What's New - July 2011

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What's new at EBRI this month:

EBRI 2011 Spring Policy Forum: “Is There a Future for Retirement?” ["gavel to gavel" webcast - Prerecorded broadcast available through the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans]

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


July 2011 EBRI Issue Brief - "Employment-Based Health Benefits and Taxation: Implications of Efforts to Reduce the Deficit and National Debt"

July 2011 EBRI Issue Brief - "Twenty-Five Years After Federal Pension Reform"

July 2011 EBRI Notes - "Capping Tax-Preferred Retirement Contributions: Preliminary Evidence of the Impact of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Recommendations" and "The Impact of the Recession on Employment-Based Health Benefits: The Case of Union Membership"


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:

Cost and Legal Authority for Selected Financial Literacy Programs and Activities. GAO-11-781R, July 13.

Private Health Insurance: Waivers of Restrictions on Annual Limits on Health Benefits. GAO-11-725R, June 14.

Private Pensions: Little Information Available on Qualified Supplemental Executive Retirement Plans. GAO-11-533R, May 12.

Value in Health Care: Key Information for Policymakers to Assess Efforts to Improve Quality While Reducing Costs. GAO-11-445, July 26. Highlights.

Retirement Income: Ensuring Income throughout Retirement Requires Difficult Choices. GAO-11-400, June 7. Highlights.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: IRS Should Expand Its Strategic Approach to Implementation. GAO-11-719, June 29.

Financial Literacy: A Federal Certification Process for Providers Would Pose Challenges. GAO-11-614, June 28. Highlights.

Social Security Statements: Observations on SSA's Plans for the Social Security Statement, by Barbara D. Bovbjerg, managing director, education, workforce, and income security, before the Subcommittee on Social Security, House Committee on Ways and Means. GAO-11-787T, July 8. 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.

[7/29/11]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Disclosure to Participants; Final rule [as published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2011]

[7/29/11]  Milliman Insight:  “The Retirement Readiness Challenge: Measure what matters

[7/29/11]  The Republic:  “Poll: Many Baby Boomers Concerned About Paying for Retirement, Health Care Costs

[7/29/11]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[7/29/11]  Plan Sponsor:  “Employer Health Benefit Drop Contributes to Expected Higher Spending

[7/29/11]  U.S. House Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Healthcare and Technology:  Hearing on: “Small Businesses and PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act): If They Like Their Coverage, Can They Keep It?” [Hearing held July 28, 2011, includes links to written testimonies]

[7/28/11]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[7/28/11]  ThomasNet News®:  “Union Workers’ Health Coverage Less Affected by Recession

[7/28/11]  The Houston Chronicle:  “Analysis: The Debt Deal and You -- 20 things that could happen if no debt deal is reached

[7/28/11]  U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service, and Labor Policy:  Hearing on “The Thrift Savings Plan: Helping Federal Employees Achieve Retirement Security” [Hearing held July 27, 2011, includes links to written testimonies]

[7/28/11]  University of Rochester and Kellogg School of Management:  The Revenue Demands of Public Employee Pension Promises

[7/27/11]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employee Benefits in the United States -- March 2011

[7/27/11]  U. S. House Committee on Education & the Workforce, Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions:  Hearing on “Redefining ‘Fiduciary’: Assessing the Impact of the Labor Department’s Proposal on Workers and Retirees” [Hearing held July 26, 2011, includes links to archived webcast and written testimonies]

[7/27/11]  Plan Sponsor:  “IMHO: Savings ‘Bonds’” [re the taxation of 401(k) plan contributions]

[7/27/11]  Milliman PERiScope Alert:  “GASB Issues Two Pension Related Exposure Drafts

[7/26/11]  U.S. Departments of the Treasury (IRS), Labor (Employee Benefits Security Administration), and Health and Human Services:  Group Health Plans and Health Insurance Issuers: Rules Relating to Internal Claims and Appeals and External Review Processes; Correction of amendment to interim final rules with request for comments [as published in the Federal Register on July 26, 2011]

[7/26/11]  American Academy of Actuaries Issue Brief:  “Actuarial Value under the Affordable Care Act

[7/26/11]  MetLife:  Remodeling the Benefits and Retirement Income Space: An Excerpt from the 9th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends

[7/26/11]  Prudential:  Stable Value Products: An Increasingly Important Component of the U.S. Retirement Market

[7/26/11]  Pew Research Center:  Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks and Hispanics

[7/25/11]  Thomson Reuters Healthcare Indexes™:  Healthcare Spending Index for Private Insurance

[7/25/11]  Prudential:  Why Do Individuals Retire When They Do and What Does It Mean for Their Retirement Security?

