What's New - March 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


March 2010 EBRI Issue Brief - "The 2010 Retirement Confidence Survey: Confidence Stabilizing, But Preparations Continue to Erode"

March 2010 EBRI Notes - "Employment Status of Workers Ages 55 or Older, 1987-2008" and "Tracking Health Insurance Coverage by Month: Trends in Employment-Based Coverage Among Workers, and Access to Coverage Among Uninsured Workers"


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:

Group Purchasing Organizations:  Research on Their Pricing Impact on Health Care Providers.  GAO-10-323R, January 29.

The Federal Government's Long-Term Fiscal Outlook:  January 2010 Update.  GAO-10-468SP, March 2.

Electronic Personal Health Information Exchange:  Health Care Entities' Reported Disclosure Practices and Effects on Quality of Care.  GAO-10-361, February 17. Highlights.

Medicare Part D:  Spending, Beneficiary Out-of-Pocket Costs, and Efforts to Obtain Price Concessions for Certain High-Cost Drugs, by John E. Dicken, director, health care, before the Senate Special Committee on Aging.  GAO-10-529T, March 17. 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.

[3/31/10]  The Vanguard Group:  Resilience in Volatile Markets: 401(k) Participant Behavior, September 2007-December 2009

[3/31/10]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Returns on 401(k) Assets by Cohort

[3/31/10]  The Segal Group Stat! Health Reform Weekly:  “Summary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

[3/31/10]  Associated Press (via The Washington Post):

[3/30/10]  Internal Revenue Service:  Issuance of Opinion and Advisory Letters and Opening of the EGTRRA Determination Letter Program for Pre-Approved Defined Benefit Plans [Announcement 2010-20]

[3/30/10]  The Washington Post:  “Low Interest Rates Make Pensions Look Especially Good

[3/30/10]  The New York Times:  “Companies Push to Repeal Provision of Health Law

[3/30/10]  RAND Commentary:  “Scorecard for New Health Reform Legislation

[3/30/10]  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:  Private Health Coverage Unstable for Middle Class: In One-Fourth of Middle-Income, Privately Insured Families, Someone Loses Coverage Within Four Years

[3/29/10]  U.S. Census Bureau:  State & Local Government Employee Retirement Systems [Note: The annual State & Local Government Employee Retirement Systems survey provides revenues, expenditures, financial assets, and membership information for public employee retirement systems.]

[3/29/10]  U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy:

[3/29/10]  The Washington Post:  “Kiplinger’s Personal Finance: Firms Are Still on Their Own until Health Overhaul Takes Effect

[3/29/10]  The New York Times:  “Hefty Tax Break Spared in Health Care Bill

[3/29/10]  National Conference of State Legislatures:  State Legislation Challenging Certain Health Reforms, 2010

[3/26/10]  The Los Angeles Times:  “Congress Approves Final Changes to Health Plan

[3/26/10]  USA Today:  “The Good and Bad in Health Care Reform for Small Businesses

[3/26/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Health Reform Implementation Timeline

[3/26/10]  Sibson Consulting Capital Checkup:  “Federal Government Announces Delay in Enforcement of Certain HITECH Changes to HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules

[3/26/10]  Wells Fargo Insurance Services:  “New Wells Fargo Health Benefits Survey: Employers Absorb Cost Increase, Expand Services” [Press Release]

[3/25/10]  The Washington Post:  “Do You Know How Much to Save for Retirement?

[3/25/10]  USA Today:  “Study: Retired Couple Will Need $250,000 for Health Care

[3/25/10]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “President Signs Health Care Reform Law” [includes a link to a full side-by-side comparison of the Patient Protection Act and the Reconciliation Act: see “Health Reform at a Glance”]

[3/25/10]  Human Resource Executive Online:  “Uncertainty Reigns on Healthcare Reform

[3/25/10]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  FAQs on the COBRA Premium Reduction Extension Provisions Related to the Temporary Extension Act of 2010

[3/25/10]  Towers Watson:  2010 Global Pension Asset Study

[3/24/10]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Program Perspectives:  “Paid Sick Leave in the United States

[3/24/10]  The Washington Post:

[3/24/10]  National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators:  NAGDCA 2010 Survey of Defined Contribution Plans

[3/24/10]  The Investor’s Clearinghouse from the Alliance for Investor Education:  “Retirement Wealth Know-How: The Web’s 12 Best Investor Education Resources for Older Investors” 

[3/23/10]  Internal Revenue Service:

[3/23/10]  Thomson Reuters:  Key Findings: Healthcare Costs Rise More Than 7 Percent for U.S. Employers in 2009

[3/23/10]  Business Insurance:  “Employer Impact of Reforms Weighed

[3/23/10]  The Washington Post:  “First Wave of Health-Care Changes Will Target Insurers with New Rules

[3/23/10]  Kaiser Health News:  Consumers Guide to Health Reform

[3/23/10]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Publication of Model Notices for Health Care Continuation Coverage Provided Pursuant to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and Other Health Care Continuation Coverage, as Required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), as Further Amended by the Temporary Extension Act (TEA) of 2010, Notice [as published in the Federal Register on March 22, 2010]

[3/22/10]  The Washington Post:  “House Passes Health-Care Reform Bill Without Republican Votes

[3/22/10]  Congressional Budget Office:  An Estimate of the Direct Spending and Revenue Effects of an Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 4872, the Reconciliation Act of 2010 [Note: This estimate differs from the preliminary estimate that CBO issued on March 18 in that it reflects CBO and JCT’s review of the legislative language of the earlier amendment and the manager’s amendment, as well as modest technical refinements of the budgetary projections.]

