What's New - June 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


June 2011 EBRI Issue Brief - "The Impact of Deferring Retirement Age on Retirement Income Adequacy"

June 2011 EBRI Notes - "Tracking Health Insurance Coverage by Month: Trends in Employment-Based Coverage Among Workers, and Access to Coverage Among Uninsured Workers, 1995-2009" and "How Changes in Longevity Annuity Prices and Longevity Risk Affect Retirement Income Adequacy"


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:

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.

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.

Private Pensions: Some Key Features Lead to an Uneven Distribution of Benefits. GAO-11-333, March 30. Highlights.

The Federal Government's Long-Term Fiscal Outlook:  January 2011 Update.  GAO-11-451SP, March 18.

Private Health Insurance:  Data on Application and Coverage Denials.  GAO-11-268, March 16. Highlights.

401(k) Plans:  Certain Investment Options and Practices That May Restrict Withdrawals Not Widely Understood.  GAO-11-291, March 10. Highlights.

Financial Literacy: The Federal Government's Role in Empowering Americans to Make Sound Financial Choices, by Gene L. Dodaro, comptroller general of the United States, 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-11-504T, April 12. Highlights.

401(k) Plans:  Issues Involving Securities Lending in Plan Investments, by Charles A. Jeszeck, acting director, education, workforce, and income security, before the Senate Special Committee on Aging.  GAO-11-359T, March 16. 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.

[6/30/11]  The Vanguard Group:  Fee Disclosure Q&A: Answering Plan Sponsor Questions about New Department of Labor Regulations

[6/30/11]  Reuters (via Employee Benefit News):  “US Enters Next Round of Public Pension Fight

[6/30/11]  National Institute on Retirement Security:  Lessons from Well-Funded Pension Plans: An Analysis of Six Plans that Weathered the Financial Storm

[6/30/11]  Wolters Kluwer:  “EBRI Research Looks at How IRA Owners Invest Their Assets

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

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

[6/29/11]  Society for Human Resource Management:  2011 Employee Benefits Research Report [Full report can be downloaded at the website]

[6/29/11]  J.P. Morgan Asset Management:  Searching for Certainty: Observations and Opinions on How Changing Market Conditions Are Affecting 401(k) Plan Participant Outcomes

[6/29/11]  Towers Watson:  U.S. Retirement Plan Governance Risks and Responses: 2011 Towers Watson Retirement Plan Governance Survey

[6/29/11]  Buck Consultants:  Re-thinking Target Date Funds

[6/29/11]  Plan Sponsor:  “New Regs Ease Some Health Care Rules for Employers

[6/29/11]  NIHCM Foundation Data Brief:  “Understanding U.S. Health Care Spending

[6/27/11]  Plan Sponsor:  “3rd Circuit Affirms AT&T’s Victory in Cash Balance Suit

[6/27/11]  Urban Institute:  Retirement Account Balances (updated 6/11) -- Accumulations in Retirement Accounts, 2007 to 2011

[6/27/11]  The Los Angeles Times:  “Boomers Prize Financial Certainty Over All Else

[6/27/11]  National Conference of State Legislatures:  2011 Health Insurance Reform Enacted Laws Related to the Affordable Care Act

[6/27/11]  Avalere Health LLC:  The Affordable Care Act’s Impact on Employer Sponsored Insurance: A Look at the Microsimulation Models and Other Analyses

[6/27/11]  The Commonwealth Fund:  Early Implementation of Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans: Providing an Interim Safety Net for the Uninsurable

[6/24/11]  Internal Revenue Service:

[6/24/11]  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; Amendment to interim final rules with request for comments [as published in the Federal Register on June 24, 2011]

[6/24/11]  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and State Health Access Data Assistance Center:  State-Level Trends in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance: A State-by-State Analysis

[6/24/11]  Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies:  Out of Work in America: Helping Improve the Retirement Outlook for the Unemployed -- 12th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey

