What's New - June 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


June 2010 EBRI Issue Brief - "Health Savings Accounts and Health Reimbursement Arrangements: Assets, Account Balances, and Rollovers, 2006-2009"

June 2010 EBRI Notes - "Income of the Elderly Population Age 65 and Over, 2008" and "Examination of the Short-term Impact of the COBRA Premium Subsidy and Characteristics of the COBRA Population"


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:

Retirement Income:  Challenges for Ensuring Income throughout Retirement.  GAO-10-632R, April 28.

Health Coverage Tax Credit: Participation and Administrative Costs.  GAO-10-521R, April 30.

Medicare Advantage:  Relationship between Benefit Package Designs and Plans' Average Beneficiary Health Status.  GAO-10-403, April 30. Highlights.

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

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.

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 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.

[6/30/10]  Nationwide:

[6/30/10]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “Pension Funding Relief Enacted

[6/30/10]  Business Insurance:  “HHS Releases Application for Early Retiree Reimbursements

[6/30/10]  PricewaterhouseCoopers HRS Insight:  “Guidance Issued on Preexisting Condition Exclusions, Lifetime and Annual Limits, Rescissions and Patient Protections

[6/30/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Kaiser Health Tracking Poll -- June 2010

[6/30/10]  TriZetto Group:  IHM Constituent Survey: Summary of Results [on value-based health]

[6/29/10]  Society for Human Resource Management:  2010 Employee Benefits: Examining Employee Benefits in the Midst of a Recovering Economy [A Research Report by the Society for Human Resource Management]

[6/29/10]  Hewitt Associates and National Business Group on Health:  Survey Findings: The Employee Health Care Mindset: Views, Behaviors, and Solutions [A copy of the full report may be requested at the website]

[6/29/10]  USA Today:  “’Retirementology’Book Review: Why Americans Fail at Saving

[6/29/10]  Towers Watson Client Advisory:  “Relief Provided for Pension Funding and Benefit Restrictions

[6/28/10]  U.S. Departments of the Treasury (IRS), Labor (EBSA), and Health and Human Services:  Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Requirements for Group Health Plans and Health Insurance Issuers Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Relating to Preexisting Condition Exclusions, Lifetime and Annual Limits, Rescissions, and Patient Protections; Interim Final Rules with request for comments [as published in the Federal Register on 6/28/10]

[6/28/10]  The Washington Post:  “Families Are Confused Over Health-Care Law’s Coverage for Young Adults

[6/28/10]  Center for Studying Health System Change Issue Brief:  “Innovations in Preventing and Managing Chronic Conditions: What’s Working in the Real World?

[6/28/10]  American Academy of Actuaries Issue Brief:  “Social Security Reform: Possible Changes in the Benefit Formulas and Taxation

[6/25/10]  Business Insurance:  “Obama Signs Pension Funding Relief Bill

[6/25/10]  The New York Times:  “A New Plan for Valuing Pensions

[6/25/10]  Governmental Accounting Standards Board:  [June 16, 2010]

[6/25/10]  U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:  Fact Sheet: The Affordable Care Act’s New Patient’s Bill of Rights

[6/25/10]  Hewitt Associates:  Agencies Issue Regulations Implementing Health Care Reform “Patient’s Bill of Rights”

[6/25/10]  The Los Angeles Times:  “Obama Proposes Interim Health Protections

[6/24/10]  Transamerica Center on Retirement Studies:

[6/24/10]  Principal Financial Group:  Pursuing “Retirement Plan Success” During Participants’ Accumulation Years

[6/24/10]  401ksource.com:  Are All $5,000,000 401(k) Plans Created Equal? [This free special report can be requested at the site]

[6/24/10]  Business Insurance:  “Senator Scales Back COBRA Subsidy Extension Plan

[6/24/10]  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:  Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 2009

[6/24/10]  Public Welfare Foundation:  Paid Sick Days: Attitudes and Experiences

[6/24/10]  U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division:  Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2010-3: Clarification of the definition of “son or daughter” under Section 101(12) of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as it applies to an employee standing “in loco parentis” to a child

[6/23/10]  The Washington Post:  “High-Deductible Health-Insurance Plans Grow More Attractive to Employers

[6/23/10]  Hewitt Associates:  “Regulations Released on Preexisting Condition Exclusions, Annual/Lifetime Limits, Rescissions

[6/23/10]  Social Science Research Network:

[6/23/10]  The Los Angeles Times:  “Social Security: Will Obama Panel Cripple It with ‘Minor’ Tweaks?

