What's New - July 2006

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What's new at EBRI this month:


July 2006 EBRI Issue Brief - "Savings Needed to Fund Health Insurance and Health Care Expenses in Retirement"

July 2006 EBRI Notes - "The Employment-Based Pension System: Evolution or Revolution?"


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:

Baby Boom Generation: Retirement of Baby Boomers Is Unlikely to Precipitate Dramatic Decline in Market Returns, but Broader Risks Threaten Retirement Security. GAO-06-718, July 28.  Highlights.

Airline Deregulation: Reregulating the Airline Industry Would Likely Reverse Consumer Benefits and Not Save Airline Pensions. GAO-06-630, June 9.  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.

[7/31/06] U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means:  H.R. 4, Pension Protection Act of 2006

[7/31/06] U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation:  Estimated Budget Effects of H.R. 4, the “Pension Protection Act of 2006,” As Introduced in the House of Representatives on July 28, 2006 -- Fiscal Years 2007 - 2016

[7/31/06] Buck Consultants Newsflash:  "SEC Adopts Final Disclosure Rules"

[7/31/06] Milliman’s Client Action Bulletin:  "IRS Issues New Guidance on Debit Cards for FSAs, HRAs, and Dependent Care"

[7/31/06] Governmental Accounting Standards Board:  GASB Staff Explains How to Account for Medicare Part D Retiree Drug Subsidy Payments

[7/27/06] Reuters (via Business Insurance):  "Lawmakers at Odds on Pension Investment Advice"

[7/27/06] CFO.com:  "DoL Rule Mandates E-filing"

[7/27/06] HR Policy Association Policy Brief:  "Tax Laws Discourage Phased Retirement for Employers with Traditional Pensions, Despite Mutual Benefits for Employers and Employees"

[7/27/06] Towers Perrin Monitor:  "Government Proposes New National Pension Savings Plan" [United Kingdom]

[7/26/06] Buck Consultants LegiSlate:  "Pension Conference Report Expected Soon"

[7/26/06] TIAA-CREF Institute Research Summary:  "The Employer Match and Participant Behavior"

[7/26/06] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  "Will We Have to Work Forever?"

[7/26/06] Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  "Eight States Consider Paid Leave Programs for Employees Who Serve as Caregivers"

[7/24/06] Business Insurance:  "Panel Delays Effective Date of Pension Reforms"

[7/24/06] Deloitte Consulting LLP, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, and International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists:  Annual 401(k) Benchmarking Survey, 2005/2006 Edition

[7/21/06] U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Electronic Filing of Annual Reports; Final Rule [published in the Federal Register on July 21, 2006]

[7/21/06] U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Annual Reporting and Disclosure; Proposed Rule [published in the Federal Register on July 21, 2006]

[7/21/06] U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of the Treasury, and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Proposed Revision of Annual Information Return/Reports; Notice [published in the Federal Register on July 21, 2006]

[7/20/06] Business Insurance:  "Tentative Deal Reached on Pension Reform Bill"

[7/20/06] U.S. Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health:  Hearing on Price Transparency [in the health care sector]

[7/20/06] Milliman, Inc.:  "Milliman Survey Foresees Lowest Health Insurance Rate Increase in 7 Years"

[7/20/06] Towers Perrin Perspectives:  "Employers Are Using Account-Based Plan Designs to Engage Employees in Health Care"

[7/19/06] Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  2005 Annual Report

[7/19/06] Investment Company Institute Research Fundamentals:  "Appendix: Additional Data on the U.S. Retirement Market"

[7/19/06] Buck Consultants InsightOut:  "What Ails Behavioral Health Care? Diagnosis and Treatment Ensure a Healthier Bottom Line for Employer-Sponsored Programs"

[7/19/06] InvestmentNews.com:  "Pozen: Indexing Can Fix Social Security"

[7/18/06] Hewitt Associates:  IRS Proposes Regulations on Dependent Care Expenses Necessary for Gainful Employment

[7/18/06] CFO.com:  "HSAs May Not Deliver Company Savings"

[7/18/06] URAC Issue Brief:  "Consumerism Takes Center Stage as Newest Solution to Health Care’s High Costs"

[7/18/06] Aon Consulting Alert:  "Massachusetts Health Care Reform"

[7/18/06] Investment Company Institute Research Fundamentals:  "The U.S. Retirement Market, 2005"

[7/18/06] Pension Research Council:  Optimizing the Retirement Portfolio: Asset Allocation, Annuitization, and Risk Aversion [Working Paper]