[6/24/11]  U.S. House Ways & Means Committee, Subcommittee on Social Security:  Hearing on “Social Security’s Finances” [Hearing held on June 23, 2011, includes links to written testimonies]

[6/24/11]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Social Security’s Financial Outlook: The 2011 Update in Perspective

[6/23/11]  National Journal:  “Report: Economy Drives Insurance Coverage

[6/23/11]  Reuters (via Employee Benefit Adviser):  “Law Seen Aiding Employer Health Care Market

[6/23/11]  U.S. Senate Committee on Finance:  Hearing on “Health Care Entitlements: The Road Forward” [Hearing held on June 23, 2011, includes links to written statements and testimonies]

[6/23/11]  CQ Roll Call Inc.:  “Options on Entitlement Changes Range From Overhaul to Series of Tweaks

[6/23/11]  The Vanguard Group:  How America Saves 2011: A Report on Vanguard 2010 Defined Contribution Plan Data [10th edition]

[6/23/11]  Minneapolis Star Tribune:  “IRA Investment Mix Varies by Age, but Not Gender

[6/22/11]  The New York Times:  “Health Law in a Swirl of Forecasts

[6/22/11]  Urban Institute:  The Effects of Health Reform on Small Businesses and Their Workers

[6/22/11]  Plan Sponsor:

[6/22/11]  Pew Center on the States’ Stateline:  “States Overhaul Pensions but Pass on 401(k)-Style Plans

[6/21/11]  Plan Sponsor:  “DoL to Host [Free] Spanish-Language Advice Webcast [on June 22]

[6/21/11]  TIAA-CREF Institute Trends and Issues:  “Retirement Confidence on Campus: The 2011 Higher Education Retirement Confidence Survey

[6/21/11]  International Accounting Standards Board:  “IASB Introduces Improvements to the Accounting for Post-Employment Benefits” [News Release]

[6/21/11]  Business Insurance:  “’Mini-med’ Plan Waiver Application Deadline Set

[6/20/11]  Mercer:  How Does Your Retirement Program Stack Up? – 2011 edition

[6/20/11]  The Principal Financial Well-Being Index:  “The Principal Financial Well-Being Index is a quarterly study to identify trends in consumer financial well-being, retirement planning, employee benefits, and workplace trends.  The study has been conducted quarterly since November 2000.”

[6/20/11]  Reuters [Blog]:  “Will Congress Slash Your 401(k) Tax Break?

[6/20/11]  Unum:  Buyers Study 2011: Benefits Strategies for a New Era

[6/20/11]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Consumer Expenditures in 2009

[6/20/11]  Congressional Research Service:  The Federal Workforce: Characteristics and Trends

[6/17/11]  Bank of America Merrill Lynch:  Workplace Benefits Report

[6/17/11]  Financial Finesse Report:  Gender Gap in Financial Literacy: Responses to Online Financial Planning Questionnaire

[6/17/11]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “An Employer Health Benefits Balance Sheet

[6/17/11]  National Academy of Social Insurance and Georgetown University Health Policy Institute:  Active Purchasing for Health Insurance Exchanges: An Analysis of Options

[6/17/11]  U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health:  Hearing on “PPACA’s Effects on Maintaining Health Coverage and Jobs: A Review of the Health Care Law’s Regulatory Burden” [Hearing held June 15, 2011, includes links to opening statement, written testimony, and archived webcast]

[6/17/11]  American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries:  Delivering ERISA Disclosure for Defined Contribution Plans: Why the Time Has Come to Prefer Electronic Delivery [White Paper]

[6/16/11]  The New York Times:  “States Want More in Pension Contributions

[6/16/11]  Journal of Pension Economics and FinanceSpecial Issue, Vol. 10, Issue 02, 2011 [This special issue provides free access to eight papers co-edited by Jeffrey Brown, Robert Clark, and Joshua Rauh on the economics of state and local pension systems.]

