What's New - November 2007

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What's new at EBRI this month:


November 2007 EBRI Issue Brief - "Employment-Based Retirement Plan Participation: Geographic Differences and Trends, 2006"

November 2007 EBRI Notes - "2007 Health Confidence Survey: Rising Health Care Costs Are Changing the Ways Americans Use the Health Care System"


Asset Allocation and Default Investments in 401(k) Plans, This information sheet on the Department of Labor’s final ruling on default investments in 401(k) plans provides data on assets held in stable-value, GICs (guaranteed investment contracts, an insurance product), or money-market funds (excluded from the rule) and balanced funds (included in the rule).

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

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:

"America's Fiscal Future and Retirement Security" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the American Council of Life Insurers' CEO Capital Forum, in Washington, D.C. GAO-08-236CG, October 23.

"America's Fiscal Future" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Society of Professional Journalists, in Washington. GAO-08-170CG, October 4.

"Fiscal Stewardship in the 21st Century" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Commerce Club, in Atlanta, Georgia. GAO-08-150CG, October 1. [slides]

"Saving Our Future Requires Tough Choices Today" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, on the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour at Georgia State University, in Atlanta, Georgia. GAO-08-151CG, October 1. [slides]

Social Security Reform: Issues for Disability and Dependent Benefits. GAO-08-26, October 26. Highlights.

Social Security: Issues Regarding the Coverage of Public Employees, by Barbara D. Bovbjerg, director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy, Senate Committee on Finance. GAO-08-248T, November 6. 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.

[11/30/07]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “End of an Era: The 2007 Schedule B

[11/30/07]  Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America:  “For Saver’s Credit 2007: The Time Is Now

[11/30/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  2007 Cumulative List of Changes in Plan Qualification Requirements

[11/30/07]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  The 2008 Presidential Candidates on Health Care Reform [Updated November 27, 2007]

[11/28/07]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “House Approves New COBRA Entitlements and Tax Credits for Displaced Workers

[11/28/07]  Business Insurance:  “Most Employers Meet Massachusetts Health Coverage Mandate

[11/28/07]  Kaiser Family Foundation: 

[11/28/07]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Do Financial Literacy and Mistrust Affect 401(k) Participation?

[11/28/07]  MassMutual Financial Group:

[11/27/07]  Vanguard Center for Retirement Research:  Lump Sum or Annuity? An Analysis of Choice in DB Pension Payouts

[11/27/07]  Economic Policy Institute Briefing Paper:  “Guaranteed Retirement Accounts: Toward Retirement Income Security

[11/27/07]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  “Large Employers Do Not Use Value-Based Strategies When Purchasing Health Plans, JAMA Study Finds

[11/27/07]  The New York Times:  “The High Cost of Health Care” [editorial]

[11/26/07]  International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans:  Employee Benefits Survey: U.S. and Canada 2007 [Highlights]

[11/26/07]  America’s Health Insurance Plans:  A Survey of Preventive Benefits in Health Savings Account (HSA) Plans, July 2007

[11/26/07]  The Segal Group Spotlight:

[11/26/07]  Journal of Financial Planning:  “Prudent Practices for Fiduciary Advisers Under the Pension Protection Act’s Title VI

[11/21/07]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  “Congressional Negotiators Hitting Roadblocks on Mental Health Parity Legislation

[11/21/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Retirement News for Employers [Volume 4, Fall 2007]

[11/21/07]  Hewitt Associates:  New IRS Proposed Regulations on Automatic Enrollment (and other) Employee Savings Plans and Sample Notice to Participants

[11/21/07]  Principal Financial Group:  2007 Retirement Plan Trends: The Total View

[11/20/07]  Department of Labor, Department of the Treasury, & Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:

[11/20/07]  Mercer:  “U.S. Employers’ Health Benefit Costs Continue to Rise at Twice Inflation Rate, Mercer Survey Finds”

[11/20/07]  Investment Company Institute Research Fundamentals:  “Trends in Ownership of Mutual Funds in the United States, 2007

[11/20/07]  Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:  Medicare & You, 2008

[11/19/07]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:

[11/19/07]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  “Bill Would Allow Tax-Exempt Long-Term Care Insurance Premium Payments

[11/19/07]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “House Ready to Vote on Mental Health Parity

[11/19/07]  MetLife:  MetLife Study of International Employee Benefit Trends

[11/16/07]  Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments, November 2007

[11/16/07]  Internal Revenue Service: 

[11/16/07]  Health Affairs:  “Report from Massachusetts: Employers Largely Support Health Care Reform, and Few Signs of Crowd-Out Appear

[11/16/07]  The Commonwealth Fund:  A High Performance Health System for the United States: An Ambitious Agenda for the Next President

[11/16/07]  National Center for Policy Analysis:  Medical Tourism: Global Competition in Health Care

[11/16/07]  MetLife Mature Market Institute:  Searching for the Silver Bullet: Leading Edge Solutions for Leveraging an Aging Workforce

[11/15/07]  Center for State & Local Government Excellence Issue Brief:  “State and Local Pensions Are Different from Private Plans

[11/15/07]  JPMorgan Chase & Co.: 

[11/15/07]  U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support:  Hearing on Impact of Gaps in Health Coverage on Income Security [includes links to testimonies]