[7/14/06] U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  2006 Form 5500 and Instructions

[7/14/06] Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  "NEJM Article Examines Trends in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance"

[7/14/06] UnitedHealth Group:  "Three-Year Study Shows Consumer-Driven Health Plans Continue to Stimulate Positive Changes in Consumer Health Behavior"

[7/14/06] U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs:  Hearing on Insurance Regulation Reform [includes links to testimonies]

[7/13/06] CFO.com:  "Pensions: FASB Looks to the Future"

[7/13/06] Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Statistical Brief #127:  "Changes in Co-Pays for Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Plans, 1999-2003"

[7/13/06] The Segal Company:  Results of the Segal Medicare Part D Survey of Public Sector Plans

[7/13/06] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  "Employer Attitudes Towards Older Workers: Survey Results"

[7/12/06] The Commonwealth Fund:  "How Much More Cost-Sharing Will Health Savings Accounts Bring?"

[7/12/06] Congressional Research Service:  Health Insurance Coverage for Retirees

[7/12/06] Managed Care Magazine:  "Depression in the Workplace Costs Employers Billions Each Year"

[7/12/06] MetLife Mature Market Institute:  The MetLife Caregiving Cost Study: Productivity Losses to U.S. Business

[7/11/06] Hewitt Associates:  2006 Health Care Expectations Survey -- Executive Summary

[7/11/06] The National Law Journal:  "Benefits as Burdens: U.S. Courts Wrangling over Benefits Cuts"

[7/11/06] Workforce Management:  "Credit Ratings Fall Off Table in Pension Bill Negotiations"

[7/11/06] The Vanguard Group:  Roth 401(k) Investing Guide

[7/11/06] Pension Monitor:  “The Latest Pension Articles and News from Around the World”

[7/6/06] Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments

[7/6/06] Employee Benefit News:  "Employers Increase Wellness Push with New Programs, Incentives"

[7/6/06] AISHealth.com:  "Health Plans Target Next Phases of Consumer-Directed Health Care" [reprinted from the June 23, 2006, issue of Inside Consumer-Directed Care]

[7/6/06] Employee Benefit News:  "401(k) Investment Trends Report: Investment Preferences Are Shifting as New Plan Designs Proliferate"

[7/6/06] Benefits & Compensation Digest:  "Fiduciary Investment Issues in Defined Contribution Plans"

[7/6/06] Society of Actuaries:  Key Findings and Issues -- Longevity: The Underlying Driver of Retirement Risk--2005 Risks and Process of Retirement Survey Report

[7/5/06] Kaiser Family Foundation:  Prescription Drug Trends

[7/5/06] Business Insurance:  "Domestic Partner Health Benefits Gain Ground"

[7/5/06] Employee Benefit News:  "Perils and Pitfalls of ERISA Summary Plan Descriptions" [2nd of 2 articles]

[7/5/06] Los Angeles Times:  "Caution: Golden Years May Not Shine"

[7/5/06] Prudential Financial:  Are You Ready for the Retirement Red Zone?

[7/5/06] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Earnings and Women’s Retirement Security [Working Paper]

[7/3/06] The Segal Company’s Compliance Alert:  "Mandatory PBGC e-Filing Begins Now"

[7/3/06] Securities Industry Association Research Reports:  "Retirement Savings: By the Numbers"

[7/3/06] Milliman Inc.:  Medical Index 2006

[7/3/06] Buck Consultants:  Annual Consumer-Driven Health Care Survey: Survey Results, Insights into Best Practices, and Developing Trends

[7/3/06] Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  "Employers Anticipate Further Restrictions on Retiree Medical Plans, Watson Wyatt Survey Finds"

[7/3/06] National Center for Policy Analysis:  Health Care Spending: What the Future Will Look Like

[7/3/06] HR Policy Association:  "Massachusetts Legislature Close to Passing Landmark Paid Family Leave Bill"

[7/3/06] The TIAA-CREF Institute is accepting submissions for the 2006 Paul A. Samuelson Award, which recognizes outstanding scholarly writing on issues related to lifelong financial security.  Submissions may be theoretical or empirical in nature but must cover a subject directly relevant to lifelong financial security.  To be considered, an article or a book must be scholarly in nature, written in English, and published between January 1, 2005, and June 30, 2006.  The deadline for submissions is September 8, 2006.  More information about the competition, along with an application form, is available on the Institute’s Web site at http://www.tiaa-crefinstitute.org/awards/samuelson/index.html.

Updated 7/31/06