What's New - November 2005

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What's new at EBRI this month:


November 2005 EBRI Issue Brief - "Sources of Health Insurance and Characteristics of the Uninsured: Analysis of the March 2005 Current Population Survey"

November 2005 EBRI Notes - "2005 Health Confidence Survey: Cost and Quality Not Linked"


October 6, 2005 - Updated Ballpark E$timate Available, Americans trying to estimate how much they need to save for a comfortable retirement now have an updated and easy-to-use tool -- the Ballpark

EBRI Fact Sheet on PBGC - A four-page fact sheet with background information, key data and charts, and information links about the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the federal agency that insures the traditional pensions of about 44 million Americans.

Frequently Asked Questions About Benefits - This section of EBRI's Web site is designed to answer basic questions about major benefit issues and trends. It provides short, graphical answers, with links to the detailed data underlying the figure. In addition, references are provided to the relevant EBRI publication.

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 Government Accountability Office's Web site in Portable Document (PDF) format:

Private Health Insurance: Number and Market Share of Carriers in the Small Group Health Insurance Market in 2004. GAO-06-155R, October 13.

Private Pensions: Information on Cash Balance Pension Plans. GAO-06-42, November 3.  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 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 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.

[11/29/05] Aon Consulting:  Regulatory Developments [11/18/05]

[11/29/05] The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers:  "The Council’s Benefits Survey Shows Health Savings Accounts with HDHPs Gaining Traction in Marketplace"

[11/29/05] Pensions Policy Institute [U.K.]:  Pension Facts, November 2005

[11/28/05] Business Insurance:  "Guidance Issued for FSA Grace Periods"

[11/28/05] American Benefits Council:  Summary and Comparison of Defined Contribution Provisions in Pension Reform Bills [Chart]

[11/28/05] Hewitt Associates:  Pension Reform Update [November 16, 2005]

[11/28/05] Business Insurance:  "Court Ruling Favors Cash Balance Conversions"

[11/23/05] Internal Revenue Service:  Health Savings Account Eligibility During A Cafeteria Plan Grace Period [Notice 2005-86]

[11/23/05] Internal Revenue Service:  Section 415 Regulations and Preexisting Plans [Notice 2005-87]

[11/23/05] Principal Financial Group:  The Total View: 2005 Retirement Plan Trends & Forecast [Overview].  Full Report.

[11/23/05] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  "How Do Pensions Affect Replacement Rates?"

[11/23/05] Watson Wyatt Insider:  "Senate Approves Pension Reform Act"

[11/22/05] Mercer Human Resource Consulting:  "Health Benefit Cost Slows for a Third Year, Rising Just 6.1% in 2005"

[11/22/05] Workforce Management:  "The Disappearing Benefit" [retiree health coverage]

[11/22/05] Financial Times:  "US Pension Accounting Shift ‘Would Hit Equities’"

[11/22/05] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  "Sorting Out Social Security Replacement Rates"

[11/18/05] U.S. House Education & the Workforce Committee:  "Boehner, Johnson Expect House to Move Quickly on Comprehensive Pension Reform Legislation"

[11/18/05] Towers Perrin:  U.K. Pension Plan Levy Scaled Back After Public Comments

[11/18/05] Congressional Budget Office:  Quantifying Uncertainty in the Analysis of Long-Term Social Security Projections

[11/18/05] Investment Company Institute and the Securities Industry Association:  Equity Ownership in America, 2005

[11/17/05] Office of U.S. Senator Mike Enzi:  "Enzi Finds Cure for ‘Pension Deficit Disorder’"

[11/17/05] U.S. Senate Committee on Finance:  Highlights of the Pension Security and Transparency Act (Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute)

[11/17/05] U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means:  Markup of H.R.2830, the “Pension Protection Act of 2005”

[11/17/05] Transamerica Retirement Services:  Seventh Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey: The Attitudes of American Workers and Their Employers Regarding Retirement Security and Benefits

[11/17/05] Towers Perrin:  Exhibit: Comparison of the Characteristics of Various Elective Contributions

[11/17/05] Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Performance and Accountability Report, Fiscal Year 2005

[11/16/05] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in Private Industry in the United States, 2003

[11/16/05] Towers Perrin:  FASB Adds a Project to Its Agenda to Reconsider the Accounting for Pensions and Other Postretirement Benefits

[11/16/05] Hewitt Associates:  "Hewitt Study Finds Holiday Bonuses Becoming a Tradition of the Past as Companies Favor Pay-for-Performance Plans"

[11/16/05] The Hay Group Benefits Reference Guide:  Historical Limits and Other Numbers Affecting Retirement Plans

[11/16/05] Society of Actuaries:  Retirement Income Calculator - Beta Version

[11/16/05] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  "How Much Pre-Retirement Income Does Social Security Replace?"

