What's New - July 2010

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What's new at EBRI this month:

New EBRI Blog Is Now Live! [March 23, 2010]

“EBRI Now on Twitter” [EBRI Press Release, 2/6/09]

401(k) Balances and Changes Due to Market Volatility


July 2010 EBRI Issue Brief - "The EBRI Retirement Readiness Rating:™ Retirement Income Preparation and Future Prospects"

July 2010 EBRI Notes - "Target-Date Fund Use Over Time" and "The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program: $5 Billion Will Last About Two Years"


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:

Consumer Finance:  Factors Affecting the Financial Literacy of Individuals with Limited English Proficiency.  GAO-10-518, May 21.

Defined Benefit Pension Plans: Plans Face Valuation and Other Challenges When Investing in Hedge Funds and Private Equity, by Barbara Bovbjerg, managing director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives.  GAO-10-915T, July 20.

Private Pensions: Long-standing Challenges Remain for Multiemployer Pension Plans, by Charles A. Jeszeck, acting director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.  GAO-10-708T, May 27. 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.

[7/30/10]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employee Benefits in the United States - March 2010

[7/30/10]  The Los Angeles Times:  “Employee Allegations of Excessive 401(k) Fees Gain Ground

[7/30/10]  National Center for Policy Analysis Policy Report No. 329:  “Unfunded Liabilities of State and Local Government Employee Retirement Benefit Plans

[7/30/10]  Prudential Research:  Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women: 2010-2011 Prudential Research Study

[7/30/10]  American Academy of Family Physicians:  “Health Care Reform Law Will Increase Demand for Preventive Services, Say Experts

[7/30/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[7/29/10]  U.S. Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health:  “Hearing on Implementation of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act” [Hearing held July 27, 2010, includes links to testimonies]

[7/29/10]  Urban Institute:  Federal Subsidy for Laid-Off Workers’ Health Insurance: A First Year’s Report Card for the New COBRA Premium Assistance

[7/29/10]  Milliman’s Client Action Bulletin:  “New Fee Disclosures Required for Retirement Plan Service Providers

[7/29/10]  AARP Public Policy Institute:  Annuities and Other Lifetime Income Products: Their Current and Future Role in Retirement Security [Fact Sheet]

[7/29/10]  Social Security Administration:  Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2009

[7/28/10]  MetLife:  2010 MetLife Study of the American Dream: An Uphill Climb

[7/28/10]  Investment Company Institute:  The IRA Investor Profile: Traditional IRA Investors’ Contribution Activity, 2007 and 2008

[7/28/10]  The Vanguard Group:  Building Blocks of a Well-Balanced Portfolio

[7/28/10]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Submission of Information Collection for OMB Review; Comment Request; Payment of Premiums; Notice of request for extension of OMB approval of revised collection of information [as published in the Federal Register on July 27, 2010]

[7/28/10]  PricewaterhouseCoopers:  Pension and OPEB Accounting: A Study of the IASB’s Proposal

[7/28/10]  Profit Sharing/401k Council of America:  “What I Would Tell the Deficit Reduction Commission” [David Wray’s Blog]

[7/27/10]  The New York Times:  “401(k) Fees Gain a Bit of Clarity

[7/27/10]  National Conference of State Legislatures:  Pensions and Retirement Plan Enactments in 2010 State Legislatures

[7/27/10]  Business Insurance:  “Analysis Calculates Costs of Family Health Insurance

[7/27/10]  Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:

[7/26/10]  The Vanguard Group:  How America Saves 2010: A Report on Vanguard 2009 Defined Contribution Plan Data

[7/26/10]  Aon Retirement InsightsFinal DB Funding Relief -- Analysis

[7/26/10]  Congressional Budget Office:  Letter to Rep. Fortney Pete Stark Re Analysis of a Specific Proposal to Add a “Public Plan” to the Options Available through the Health Insurance Exchanges That Will Be Established in 2014 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as Amended by the Health Care and Reconciliation Act of 2010

[7/26/10]  Urban Institute Fact Sheet on Retirement PolicyRaising Social Security’s Retirement Age

[7/26/10]  The Brookings Institution:  “The Right Reason for Saving Social Security,” by Alice M. Rivlin

[7/26/10]  WorldatWork:  WorldatWork 2010-2011 Salary Budget Survey:  Top-Level Data Published July 6, 2010

[7/23/10]  PIMCO DC Dialogue™ [July 2010]:  “All Shook Up” [“In this PIMCO DC Dialogue, we talk with Jack VanDerhei, research director at the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), about worker retirement-income adequacy and confidence.”]

