What's New - January 2009

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What's new at EBRI this month:

401(k) Balances and Changes Due to Market Volatility


January 2009 EBRI Issue Brief - "Capping the Tax Exclusion for Employment-Based Health Coverage: Implications for Employers and Workers"

January 2009 EBRI Notes - "Lump-Sum Distributions at Job Change"


New Survey Released March 19, 2008: Preparing for Their Future: A Look at the Financial State of Gen X and Gen Y - Press Release

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.



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. GAO-09-271, January 2009. Highlights.

Health Information Technology: Federal Agencies' Experiences Demonstrate Challenges to Successful Implementation, by Valerie C. Melvin, director, human capital and management information systems issues, before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. GAO-09-312T, January 15. 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.

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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 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.

[1/29/09]  The Los Angeles Times:  “401(k)s Still Lure Cash Despite Big Losses

[1/29/09]  Pensions & Investments:  “Delay on Advice Rule May Lead to Revamp

[1/29/09]  Milliman’s PERiScope:  “Public Plan DB/DC Choices

[1/29/09]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Recessions and Older Workers

[1/28/09]  The Washington Post:  “Americans Lost Over a Quarter of 401(k) Savings in 2008

[1/28/09]  Congressional Research Service:

[1/28/09]  The New England Journal of Medicine:

[1/28/09]  Social Security Administration Issue Paper:  “A Progressivity Index for Social Security

[1/27/09]  Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:  Retiree Drug Subsidy (RDS) Program Guidance -- Rebates and Other Price Concessions

[1/27/09]  Contingencies:  “Tough Medicine: Apportioning the True Cost of Health Care

[1/27/09]  The New England Journal of Medicine:

[1/27/09]  Health Affairs:  “Consumer-Driven Health Care: Promise and Performance

[1/26/09]  National Health Policy Forum:  The Basics: The Medicare Drug Benefit (Part D)

[1/26/09]  The Commonwealth Fund Issue Brief:  “Maintaining Health Insurance During a Recession: Likely COBRA Eligibility

[1/26/09]  Urban Institute Brief Series:  “Diversity in Retirement Wealth Accumulation

[1/26/09]  Financial Literacy and Education Commission:  Research Priorities: Results of the National Research Symposium on Financial Literacy and Education [Washington, DC, October 6-7, 2008]

[1/23/09]  U.S. Senate Committee on Finance:  Description of the Chairman’s Mark: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 [Scheduled for Markup By the Senate Committee on Finance On January 27, 2009]

[1/23/09]  The Commonwealth Fund:  You Can Get There from Here: Mapping the Way to a Transformed U.S. Health System

[1/23/09]  Families USA:  Squeezed: Caught between Unemployment Benefits and Health Care Costs

[1/23/09]  Center for Studying Health System Change Tracking Report No. 22:  “More Nonelderly Americans Face Problems Affording Prescription Drugs

[1/22/09]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  Effect of the Economic Crisis on HR Programs [Update: December 2008]

[1/22/09]  Center for State and Local Government Excellence:  2008 Research Highlights

[1/22/09]  Aon Consulting:  2008 Replacement Ratio Study™: A Measurement Tool for Retirement Planning

[1/22/09]  Congressional Budget Office:  Cost Estimate: H.R. 2: Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009

[1/21/09]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Investment Advice--Participants and Beneficiaries; Final Rule [as published in the Federal Register on January 21, 2009]

[1/21/09]  U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor:  “Chairmen Miller, Andrews Statement on Last-Minute Special Interest Regulation -- Rule Could Undermine Retirement Savings Plans for Millions of Americans

[1/21/09]  U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means:  Title III - Health Insurance Assistance for the Unemployed Act of 2009 -- Providing Health Insurance for Unemployed Workers: Summary of COBRA Provisions in the Economic Recovery Package

[1/21/09]  State Health Policy Briefing:  “Reauthorizing SCHIP: Principles, Issues and Ideas from State Directors” [Updated January 2009]

[1/16/09]  U.S. Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service:  Automatic Enrollment 401(k) Plans for Small Businesses

[1/16/09]  Internal Revenue Service:  Listing of Published Guidance (January - December 2008)

[1/16/09]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  2008 Annual Report