[11/15/07]  America’s Health Insurance Plans:  Health Insurance: Overview and Economic Impact in the States

[11/14/07]  AARP:  Preparation for Retirement: The Haves and Have-Nots - A Comparison of Working Households that Participate in 401(k)-type Retirement Savings Plans with Those that Lack Access to Employer-Based Retirement Savings Plans

[11/14/07]  Reish Luftman Reicher & Cohen Bulletin:  “DOL Issues the Final QDIA Regulation

[11/14/07]  National Conference of State Legislatures:  Pensions and Retirement Plan Enactments in 2007 State Legislatures

[11/14/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  “Plan Now to Get Full Benefit of Saver’s Credit: Tax Break Helps Low- and Moderate-Income Workers Save for Retirement

[11/13/07]  Employment Policies Institute:  Healthcare Reform: The Economics of “Pay or Play” Employer Mandates -- Who Gets What from Employer “Pay or Play” Mandates

[11/13/07]  Inside Consumer-Directed Care:  “Benefits Consultants Expect Strong CDH Growth in 2008, ICDC/ISCEBS Study Finds

[11/13/07]  University of Michigan Retirement Research Center:  The Effects of Health Insurance and Self-Insurance on Retirement Behavior

[11/13/07]  Congressional Budget Office:  The Long-Term Outlook for Health Care Spending

[11/9/07]  Buck Consultants FYI

[11/9/07]  Internal Revenue Service:

[11/9/07]  U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions:  Hearing on “Securing Retirement Coverage for Future Generations” [includes links to testimonies]

[11/9/07]  ICMA-RC:  Retirement Plan Fee Disclosure Reviewed

[11/8/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Automatic Contribution Arrangements; Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [as published in the Federal Register on 11/8/07]

[11/8/07]  Plan Adviser:  “Auto Enrollment Guidance Issued

[11/8/07]  Retirement Made Simpler:  Helping You Automate Your 401(k) Step-by-Step [a website sponsored by AARP, FINRA, and RSP]

[11/8/07]  Fidelity Investments:  Building Futures Vol. VIII: A Report on Corporate Defined Contribution Plans

[11/7/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Plans News [November 2007]

[11/7/07]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Working Wives Reduce Social Security Replacement Rates

[11/7/07]  Clark Consulting:  Executive Benefits: A Survey of Current Trends - 2007 Results

[11/7/07]  National Center for Policy Analysis Brief Analysis:  “The Coming Tax Tsunami

[11/6/07]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  “Column Examines Misstatements About U.S. Health Care System” [opinion]

[11/6/07]  The Segal Company Bulletin:  “Reminder of Key PPA’06 Changes for Multiemployer Defined Contribution Plans

[11/6/07]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “DOL Issues Final Regulations on Qualified Default Investments

[11/6/07]  Workforce Management:  “Cash-Balance Plans May Make a Comeback” [registration may be required]

[11/5/07]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employment Costs in Private Industry, September 2007

[11/5/07]  American Academy of Actuaries Issue Brief:  “FAQs on HSAs: Frequently Asked Questions on Health Savings Accounts

[11/5/07]  Economic Policy Institute Briefing Paper:  “The Erosion of Employment-Based Insurance

[11/5/07]  Foundation of Research and Education of American Health Information Management Association:  State Level Health Information Exchange: Roles in Ensuring Governance and Advancing Interoperability [Preliminary Report]

[11/2/07]  U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means:  Ways and Means Retirement Savings Survey

[11/2/07]  Social Security Administration Policy Briefs:

[11/2/07]  Congressional Budget Office:  CBO’s Health Insurance Simulation Model: A Technical Description [Background Paper]

[11/2/07]  Health Affairs:  “Toward Higher-Performance Health Systems: Adults’ Health Care Experiences in Seven Countries, 2007

[11/2/07]  Ceridian:  Frequently Asked Questions about Flexible Spending Accounts

[11/2/07]  Economic Policy Institute Economic Snapshots:  “Immigration Not Driving the Erosion of Health Insurance

[11/1/07]  U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means:  Request for Public Comment on H.R. 3361, a bill to make technical corrections to the “Pension Protection Act of 2006”

[11/1/07]  National Underwriter Life & Health:  “Defeat on 401(k) Default Investments Seen As Having Limited Impact

[11/1/07]  Wells Fargo:  Strategic Initiatives in Retirement Plans: 2007 Survey Analysis

[11/1/07]  AARP:  Automatic IRAs: Worker Attitudes and Likelihood of Participation

[11/1/07]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  The Role of Governance in Retirement Investments: Evidence from Variable Annuities [Working Paper]

[11/1/07]  AcademyHealth Issue Brief:  “Consumer Choice in the Health Insurance and Provider Markets: A Look at the Evidence Thus Far

[11/1/07] Society of Actuaries:  The SOA’s Committee on Living to 100 Research Symposia invites you to its third, triennial international symposium on high-age mortality and related issues taking place January 7-9, 2008, in Orlando, Florida.  Actuaries, demographers, gerontologists, and other professionals from around the world will be among those presenting papers on such thought-provoking subjects as:

  • mortality trends and projection methods;
  • theories on aging;
  • enhanced mortality rate and population projections; and
  • implications of an aging population for social, financial, health care, and retirement systems.

Click here for further information.

Updated 11/30/07