What's New

What's New - March 2004

Index to All Months                                             Return to Current Month


As a research site, EBRI Online maintains old listings in the “What’s New” page, even though some of the older links may no longer function. If you reach a bad link, go back to the main site by deleting everything after “.com” or “.org” or “.net” in the address. Since we maintain www.ebri.org/ as a research and education resource, and not current news, we hope you will understand our policy and the use for which it is maintained.

What's new at EBRI this month:


The “Business Case” For Investing in Employee Health: A Review of the Literature and Employer Self-Assessments

March 2004 EBRI Notes:
    "National Health Spending Rose 9.3 Percent in 2002; Sixth Consecutive Year of Faster Growth"
    "Health Insurance Coverage of Individuals Ages 55-64, 1994-2002”

Domestic Partner Benefits: Facts and Background (Updated March 2004)

Tax Expeditures and Employee Benefits: An Update from the FY 2005 Budget

Americans' Future Retirement Security: Implications of the EBRI-ERF Retirement Security Projection Model

EBRI Notes
, February 2004:  
    "IRA and Keogh Assets"
    "Evidence-Based Medicine: Putting Research Into Practice”

From the EBRI-ERF Retirement Security Projection Model: “Can America Afford Tomorrow’s Retirees:" If current patterns continue, there will be an annual shortfall of at least $45 billion by 2030 between the amount retired Americans need to cover basic expenses and what they have.   A new study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute in collaboration with the Milbank Memorial Fund suggests that while many middle-income Americans could provide for their own future by saving 5 percent of compensation annually in addition to the retirement benefits they are already expected to receive, this remedy won’t work for many in the lower income brackets.  Results of the study were published as the November 2003 EBRI Issue Brief.

Press Release    Full Text of the November 2003 Issue Brief      Executive Summary

EBRI Research Findings for 2003-2004:


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 General Accounting Office's Web site in Portable Document (PDF) format:

Private Health Insurance: Employers and Individuals Are Vulnerable to Bogus or Unauthorized Entities Selling Coverage.   GAO-04-312, February 27, 2004.  Highlights

Private Pensions: Multiemployer Pension Plans Face Key Challenges to Their Long-Term Prospects, by Barbara D. Bovbjerg, director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the Subcommittee on Employee-Employer Relations, House Committee on Education and the Workforce.  GAO-04-542T, March 18, 2004 / Highlights

Mutual Funds: Assessment of Regulatory Reforms to Improve the Management and Sale of Mutual Funds, by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.  GAO-04-533T, March 10, 2004.  Highlights.

Mutual Funds: Additional Disclosures Could Increase Transparency of Fees and Other Practices, by Richard J. Hillman, director, financial markets and community investment, before the Subcommittee on Financial Management, the Budget and International Security, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. GAO-04-317T, January 27, 2004.  Highlights.

If a title link above no longer works, click here for the Find GAO Reports page and search for the report by report number,  title, abstract, agency/organization names, or subject terms.   Searches for reports can also be conducted in the General Accounting 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 Frequently Asked Questions about Retirement Plans.  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.

[3/19/04]  Congressional Budget Office: The Retirement Prospects of the Baby Boomers

[3/19/04]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide / National Business Group on Health:  New Reality. New Choices. Ninth Annual National Business Group on Health/Watson Wyatt Survey 2004 / News Release / Executive Summary

[3/19/04]  MetLife Group Disability: A Year in the Life of a Million American Workers

[3/19/04]   Internal Revenue Service: Tax Stats: Estate / Wealth / Gift Statistics - Personal Wealth / Personal Wealth, 1998

[3/18/04]   Committee on Investment of Employee Benefit Assets (CIEBA):  The U.S. Pension Crisis: Evaluation and Analysis of Emerging Defined Benefit Pension Issues / Press Release

[3/18/04]  National Center for Policy Analysis: Bush versus Kerry on Health Care

[3/18/04]  Mercer Human Resource Consulting: US National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans: Surprise Slow-Down in Health Benefit Costs

[3/18/04]  Greenwich Associates: Internet Tools Fail to Reach Most 401(k) Participants [To access full press release, click on “More”]

[3/18/04]  American Academy of Actuaries: Election 2004: Guides to Analyzing the Issues -- “The Questions Candidates Should Answer About…Americans Without Health Insurance”

[3/18/04]  Fidelity Health and Welfare Consulting: Changing Benefits, Critical Decisions: The Health Benefits and Behavior Study / Press Release

