What's New - January 2011

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What's new at EBRI this month:

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


January 2011 EBRI Issue Brief - "Health Savings Accounts and Health Reimbursement Arrangements: Assets, Account Balances, and Rollovers, 2006-2010"

January 2011 EBRI Notes - "Employer and Employee Reactions to Health Reform: Findings From the 2010 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey and the 2010 SHRM Organizations' Response to Health Care Reform Poll" and "Self-Reported Benefit Accrual Rates of Defined Benefit Plans: An Analysis of the 2004 and 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances"


Sixth Edition of EBRI's Fundamentals of Employee Benefit Programs Is Now Available

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


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:

Social Security Reform:  Raising the Retirement Ages Would Have Implications for Older Workers and SSA Disability Rolls.  GAO-11-125, November 18.

Private Pensions:  Changes Needed to Better Protect Multiemployer Pension Benefits.  GAO-11-79, October 18. Highlights.

Health Care Delivery:  Features of Integrated Systems Support Patient Care Strategies and Access to Care, but Systems Face Challenges. GAO-11-49, November 16. Highlights.

The Federal Government's Long-Term Fiscal Outlook:  Fall 2010 Update.  GAO-11-201SP, November 15. Highlights. Podcast.

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Improvements Needed to Strengthen Governance Structure and Strategic Management, by Barbara D. Bovbjerg, managing director, education, workforce, and income security, before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.  GAO-11-182T, December 1. 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.

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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 Retirement Plans Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).  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.

[1/31/11]  Sibson Consulting:

[1/31/11]  The Wall Street Journal:  “401(k) Advice--for a Hefty Fee

[1/31/11]  Investment Company Institute:  Commitment to Retirement Security: Investor Attitudes and Actions

[1/31/11]  Congressional Research Service:  401(k) Plans and Retirement Savings: Issues for Congress

[1/31/11]  National Association of State Retirement Administrators:  Facts on State and Local Government Pensions

[1/31/11]  Towers Watson Insider:  “No W-2 Guidance on Calculating Cost of Health Coverage, but Reporting Optional for 2011

[1/31/11]  Sibson Consulting Capital Checkup:  “Differences in Federal and State Tax Rules for Dependent Child Coverage Raise Issues for Group Health Plans

[1/31/11]  Senate Finance Committee:  S. 72: The Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act of 2011 [“To repeal the expansion of information reporting requirements for payments of $600 or more to corporations, and for other purposes”]

[1/28/11]  National Underwriter:  “EBRI: Slump Hit Older Boomers Hard

[1/28/11]  MetLife:  MetLife Qualified Retirement Plan Barometer: A Study of Retirement Income Culture Among the FORTUNE 1000™

[1/28/11]  U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission:  Study on Investment Advisers and Broker-Dealers -- As Required by Section 913 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

[1/28/11]  The Washington Post:  “Wanted Now: Clear, Consistent Fiduciary Standards for Investment Advice

[1/28/11]  Office of Sen. Jim DeMint:  “GOP Senators Introduce ObamaCare Repeal - Legislation Identical to House-Passed Repeal” [Press Release]

[1/28/11]  Senate HELP Committee:  Full Committee Hearing - The Affordable Care Act: The Impact of Health Insurance Reform on Health Care Consumers [Hearing held Jan. 27, 2011, includes links to testimonies]

[1/27/11]  House Budget Committee:  Hearing on the Fiscal Consequences of the New Health Care Law [Hearing held Jan. 26, 2011, includes links to testimonies]

[1/27/11]  Economic Policy Institute:  “The Future of Employer-Based Health Insurance Following Health Reform

[1/27/11]  The Segal Company Bulletin:  “DOL’s Final Regulations on Fee Disclosure to DC Plan Participants

[1/27/11]  Internal Revenue Service:  Hybrid Retirement Plans; Correction [as published in the Federal Register on Jan. 25, 2011]

[1/27/11]  Associated Press (via The Los Angeles Times):  “New Projection Shows Social Security Funds Drained by 2037

[1/26/11]  House Ways & Means Committee: Hearing on the Health Care Law’s Impact on Jobs, Employers, and the Economy [Hearing held Jan. 26, 2011, includes links to testimonies]

[1/26/11]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “HHS Issues Medical Loss Ratio and Rate Increase Review Regulations

[1/26/11]  Council for Disability Awareness:  CDA 2010 Consumer Disability Awareness Survey

[1/26/11]  American Psychological Association and Harris Interactive:  Your Mental Health: A Survey of Americans’ Understanding of the Mental Health Parity Law

[1/26/11]  Morningstar.com:  “Making Up for Retirement Shortfalls

[1/25/11]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  The Public’s Health Care Agenda for the 112th Congress [Note: This webpage includes links to materials from the Jan. 25 briefing.]

