What's New

What's New - January 2005

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What's new at EBRI this month:


January 2005 EBRI Issue Brief - "Changes in Wealth for Americans Reaching or Just Past Normal Retirement Age"

January 2005 EBRI Notes - "401(k)-Type Plan and IRA Ownership" and "Income of the Elderly Population: 2003"

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:

High-Risk Series: An Update [includes the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]. GAO-05-207, January 2005.  Highlights

Private Pensions: Airline Plans' Underfunding Illustrates Broader Problems with Defined Benefit Pension System, by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. GAO-05-108T, October 7.  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.

[1/27/05]  The Washington Post:  "Bush Promotes Health Savings Accounts"

[1/27/05]  Principal Financial Group:  From Sickcare to Healthcare: America’s Best Companies Focus on Keeping Employees Healthy

[1/27/05]  The New York Times:  "60 Companies Plan to Sponsor Health Coverage for Uninsured" [registration may be required]

[1/27/05]  U.S. Chamber of Commerce:  Survey Shows Employers Generous with Benefits Despite Rising Costs

[1/27/05]  Economic Policy Institute Snapshot:   "Privatization Fix for Social Security Is Worse Than Doing Nothing"

[1/27/05]  National Academy of Social Insurance:  Uncharted Waters: Paying Benefits from Individual Accounts in Federal Retirement Policy

[1/26/05]  Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:  Medicare Modernization Act: Prescription Drug Benefit / Medicare Advantage Plan: General Information

[1/26/05]  Towers Perrin Update:  "Final Rules Arrive on Medicare Part D Drug Benefits"

[1/26/05]  The Washington Post:  "Millions To Be Automatically Enrolled in Medicare Drug Plan"

[1/26/05]  Towers Perrin:  A Towers Perrin Proposal for Pension Funding Reform

[1/26/05]  AARP:  The Public Response to the Consequences of Social Security Private Accounts

[1/26/05]  Compensation and Working Conditions Online:   "Comparing the Retirement Savings of the Baby Boomers and Other Cohorts"

[1/25/05]  Employment Policy Foundation Backgrounder:   "Pension Funding Reform: An Analysis of the Bush Administration’s Proposal"

[1/25/05]  USA Today:  "Social Security Gets Stretched, Strained by Long Retirements"

[1/25/05]  South Florida Sun-Sentinel:  "Retirement Plan Drawing Skepticism, AARP Survey Reveals"

[1/25/05]  Kaisernetwork.org Daily Health Policy Report:   "Wall Street Journal Features Special Report on Employee Health, Other Benefits"

[1/25/05]  Principal Financial Group:  Innovations at Work: A Guide to Best Practices in Employee Benefits

[1/19/05]  Hewitt Associates:  Hewitt Survey Reveals New Employer Trends in Retirement

[1/19/05]  The Washington Post:  "New Doubts on Plan for Social Security"

[1/18/05]  The Washington Post:  "A Health Care Cost Shift"

[1/18/05]  Deloitte Consulting:  Employer Response to Medicare Part D Prescription Drugs--2005 Survey

[1/18/05]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in Private Industry in the United States, 2002-2003

[1/18/05]  Towers Perrin Monitor:  "Phased Retirement Programs Get a Lift from IRS"

[1/18/05]  The Boston Globe:  "Social Security Assessments Still Poles Apart"

[1/18/05]  National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems:  NCPERS Proposal to Ensure the Financial Solvency of the Social Security System for the Next Generation

[1/13/05]  Mercer Human Resource Consulting:  A Mercer Perspective on Retirement: Pension Funding: A Fresh Look at a Growing Crisis

[1/13/05]  401khelpcenter.com:  Retirement Plan Comparison Chart

[1/13/05]  The National Underwriter Company:  "AHIP: HSA Market Is Growing Rapidly"

[1/13/05]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  Health Insurance Mandates in the States, 2005

[1/12/05]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Health Care Agenda for the New Congress

[1/12/05]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  Consumer Awareness of Health Savings AccountsPress Release

[1/12/05]  Internal Revenue Service:  Notice 2005-9 [Weighted Average Interest Rates Update]

[1/12/05]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:   Understanding Expenditure Patterns in Retirement [working paper]

[1/11/05]  U.S. Department of Labor:  Bush Administration Proposal to Strengthen the Retirement Security of 34 Million Workers Announced by Secretary of Labor.  Press ReleaseFact Sheet

[1/11/05]  Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America:  401(k) and Profit Sharing Plan Eligibility Survey 2004

[1/11/05]  The New York Times:  "Nation’s Health Spending Slows, but It Still Hits a Record" [registration may be required]

[1/11/05]  Hewitt Associates:  Health Care Expectations: Future Strategy and DirectionPress Release

[1/10/05]  Employee Benefit News:  "Employees Prefer Work-Based [Health] Insurance"

[1/10/05]  The Commonwealth Fund:  Taking the Pulse: The Commonwealth Fund Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey

[1/10/05]  San Francisco Chronicle:  "Public Pensions in Flux"

[1/10/05]  Towers Perrin:  Pension Funding Levels Improved Slightly in 2004, But Deferred Pension Costs Continue to Rise

[1/6/05]  Business Insurance:  "Treasury to Keep ‘Use-It-Or-Lose-It’ Rule for FSAs"

[1/6/05]  The Washington Post:  "US Airways Won’t Scrap Health Plan: Airline to Continue Retirees’ Benefits"

[1/6/05]  Chicago Tribune:  "Large Private Social Security Accounts Considered"

[1/6/05]  SFGate.com:  "California Voters May Face Choice to Change State Pensions to 401(k) Plans"

[1/5/05]  Deloitte Consulting and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists:  Top Five Benefit Priorities for 2004: A Survey of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists

[1/5/05]  The Washington Post:  "Bracing for Battle, Bush to Move Slowly on Social Security"

[1/5/05]  U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:  HHS Issues Final Regulation on Access to Group Health Coverage

[1/5/05]  U.S. Department of the Treasury:  Treasury and IRS Issue Guidance on New Automatic Rollovers from Qualified Retirement PlansText of Notice 2005-5

[1/5/05]  Investment Company Institute:  Final IRS Regulations Intended to Simplify 401(k) Plan Rules

[1/5/05]  Mercer Human Resource Consulting:  Update: Mercer Intensifies Efforts on Hot US Pension Policy Issues for 2005

[1/4/05]  Workforce Management:  "Buckle Up For Bush 2.0"

[1/4/05]  The Washington Post:  "Social Security Formula Weighed: Bush Plan Likely to Cut Initial Benefits"

[1/4/05]  Employee Benefit News:  "Employers Pay High Deductibles to Save on Health Premiums"

[1/3/05]  The Washington Post:  "Fees Take a Bite from 401(k)s"

[1/3/05]  The Washington Post:  "Revamping Social Security: Experts Disagree on Severity of Shortfall’s Consequences"

[1/3/05]  MetLife:  Employee Benefits Trend Study.   Press Release

[1/3/05]  Economic Policy Institute Economic Snapshot:   "Private Accounts: The ‘Spicy Sauce’ to Sell Deep Benefit Cuts"

[1/3/05]  Congressional Research Service:  Can the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Be Restored to Financial Health?

[1/3/05]  Employee Benefit News:  "Consumers Will Not Use Health Plan Information That They Cannot Understand"

[1/3/05]  International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists:  Predicting the Future of Health Savings Accounts

[1/3/05]  American Legislative Exchange Council and Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  2005 State Legislators’ Guide to Health Insurance Solutions and Glossary


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Updated 2/1/05