What's New - January 2008

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What's new at EBRI this month:


January 2008 EBRI Issue Brief - "Listening to Consumers: Values-Focused Health Benefits and Education"

January 2008 EBRI Notes - "Retirement Annuity and Employment-Based Pension Income, Among Individuals Age 50 and Over: 2006" and "Finances of Employee Benefits, 1950-2006"


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:

"U.S. Financial Condition and Fiscal Future Briefing" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the National Press Foundation, in Washington, D.C. GAO-08-446CG, January 17, 2008.

Entitlement Reform Process: Other Countries' Experiences Provide Useful Insights for the United States. GAO-08-372, January 18. Highlights.

Long-Term Fiscal Outlook: Action Is Needed to Avoid the Possibility of a Serious Economic Disruption in the Future, by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Senate Committee on the Budget. GAO-08-411T, January 29. 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.

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

[1/30/08]  The Commonwealth Fund: 

[1/30/08]  Health Affairs [Web Exclusive]:  “A Progress Report on State Health Access Reform

[1/30/08]  Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:  Consumer Financial Incentives: A Decision Guide for Purchasers

[1/30/08]  Principal Financial Group: The Best Practices Guide--2007

[1/29/08]  The White House:

[1/29/08]  Hewitt Associates:  Trends and Experience in 401(k) Plans, 2007 [Survey Highlights]

[1/29/08]  Investment Company Institute Research Fundamentals:  “The Role of IRAs in U.S. Households’ Saving for Retirement

[1/29/08]  Urban Institute:  Uninsured and Dying Because of It: Updating the Institute of Medicine Analysis on the Impact of Uninsurance on Mortality

[1/28/08]  Hewitt Associates:

[1/28/08]  American Institute of Certified Public Accountants:

[1/28/08]  Knowledge@Wharton:  “Advice to Investors: Sit Tight and Batten Down the Hatches

[1/28/08]  The ERISA Industry Committee:  “ERIC Fights to Preserve ERISA Preemption

[1/25/08]  PIMCO DC Dialogue:  “Teach Your Children Well” [an interview featuring Dallas Salisbury, president & CEO of EBRI, focusing on the need for financial education and tools that show employees the probability of reaching retirement-income goals]

[1/25/08]  The White House: 

President Bush Announces President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy” [News Release]

Executive Order: Establishing the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy

[1/25/08]  American Diabetes Association:  “Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2007

[1/25/08]  BlueCross BlueShield Association: 

[1/24/08]  Watson Wyatt Insider

[1/24/08]   Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Health Care in the 2008 Presidential Primaries

[1/24/08]  JPMorgan Chase & Co.:  “New Rules Impact Some Wellness Programs

[1/24/08]  Towers Perrin:  HR Technology: Demanding Change, Delivering Results

[1/23/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Diversification Requirements for Certain Defined Contribution Plans; Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [as published in the Federal Register on January 3, 2008]

[1/23/08]  Georgia Tech Financial Analysis Lab:  The Effects of Enacted and Proposed Pension Accounting Changes on Leverage, Profitability, and Earnings Volatility

[1/23/08]  Business Week:  “The Downside of Market-Proof Annuities

[1/23/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Financing Medicare: An Issue Brief

[1/22/08]  Towers Perrin:

[1/22/08]  Principal Financial Group:  The Principal Financial Well-Being Index: Index Trending Summary – Fourth Quarter 2007

[1/22/08]  Center for State & Local Government Excellence Issue Brief:  “Why Have Some States Introduced Defined Contribution Plans?

[1/22/08]  CFO.com:  “New Pension Accounting: Volatility City?

[1/18/08]  The Segal Group’s Capital Checkup:  “Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007” 

[1/18/08]  The Century Foundation:  What the Public Really Wants on Retirement and Social Security

[1/18/08]  401kWire.com:  “Who Are the 401(k) Industry’s Hundred Most Influential?