[1/25/11]  Plan Sponsor:  “Employer Surveys Show Continuing HCR Opinion Split

[1/25/11]  The Washington Post:  “Obama Won’t Endorse Raising Retirement Age or Reducing Social Security Benefits

[1/25/11]  Social Security Policy Brief:  “Distributional Effects of Accelerating and Extending the Increase in the Full Retirement Age

[1/25/11]  Economic Policy Institute:  “Social Security replacing smaller portions of workers’ income

[1/24/11]  Plan Sponsor:  “Economic Downturn Derailed at least 4% of Retirement Savers

[1/24/11]  The New York Times:  “With Retirement Savings, It’s a Sprint to the Finish

[1/24/11]  The Los Angeles Times:  “Retirement Saver’s Credit Could Significantly Reduce Tax Bill

[1/24/11]  Kaiser Health News:  “GOP Could Attack the Health Law Tree, Branch by Branch

[1/21/11]  The New York Times:  “Poll Finds Wariness About Cutting Entitlements

[1/21/11]  National Academy of Social Insurance Fact Sheet:  “Social Security Across Generations: Benefit Cuts Will Fall on Today’s Children and Grandchildren

[1/21/11]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston:  How Important Are Inheritances for Baby Boomers?

[1/21/11]  Towers Watson:  2011 Global Medical Trends: Survey Report

[1/21/11]  National Business Coalition on Health:  NBCH’s Value-Based Purchasing Guide website is now available to the general public.

[1/20/11]  The Los Angeles Times:  “House GOP Passes Resolution to Repeal Healthcare Law

[1/20/11]  Society of Actuaries:  Obesity and Its Relation to Mortality and Morbidity Costs

[1/20/11]  National Association of State Retirement Administrators:  NASRA Issue Brief: State and Local Government Spending on Public Employee Retirement Systems

[1/20/11]  Segal Advisory:  “Commodities as a Strategic Asset Class

[1/18/11]  Towers Watson:  Tax Law Extends Expiring Provisions

[1/18/11]  Sibson Consulting Capital Checkup:  “IRS Modifies Rules on Paying for Over-the-Counter Medications with Debit Cards

[1/18/11]  BNY Mellon Asset Servicing and Finadium LLC:  Redefining Retirement: What Changes to Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Plans Mean for Plan Sponsors and Their Service Providers

[1/18/11]  CBO Director’s Blog:  “CBO’s Estimates of the Impact of Major Health Care Legislation

[1/18/11]  The Los Angeles Times:  “GOP Set to Assail Healthcare Law and Seek Alternatives

[1/18/11]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Pulling It Together…Repeal” from Drew Altman

[1/14/11]  Internal Revenue Service:

[1/14/11]  Milliman, Inc.:  2011 Key Administrative Dates and Deadlines for Calendar-Year Single-Employer Defined Benefit Plans - Subject to ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code

[1/14/11]  Insured Retirement Institute and Cerulli Associates:  2010 Annuity Distribution Survey: Key Findings

[1/14/11]  The Segal Company:  2010 Study of State Employee Health Benefits

[1/13/11]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Hearing on Definition of “Fiduciary”; Notice of hearing and extension of comment period [as published in the Federal Register on Jan. 12, 2011]

[1/13/11]  Fiduciary News:  “Exclusive Interview: Boston ERISA Legal Author Stephen Rosenberg Explains DOL’s New Fiduciary Definition

[1/13/11]  Employee Benefit Adviser:  “DC Plan Sponsors Will Focus on Fees in 2011

[1/13/11]  The Vanguard Group:  Investor Comprehension and Usage of Target-Date Funds: 2010 Survey