[7/23/10]  U.S. Departments of the Treasury (IRS), Labor (EBSA), and Health and Human Services:  Interim Final Rules for Group Health Plans and Health Insurance Issuers Relating to Internal Claims and Appeals and External Review Processes Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Interim final rules with request for comments [as published in the Federal Register on July 23, 2010]

[7/23/10]  HealthCare.gov:  Fact Sheet:  The Affordable Care Act: Protecting Consumers and Putting Patients Back in Charge of Their Care

[7/23/10]  The Los Angeles Times:  “Questions and Answers About New Rules on Appealing Rejections of Health Insurance Claims” [Q&A]

[7/23/10]  Towers Watson:

[7/23/10]  Securities and Exchange Commission:  “SEC Proposes Measures to Improve Regulation of Fund Distribution Fees and Provide Better Disclosure for Investors” [Press Release]

[7/23/10]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Consumer Expenditures in 2008

[7/22/10]  Ariel Investments:

[7/22/10]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Technical Update 10-3: Simplified Methods for Applying the Requirement to Disregard Benefit Reductions in Determining Withdrawal Liability - Multiemployer Pension Plans - Pension Protection Act of 2006

[7/22/10]  The Los Angeles Times:  “Social Security ‘Age’ Fix May Not Live Up to Expectations

[7/22/10]  ABA Section of Taxation News Quarterly, Summer 2010 (via Social Science Research Network):  Social Security Benefits Formula 101: A Practical Primer [Full paper can be downloaded at the site]

[7/21/10]  Morgan Lewis:  Impact of Financial Reform Legislation on Employee Benefit Plans

[7/21/10]  The New York Times:

[7/21/10]  The Commonwealth Fund:  Health Insurance Exchanges and the Affordable Care Act: Key Policy Issues

[7/21/10]  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:  Request for Information on Development of an Inventory of Comparative Effectiveness Research; Request for Information [as published in the Federal Register on July 19, 2010]

[7/21/10]  Census Bureau:  Quarterly Summary of the Finances of Selected State and Local Government Employee Retirement Systems

[7/20/10]  U.S. Departments of the Treasury (IRS), Labor (EBSA), and Health and Human Services:  Interim Final Rules for Group Health Plans and Health Insurance Issuers Relating to Coverage of Preventive Services Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Interim final rules with request for comments [as published in the Federal Register on July 19, 2010]

[7/20/10]  HR Policy Association:  “Employers May Limit No-Cost Preventive Services to In-Network Care Under Interim Health Reform Regulations

[7/20/10]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “COBRA Subsidy Has Expired -- At Least for Now

[7/20/10]  Reish & Reicher Bulletin:  “DOL Releases Final Fee Disclosure Regulation

[7/20/10]  The Los Angeles Times:  “Senate Passes Sweeping Financial Overhaul Legislation

[7/20/10]  USA Today:  “Poll: Faith in Social Security System Tanking

[7/19/10]  U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor, Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions:  Hearing titled “Creating Greater Accounting Transparency for Pensioners” [Hearing scheduled to be held July 20, 2010]

[7/19/10]  U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Health:  “Hearing on Efforts to Promote the Adoption and Meaningful Use of Health Information Technology” [Hearing scheduled to be held July 20, 2010]

[7/19/10]  Colonial Life:  Small Business: Big Benefits -- How Smaller Employers Can Use Voluntary Benefits to Create a Competitive Advantage

[7/19/10]  CFO.com:  “A Lesson in Self-Reliance: More and More Small and Midsize Companies Are Looking to Get Off the Insurance Grid and Cover Their Own Employee Health-Care Claims

[7/19/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Pulling It Together: What Conservatives Are Winning” from Drew Altman

[7/19/10]  Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards:  Americans’ Views on the Economy and the Financial System

[7/16/10]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  National Compensation Survey: Health and Retirement Plan Provisions in Private Industry in the United States, 2009

[7/16/10]  Morgan Lewis:  Healthcare Reform and Collective Bargaining Issues

[7/16/10]  Center for Economic and Policy Research:  The Impact of Social Security Cuts on Retiree Income

[7/16/10]  Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index:  Milliman Analysis: Pension Funded Status Declined for Third Consecutive Month -- Funded Status Decreased by $83 Billion during June

[7/16/10]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Fact Sheet: Interim Final Regulation Relating to Improved Fee Disclosure for Pension Plans

[7/16/10]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Reasonable Contract or Arrangement Under Section 408(b)(2) -- Fee Disclosure; Interim Final Rule with Request for Comments [as published in the Federal Register on July 16, 2010]

[7/15/10]  Reuters (via Business Insurance):  “Many U.S. Workers Lack Enough Retirement Savings: Study

[7/15/10]  The Vanguard Group:  “How to Get the Most Out of Your Autopilot Plan

[7/15/10]  HealthCare.gov:  “The Affordable Care Act’s New Rules on Preventive Care and You

[7/15/10]  The Los Angeles Times:  “Healthcare Law Offers Preventive Care at No Cost” [Q&A]

[7/14/10]  Towers Watson:  “Boosting Wellness Participation Without Breaking the Bank