[3/22/10]  Manager’s Amendment:  Amendment to the Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 4872

[3/22/10]  U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Rules:  Summary of Amendment

[3/22/10]  Joint Committee on Taxation:

[3/22/10]  Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget:  Statement of Administration Policy -- H.R. 3590 - Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and H.R. 4872 - Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010

[3/19/10]  The Washington Post

[3/19/10]  Congressional Budget Office:  Preliminary Estimate of the Direct Spending and Revenue Effects of an Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 4872, the Reconciliation Act of 2010 [the amendment hereinafter called “the reconciliation proposal” was made public on March 18, 2010]; the estimate is presented in three ways:

  • An estimate of the budgetary effects of the reconciliation proposal, in combination with the effects of H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), as passed by the Senate;
  • An estimate of the incremental effects of the reconciliation proposal, over and above the effects of enacting H.R. 3590 by itself;
  • An estimate of the budgetary impact of the reconciliation proposal under the assumption that H.R. 3590 is not enacted (that is, an estimate of the bill’s impact relative to current law as of today).

[3/19/10]  H.R. 4872:  “To provide for reconciliation pursuant to section 202 of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2010 [short title: “Reconciliation Act of 2010”]

[3/19/10]  Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 4872, as Reported: “Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010”

[3/19/10]  H.R. 3590: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

[3/18/10]  Charles Schwab:  “Charles Schwab Finds More Workers Conducting 401(k) Rollovers into IRAs” [Press Release]

[3/18/10]  National Association of State Retirement Administrators Issue Brief:  “Public Pension Plan Investment Return Assumptions

[3/18/10]  National Institute on Retirement Security:  “New Fed Data Sheds Light on Pension Investments

[3/18/10]  The Los Angeles Times:  “Health Bill Picking Up Key Votes

[3/18/10]  H.R. 4851:  “To provide a temporary extension of certain programs, and for other purposes” [short title: “Continuing Extension Act of 2010”; see Sec 3. Extension and Improvement of Premium Assistance for COBRA Benefits]

[3/17/10]  Towers Watson:

[3/17/10]  The Segal Group’s Public Sector Letter:  “Managing Through Fiscal Stress: Voluntary Benefits Expand Coverage Options

[3/17/10]  Business Week:  “The 401(k) Turns Thirty Years Old

[3/17/10]  The New York Times:  “Democrats Consider New Moves for Health Bill

[3/17/10]  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:  Preparing for Health Reform: The Role of the Health Insurance Exchange

[3/17/10]  CoverTheUninsured.org:  “Without Reform, Family Health Care Spending to Skyrocket; 34% Increase by 2015, 79% by 2020

[3/16/10]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Paid Leave Benefit Costs in Private Industry, March 2009

[3/16/10]  The SPARK Institute:  Universal Small Employer Retirement Savings Program

[3/16/10]  Morningstar:  Target-Date Series Research Paper: 2010 Industry Survey

[3/16/10]  Financial Finesse Reports:  Research on Financial Trends: 2009 Year in Review

[3/15/10]  Associated Press (via The Washington Post):

[3/15/10]  Aon Consulting:  Pension Risk Management Global Survey 2010

[3/15/10]  Monthly Labor Review:  “Out-of-Pocket Health Care Expenditures: A Comparison

[3/15/10]  Families USA:  Health Coverage in the States: How Will Health Reform Help?

[3/12/10]  The Los Angeles Times:

[3/12/10]  Towers Watson and National Business Group on Health:  Purchasing Value in Health Care: 15th Annual National Business Group on Health/Towers Watson Employer Survey [Full survey report can be downloaded at the website]

[3/12/10]  Sibson Consulting Capital Checkup:  “COBRA Premium Assistance Subsidy Extended Again (for One Month) and Expanded - Further Extension Anticipated

[3/12/10]  National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief No. 29:  Access to and Utilization of Medicare Care for Young Adults Aged 20-29 Years: United States, 2008

[3/12/10]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  NRRI Fact Sheet No. 1: The NRRI and the House

[3/12/10]  U.S. News & World Report:  “The High Cost of Growing Older

[3/11/10]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employer Costs for Employee Compensation -- December 2009 [News Release]

[3/11/10]  The Washington Post:  “Employers Plan to Shift More Health-Care Costs to Workers, Survey Reports