[1/13/11]  ING:  Retirement Contribution Rate Calculator

[1/12/11]  Plan Sponsor:  “Number of HRAs and HSAs Grow, while Account Balances Fall

[1/12/11]  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:  “Workers’ Health Risk Behaviors by State, Demographic Characteristics, and Health Insurance Status

[1/12/11]  Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index:  Milliman Analysis: 2010 Ends on a High Note for Corporate Pensions, but Funded Status Still Down for the Year

[1/12/11]  Financial Literacy Center:  Financial Literacy Research Consortium Conference [Nov. 18-19, 2010, Washington, DC]: This webpage includes links to conference presentations and presenters’ bios.

[1/12/11]  The Brookings Institution:  Financial Literacy: What Works? How Could It Be More Effective?

[1/11/11]  The Cincinnati Enquirer:

[1/11/11]  Principal Financial Group:  Standing by Employees During Tough Times: Benefits Best Practices from The Principal 10 Best Companies--2010

[1/11/11]  Towers Watson:  New Strategies in Defined Contribution Plan Design: Results and Analysis From the 2010 Survey of Defined Contribution Plan Sponsors

[1/11/11]  McKay Hochman Company:  2010 Retirement Plan Law Changes and Guidance [includes links to additional information]

[1/10/11]  Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments [January 2011]

[1/10/11]  Bureau of Labor Statistics Program PerspectivesLife and Disability Insurance Benefits: “How Extensive Is the Employer-Provided Safety Net? BLS Looks at Life and Disability Benefits”

[1/10/11]  Internal Revenue Service:  Section 4980D-Failure to Meet Certain Group Health Plan Requirements (also sections 105(h) -- Amounts Received Under Accident and Health Plans, 9815-Additional Market Reforms); Notice 2011-1: Affordable Care Act Nondiscrimination Provisions Applicable to Insured Group Health Plans

[1/10/11]  MetLife Mature Market Institute:  The 2010 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home, Assisted Living, Adult Day Services, and Home Care Costs

[1/7/11]  Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP Legal Alert:  “2011 Regulatory Agendas for Employee Benefits Published by Treasury and DOL

[1/7/11]  America’s Health Insurance Plans:  “HHS Plans Full Reg Agenda As Reform Law Faces Political, Legal Challenges in 2011

[1/7/11]  The Los Angeles Times:  “Cost of Healthcare Repeal Put at $230 Billion

[1/7/11]  Congressional Budget Office:  CBO Letter to the Hon. John Boehner dated Jan. 6, 2011 [re CBO estimate of the cost of H.R. 2, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, as introduced on Jan. 5, 2011]

[1/6/11]  Internal Revenue Service:  Internal Revenue Bulletin No. 2011-1 [Jan. 3, 2011] – [Includes 2011 revenue procedures for employee plans]

[1/6/11]  The New York Times:

[1/6/11]  PIMCO DC Practice Research:  Designing Outcome-Oriented Defined Contribution Plans (DC 2.0): Maximizing Absolute and Risk-Adjusted Returns for a New Normal Economy

[1/6/11]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  How Important Are Intergenerational Transfers for Baby Boomers? [Working Paper]

[1/5/11]  Securities & Exchange Commission Investor Bulletin:  “Top 11 Tips for 2011

[1/5/11]  Congress.org:  “House to Vote on Health Law Repeal

[1/5/11]  National Health Policy Forum Issue Brief No. 840:  “Self-Insurance and the Potential Effects of Health Reform on the Small-Group Market

[1/5/11]  Urban Institute:  Social Security and Medicare Taxes and Benefits Over a Lifetime

[1/4/11]  Chicago Sun-Times:  “Tax Cut Lets You Boost Retirement Savings

[1/4/11]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:

[1/4/11]  U.S. Departments of the Treasury (IRS), Labor (EBSA), and Health and Human Services:  Request for Information Regarding Value-Based Insurance Design in Connection with Preventive Care Benefits [as published in the Federal Register on Dec. 28, 2010]

[1/4/11]  Internal Revenue Service:

[1/4/11]  Aon Hewitt:  Trends in HR and Employee Benefits: Health Care Cost Trends

[1/4/11]  Buck Consultants FYI:

Updated 2/1/11