[6/16/11]  Gallup:  “Lack of Retirement Funds Is Americans’ Biggest Financial Worry

[6/16/11]  Investment News:  “Guidance Imminent on 401(k) Income Products -- Treasury to issue direction on annuities, other income stream strategies

[6/16/11]  Business Insurance:  “New PBGC Rules Deny Benefit Guarantees After Employer Seeks Bankruptcy

[6/16/11]  Profit Sharing/401k Council of America [Blog]:  “DC Plans and Deficit Reduction

[6/15/11]  U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions:  Hearing on “Retirement Security: Challenges Confronting Pension Plan Sponsors, Workers, and Retirees” [Hearing held June 14, 2011, includes links to archived webcast, opening statement, and written testimonies]

[6/15/11]  The Wall Street Journal:  “Retirement Plans Make Comeback, With Limits

[6/15/11]  MetLife:  Engaging Clients in a New Way: Putting the Findings of Behavioral Finance Strategies to Work

[6/15/11]  America’s Health Insurance Plans:  January 2011 Census Shows 11.4 Million People Covered by Health Savings Account/High-Deductible Health Plans (HSA/HDHPs)

[6/15/11]  Faegre & Benson Beyond Health Care Reform:  “Additional ERRP Funding Proposed

[6/15/11]  Genworth Financial:  Genworth 2011 Cost of Care Survey: Home Care Providers, Adult Day Health Care Facilities, Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes

[6/14/11]  HR Policy Association:  “Survey Draws Renewed Attention to Impact of PPACA on Employer-Provided Benefits as The Law’s Future Remains Unclear

[6/14/11]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Notes on Health Insurance and Reform” [a new series of short notes that will dissect and help explain the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the private health insurance market – “The series will feature timely posts that clarify complex regulatory and insurance topics, provide context for ongoing policy debates, and foreshadow significant implementation challenges.”]

[6/14/11]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Bankruptcy Filing Date Treated as Plan Termination Date for Certain Purposes; Guaranteed Benefits; Allocation of Plan Assets; Pension Protection Act of 2006; Final rule [as published in the Federal Register on June 14, 2011]

[6/14/11]  U.S. News & World Report:  “Why Working Longer Won’t Close Retirement Shortfalls

[6/14/11]  Plan Sponsor:  “Senator Urges Continuation of Social Security Statements

[6/13/11]  The New York Times:  “Revealing Hidden Costs of Your 401(k)

[6/13/11]  AdvisorOne:  “How Much to Allocate to Annuities? EBRI’s Critical Analysis

[6/13/11]  Plan Sponsor:  “Employers Want to Reduce Impact of Absenteeism on Operations

[6/13/11]  USA Today:  “Greater Patient Access to Records Proposed

[6/10/11]  The Los Angeles Times:  “Judges Sharply Challenge Healthcare Law

[6/10/11]  Towers Watson:  Redefining Retiree Medical Strategy - Employer Actions in a Post-Reform Environment: Sixth Annual Towers Watson/International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists Employer Survey on Retiree Medical Strategy

[6/10/11]  Minnesota Public Radio:  “Some Employers Reboot with 401(k)-Modeled Health Insurance Plans

[6/10/11]  National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems and Cobalt Community Research:  2011 NCPERS Public Fund Study

[6/9/11]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employer Costs for Employee Compensation -- March 2011

[6/9/11]  Towers Watson Insider:

[6/9/11]  Plan Sponsor:  “Despite Anticipated Costs, Most Employers to Keep Health Care Benefits

[6/9/11]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Does Medicare Part D Protect the Elderly from Financial Risk?