[3/11/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Pulling It Together: When Premiums Go Up 39%” from Drew Altman

[3/11/10]  American Benefits Council:  Summary of Revised Senate Funding Legislation

[3/11/10]  Social Security Administration:  Social Security Programs Throughout the World: The Americas, 2009

[3/10/10]  American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries:  “ASPPA Lauds Senate for Adopting Roth Conversion Proposal -- Proposal Permits Roth Conversion within 401(k) Plans” [News Release]

[3/10/10]  Wilshire Consulting:  2010 Wilshire Report on State Retirement Systems: Funding Levels and Asset Allocation

[3/10/10]  Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index:  Milliman Analysis: February 2010 Brings Funding Improvement [Funded status increased by $11 billion during February]

[3/10/10]  Hewitt Associates:  “Hewitt Survey Shows Employers Continuing to Invest in Health of Workers Despite Uncertainty of Future Health Care Landscape” [Press Release]

[3/10/10]  The New York Times:  “Parliamentary Hurdle Could Thwart Latest Health Care Overhaul Strategy

[3/10/10]  Urban Institute:  The Cost of Uncompensated Care with and without Health Reform

[3/9/10]  The Los Angeles Times:  “Workers Struggle to Save for Retirement, More Report They Have Nothing Set Aside

[3/9/10]  Pensions & Investments:  “Contribution Surprise in Tax, Jobs Legislation --Companies Could Pay Stiff Price to Qualify for Senate’s Funding Rules

[3/9/10]  The New York Times:  “Public Pension Funds Are Adding Risk to Raise Returns

[3/9/10]  The Washington Post:  “Obama Launches Attack on Health Insurance Companies

[3/8/10]  Charles Schwab:  “Schwab Finds Investors Focused Again on Actively Growing Retirement Savings” [Press Release]

[3/8/10]  Morningstar Advisor:  “Will Annuities Be Mandatory in Qualified Plans?

[3/8/10]  Urban Institute:  How Will Comparative Effectiveness Research Affect the Quality of Health Care?

[3/8/10]  Social Security Administration:

[3/5/10]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:

[3/5/10]  National Public Radio:

[3/5/10]  Milliman’s Client Action Bulletin:  “DOL Updates Guidance for Certain 403(b) Plans

[3/5/10]  The Vanguard Group Research Note:  “Equity Abandonment in 2008-2009: Lower Among Balanced Fund Investors

[3/5/10]  Sibson Consulting Bulletin:  “MHPAEA Regulations Released

[3/5/10]  Hewitt Associates:  “Hewitt Predicts Few Employers Will Drop Mental Health Benefits Despite Tougher Regulations” [Press Release]

[3/5/10]  The Washington Post:  “Health Reform That Won’t Break the Bank

[3/4/10]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  COBRA Continuation Coverage Assistance Under ARRA [updated with a link to the “Temporary Extension Act of 2010”]

[3/4/10]  The Los Angeles Times:  “Obama Calls for Action on Healthcare

[3/4/10]  National Public Radio:  “Rebuilding a Nest Egg After the Great Recession” [First of a three-part series]

[3/4/10]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:

[3/3/10]  H.R. 4691:  “To provide a temporary extension of certain programs, and for other purposes” [short title: “Temporary Extension Act of 2010”; see Sec. 3, “Extension and Improvement of Premium Assistance for COBRA Benefits”]

[3/3/10]  The New York Times:  “Obama Offers to Use Some G.O.P. Health Proposals

[3/3/10]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  What Is the Distribution of Lifetime Health Care Costs from Age 65?

[3/3/10]  MetLife Mature Market Institute:  The MetLife Study of Boomers in the Middle: An In-Depth Look at Americans Born 1952 - 1958

[3/2/10]  U.S. News & World Report:  “How to Tell if You Are Saving Enough for Retirement

[3/2/10]  National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief No. 28Impact of Type of Insurance Plan on Access and Utilization of Health Care Services for Adults Aged 18-64 Years with Private Health Insurance: United States, 2007-2008

[3/2/10]  The Washington Post:  “Parity Law Requires Mental Health Benefits Comparable to Physical Care Benefits

[3/2/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Medicare: A Primer

[3/1/10]  U. S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:

[3/1/10]  Business Insurance:  “New Jobs Bill Adds COBRA Subsidy Extension, Expansion

[3/1/10]  TIAA-CREF Institute Trends and Issues:  “How TIAA-CREF Funded Plans Differ from a Typical 401(k) Plan

[3/1/10]  MetLife:  2nd Annual MetLife U.S. Pension Risk Behavior Index

[3/1/10]  RAND COMPARE:  Analysis of President Obama’s Health Reform Proposal

[3/1/10]  Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Statistical Brief #273Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance for Employees of State and Local Governments, by Census Division, 2008

[3/1/10]  Urban Institute:  Will Health Care Costs Bankrupt Aging Boomers?

[3/1/10]  Office of the Vice President of the United States:  Annual Report of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class

Updated 3/31/10