[11/15/05] U.S. Senate (via American Benefits Council):  S.1783, Pension Security and Transparency Act of 2005 [Floor Substitute]

[11/15/05] American Benefits Council:  Chart Comparison of S.1783, Pension Security and Transparency Act of 2005, with Current Law

[11/15/05] U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means (via American Benefits Council):  H.R.2830, The Pension Protection Act of 2005: Chairman’s Amendment Summary

[11/15/05] Financial Accounting Standards Board:  "FASB Adds Comprehensive Project to Reconsider Accounting for Pensions and Other Postretirement Benefits."  Board Meeting Handout.

[11/15/05] The ERISA Industry Committee:  ERIC Summary of Retirement Savings Recommendations Made Part of the Final Report of the President’s Advisory Tax Panel on Federal Tax Reform

[11/15/05] Health Affairs:  "Managed Consumerism in Health Care"

[11/15/05] TIAA-CREF Institute:  Financing Retiree Health Care: A Collection of TIAA-CREF Institute Reports

[11/4/05] Executive Office of the President:  Statement of Administration Policy: S. 1932 - Deficit Reduction Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 2005 (Sen. Gregg (R) NH)

[11/4/05] Buck Consultants For Your Information:  "IRS Releases 2006 HSA, Transportation Benefit and Other Limits"

[11/4/05] TIAA-CREF Institute:  Findings from the Retirement Confidence Survey of College and University Faculty [Summary]. Full Report.

[11/4/05] American Academy of Actuaries:  Analysis of Congressional Pension Funding Reform Proposals

[11/4/05] The Council for Affordable Health Insurance’s Issues & Answers:  "Answering Your Questions about Health Savings Accounts" [updated November 2005]

[11/4/05] Fidelity Investments:  "Fidelity Study Shows Upsurge in Consumer-Driven Health Plan Offerings for 2006 Annual Enrollment"

[11/4/05] Watson Wyatt Insider:  "Judge Affirms EEOC’s Proposed Regulation on Retiree Health and ADEA, but AARP Appeals"

[11/4/05] Employee Benefit News:  "Better Than Brand X" [on benefits communications]

[11/3/05] Employee Benefit News:  "Small Businesses Turning to Section 105 Plans"

[11/3/05] Watson Wyatt Insider:  "IRS Issues Proposed Regulations on Employer-Comparable Contributions to HSAs"

[11/3/05] Vanguard Center for Retirement Research:  Tax Diversification and the Roth 401(k) [Summary].  Full Report.

[11/3/05] Employee Benefit News:  "Proposed Rule Jeopardizes ESOPs at Foreign-Owned Firms"

[11/2/05] President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform:  Simple, Fair, & Pro-Growth: Proposals to Fix America’s Tax System [Final Report]

[11/2/05] Employee Benefit News:  "Health Cost Relief Takes Center Stage at BMF&E"

[11/2/05] Health Affairs:  "Changes in Economic Conditions and Health Insurance Coverage, 2000-2004"

[11/2/05] Investment Company Institute Fundamentals:  "U.S. Household Ownership of Mutual Funds in 2005"

[11/2/05] Watson Wyatt Insider:  "Treasury Issues Proposed Regulations on Deferred Compensation"

[11/2/05] Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Disaster Relief Relating to PBGC Deadlines in Response to Hurricane Wilma

[11/1/05] Business Insurance:  "Benefits Outpacing Other Compensation: DOL"

[11/1/05] Office of U.S. Representative Jim Langevin:  "Langevin Moves Health Care Agenda Forward"

[11/1/05] The ERISA Industry Committee:  Selected Defined Benefit Pension Reform Issues [comparison chart]

[11/1/05] Business Week Online:  "An Office Club for Savings," by Ellen Hoffman

[11/1/05] Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Disaster Relief Relating to PBGC Deadlines in Response to Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida

[11/1/05] Internal Revenue Service:  Additional Relief for Certain Employee Benefit Plans as a Result of Hurricane Katrina [Notice 2005-84]

Updated 11/29/05