[6/9/11]  Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index:  Milliman Analysis: Corporate Pension Funded Status Falls as Interest Rates Drop in May

[6/9/11]  National Academy of Social Insurance Brief:  “Social Security Beneficiaries Face 19% Cut; New Revenue Can Restore Balance

[6/8/11]  Milliman Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments [June 2011]

[6/8/11]  The Washington Post:  “Legal Fight Over Health Care Overhaul Lands in Pivotal Atlanta Federal Appeals Court

[6/8/11]  Plan Sponsor:  “McKinsey Finds Growing Number of Employers Likely to Drop Health Coverage

[6/8/11]  Sibson Consulting’s Capital Checkup:  “Treasury Department Seeks Comments from Employers on Affordable Care Act’s Free-Rider Penalty and Waiting Period Ban

[6/8/11]  U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:  HIPAA Privacy Rule Accounting of Disclosures Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act; Notice of proposed rulemaking [as published in the Federal Register on May 31, 2011]

[6/7/11]  RAND:  Employer Self-Insurance Decisions and the Implications of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as Modified by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (ACA)

[6/7/11]  National Conference of State Legislatures:  Pensions and Retirement Plan Enactments in 2011 State Legislatures (as of May 30, 2011)

[6/7/11]  Congressional Research Service:  State and Local Government Debt: An Analysis

[6/7/11]  Drinker Biddle Investment Management Alert:  “The DOL’s 408(b)(2) Regulation: Impact on Investment Managers

[6/7/11]  Tampa Bay Online:  “Congressional Dillydallying

[6/7/11]  Retirement Town Hall [Milliman Blog]:  “Summary Plan Descriptions and the Supreme Court

[6/6/11]  The New York Times:  “Revealing Excessive 401(k) Fees

[6/6/11]  MarketWatch:  “How to Protect Your 401(k) If You Leave Your Job

[6/6/11]  HSBC:  The Future of Retirement: The Power of Planning [Global Report]

[6/6/11]  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:  Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements Under Title VII, the ADA, and GINA; Notice of proposed rulemaking [as published in the Federal Register on June 2, 2011]

[6/6/11]  Towers Watson Insider:  “Projected Financial Conditions of Social Security and Medicare Worsen

[6/6/11]  Congressional Research Service:

[6/3/11]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Requirements for Fee Disclosure to Plan Fiduciaries and Participants--Applicability Dates; Notice of proposed extension of applicability dates [as published in the Federal Register on June 1, 2011]

[6/3/11]  American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries:  Retirement Savings and Tax Expenditure Estimates

[6/3/11]  Prudential:  The Next Chapter: Meeting Investment and Retirement Challenges: 2011 Study of Americans’ Current Financial Perspectives

[6/3/11]  Plan Sponsor:  “Employers Turning to Employees to Trim Health Care Costs

[6/3/11]  U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce, Subcommittee on Health:  Hearing on “PPACA’s Effects on Maintaining Health Coverage and Jobs: A Review of the Health Care Law’s Regulatory Burden” [Hearing held June 2, includes links to testimonies]

[6/3/11]  U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:

[6/1/11]  The Segal Company’s Capital Checkup:  “2012 Minimums and Maximums for Health Savings Accounts and High-Deductible Health Plans

[6/1/11]  Plan Sponsor:  “Employer Requirements Under PPACA: Automatic Enrollment Issues

[6/1/11]  Buck Consultants’ FYI:  “New Medicare Part D Creditable/Non-Creditable Coverage Notices Released

[6/1/11]  CQ Today:  “Tackling Medicare a Step at a Time

[6/1/11]  Plan Adviser:  “Borzi Provides an Update of Proposed Regulations

[6/1/11]  Office of the Comptroller of the Currency:  Financial Literacy Update, May/June 2011 [Financial Literacy Update is a bimonthly e-newsletter that reports upcoming financial literacy events, new initiatives, and related resources of the OCC and other government agencies and organizations.]

[5/31/11]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:

[5/31/11]  PIMCO DC Dialogue™:  “Washington at Work” [“In this PIMCO DC Dialogue, we talk with Ed Ferrigno, at The Profit Sharing/401k Council of America (PSCA) in Washington D.C. about the legislative and regulatory issues which may impact defined contribution plans.”]

[5/13/11] Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees:

Updated 6/30/11