[1/18/08]  Towers Perrin Global News Brief [Canada]:  “Phased Retirement Programs Get a Lift from Government

[1/17/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Plans News [Special Edition, January 2008]

[1/17/08]  Towers Perrin Capital Market Update:  “Pension Funded Status Continued Upward in 2007” 

[1/17/08]  ICMA-RC:  “GAO Delays 401(k) Report Until May

[1/17/08]  The Commonwealth Fund:  Envisioning the Future: The 2008 Presidential Candidates’ Health Reform Proposals

[1/17/08]  The Segal Group’s Capital Checkup:  “Deadline for Meeting Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act’s Reporting Requirements Approaching Fast

[1/16/08]  The Commonwealth Fund:  The Public’s Views on Health Care Reform in the 2008 Presidential Election

[1/16/08]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  2008 State Legislators’ Guide to Health Insurance Solutions and Glossary

[1/16/08]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:

[1/16/08]  Hewitt Associates:  New IRS Proposed Regulations on Cash Balance and Other Hybrid Plans

[1/15/08]  The Segal Company:  Study of Retiree Health VEBAs

[1/15/08]  Congressional Research Service:  The Effect of State-Legalized Same-Sex Marriage on Social Security Benefits and Pensions [Updated January 3, 2008]

[1/15/08]  Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review:  “Changing Trends in the Labor Force: A Survey

[1/15/08]  Pension Governance, LLC and The Michel-Shaked Group:  PensionLitigationData.com: A Subscriber Searchable Database of Pension Litigation Events

[1/14/08]  Internal Revenue Service:

[1/14/08]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  “Contributing Towards Medical Care Coverage

[1/14/08]  National Center for Health Statistics:  Obesity Among Adults in the United States--No Statistically Significant Change Since 2003-2004

[1/14/08]  Wisconsin Legislative Council:  2006 Comparative Study of Major Public Employee Retirement Systems

[1/14/08]  Congressional Research Report:  Federal Employees: Pay and Pension Increases Since 1969 [Updated January 8, 2008]

[1/11/08]  Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments, January 2008

[1/11/08]  Vanguard Center for Retirement Research:  Measuring the Effectiveness of Automatic Enrollment

[1/11/08]  U.S. Department of the Treasury Issue Brief No. 3:  “Social Security Reform: Benchmarks for Assessing Fairness and Benefit Adequacy

[1/11/08]  Urban Institute and Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center:  Tax Considerations in a Universal Pension System (UPS) [Discussion Paper]

[1/10/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits [For use in 2008]

[1/10/08]  Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:  National Health Expenditure Accounts -- 2006 Highlights

[1/10/08]  The Wall Street Journal:  “Automatic 401(k) Plans Might Not Save Enough

[1/10/08]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “Influences on Workers’ Asset Allocations in Defined Contribution Accounts

[1/9/08]  Center for Studying Health System Change:  “Higher Costs and Stagnant Incomes Increase Financial Burden of Health Care

[1/9/08]  Families USA:  Too Great a Burden: America’s Families at Risk

[1/9/08]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Pension Wealth and Income: 1992, 1998, and 2004

[1/8/08]  The Segal Company:

[1/8/08]  Hewitt Associates:  Employers Win the Battle of Erie: EEOC Issues Final Regulations Permitting Different Retiree Health Benefits for Medicare-Eligible Retirees Under the ADEA

[1/8/08]  Stateline.org:  50-State Snapshot of ’07: Legislative Year in Review

[1/7/08]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Private Pension Plan Bulletin: Abstract of 2005 Form 5500 Annual Reports

[1/7/08]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  “AARP Seeks U.S. Supreme Court Ruling That EEOC Lacks Authority To Allow Employers To Reduce Health Care Benefits for Medicare-Eligible Retirees

[1/7/08]  Congressional Research Service:  Spending by Consumers on Health Care and Health Insurance: A Data Brief

[1/7/08]  Contingencies:  “A Prescription for the Future of Health Care in the United States

[1/7/08]  MetLife Mature Market Institute:  Highlights of the MetLife Study of Boomers: Ready to Launch

[1/2/08]  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:  Age Discrimination in Employment Act; Retiree Health Benefits; Final Rule [as published in the Federal Register on December 26, 2007]

[1/2/08]  California HealthCare Foundation:  California Employer Health Benefits Survey 2007

[1/2/08]  Congressional Budget Office:  Research on the Comparative Effectiveness of Medical Treatments: Issues and Options for an Expanded Federal Role

[1/2/08]  Wellness Councils of America:  The Fundamentals of Evaluation:  Why, What, How, & When You Should Evaluate Your Wellness Program

[1/2/08]  Internal Revenue Service: 

[1/2/08]  U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation:  Description of the Tax Technical Corrections Act of 2007, As Passed by the House of Representatives [JCX-119-07]

[1/2/08]  Congressional Research Service:  The Retirement Savings Tax Credit: A Fact Sheet

[1/2/08]  Urban Institute:  The Impact of Late-Career Health and Employment Shocks on Social Security and Other Wealth

Updated 1/30/08