[7/14/10]  Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:  Medicare Program; Payment Policies Under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2011; Proposed Rule [as published in the Federal Register on July 13, 2010]

[7/14/10]  Urban Institute:  Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Differentials in Employer-Sponsored Pensions [Statement of Barbara A. Butrica and Richard W. Johnson, The Urban Institute, Before the ERISA Advisory Council, U.S. Department of Labor, June 30, 2010]

[7/14/10]  BNY Mellon Wealth Management:  “Taxes, Taxes, Taxes: What You Should Know for 2010 and Beyond

[7/13/10]  Bureau of Labor Statistics Program Perspectives on Combined Benefit Plans:  “New Data Series Highlights Employee Access to Medical Care and Retirement Benefits

[7/13/10]  Pensions & Investments:

[7/13/10]  U.S. Senate Committee on Finance:  Hearing titled “Choosing to Work During Retirement and the Impact on Social Security” [Hearing to be held July 15, 2010]

[7/13/10]  Department of Health & Human Services:  Modifications to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Enforcement Rules under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act; Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

[7/12/10]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Plans News [Special Edition, July 2010]

[7/12/10]  Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies:  Bridging the Gap Between Employers’ and Workers’ Understanding of 401(k) Fees

[7/12/10]  Gabriel Roeder Smith & Company Insight:  “The GASB’s Preliminary Views on Pension Accounting and Financial Reporting by Employers

[7/12/10]  U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means:  “Chairman Pomeroy Announces a Hearing on Social Security at 75 Years: More Necessary Now Than Ever” [Hearing Advisory]

[7/12/10]  HealthCare.gov:  A New Resource from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

[7/12/10]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  National Compensation Survey: Occupational Earnings in the United States, 2009

[7/9/10]  Mercer:  “Automated Plan Features Lead to Higher Defined Contribution Balances” [Press Release]

[7/9/10]  American Benefits Council:  Summary of Single-Employer Plan Funding Relief Legislation

[7/9/10]  Business Insurance:  “Social Media Won’t Work for Benefits Information: Survey

[7/9/10]  Hewitt Associates:  “House Approves Financial Regulatory Reform: Compensation and Retirement Implications

[7/9/10]  H.R. 4173:  “To provide for financial regulatory reform, to protect consumers and investors, to enhance Federal understanding of insurance issues, to regulate the over-the-counter derivatives markets, and for other purposes” [short title: “The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009”]

[7/8/10]  U.S. News & World Report:  “The 10 Most Common Retirement Benefits

[7/8/10]  Urban Institute Fact Sheet on Retirement Policy:  “Retirement Account Balances: Accumulations in Retirement Accounts, 2005 to 2010

[7/8/10]  The Washington Post:  “SEC Proposes New Rules to Make Target-Date Mutual Funds More Transparent

[7/8/10]  American Medical News:  “Uninsured Jumped to 46.3 Million in 2009

[7/7/10]  Workforce Management:  “Demystifying High-Deductible Plans

[7/7/10]  Business Insurance:  “Employers Get More Time to Tweak Mental Health Cover

[7/7/10]  Fiduciary News:  “10 Useful Web-Sites for 401k Plan Sponsors & Any ERISA Fiduciary

[7/7/10]  403(b)wise:  The 403(b) Market

[7/6/10]  Congressional Budget Office:  Social Security Policy Options [July 2010]

[7/6/10]  USA Today:  “How Will Baby Boomers’ Retirement Affect Stocks?

[7/6/10]  Towers Watson:

[7/6/10]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “More Health Reform Guidance - on Preexisting Condition Exclusions, Dollar Limits, Rescissions, and Patient Protections

[7/2/10]  Wolters Kluwer:  “FSA Participation Grows from 16.7% in 2007 to 20.4% in 2009

[7/2/10]  The New York Times:  “Among Some, High Marks for Health Care Overhaul’s Beginnings

[7/2/10]  The Los Angeles Times:  “’High-Risk’ Pool Medical Insurance Program Set to Begin” [Q&A]

[7/2/10]  Buck Consultants FYI:

[7/1/10]  Society for Human Resource Management:  2010 Employee Job Satisfaction: Investigating What Matters Most to Employees [A Research Report by the Society for Human Resource Management]

[7/1/10]  Towers Watson:  2010 Defined Contribution Survey

[7/1/10]  Hewitt Associates:  Survey Highlights: Employers’ Initial Reaction to Health Care Reform: Retiree Strategy Survey 2010

[7/1/10]  Computer Sciences Corporation:  Meaningful Use for Health Plans: Five Things to Consider

[7/1/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Medicare Advantage 2010 Data Spotlight: Plan Enrollment Patterns and Trends

[7/1/10]  Deloitte (via U.S. Department of Labor):

[7/1/10]  Nationwide:

Updated 7/30/10