What's New - February 2012

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As a research site, EBRI.org 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 ".gov" 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.  We apologize for any inconvenience.


[2/29/12]  AARP Public Policy Institute:  Health Insurance Coverage for 50- to 64-Year-Olds

[2/29/12]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Explaining Health Care Reform: Medical Loss Ratio (MLR)

[2/29/12]  Georgetown University Health Policy Institute:  Premium Incentives to Drive Wellness in the Workplace: A Review of the Issues and Recommendations for Policymakers

[2/29/12]  W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research:  An Analysis of Risk-Taking Behavior for Public Defined Benefit Pension Plans

[2/29/12]  PIMCO DC Dialogue™:  “Seismic shift in the U.K.” [“In this PIMCO DC Dialogue™, we talk with Magnus Spence, director of Spence Johnson, a London-based specialist research consultancy, about defined contribution development in the United Kingdom.”]

[2/29/12]  Chicago Tribune:  “What’s your retirement number?

[2/29/12]  Social Security Administration:  Social Security Programs Throughout the World: The Americas, 2011

[2/28/12]  Towers Watson Insider:  “American Workers Seek More Security in Retirement and Health Plans

[2/28/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “PBGC Puts Pension Insurance Data Tables Online

[2/28/12]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  PBGC 2010 Pension Data at a Glance

[2/28/12]  Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement:  Retirement Healthcare for Middle-Income Americans

[2/28/12]  Kaiser Health News:

[2/28/12]  Employee Benefit News:  “It’s OK to ask: Same-sex benefits & taxes

[2/27/12]  H.R. 4049:  “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to expand personal saving and retirement savings coverage by enabling employees not covered by qualifying retirement plans to save for retirement through automatic IRA arrangements, and for other purposes.” [short title: “Automatic IRA Act of 2012”]

[2/27/12]  NASRA Issue Brief:  “Public Pension Plan Investment Returns

[2/27/12]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Economic Consequences of the Great Recession: Evidence from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics [Working Paper]

[2/27/12]  AARP [Blog]:  “The Takeaway: How Much Does Retirement Really Cost?

[2/27/12]  Business Insurance:  “Rising costs, health care reform law create more interest in self-funding

[2/24/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “Payroll Tax Cut Extended, IRS Issues Revised Form

[2/24/12]  The New York Times:  “Fidelity Finds Slight Rise in Employee 401(k) Contributions

[2/24/12]  MoneyRates.com:  “Retirement savings: how do yours measure up?

[2/24/12]  U.S. Census Bureau:  Summary of the 2010 Annual Survey of Public-Employee Retirement Systems: State-Administered Pensions

[2/24/12]  Economic Policy Institute:  A Decade of Declines in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Coverage

[2/24/12]  Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight:  Covering People with Pre-Existing Conditions: Report on the Implementation and Operation of the Pre-Existing Condition and Insurance Plan Program

[2/23/12]  AdvisorOne:  “Sen. Reid Strips Stretch IRA Provision from Senate Bill -- Reid replaces the IRA provision with a ‘Pension Funding Stabilization’ provision

[2/23/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “More Than Half of Small-Business Owners May Not Have Optimal Retirement Plans

[2/23/12]  Pension Rights Center:  “Conference Proposes New Pension Options -- Forum Examines New Retirement Plans to Reduce Risk and Increase Retirement Income” [News Release]

[2/23/12]  Vanguard Blog:  “Retirement ready--or not?

[2/23/12]  Bloomberg BusinessWeek:  “Most Affluent Would Raise Social Security Age, BofA Survey Finds

[2/23/12]  Center for Economic Policy Research:  Health-insurance Coverage for Low-wage Workers, 1979-2010 and Beyond

[2/23/12]  Managed Care Magazine:  “Consumer Directed Coverage Makes Market Inroads

[2/22/12]  Employee Benefit News:  “Annual savings week pushes for workers to wake up and smell the 401(k)

[2/22/12]  Plan Sponsor:

[2/22/12]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College Financial Security Project:  Why Target Date Funds? [Includes links to a booklet and a brochure -- the PDFs can be downloaded free of charge]

[2/22/12]  MSNBC:  “Tough times keep older workers from retiring

[2/22/12]  Workforce Management:  “Automatic Enrollment in Larger Employer Health Plans Delayed until 2014

[2/22/12]  Kaiser Family Foundation Notes on Health Insurance and Reform:  “Insurance Coverage of Contraceptives

[2/21/12]  Employee Benefit News:  “8 discounted perks programs that can boost employee morale

[2/21/12]  Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:  Frequently Asked Questions on Essential Health Benefits Bulletin

[2/21/12]  BenefitsPro:  “Consumers driving health care -- New research shows balances soared over the last half-decade

