What's New - June 2009

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What's new at EBRI this month:

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

401(k) Balances and Changes Due to Market Volatility


July 2009 EBRI Issue Brief - "The 2009 Health Confidence Survey: Public Opinion on Health Reform Varies; Strong Support for Insurance Market Reform and Public Plan Option, Mixed Response to Tax Cap"

June 2009 EBRI Issue Brief - "Addressing Health Care Market Reform Through an Insurance Exchange: Essential Policy Components, the Public Plan Option, and Other Issues to Consider"

June 2009 EBRI Notes - "Savings Needed for Health Expenses in Retirement: An Examination of Persons Ages 55 and 65 in 2009" and "Many 401(k) Sponsors Suspending Matching Contributions Also Funding Defined Benefit Pension Plans"


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:

The Nation's Long-Term Fiscal Outlook: March 2009 Update. GAO-09-405SP, April 30.

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: Financial Challenges Highlight Need for Improved Governance and Management, by Barbara D. Bovbjerg, director, education, workforce, and income security, before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. GAO-09-702T, May 20. Highlights.

Financial Literacy and Education Commission: Progress Made in Fostering Partnerships, but National Strategy Remains Largely Descriptive Rather Than Strategic, by Richard J. Hillman, managing director, financial markets and community investment, before the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. GAO-09-638T, April 29. 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.

[6/30/09]  U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:  Hidden Costs of Health Care: Why Americans Are Paying MORE but Getting LESS

[6/30/09]  American Academy of Family Physicians:  Patient Care during the 2008-2009 Recession -- Online Survey Executive Summary

[6/30/09]  U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit:  Hecker, et al. v. Deere & Company [Order denying rehearing re 401(k) fee decision, June 24, 2009]

[6/30/09]  Congressional Research Service:  Factors Affecting the Demand for Long-Term Care Insurance: Issues for Congress

[6/29/09]  Harris Interactive:  “Consumers Are Saving More and Spending and Borrowing Less -- They Are Not, However, Rebalancing Their Investment Portfolios

[6/29/09]  Urban Institute:  How Will the Stock Market Collapse Affect Retirement Incomes?

[6/29/09]  The Segal Group:  Guide to Health Reform 2009

[6/29/09]  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:  Public Perspectives on Health Delivery System Reforms

[6/26/09]  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Urban Institute:  Changes to the Tax Exclusion of Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Premiums: A Potential Source of Financing for Health Reform

[6/26/09]  The Commonwealth Fund:  Options for Financing Health Reform: Comparing the Impact of Selected Policy Options

[6/26/09]  [6/18/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Pulling It Together: Last Week’s Health Reform ‘Shocker’” from Drew Altman

[6/26/09]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “Additional Guidance Emerges on COBRA Subsidy

[6/25/09]  The New York Times:  “Target-Date Mutual Funds May Miss Their Mark

[6/25/09]  H.R. 2989:  “To amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to provide special reporting and disclosure rules for individual account plans and to provide a minimum investment option requirement for such plans, to amend such Act to provide for independent investment advice for participants and beneficiaries under individual account plans, and to amend such Act and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide transitional relief under certain pension funding rules added by the Pension Protection Act of 2006.” [short title: “401(k) Fair Disclosure and Pension Security Act of 2009”]

[6/25/09]  U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor:  “House Committee Approves Bill to Require Disclosure of Hidden 401(k) Fees -- Bill Also Prevents Conflicted Investment Advice and Provides Funding Relief to Pension Plans

[6/25/09]  Congressman Earl Pomeroy:  “Pomeroy Releases Discussion Draft of Pension Plan Funding Proposals” [Press Release]

[6/25/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[6/25/09]  Employment Policies Institute:  Who Are the Uninsured? An Analysis of America’s Uninsured Population, Their Characteristics and Their Health

[6/24/09]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  Effect of the Economic Crisis on HR Programs [Update: June 2009]

[6/24/09]  Internal Revenue Service:

[6/24/09]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Employers’ (Lack of) Response to the Retirement Income Challenge

[6/24/09]  U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means:  Hearing on “Health Reform in the 21st Century: Proposals to Reform the Health System” [Hearing held June 24, 2009, includes links to testimonies]

[6/24/09]  Prudential Financial:  “Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans as Popular as Ever, According to 2008 Mullin TBG/PLANSPONSOR Survey

[6/24/09]  Wells Fargo:  “Wells Fargo Study: Parents and Children Don’t See Eye to Eye When It Comes to Money

[6/23/09]  Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies:  Employers, Workers, and Retirement Plan Fees

[6/23/09]  Mercer:  “Mercer Sees Defined Contribution Account Balance Recovery as a Significant Challenge for Near Retirees” [Press Release]

[6/23/09]  Congressional Budget Office:  Health Care Reform and the Federal Budget [Letter to Senate Budget Committee Chairman dated June 16, 2009]

