What's New - February 2011

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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


February 2011 EBRI Issue Brief - "A Post-Crisis Assessment of Retirement Income Adequacy for Baby Boomers and Gen Xers"

February 2011 EBRI Notes - "Who Tries to Find Objective Information on Health Care? Findings From the 2010 Health Confidence Survey" and "Labor Force Participation Rates of the Population Age 55 and Older: What Did the Recession Do to the Trends?"


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:

401(k) Plans:  Improved Regulation Could Better Protect Participants from Conflicts of Interest. GAO-11-119, January 28. Highlights.

Defined Contribution Plans:  Key Information on Target Date Funds as Default Investments Should Be Provided to Plan Sponsors and Participants.  GAO-11-118, January 31. Highlights.

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

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.

[2/28/11]  Center for Economic and Policy Research:  The Origins and Severity of the Public Pension Crisis

[2/28/11]  The New York Times:  “Move Public Employees Into 401(k)s?” [Six debaters offer their insights on this issue]

[2/28/11]  Employee Benefit News:  “Legal Alert: IRS Issues Guidance on 403(b) Plan Terminations

[2/28/11]  Internal Revenue Service:  Section 403(b) -- Taxability of Certain Annuity Contracts [Rev. Rul. 2011-7]

[2/25/11]  Internal Revenue Service:  Retirement News for Employers [Winter 2011]

[2/25/11]  MarketWatch:  “Is It Time to Reconsider Company Stock?

[2/25/11]  PIMCO DC Dialogue™:  “First Manage Your Risk” [“In this PIMCO DC Dialogue, we talk with Professor Zvi Bodie about preparing for retirement, which he believes is too difficult for the average person without help from experts.”]

[2/25/11]  National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems:  The Top 10 Advantages of Maintaining Defined Benefit Pension Plans

[2/25/11]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Kaiser Health Tracking Poll -- February 2011

[2/25/11]  National Academy for State Health Policy:  Health Insurance Exchange Basics

[2/24/11]  U.S. News & World Report:  “7 Reasons Americans Can’t Save for Retirement

[2/24/11]  CNBC.com:  “What to Do If You Haven’t Saved Enough for Retirement

[2/24/11]  Brookings Institution:  “President’s Budget Proposal Could Help Up to 78 Million More Workers to Save for Retirement

[2/24/11]  National Conference of State Legislatures:  State Legislation and Actions Challenging Certain Health Reforms, 2010-11

[2/24/11]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Pulling It Together…Forget Math and Science, Teach Civics (Or Why We Need To Bring Back “School House Rock”)” from Drew Altman

[2/24/11]  Social Security Administration:  Annual Statistical Supplement to the Social Security Bulletin, 2010

[2/23/11]  Investment News:  “America Saves Week -- but Americans’ savings still weak

[2/23/11]  Profit Sharing/401k Council of America [Blog]:  “PSCA Supports Clarifying the Definition of Fiduciary Advisor

[2/23/11]  U.S. Department of the Treasury:  General Explanations of the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2012 Revenue Proposals [“Green Book”]

[2/23/11]  Kaiser Health News:  “State Worker Backlash Spreads Across the Country

[2/23/11]  National Underwriter:  “PPACA: The Battle of the H.R. 1 Amendments

[2/23/11]  The Commonwealth Fund:  Health Care Opinion Leaders’ Views on Congressional Priorities

[2/22/11]  U.S. News & World Report:  “Older Worker Employment Reaches Record High

[2/22/11]  Business Insurance:  “HHS OKs 94% of Health Care Law Waiver Requests

[2/22/11]  National Academy of Social Insurance:  Social Security Benefits, Finances, and Policy Options: A Primer

[2/22/11]  Investment Company Institute:  Profile of Mutual Fund Shareholders, 2010

[2/18/11]  Dallas Morning News (via LexisNexis News):  “Budgets Ignore Costs of Aging

[2/18/11]  The Wall Street Journal:  “Athens in Mad Town – A seminal showdown between public unions and taxpayers

[2/18/11]  National Association of State Retirement Administrators:  Facts You Should Know: State and Local Bankruptcy, Municipal Bonds, State and Local Pensions

[2/18/11]  Vanguard Blog:  “Roth IRAs and Tax Deferral

[2/18/11]  Morningstar:  “The Error-Proof Portfolio: What Not to Put in Your IRA

[2/18/11]  The New York Times:  “Administration Seeks Clarity from Judge on Health Ruling