[2/21/12]  Danbury News Times:  “Employers have an option with HDHP coverage

[2/21/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “Congress Approves Deal to Increase Federal Employee Pension Contributions

[2/21/12]  MetLife Mature Market Institute:  Women’s Views on Family Financial Obligations: A MetLife Survey of Intergenerational Findings of Baby Boomers and Generations X and Y

[2/21/12]  Financial Advisor Magazine:  “Older Workers Continue Working in Record Numbers

[2/17/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “EBSA to Hold Webcast About Small Business Retirement Plan Options” [as part of “America Saves Week”]

[2/17/12]  The Segal Company:  Survey of [Multiemployer] Plans’ 2011 Zone Status [Winter 2012]

[2/17/12]  Towers Watson:  Wellness Programs and In-House Care: How Hospitals Can Lower Employee Health Coverage Costs

[2/17/12]  Employee Benefit News:  “Employer contributions to health accounts fall as individual contributions rise

[2/17/12]  Investment News:  “Biggest expense for Americans over 50? Not health care

[2/17/12]  U.S. Department of the Treasury:  General Explanations of the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2013 Revenue Proposals

[2/17/12]  Congressional Budget Office:

[2/16/12]  U.S. Departments of the Treasury (IRS), Labor (EBSA), and Health and Human Services:  Group Health Plans and Health Insurance Issuers Relating to Coverage of Preventive Services Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Final rules [as published in the Federal Register on Feb. 15, 2012]

[2/16/12]  Aon Hewitt, National Business Group on Health, and The Futures Company:  The Consumer Health Mindset: Views, Behaviors, and Solutions

[2/16/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “Account-Based Health Plans See Continued Growth in 2011

[2/16/12]  Reuters (via Business Insurance):  “GM ending traditional pension plans for U.S. salaried workers

[2/16/12]  SmartMoney.com:  “The Dumbest Investment Move -- Why owning your company’s stock in your 401(k) is the wrong move

[2/16/12]  U.S. News & World Report:  “How Spending Priorities Change as We Age

[2/15/12]  Internal Revenue Service:  Retirement News for Employers [Winter 2012]

[2/15/12]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  What’s the Tax Advantage of 401(k)s?

[2/15/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “Obama Budget Limits Some Retirement Savings Tax Breaks

[2/15/12]  NASRA Issue Brief:  “State and Local Government Spending on Public Employee Retirement Systems

[2/15/12]  MSNBC:  “Retirees tighten the belt, but still struggle

[2/15/12]  The Los Angeles Times:  “New rules for health plans require clear summaries of benefits

[2/14/12]  U.S. Departments of the Treasury (IRS), Labor (EBSA), and Health and Human Services:

[2/14/12]  U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight:  Questions and Answers Related to Annual Limit Waivers

[2/14/12]  The Wall Street Journal:  “Signs Your Pension Plan Is in Trouble

[2/14/12]  Fox Business:  “Income in Retirement: Aim for Your Target

[2/13/12]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Technical Release No. 2012-01: Frequently Asked Questions from Employers Regarding Automatic Enrollment, Employer Shared Responsibility, and Waiting Periods

[2/13/12]  Plan Sponsor:

[2/13/12]  The Wall Street Journal:  “Congress Eyes New Rules for Inherited IRAs

[2/13/12]  Congressional Budget Office:  Comparing Benefits and Total Compensation in the Federal Government and the Private Sector [Working Paper]

[2/13/12]  Office of Management and Budget:  Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2013
[2/10/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “Controlling Funded Status Volatility Top Priority Among Pension Plan Sponsors

[2/10/12]  Brookings [Blog]:  “New Regulations Enhance Savers’ Retirement Security

[2/10/12]  Principal Financial Group:  Income Distribution: Comparing a Bucket Strategy and a Systematic Withdrawal Strategy

[2/10/12]  The Huffington Post:  “Generation Y Doesn’t Trust the Stock Market, But Is Heavily Invested in Stocks

[2/10/12]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Premium Penalty Relief for Certain Delinquent Plans; Policy statement [as published in the Federal Register on Feb. 9, 2012]

[2/9/12]  Business Insurance:  “Senate panel approves mass transit benefit contribution increase

[2/9/12]  Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index:  “Milliman analysis: Pension plans off to a good start in 2012 as funded status improves by two percentage points

[2/9/12]  Plan Sponsor:

[2/9/12]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  The Pension Protection Act of 2006 and Diversification of Employer Stock in Defined Contribution Plans [Working Paper]

[2/9/12]  Bloomberg BusinessWeek:  “BlackRock’s Fink Says Investors Should Be 100% in Equities

[2/9/12]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Income-Relating Medicare Part B and Part D Premiums Under Current Law and Recent Proposals: What Are the Implications for Beneficiaries?