[3/18/04]  Kaiser Family Foundation / Health Research and Educational Trust:  California Employer Health Benefits Survey, 2003

[3/18/04]  H.R.583, Fair Care for the Uninsured Act of 2003: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow individuals a refundable credit against income tax for the purchase of private health insurance, and to establish State health insurance safety-net programs

[3/18/04]  S.1570, Fair Care for the Uninsured Act of 2003: A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow individuals a refundable credit against income tax for the purchase of private health insurance, and to establish State health insurance safety-net programs

[3/17/04]  ICC Plan Solutions, “provider of investment training solutions to individual plan participants,” conducted a survey of plan sponsors which found that roughly only 12 percent were satisfied with their current participant education program; almost 75 percent of survey respondents indicated their plan participants need assistance with basic investing knowledge

[3/17/04]  A new coalition: The Alliance for Retirement Prosperity (ARP)

[3/17/04]  Health Affairs / California HealthCare Foundation: Workers’ Perspectives on Mandated Employer Health Insurance

[3/17/04]   Internal Revenue Service, Department of the Treasury: Notice of proposed rulemaking / Exclusion of Employees of 501(c)(3) Organizations in 401(k) and 401(m) Plans

[3/16/04] Integrated Benefits Institute: Are Medical Guidelines Effective Tools? -- It Depends on the Goal

[3/16/04] Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas: Social Security Restructuring: Tough Decisions Ahead

[3/16/04] University of Michigan Documents Center: Elections 2004

[3/16/04] Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: MEPS, Statistical Brief #38: Health Care Expenditures and Percentage Uninsured in 10 Large Metropolitan Areas, 2000

[3/16/04] Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Closing the Quality Gap Fact Sheet: A Critical Analysis of Quality Improvement Strategies

[3/16/04] Putnam Investments: With a Better Economy and Greater Job Security in Sight, Participants Are Revisiting the Question of Whether They Are Saving Enough for Retirement

[3/16/04] New CIGNA Study Uncovers Relationship of Disabilities to Total Benefits Costs; Signals Opportunity to Address Return-to-Work, Chronic Disease, Depression

[3/15/04]  Mercer Investment Consulting: Don't kill the goose that lays the golden eggs: Global capital markets facing uncharted territory

[3/15/04]  Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB):  Interpretation of FASB Statement No. 87 [Employers’ Accounting for Pensions] to provide guidance regarding cash balance pension plans

[3/15/04]  Associated Press:  Companies File Reports on Pension Plans

[3/15/04]   The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation:  Coverage and Cost Impacts of the President's Health Insurance Tax Credit and Tax Deduction Proposals

[3/15/04]   The Brookings Institution Conference Report (March 2004):  “The Insurance Industry in America

[3/15/04]   Employment Policy Foundation: Telework: Part of the Work-Life Balance Equation

[3/15/04]  Joint Economic Committee March 10, 2004, hearing:   Helping Americans Save

[3/15/04]  Marsh Inc.:  Small, Mid-sized Employers Take Aim at Rising Healthcare Costs, But Many Miss Target

[3/15/04]  Families USA:  The Illusion of Group Health Insurance: Discretionary Associations

[3/15/04]  Prudential Financial:  American Workers Crave Personalized Advice on Retirement Plan Investments: Employers Are Expected to Play an Active Role in Providing Guidance

[3/15/04]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide / National Business Group on Health:  Enrollment in Consumer-Directed Health Plans Growing Rapidly

[3/15/04]  Greenwich Associates:  Funds Add Twists to Traditional Asset Allocations: U.S. pension funds and endowments discuss asset allocation strategy [Note: To access full press release, click on “More…” ]

[3/11/04]  The Commonwealth Fund:  MEWAs: The Threat of Plan Insolvency and Other Challenges

[3/11/04]  America's Health Insurance Plans:   the new name of the recently merged associations -- American Association of Health Plans-Health Insurance Association of America

[3/11/04]  The Commonwealth Fund:  Job-Based Health Insurance in the Balance: Employer Views of Coverage in the Workplace  News Release / Report

[3/11/04]  Contingencies, March/April 2004:   "Twin Crises: the Future of Defined Benefit Plans"

[3/11/04]  Congressional Budget Office:  The Uninsured and Rising Health Insurance Premiums, testimony before the Subcommittee on Health, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives

