What's New

What's New - January 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:


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:

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.

[1/30/04]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Long-term Care Insurance Gains Prominence

[1/30/04]  H.R.3108, Pension Stability Act:  Bill Summary & Status information

[1/30/04]  Thrivent Financial:  Thrivent Financial Study Finds Retirement Funding a “Guessing Game” for Most Americans

[1/30/04]  U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging:  Retirement Planning: Do We Have a Crisis in America?

[1/30/04]  Health Affairs:  “Changes in Health Insurance Coverage During the Economic Downturn: 2000-2002

[1/30/04]  Aon Consulting:  Hospital Professional Liability and Physician Liability 2003 Benchmark Analysis Highlights

[1/30/04]  DALBAR, Inc.:  DALBAR Rates Defined Contribution Plan Sponsor Web Sites

[1/30/04]  Prudential Financial:  Prudential Finds When It Comes to Retirement, Income Is King [press release with appendix]

[1/30/04]  Fidelity Investments:  Retiree Health Care Accounts: The Next Step Toward a Workable Solution

[1/30/04]  World Economic Forum Pension Readiness Initiative and Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  Living Happily Ever After: The Economic Implications of Aging Societies

[1/30/04]  U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions:  What’s Driving Health Care Costs and the Uninsured?

[1/30/04]   Congressional Budget Office:  Testimony on Health Care Spending and the Uninsured

[1/30/04]  The Human Capital practice of Deloitte and Pensions & Investments:  2003 401(k) Annual Benchmarking Survey

[1/30/04]   U.S. Internal Revenue Service:  Notice 2004-10, Electronic Delivery of Form 1099 and Form 5498 Payee Statements

[1/30/04]   Congressional Budget Office:  Letter to the Honorable William H. Frist, M.D., regarding CBO's estimate of the effect of striking the “noninterference” provision as added by P.L. 108-173, the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003

[1/30/04]   U.S. Department of the Treasury:  Treasury Financial Education Messager

[1/30/04]  Blue Cross Blue Shield Association:  Healthcare Politics 2004

[1/30/04]  U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis:  2003 Comprehensive Revision of the National Income and Product Accounts

[1/30/04]  Hewitt Associates:  Employee Perspectives on Retirement Saving and Investing 2003

[1/30/04]  Charles Schwab & Co.:  Today’s Investor Expresses New Attitudes, New Expectations

[1/30/04]  John Sweeney, AFL-CIO:  American Workers are Struggling More Than Ever

[1/30/04]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  Online Year 2004 ERISA Reporting Calendars

[1/26/04]  Office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy:  Senator Edward M. Kennedy Introduces the Health Security and Affordability Act

[1/26/04]   Hewitt Associates:  2003 Legislative and Regulatory Year in Review and the Outlook for 2004

[1/26/04]   Mercer Human Resource Consulting:  Coping with the Economy: US Retirement Program Survey

[1/22/04]  The Commonwealth Fund:   Health Care Reform Returns to the National Agenda: The 2004 Presidential Candidates' Proposals (updated January 22, 2004)

[1/22/04]   Towers Perrin:  Review of Year 2003 Results for Pension Plans (performance of defined benefit pension funds)

[1/22/04]  U.S. Chamber of Commerce:  2003 Employee Benefits Study

[1/22/04]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  Global Pension Fund Assets Enjoy Recovery

[1/22/04]  American Council of Life Insurers:  Frank Keating’s address, Baby Boomers Retirement

[1/22/04]   The Urban Institute:  Pensions, Health Insurance, and Tax Incentives

[1/22/04]  Mellon's Human Resources & Investor Solutions:  key retirement plan limits

[1/21/04]  The White House:  State of the Union Address

[1/21/04]  Aon Consulting Forum:  "Addressing Employee Benefit Cost and Control Issues - The Case for Coalition Purchasing"

[1/21/04]  National Center for Policy Analysis:  Health Savings Accounts Will Revolutionize American Health Care

[1/21/04]  Forrester Research:  Who Wants Consumer-Directed Health Plans

[1/21/04]  AXA Financial:  Baby Boomers Zero in on Retirement

[1/16/04]   The Society of Actuaries, in cooperation with LOMA and LIMRA, is presenting Managing Retirement Assets for Longevity and Other Risks, a symposium of research papers presenting strategies for addressing post retirement risks using traditional solutions and innovative new approaches.  EBRI is a cooperating organization for the symposium which is being held in conjunction with the Annuity and Pension Conference, March 31-April 2, 2004, in Las Vegas.  Click here for further details and registration information.