[6/23/09]  National Conference of State Legislatures:  Federal Health Care Reform Resources

[6/22/09]  The New York Times:  “For Older Investors, Old Rules May Not Apply

[6/22/09]  Charles Schwab:  Getting Retirement Savings Back on Track: Employer Views on the 401(k) and Financial Education in the Workplace [a report prepared by CFO Research Services in collaboration with Charles Schwab]

[6/22/09]  U.S. House Committees on Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor:  The House Tri-Committee Health Reform Discussion Draft Summary [June 19, 2009]

[6/22/09]  The New York Times:  “In Poll, Wide Support for Government-Run Health

[6/22/09]  The Segal Company’s Capital Checkup:  “More States License Same-Gender Marriages

[6/19/09]  Vanguard Investment Counseling & Research:  Target-Date Funds: Looking Beyond the Glide Path in 2008

[6/19/09]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  Effect of the Economic Crisis on Employee Attitudes Toward Retirement - Part II: Retirement Timing [Executive Summary]

[6/19/09]  Grant Thornton:  401(k) Plan Benefits: Rethinking Plan Design for Challenging Times

[6/19/09]  Congressman Charlie Dent:  “Reps. Dent and Kirk Unveil Medical Rights and Reform Act” [News Release]

[6/19/09]  Miller & Chevalier and American Benefits Council:  Corporate Health Care Policy Forecast Survey

[6/19/09]  Supreme Court of the United States:  Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc. [Supreme Court ruling re Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 lawsuit]

[6/18/09]  Chicago Fed Letter:  “Public and Private Sector Compensation: What Is Affordable in This Recession and Beyond?--A Conference Summary

[6/18/09]  Bipartisan Policy Center:  Crossing Our Lines: Working Together to Reform the U.S. Health System, by Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Robert Dole

[6/18/09]  Congressional Research Service:  Health Insurance Reform and the 111th Congress

[6/18/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Pulling It Together: The Sleeper in Health Reform” from Drew Altman

[6/18/09]  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Urban Institute:  Health Care Reform for Children with Public Coverage - How Can Policymakers Maximize Gains and Prevent Harm?

[6/17/09]  U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission:  “SEC, DOL Announce Panelists, Agenda for Joint Hearing on Target Date Funds” [Press Release]

[6/17/09]  Mercer:  “Health of Defined Benefit Pension Plans at S&P 500 Companies Falls Markedly in 2008

[6/17/09]  H.R. 1988:  “To amend Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to provide for independent investment advice for participants and beneficiaries under individual account plans” [short title: “Conflicted Investment Advice Prohibition Act of 2009”]

[6/17/09]  The New York Times:  “U.S. to Extend Its Job Benefits to Gay Partners

[6/16/09]  Congressional Budget Office:  Preliminary Analysis of HELP Committee’s Insurance Proposal

[6/16/09]  New America Foundation/Health CEOs for Health Reform:  Realigning U.S. Health Care Incentives to Better Serve Patients and Taxpayers

[6/16/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[6/16/09]  The Hartford:  “New Research from The Hartford Finds Americans Are Worried About Losing Ground on Retirement Savings

[6/15/09]  U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation:  Estimates of the Revenue Effects of Several Proposals to Cap the Income Tax Exclusion for Employer-Provided Health Care as well as Other Proposals [Very Preliminary]

[6/15/09]  Kaiser Health News:  “How Congress Might Tax Your Health Benefits

[[6/15/09]  Investment Company Institute:  Frequently Asked Questions About Target Date or Lifecycle Funds

[6/15/09]  U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:  “Paid Parental Leave Passes the House

[6/15/09]  Mercer:  “Is the 401(k) a Success? Employers Are Divided

[6/15/09]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  “Older Worker Confidence in Retirement Security Drops Sharply, Watson Wyatt Survey Finds

[6/12/09]  Investment Company Institute:

[6/12/09]  H.R. 2779:  “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide transparency with respect to fees and expenses charged to participant-directed defined contribution plans, and to improve participant communication”

[6/12/09]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Risk Pooling and the Market Crash: Lessons from Canada’s Pension Plan

[6/12/09]  HSBC Insurance:  The Future of Retirement: It’s Time to Prepare

[6/12/09]  National Health Policy Forum Issue Brief:  “A Health Insurance Exchange: Prototypes and Design Issues” 

[6/12/09]  Economic Policy Institute Briefing Paper:  “Capping the Health Insurance Tax Exclusion: The Consequences Vary Greatly Across States and Regions

[6/11/09]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employer Costs for Employee Compensation--March 2009

[6/11/09]  U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP):

[6/11/09]  U.S. House Committees on Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor:  Key Features of the Tri-Committee Health Reform Draft Proposal in the U.S. House of Representatives, June 9, 2009