[2/18/11]  House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations:  Hearing on “Health Care Issues Involving the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight” [Hearing held Feb. 16, 2011]

[2/17/11]  WorldatWork:  Survey on Workplace Flexibility

[2/17/11]  Financial Finesse Reports:  2010 Research Year in Review -- Research on Financial Trends

[2/17/11]  PostPartisan Foundation and TIAA-CREF:  Lessons for Retirement Plan Design from the Nonprofit Sector

[2/17/11]  Bloomberg:  “Nightmare for Elderly May Not Be Unavoidable: Chris Farrell” [Opinion]

[2/17/11]  Towers Watson:  Employee Perspectives on Health Care - Part II: Employee Engagement

[2/17/11]  The Los Angeles Times:  “CBS News Poll: Most Americans Don’t Want to Strip Healthcare Law of Its Funding

[2/16/11]  House Judiciary Committee:  Hearing on “The Constitutionality of the Individual Mandate” [Hearing held Feb. 16, 2011, includes links to testimonies]

[2/16/11]  Haynes and Boone:  “Reform Your Policy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Complying with Health Care Reform in 2011

[2/16/11]  National Association of State Retirement Administrators:  Changes Made to State and Local Pension and Retiree Health Care Benefits

[2/16/11]  Detroit Free Press:  “Susan Tompor: Meltdown Recovery Continues

[2/16/11]  PostPartisan Foundation and National Center for Policy Analysis:  Small Business and Employee Retirement Savings Plans

[2/16/11]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Benefits Payable in Terminated Single-Employer Plans; Interest Assumptions for Paying Benefits; Final Rule [as published in the Federal Register on Feb. 15, 2011]

[2/16/11]  CQ Roll Call Group:  “Budget Plan Doesn’t Tackle Entitlements

[2/15/11]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Plans News [Feb. 11, 2011]

[2/15/11]  Atlanta Journal Constitution:  “Companies Switching to High-Deductible Health Plans

[2/15/11]  National Association of State Retirement Administrators:  Hybrid and Defined Contribution Plans as the Primary or Optional State Retirement Benefit

[2/15/11]  House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law:  Hearing on “The Role of Public Employee Pensions in Contributing to State Insolvency and the Possibility of a State Bankruptcy Chapter” [Hearing held Feb. 14, 2011, includes links to testimonies]

[2/15/11]  Office of Management and Budget:  The President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2012

[2/15/11]  U.S. News & World Report:  “5 Ways Obama’s Budget Will Impact Retirees

[2/14/11]  Plan Sponsor:  “Newly Introduced Bill Would Repeal Limits on FSAs, HSAs

[2/14/11]  National Underwriter:  “PPACA: Panel Eyes Effects on Employers

[2/14/11]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  “U.S. Department of Labor Announces Intention to Extend Applicability Date of Section 408(b) (2) Fee Disclosure Regulation” [News Release]

[2/14/11]  U.S. News & World Report:  “Turning 65 With Nothing Saved for Retirement

[2/14/11]  Towers Watson:  Global Pension Asset Study 2011

[2/11/11]  Cheiron Client Advisory:  “2010-11 Health Care Benefit Review and Outlook

[2/11/11]  Reish & Reicher:

[2/11/11]  House Ways & Means Committee:  Hearing on the Health Care Law’s Impact on the Medicare Program and Its Beneficiaries [Hearing held Feb. 10, 2011, includes links to testimonies]

[2/11/11]  SEI:  Quick Poll: The Top 10 Priorities for U.S. Pension Plan Sponsors in 2011

[2/11/11]  CQ Roll Call:  “Former Members [of Congress] Get Millions from Pensions

[2/11/11]  Social Security Bulletin:  “Next Generation of Individual Account Pension Reforms in Latin America

[2/10/11]  House Small Business Committee:  Full Committee Hearing - “Buried in Paperwork: A 1099 Update” [Hearing held Feb. 9, 2011, includes links to testimonies]

[2/10/11]  Employee Benefit News:  “Factoring in Deficit-Reduction Proposals

[2/10/11]  The Health Hut:  “The History of Health Insurance in America: The Ultimate Web Guide

[2/10/11]  Center for State & Local Government Excellence:  What Are Hybrid Retirement Plans? A Quick-Reference Guide