[7/25/11]  Retirement Town Hall [Milliman Blog]:  “Your 401(k) Plan Has Auto Enrollment--Now What?

[7/25/11]  Kansas City Star:  “Workers Increasingly Raid 401(k)s for Short-Term Cash

[7/22/11]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[7/22/11]  Sibson Consulting Capital Checkup:  “IRS Guidance on Form W-2 Reporting under the Affordable Care Act

[7/22/11]  Towers Watson Insider:  “Prevalence of Retirement Plan Types in the Fortune 100 in 2011

[7/22/11]  Profit Sharing/401k Council of America:  2011 403(b) Plan Survey: Results Overview

[7/22/11]  TIAA-CREF Institute Policy Brief:  “Early Retirement: The Dawn of a New Era?

[7/22/11]  Employee Benefit Adviser:  “Many Ways to Count Inflation: What’s a Financial Adviser or Retiree to Do?

[7/21/11]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Electronic Disclosure by Employee Benefit Plans - Request for Information

[7/21/11]  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:  “Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, 2010

[7/21/11]  Kaiser Health News:  “Gang of Six Deficit Plan: Executive Summary

[7/21/11]  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

[7/21/11]  MetLife:  Final Regulation on Participant-Level Fee Disclosures

[7/19/11]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Requirements for Fee Disclosure to Plan Fiduciaries and Participants--Applicability Dates; Final rule; delay of applicability dates [as published in the Federal Register on July 19, 2011]

[7/19/11]  Center for State & Local Government Excellence Issue Brief:  “Unions and Public Pension Benefits

[7/19/11]  AARP:

[7/19/11]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  State Action Towards Creating a Health Insurance Exchange, as of July 18, 2011

[7/18/11]  Morningstar:  “Eight Steps to Wealth Protection for Aging Investors

[7/18/11]  Plan Sponsor:  “Most Participants Would Not Be Saving if Not for 401(k)

[7/18/11]  Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Monthly Labor Review:  “Reentering the Labor Force After Retirement

[7/18/11]  AARP:  “AARP Launches Social Security Benefits Calculator” [News Release]

[7/15/11]  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

[7/15/11]  Employee Benefit News Legal Alert:  “HHS Proposes Regulations for Health Care Reform Measures

[7/15/11]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Benefits Payable in Terminated Single-Employer Plans; Interest Assumptions for Paying Benefits; Final rule [as published in the Federal Register on July 15, 2011]

[7/15/11]  Sibson Consulting Compliance Alert:  “IRS Issues Long-Awaited Guidance on Reporting Deferred Vested Retirement Benefits; Postpones 2009 and 2010 Plan Year Filing Deadlines

[7/14/11]  WorldatWork:  WorldatWork 2011-2012 Salary Budget Survey:  Top-Level Data Published July 5, 2011

[7/14/11]  SunAmerica® Financial Group:  The SunAmerica Retirement Re-Set Study: Redefining Retirement Post Recession

[7/14/11]  American Benefits Council:  Myths and Facts: Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation “Deficit” and Premium Proposals

[7/14/11]  U.S. House Committee on the Budget:  Hearing on “Medicare and Social Security: The Fiscal Facts: The Sustainability of America’s Health and Retirement Programs” [Hearing held July 13, 2011, includes links to video, audio, and written testimonies]

[7/13/11]  Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies:  Emerging from the Recession: Rising Employer Optimism and Renewed Commitment to Retirement Benefits: 12th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey

[7/13/11]  Prudential:  What Employers Lose in the Shift from Defined Benefit to Defined Contribution Plans…and How to Get it Back

[7/13/11]  U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions:  Hearing on “The Power of Pensions: Building a Strong Middle Class and Strong Economy” [Hearing held July 12, 2011, includes links to archived webcast and written testimonies]

[7/13/11]  Urban Institute Program on Retirement Policy:  How Much Might Automatic IRAs Improve Retirement Security for Low- and Moderate-Wage Workers?