[3/11/04]   Georgetown University Long-Term Care Financing Project:  Consumer Protection and Long-Term Care Insurance: Predictability of Premiums

[3/8/04]  The Christian Science Monitor: "A Brighter Outlook for Social Security"

[3/8/04]  National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems:  Social Security Bill [H.R.743] Signed Into Law

[3/8/04]  Nationwide Financial:  Public Sector Retirement: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow  Press Release / Executive Summary

[3/8/04]  American Academy of Actuaries: Pension Funding Reform

[3/8/04]   The Segal Company:  2003 Segal State Health Benefits Survey: Medical Benefits for Employees and Retirees

[3/8/04]  S.2163, Small Employers Health Benefits Program Act of 2004: A bill to establish a national health program administered by the Office of Personnel Management to offer health benefits plans to individuals who are not Federal employees, and for other purposes

[3/8/04]  Wisconsin Legislative Council:  2002 Comparative Study of Major Public Employee Retirement Systems (December 2003)

[3/3/04]  American Academy of Actuaries:   Election 2004: A Guide to Analyzing the Issues -- "The Questions Candidates Should Answer About...Social Security Reform"

[3/3/04]  CIGNA Retirement & Investment Services:  Workplace Report on Retirement Planning -- Press Release;
Survey Graphs;   Full Survey Q&A Results

[3/3/04]  U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means:  2003 Green Book: Background Material and Data on Programs within the Jurisdiction of the Committee on Ways and Means

[3/3/04]  Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System:   Money Stock Measures [data through December 2003]

[3/3/04]  Mellon's Human Resources & Investor Solutions:   Social Security Key Items  1) Average of Total Wages, Wage Bases, COL Increases; 2) Wages for Coverage, Bend Points; 3) Earnings Test Exempt Amounts

[3/3/04]   American Academy of Actuaries:  Social Adequacy and Individual Equity in Social Security

[3/3/04]  American Academy of Actuaries:  Means Testing for Social Security

[3/3/04]   AARP:  Aging and Work--A View from the United States

[3/2/04]   NAGDCA Legislative Committee:  Contribution of Sick and Vacation Pay to Defined Contribution Plans

[3/2/04]  Prudential Financial:  Fear of Outliving Nest Egg Prompts Retirees to Make Do on Limited Income: Six in Ten Retirees Are Trying to Hold on to Their Life Savings

[3/2/04]  Towers Perrin:  Rising Number of Companies Considering Alternative Financing for Employee Benefits: Towers Perrin [Use of Captives for Employee Benefits] Survey Finds that Employers with an Employee Benefit Captive Are Realizing Cost Savings of More Than 20%

[3/1/04]  Watson Wyatt Benefits Outsourcing StudyPress Release / Report

[3/1/04]  Aon Consulting:  United States @Work with the Workforce Commitment Index

[3/1/04]  Alan Greenspan:  Statement before the Committee on the Budget, U.S. House of Representatives, February 25, 2004

[3/1/04]   Peter R. Orszag:  Progressivity and Saving: Fixing the Nation's Upside-Down Incentives for Saving

[3/1/04]   Joint Economic Committee hearing Webcast:  The Performance and Potential of Consumer-Driven Health Care

[3/1/04]   The Congressional Budget Office:  H.R. 743, Social Security Protection Act of 2004

[3/1/04]  Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies:  Transamerica Small Business Retirement Survey: Summary of Findings

[3/1/04]  Governing (February 2004 issue):  "A Case of Neglect: Why Health Care Is Getting Worse, Even Though Medicine Is Getting Better" / Sources: Data for the charts and graphs accompanying the report

[3/1/04]  Mellon's Human Resources & Investor Solutions:   Social Security Covered Compensation (tables of Social Security Covered Compensation from 1993)

[3/1/04]   Glossarist:  a browsable and searchable directory of web-based glossaries and subject-specific dictionaries; try Careers & Employment or Economy & Finance

[3/1/04]  The Public Library of Science:  “a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource.”

[3/1/04]  The Institute of Industrial Relations:  promotes labor and workplace research, education, and community service relating to labor, industrial relations, and the workplace

[3/1/04]  UK Flexible Working Survey 2003: Advanced Flexible Working - the way forward in the new workplace of the 21st century

[3/1/04]   The Commonwealth Fund:  Medicare's Future: Current Picture, Trends, and Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement & Modernization Act of 2003: Selected Charts


Contacting EBRI | Copyright & Disclaimer

Updated 5/3/04