[1/16/04]  American Hospital Association:  Results of Survey of Voters on Health Care Issues [find listing on right-side of page to download Powerppoint presentation]

[1/16/04]  U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Report of the Working Group on Defined Benefit Plan Funding and Discount Rate Issues

[1/16/04]   The Congressional Budget Office: Limiting Tort Liability for Medical Malpractice

[1/16/04]  Mellon's Human Resources & Investor Solutions:   tables of the Consumer Price Index and the Medical Care Component of the Consumer Price Index -- CPI-U and CPI-W --from January 1988

[1/16/04]  Senator Clinton Offers Proposal to Improve Health Care for All Americans

[1/16/04]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  2003 Annual Report

[1/16/04]  Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation:  Could a Bull Market Be a Panacea for Defined Benefit Pension Plans?

[1/16/04]  Mellon Human Resources & Investor Solutions:   Employers Increase Work/Life Programs, According to Results of Mellon Survey

[1/14/04]   Institute of Medicine of the National Academies:  Insuring America’s Health: Principles and Recommendations

[1/14/04]   Kaiser Family Foundation and Hewitt Associates:  Retiree Health Benefits in 2003: Employer Survey

[1/14/04]   Health Affairs:  “Large Firms’ Retiree Health Benefits Before Medicare Reform: 2003 Survey Results

[1/14/04]  PricewaterhouseCoopers:  Securities Litigation Update - The Pension Fund Factor

[1/14/04]   Plan Sponsor:  “Top DC Plans by Participation [Rate]

[1/14/04]  Business Week:  “The Hidden Bite Of Retiree Health: At Many Companies, the Costs May Be a Bigger Drain Than Those for Pension Plans

[1/13/04]   Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:  The Facts About Upcoming New Benefits in Medicare: Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003

[1/13/04]   Mercer Human Resource Consulting:  Employer Retiree Medical/Medicare Checklist

[1/13/04]  National Conference of State Legislatures:  State Family and Medical Leave Laws

[1/13/04]  New Web site:  ERISA Pension Claims

[1/13/04]  S.2005, Pension Stability Act, “An original bill to temporarily replace the use by pension plans of the 30-year treasury bond rate with a composite corporate rate, and to establish a commission on defined benefit plans:”   Bill Summary & Status information; Senate Rpt.108-221

[1/13/04]  Mellon’s Human Resources & Investor Solutions:  Mellon’s HR&IS Conducts Eleventh National Health Care Trend Survey

[1/13/04]  Mellon’s Human Resources & Investor Solutions:  Mellon’s HR&IS Issues Survey on Work/Life Benefits

[1/13/04]  The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:   The Notional Defined Contribution Model: An Assessment of the Strengths and Limitations of a New Approach to the Provision of Old Age Security

[1/9/04]   Towers Perrin:  Is It Time to Take the “Spin”Out of Employee Communication?

[1/9/04]  Health Affairs:  “Health Spending Rebound Continues In 2002” [National Health Expenditures, 2002]

[1/9/04]  Health Affairs:  "Retail Prescription Drug Spending in the National Health Accounts"

[1/9/04]  The Commonwealth Fund:  Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Looking at the Quality of American Health Care Through the Patient's Lens

[1/9/04]  Drug Benefit Trends:  "Employers Largely Satisfied With PBM Performance"

[1/9/04]  Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America:  401(k) and Profit Sharing Eligibility Survey 2003

[1/8/04]   California HealthCare Foundation:  Snapshot: California's Uninsured 2003 [based on data analysis by Paul Fronstin of EBRI]

[1/8/04]   RiskMetrics Group:  Best & Worst Equity [Mutual] Fund Evaluations as of December 26, 2003