[6/11/09]  Small Business Majority:  The Economic Impact of Healthcare Reform on Small Business

[6/11/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Pulling It Together: On Health Reform, Will All Roads Meet in the Middle?” from Drew Altman

[6/11/09]  The Wall Street Journal:  “Obama’s Health Cost Illusion” [Opinion Journal Forum]

[6/10/09]  H.R. 2748:  “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to encourage guaranteed lifetime income payments by excluding from income a portion of such payments” [short title: “Retirement Security Needs Lifetime Pay Act of 2009”]

[6/10/09]  The Principal Financial Well-Being Index, Index Summary - Second Quarter 2009

[6/10/09]  Securian Retirement:  Debt: The Detour on America’s Road to Retirement: Securian’s 2009 Survey of Financial Values and Debt

[6/10/09]  The Segal Group:  Survey of Calendar-Year Plans 2009 Zone Status and Freeze Elections

[6/9/09]  Vanguard Group Research Note:  “Update on Participant Behavior through First Quarter 2009

[6/9/09]  Charles Schwab:  “Many Americans Are Not Financially or Emotionally Prepared for Retirement, According to New Schwab Survey

[6/9/09]  Nationwide:  “Nationwide Financial Services Survey: Small Businesses Looking for Help from Investment Professionals to Manage Economic Downturn Challenges - Economy Putting Pressure on Small Biz Ability to Offer 401(k) for Employees

[6/9/09]  Society of Actuaries:  Call for Papers-Living to 100 Symposium IV -- On Jan. 5-7, 2011, the Society of Actuaries will present its fourth triennial international Living to 100 (LT100) Symposium in Orlando, FL.  A diverse range of professionals, scientists, academics, and practitioners are expected at this prestigious event to discuss the latest scientific information on how and why we age, methodologies for estimating current and future rates of survival, potential benefits and risks associated with the increasing numbers of retirees and potential answers to other difficult issues that arise.  The Committee on Living to 100 Research Symposia is seeking papers exploring aging, longevity and the implications thereof.  A list of suggested topics is available at SOA’s website.  For complete details, please click here.  Questions may be directed to Ronora Stryker, rstryker@soa.org, or Jan Schuh, jschuh@soa.org.

[6/8/09]  Prudential Retirement:  Strengthening Target-Date Funds with Guarantees to Enhance Retirement Security [White Paper]

[6/8/09]  Society of Actuaries:  “Risk or Return? Risk Management and PBGC

[6/8/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[6/8/09]  Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:  Health Reform: The Cost of Failure

[6/5/09]  U.S. Congressman Jim McDermott:  “Rep. McDermott Introduces Legislation to Eliminate Federal Taxes on Health Care Benefits to Domestic Partners

[6/5/09]  Pew Research Center:  “Most Middle-Aged Adults Are Rethinking Retirement Plans

[6/5/09]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  Effect of the Economic Crisis on Employee Attitudes Toward Retirement - Part 1: Retirement Security [Executive Summary]

[6/5/09]  TIAA-CREF Institute:  Financial Literacy: Evidence and Implications for Financial Education

[6/5/09]  Executive Office of the President/Council of Economic Advisers:  The Economic Case for Health Care Reform

[6/5/09]  Families USA:  Hidden Health Tax: Americans Pay a Premium

[6/5/09]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  Health Insurance Mandates in the States 2009: A State-by-State Breakdown of Health Insurance Mandates and Their Costs

[6/5/09]  Congressional Research Service:  How Would Medicare Part B Premiums Be Affected If There Is No Social Security COLA?

[6/4/09]  Compensation and Working Conditions (BLS):

[6/4/09]  Milliman’s Client Action Bulletin:  “IRS Allows Safe Harbor Plans to Suspend Nonelective Contributions

[6/4/09]  The Vanguard Group Research Note:  “Target-Date Fund Adoption in 2008

[6/4/09]  The Washington Post:  “President Pivots on Taxing Benefits -- Obama Is Willing to Consider Move to Gain Health Reform

[6/4/09]  Congressional Budget Office:  The Budgetary Treatment of Proposals to Change the Nation’s Health Insurance System

[6/4/09]  Society of Actuaries:  Visions for the Future of the U.S. Health Care System [a selection of essays on health care reform]

[6/3/09]  Urban Institute:  Capping the Tax Exclusion of Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance: Is Equity Feasible?

[6/3/09]  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:  Curbing Flexible Spending Accounts Could Help Pay for Health Care Reform

[6/3/09]  The New York Times:  “Buying Health Insurance Begins with Homework

[6/3/09]  Center for State & Local Government Excellence:  Survey Findings -- A Tidal Wave Postponed: The Economy and Public Sector Retirements

[6/3/09]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration [as published in the Federal Register on May 22, 2009]:

Updated 6/30/09