again in 2007

[2/5/08]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Compensation Costs in Private Industry Up 3.0 Percent in 2007

[2/5/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  How Non-Group Health Coverage Varies with Income

[2/5/08]  AXA Equitable:  AXA Equitable Retirement Scope: New Dynamics - Retirement -- A New Life After Work? Results for the United States, with International Comparisons

[2/5/08]  Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America:  401(k) and Profit Sharing Plan Eligibility Survey 2007

[2/4/08]  U.S. Office of Management and Budget:

[2/4/08]  Congressional Budget Office:

[2/4/08]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  Health Insurance Mandates in the States 2008: A State-by-State Breakdown of Health Insurance Mandates and Their Costs

[2/4/08]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  “Large Business Association Releases Plan to Overhaul U.S. Health Care System

[2/1/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Transition Guidance for New Funding Rules and Funding-Related Benefit Limitations under PPA’06 [Notice 2008-21]

[2/1/08]  Urban Institute:

[2/1/08]  CFO.com:  “Rocky Markets Hit Pension Funds Hard

[2/1/08]  Contingencies:  “The Case for Stock in Pension Funds

[2/1/08]  MarketWatch:  “Don’t Wait until 2010: Follow These Five Steps to Plan Your Roth IRA Conversion

[2/1/08]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  The 2008 Presidential Candidates on Health Care Reform [Updated January 30, 2008]

Updated 2/29/08