[1/8/04]  Fidelity Investments:  Building Futures, Volume IV: Plan Options and Participant Choices in Workplace Savings

[1/8/04]  Committee on Investment of Employee Benefit Assets:   Contributions to Pension Plans Increase Dramatically: CIEBA of AFP [Association for Financial Professionals] Survey Shows Defined Benefit Plan Contributions Tripled in 2002

[1/8/04]  CoolSavings, Inc.:  Americans Hope to Slim Down Debt in 2004

[1/8/04]   Lipper Research Study:  For Benchmark-Beating Funds, Does Fund Size Affect Performance?

[1/8/04]  Miller & Chevalier Chartered: Overview of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) With Comparison to Archer MSAs, Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)

[1/8/04]   Standard & Poor's:  Domestic Equity [Mutual] Funds -- Year-End 2003 Review

[1/8/04]   The Commonwealth Fund:  Washington Health Policy Week in Review

[1/8/04]   Investment Company Institute:  ICI Reaffirms Its Study of Mutual Fund and Pension Plan Fees

[1/8/04]   Investment Company Institute:  Mutual Fund and Pension Fund Fee Levels Are Similar…

[1/8/04]  On December 19, 2003, President Bush signed S.1929, Mental Health Parity Reauthorization Act of 2003, “to extend the mental health benefits parity provisions for an additional year.”

[1/8/04]  Hewitt Associates:  “Regulatory Uncertainty Eroding Employer Support for Pension Plans, Hewitt Study [Current Retirement Plan Challenges: Employers' Perspectives] Shows

[1/8/04]  Financial Research Corporation:  IRA Rollover Trends: Distribution & Product Strategies for Successful Asset Growth

[1/5/04]   U.S. Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS)

[1/5/04]  Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:  National Healthcare Quality Report

[1/5/04]  Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:  National Healthcare Disparities Report

[1/5/04]  The ESOP Association:  “The ESOP Association Releases Data on Shared Capitalism

[1/5/04]  Manhattan Institute for Policy Research:  Defusing the Pension Bomb: How to Curb Public Retirement Costs in New York State

[1/5/04]  U.S. Department of Labor. Employee Benefits Security Administration:   2003 5500 forms, schedules, and instructions

[1/5/04]  Center for Studying Health System change:  Prescription Drug Access Disparities Among Working-Age Americans

[1/1/04]  MetLife Mature Market Institute and the American Savings Education Council:  Pass or Fail? What Consumers Don't Know About Retirement Income and What the Media Has Been Telling Them

[1/1/04]   Aon Consulting: New Benefit Disclosure Rules Start with 2003 Financials

[1/1/04]  The Financial Accounting Standards Board:  revised FASB Statement No. 132 (FAS 132), Employers' Disclosures about Pensions and Other Postretirement Benefits

[1/1/04]  FORTUNE100 Best Companies to Work For 2004

[1/1/04]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Plans News, Winter 2004, “The “New” 401(k) Plan?” [“Solo (k)”, “Uni (k)”, “Individual (k)” plans]

[1/1/04]   Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured:  Latest Data on Health Coverage and Presidential Candidates' Proposals to Expand Coverage

[1/1/04]  U.S. Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics:   Work Experience of the Population (Annual)

[1/1/04]   Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:  MEPS, Chartbook No. 12, Outpatient Prescription Drug Expense, 1999

[1/1/04]  Michigan Retirement Research Center:  The Demand for Guarantees in Social Security Personal Retirement Accounts

[1/1/04]  Michigan Retirement Research Center:  The Impact of Financial Education on Savings and Asset Allocation

[1/1/04]  Michigan Retirement Research Center:  Defined Benefit Pension Plan Liabilities and International Asset Allocation

[1/1/04]  Michigan Retirement Research Center:  Expectation Formation of Older Married Couples and the Rational Expectations Hypothesis

[1/1/04]  Michigan Retirement Research Center:  Expectations in Micro Data: Rationality Revisited

[1/1/04]  Social Security Administration:  International Update, November 2003 [new monthly publication that covers recent developments in foreign public and private pensions]

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