[7/13/11]  Center for American Progress:  SHOPping Around -- Setting Up State Health Care Exchanges for Small Businesses: A Roadmap

[7/13/11]  The Washington PostThe Fact Checker: “Social Security and Its Role in the Nation’s Debt”

[7/12/11]  The Los Angeles Times:  “Health Officials Ease Requirements for States’ Insurance Exchanges

[7/12/11]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “A Guide to Health Insurance Exchanges

[7/12/11]  PricewaterhouseCoopers:  Health and Well-Being Touchstone Survey Results

[7/12/11]  America’s Health Insurance Plans:  Small Group Health Insurance in 2010: A Comprehensive Survey of Premiums, Product Choices, and Benefits

[7/12/11]  DailyFinance:  “The Pros and Cons of Automatic 401(k) Enrollment

[7/12/11]  USA Today:  “Boomers Who Work Longer Can Get More from Social Security

[7/11/11]  Investment Company Institute:  “Numbers Show the Success of Automatic Enrollment

[7/11/11]  U. S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Definition of the Term “Fiduciary” Proposed Rule

[7/11/11]  Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index:  Milliman Analysis: Corporate Pension Funded Status Improves by $25 Billion as June Interest Rates Rise

[7/11/11]  National Conference of State Legislatures:  Pensions and Retirement Plan Enactments in 2011 State Legislatures (as of June 30, 2011)

[7/11/11]  Governmental Accounting Standards Board:

[7/11/11]  U.S. House Committee on Ways & Means, Subcommittee on Social Security:  Hearing on Social Security’s benefit expenditures, how benefits have changed over time, options for change, and their impacts; also, efforts by SSA to inform workers of their future benefits through the Social Security Statement will be examined. [Hearing held July 8, 2011, includes links to written testimonies]

[7/8/11]  Milliman Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments [July 2011]

[7/8/11]  Plan Sponsor:  “Cut to Tax Benefits Could Drive Workers to Exchanges

[7/8/11]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “What Is a Mini-Med Plan?

[7/8/11]  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:  Administrative Simplification: Adoption of Operating Rules for Eligibility for a Health Plan and Health Care Claim Status Transactions; Interim final rule with comment period [as published in the Federal Register on July 8, 2011]

[7/8/11]  The Washington Post:  “Delaying Retirement Might Not Improve Your Financial Prospects

[7/8/11]  Employee Benefit Adviser:  “Study: Too Many Choices Impair 401(k) Decisions

[7/7/11]  Investment Company Institute:  The U.S. Retirement Market -- First Quarter 2011

[7/7/11]  Bureau of Labor Statistics Program PerspectivesDefined-Contribution Plan Investment Choices: “Employees Given Range of Investment Options in 401(k) Plans”

[7/7/11]  The Wall Street Journal:  “401(k) Law Suppresses Saving for Retirement

[7/7/11]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston:  An Update on Locally-Administered Pension Plans

[7/7/11]  Sibson Consulting’s Capital Checkup:  “Vermont’s New Health Care Reform Law Creates a Blueprint for the Nation’s First Single-Payer System

[7/7/11]  Plan Sponsor:  “Some Employers Still Cautious to Adopt CDHPs

[7/5/11]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Kaiser Health Tracking Poll -- June 2011

[7/5/11]  HighRoads:  Early Retiree Reinsurance Program Pulse Survey

[7/5/11]  Investment Company Institute:  Economics of Providing 401(k) Plans: Services, Fees, and Expenses, 2010

[7/5/11]  PricewaterhouseCoopers:  Accounting for Pension Buy-In Arrangements

[7/5/11]  PIMCO DC Dialogue™:  “All about Process” [“In this PIMCO DC Dialogue, we talk with David Levine of Groom Law Group regarding fiduciary roles played by plan sponsors and outside advisors.”]

[7/5/11]  Social Security Administration:  OASDI Beneficiaries by State and County, 2010

[7/5/11]  Telework Research Network:  The State of Telework in the U.S.: How Individuals, Business, and Government Benefit

[7/5/11]  Chicago Tribune:  “Know Your IRA -- Your account setup can be key to how much you save and keep for retirement

[6/30/11]  The Washington Post:  “Appeals Court Upholds Health-Care Law’s Individual Mandate

[6/30/11]  Office of Sen. Joe Lieberman:

Updated 7/29/11