[6/22/10]  Unum:  Beyond the Usual Benefits: 2010 -- The Power of Employee Education to Influence Workforce Satisfaction

[6/22/10]  U.S. Senate Committee on Finance:

[6/22/10]  The Los Angeles Times:

[6/22/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Survey of People Who Purchase Their Own Insurance

[6/21/10]  TIAA-CREF Institute Trends and Issues:  “Retirement Confidence on Campus: The 2010 Higher Education Retirement Confidence Survey

[6/21/10]  Center for State & Local Government Excellence Issue Brief:  “Valuing Liabilities in State and Local Plans

[6/21/10]  Kaiser Health News:  “Justice Department Asks Court to Throw Out States’ Lawsuits Challenging Health Overhaul

[6/21/10]  Urban Institute and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation:  Health Reform in Massachusetts: An Update As Of Fall 2009

[6/21/10]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Rules and Regulations for Abandoned Individual Account Plans: CFR Correction [as published in the Federal Register on June 18, 2010]

[6/18/10]  Securities and Exchange Commission:

[6/18/10]  U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging:  Hearing titled “The Retirement Challenge: Making Savings Last a Lifetime” [Hearing held June 16, 2010, including links to testimonies]

[6/18/10]  U.S. Senate Committee on Finance:  H.R. 4213: American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act [click on the link for “Legislative Text of Baucus Substitute Amendment” dated 6/16/10; scroll down to “Title III--Pension Funding Relief”]

[6/18/10]  Aon Consulting Insight:  “One Year Later - Reinstating Your 401(k) Match

[6/18/10]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Incorporating Employee Heterogeneity into Default Rules for Retirement Plan Selection [Working Paper]

[6/18/10]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “PBGC Provides Guidance on PPA Multiemployer Plan Reporting Requirements for ‘Orphaned’ Participants

[6/18/10]  Business Insurance:  “Revised Tax Bill Does Not Include COBRA Subsidy Extension

[6/18/10]  Towers Watson Health Care Reform Bulletin:  “Interim Final Regulations Issued on Grandfathering and Retiree-Only Plans Under PPACA

[6/17/10]  U.S. Departments of the Treasury (IRS), Labor (EBSA), and Health and Human Services:  Group Health Plans and Health Insurance Coverage Relating to Status as a Grandfathered Health Plan under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Interim Final Rule and Proposed Rule [as published in the Federal Register on June 17, 2010]

[6/17/10]  U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor:  “Chairman Miller to Urge Senate to Put 401(k) Fee Disclosure Back into H.R. 4213, Empower Americans to Protect Their Slice of Retirement Pie

[6/17/10]  Pensions & Investments:  “GASB Sticks with Traditional Valuation Method

[6/17/10]  The SPARK Institute:  Compliance Alert: IRS 401(k) Compliance Check Project

[6/16/10]  U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission:  “SEC Proposes New Measures to Help Investors in Target Date Funds” [Press Release]

[6/16/10]  USA Today:  “Disclosure Rules for 401(k) Fees Are on the Way (Slowly)

[6/16/10]  Human Resource Executive Online:  “Wellness Programs: Worth It or a Waste of Time?