[1/16/09]  Fidelity Investments:  Building Futures: Impact of Market Volatility on Participant Exchange Behavior

[1/16/09]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “The Future of DB Plan Funding Under PPA, the Recovery Act and Relief Proposals

[1/16/09]  The Segal Company Bulletin:  “Connecticut Licenses Same-Gender Marriages

[1/15/09]  Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments, January 2009

[1/15/09]  National Institute on Retirement Security and Mathew Greenwald & Associates:

[1/15/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health:  The Public’s Health Care Agenda for the New President and Congress

[1/15/09]  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:  Massachusetts Health Reform: Solving the Long-Run Cost Problem

[1/14/09]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Technical Update 09-1: Reportable Events; Funding-Related Determinations for Threshold Test, Waivers, and Extensions; Effect of the Pension Protection Act of 2006; Guidance for 2009 Plan Years

[1/14/09]  National Conference of State Legislatures:  State High Risk Pools for Health Coverage

[1/14/09]  Markle Foundation:  Health IT Investments that Improve Health Care: Critical Information Policy and Technology Attributes and Expectations

[1/14/09]  Contingencies:  “Remaking Social Security from the Ground Up

[1/13/09]  The Segal Company Bulletin:  “Employer Duties under Medicare Mandatory Insurer Reporting

[1/13/09]  U.S. News & World Report:  “Five Ways to Protect Your 401(k) if You’re Laid Off

[1/13/09]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance’s Issues & Answers:  “Should the Government Force You to Buy Health Insurance?

[1/13/09]  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:  Setting Income Thresholds in Medicaid/SCHIP: Which Children Should Be Eligible?

[1/12/09]  Internal Revenue Service: 

[1/12/09]  U.S. Department of the Treasury Issue Brief No. 6:  “Social Security Reform: Work Incentives

[1/12/09]  American Benefits Council:

[1/12/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Cost Sharing for Health Care: France, Germany, and Switzerland

[1/9/09]  The Commonwealth Fund:  An Analysis of Leading Congressional Health Care Bills, 2007-2008: Part I, Insurance Coverage

[1/9/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[1/9/09]  Financial Accounting Standards Board:  FASB Staff Position, FAS No. 132(R)-1: Employers’ Disclosures About Postretirement Benefit Plan Assets

[1/9/09]  Contingencies:  “Funding Public Pension Plans

[1/7/09]  Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies:  TCRS 2008-12: The Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008 - Defined Contribution-Related Provisions

[1/7/09]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  401(k) Plans and Employer Stock

[1/7/09]  Vanguard Center for Retirement Research:  Target-Date Funds: Plan and Participant Adoption in 2007

[1/7/09]  HayGroup:  Hay Group Benefits 2009 Reference Guide: 2009 Retirement and Health and Welfare Plan Limits, Social Security and Medicare Changes, Including a Table of Retirement Plan Limits from 1990 to Present

[1/6/09]  U.S. Department of Labor:  Private Pension Plan Bulletin: Abstract of 2006 Form 5500 Annual Reports

[1/6/09]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Methods for Computing Withdrawal Liability; Reallocation Liability Upon Mass Withdrawal; Pension Protection Act of 2006; Final Rule [as published in the Federal Register on Dec. 30, 2008]

[1/6/09]  Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America:  401(k) and Profit Sharing Plan Eligibility Survey 2008

[1/6/09]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits [For use in 2009]

[1/5/09]  The Segal Company:  2009 Reporting & Disclosure Calendar for Benefit Plans

[1/5/09]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  “PBGC Publishes Pension Insurance Data Book 2007

[1/5/09]  Pension Rights Center:  Companies That Have Changed or Temporarily Suspended Their 401(k) Matching Contributions

[1/5/09]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “The Future of DB Plan Funding Under PPA and Relief Legislation and Proposals

[1/5/09]  Investment Company Institute Research Fundamentals:  “The U.S. Retirement Market, Second Quarter 2008

[1/5/09]  Congressional Budget Office:  Key Issues in Analyzing Major Health Insurance Proposals

[1/5/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Medicare: A Primer, 2009

[1/5/09]  Congressional Research Service:

Updated 1/29/09