[2/8/12]  Milliman Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments [February 2012]

[2/8/12]  The Chicago Reporter:  “Latinos Fall Through Insurance Safety Net

[2/8/12]  The Wall Street Journal:  “Saving up for Medicare

[2/8/12]  Urban Institute Program on Retirement Policy:  Boomers’ Retirement Income Prospects

[2/8/12]  U.S. Department of the Treasury [Blog]:  “An America Built to Last: Strengthening Economic Security in Retirement

[2/8/12]  Social Security Administration:  Annual Statistical Supplement to the Social Security Bulletin, 2011

[2/8/12]  NORC at the University of Chicago:  “Odds of Living a Very Long Life Lower than Formerly Predicted -- The chances to reach extreme old age are much lower than previously thought, new research shows” [Press Release]

[2/7/12]  Social Security Bulletin:  “This Is Not Your Parents’ Retirement: Comparing Retirement Income Across Generations

[2/7/12]  The Wall Street Journal:  “Gen Y: The Kids Are All Right

[2/7/12]  Business Insider:  “Build a Nest Egg That’ll Last Until Your 100th Birthday

[2/7/12]  HighRoads:  “HighRoads Study Shows Less than Half of Employers Are Ready to Distribute Health Care Reform Summary of Benefits & Coverage Materials” [News Release]

[2/6/12]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:

[2/6/12]  Internal Revenue Service:

[2/6/12]  CNBC:  “Why Even 20-Somethings Are Worried About Retirement

[2/6/12]  ING Retirement Research Institute:  Retirement Revealed Study [White Paper, African-American Fact Sheet, Asian Fact Sheet, and Hispanic Fact Sheet can be downloaded at the website.]

[2/6/12]  Institutional Retirement Income Council:  Retirement Income in DC Plans: What Our Experience with DB Plans Tells Us

[2/6/12]  U.S. House Committee on Education & the Workforce, Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions:  Hearing on “Examining the Challenges Facing PBGC and Defined Benefit Pension Plans” [Hearing held Feb. 2, 2012, includes links to archived webcast and to written testimonies]

[2/3/12]  U.S. Department of the Treasury:

[2/3/12]  Internal Revenue Service:

[2/3/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “IRS Issues Guidance About Annuities in Retirement Plans

[2/3/12]  Executive Office of the President, Council of Economic Advisers:  Supporting Retirement for American Families

[2/3/12]  AmericaSavesWeek.org:  February 19-26, 2012: Click here for information on how organizations and individuals can participate.

[2/3/12]  Legg Mason Retirement Advisory Council:  The Savings Crisis of Working Americans: The Retirement Industry Call to Action [White Paper]

[2/3/12]  Principal Financial Group:  Making It Personal - Benefits Best Practices from The Principal 10 Best Companies--2011 [Celebrating 10 Years of 10 Best]

[2/3/12]  Compensation and Working Conditions:  “Tracking Employment-Based Health Benefits in Changing Times

[2/3/12]  Kaiser Family Foundation Focus on Health Reform:

[2/3/12]  Wellness Council of America News & Views:  “De-Mystifying ROI: What You Can Expect from Workplace Wellness Programs

[2/3/12]  National Conference of State Legislatures:  Checklist of State DB, DC, and Other Retirement Plans

[2/3/12]  The Wall Street Journal:  “401(k) Plans Step Into the Sunshine -- New Labor Department Rules Will Require Fee Disclosures

[2/3/12]  Fort Worth Star Telegram:  “AMR wants to terminate all four of its pension plans

[2/3/12]  Towers Watson:  Global Pension Assets Study 2012


What's new at EBRI this month:

EBRI 2011 Fall Policy Forum: “Innovations in Employment-Based Health Benefits: Lessons Learned for Public Policy” [“gavel to gavel” webcast - Prerecorded broadcast available through the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans]

EBRI 2011 Spring Policy Forum: “Is There a Future for Retirement?” ["gavel to gavel" webcast - Prerecorded broadcast available through the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans]

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 2012 EBRI Issue Brief - "Expenditure Patterns of Older Americans, 2001-2009"

February 2012 EBRI Notes - "Labor-force Participation Rates of the Population Age 55 and Older, 2011: After the Economic Downturn" and "Employer and Worker Contributions to Health Savings Accounts and Health Reimbursement Arrangements, 2006-2011"


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:

Unemployment Insurance: Economic Circumstances of Individuals Who Exhausted Benefits. GAO-12-408, February 17. Highlights.

Federal Employees' Compensation Act: Benefits for Retirement-Age Beneficiaries. GAO-12-309R, February 6.

Special Publication
Highlights of a Forum: Financial Literacy: Strengthening Partnerships in Challenging Times. GAO-12-299SP, February 9. 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.

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.



Updated 2/29/12