[6/16/10]  Sibson Consulting’s Health Care Reform Insights:  “Rules on Coverage for Children Clarified

[6/15/10] U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:

[6/15/10]  HR Policy Association:  “New Health Care Grandfathering Rules May Limit Employer Flexibility in Improving Benefit Plans

[6/15/10]  Kaiser Health News:  “Cheers, Jeers for New Federal Rules on Changes in Health Benefits

[6/15/10]  PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute:  Behind the Numbers: Medical Cost Trends for 2011

[6/14/10]  The New York Times:

[6/14/10]  Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index:  Milliman Analysis: Pension Funded Status Declined for Second Consecutive Month -- Funded Status Decreased by $55 Billion During May

[6/14/10]  Urban Institute:

[6/14/10]  Deloitte:  Deloitte Consumer Pulse Survey: Post Health Care Reform Perceptions

[6/14/10]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Final Rule Relating to Time and Order of Issuance of Domestic Relations Orders [as published in the Federal Register on June 10, 2010]

[6/11/10]  Towers Watson:  Prevalence of Retirement Plans by Type in the Fortune 100

[6/11/10]  The Washington Post:  “Online Federal Benefits Calculators

[6/11/10]  Hewitt Associates:  “Hewitt Survey Shows Almost 1 Million U.S. Employees Given Early Opportunity to Cover Adult Children Under Their Employers’ Health Plans” [Press Release]

[6/11/10]  Business Insurance:  “Retiree-Only Plans Could Be Exempt from Health Reform Rules

[6/10/10]  Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments [June 2010]

[6/10/10]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employer Costs for Employee Compensation -- March 2010 [News Release]

[6/10/10]  Employee Benefit News:  “Social Security Makes Up 40% of the Nest Egg

[6/10/10]  The Washington Post:  “Social Security’s Defenders Wary of Deficit Reduction Commission

[6/10/10]  U.S. News & World Report:  “How Long Will Your Retiree Health Plan Last?

[6/10/10]  Center for Advancing Health:  Snapshot of People’s Engagement in Their Health Care

[6/9/10]  U.S. News & World Report:  “5 Ways 401(k) Fee Disclosure Impacts Savers

[6/9/10]  MarketWatch:  “Here’s How You’ll Pay for Retirement

[6/9/10]  Business Insurance:

[6/9/10]  U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:  Early Retiree Reinsurance Program Frequently Asked Questions

[6/8/10]  Workscape:  Managing Employees and Total Rewards during the Economic Upswing Study

[6/8/10]  Aon Consulting:  The “Captivation” of Employee Benefits: How Captives Can Reduce Costs and Enterprise Risk

[6/8/10]  Health Affairs:  “Evidence That Consumers Are Skeptical About Evidence-Based Health Care

[6/8/10]  The Pew Charitable Trusts Philadelphia Research Initiative:  Not Out of the Woods:  The Recession’s Continuing Impact on Big City Taxes, Services and Pensions

[6/4/10]  Pensions & Investments:  “Execs Fear Fee-Disclosure Bill Could Thwart DOL Efforts

[6/4/10]  Business Insurance:

[6/4/10]  National Association of Insurance Commissioners:  Grandfathering of Health Insurance Coverage

[6/4/10]  Workplace Options:  Work-Life Balance and Workplace Trend Polls

[6/3/10]  AARP:  Automatic 401(k) Plans: Employer Views on Enrolling New and Existing Employees

[6/3/10]  Profit Sharing/401k Council of America [Blog]:  “Stable Value at Risk: It’s the Unintended Consequences

[6/3/10]  U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means:  “The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010” -- H.R. 4213 [Summary dated May 28, 2010]

[6/3/10]  Urban Institute Fact Sheet on Retirement Policy:  “Distributional Effects of Alternative Social Security Reforms: Details Matter

[6/2/10]  Mercer:  How Does Your Retirement Program Stack Up? [2010 edition]

[6/2/10]  Milliman, Inc.:  Multiemployer Review: Update on Issues Affecting Taft-Hartley Plans [May 2010]

[6/2/10]  National Academy for State Health Policy:  State Policymakers’ Priorities for Successful Implementation of Health Reform

[6/2/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Pulling It Together: REPOR(t)” from Drew Altman

[6/1/10]  U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means:

[6/1/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[6/1/10]  Congressional Research Service:

Updated 6/30/10