[2/10/11]  Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index:  Milliman Analysis: Pension Plans Off to a Solid Start as Funded Status Improves to 82.2% in January

[2/9/11]  Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments [February 2011]

[2/9/11]  San Jose Mercury News:  “O’Brien: Lessons on Retirement Savings from the Rollercoaster Stock Market Ride

[2/9/11]  Employee Benefit Adviser:  “One-third of Americans Have No Retirement Savings

[2/9/11]  Congressional Research Service:  Federal Employees: Pension COLAs and Pay Adjustments Since 1969

[2/9/11]  U.S. Department of the Treasury:

[2/9/11]  Fortune:  100 Best Companies to Work For

[2/8/11]  Towers Watson:  Annual Benefit Enrollment 2011: Flash Survey

[2/8/11]  Milliman, Inc.:  Milliman Group Health Insurance Survey Illustrates Cost-Management Strategies Due to Healthcare Reform

[2/8/11]  The Segal Company:  Survey of Plans’ 2010 Zone Status

[2/8/11]  U.S. News & World Report:  “How to Put Your Retirement Back on Track

[2/7/11]  Bureau of Labor Statistics Program PerspectivesState and Local Government Benefits: “A Snapshot of State and Local Government Employee Benefits”

[2/7/11]  Office of Sen. Jeff Bingaman:  Background on the Lifetime Income Disclosure Act (S. 267) as introduced by Senators Bingaman (D-NM); Isakson (R-GA); and Kohl (D-WI) on Feb. 3, 2011

[2/7/11]  Towers Watson Insider:  “The Defined Contribution Plans of Fortune 100 Companies in 2009

[2/7/11]  The 401kWire:  401kWire’s 2011 Hundred Most Influential People in Defined Contribution

[2/7/11]  Profit Sharing/401k Council of America [Blog]:  “Retirement Income: A Congressional Briefing

[2/7/11]  Reish & Reicher Bulletin:  “The Impact of 408(b)(2) on Service Providers

[2/4/11]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  “Private Industry Compensation Costs Increase 2.1 Percent in 2010

[2/4/11]  Senate HELP Committee:  Full Committee Hearing - Simplifying Security: Encouraging Better Retirement Decisions [Hearing held Feb. 3, 2011, includes links to testimonies]

[2/4/11]  U.S. News & World Report:

[2/4/11]  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:  Misunderstandings Regarding State Debt, Pensions, and Retiree Health Costs Create Unnecessary Alarm -- Misconceptions Also Divert Attention from Needed Structural Reforms

[2/4/11]  Congress.org:  “Law Profs Divided on Health Law

[2/4/11]  Principal Financial Group:  The Principal 10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security: This website includes information on the 2011 entry period, how to nominate a company, plus a link to information about the 2010 winners.

[2/3/11]  Kaiser Health News:  “On Party-Line Vote, Health Reform Repeal Fails in the Senate

[2/3/11]  The New York Times:  “Do Health Savings Accounts Make for Savvy Patients?” [Blog]

[2/3/11]  Business Insurance:  “Employees Rely More on Employer, Health Plan Info: NBGH

[2/3/11]  MetLife:  “MetLife Poll Finds Non-Medical Benefits Increasing in Importance in the Wake of Health Care Reform - Employers Looking to Their Benefits Advisors for Insights

[2/3/11]  Urban Institute:  Employer-Sponsored Insurance under Health Reform: Reports of Its Demise Are Premature

[2/3/11]  Center for State & Local Government Excellence:  State & Local Pensions: An Overview of Funding Issues and Challenges

[2/2/11]  AmericaSavesWeek.org:  America Saves Week, February 20-27, 2011: This website includes information on the purpose of America Saves Week and how organizations and individuals can participate.

[2/2/11]  The Vanguard Group:  Distribution Decisions Among Retirement-Age Defined Contribution Plan Participants

[2/2/11]  PIMCO DC Dialogue™:  “Imperfect, but better” [“In this PIMCO DC Dialogue, we talk with Don Ezra, co-chair of global consulting at Russell Investments, about how to improve defined contribution plans.”]

[2/2/11]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Target Date Disclosure Proposed Regulation - Public Comments

[2/2/11]  The Los Angeles Times:

[2/2/11]  Congressional Research Service:

Updated 2/28/11