What's New - September 2007

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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 ".gov" 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.  We apologize for any inconvenience.


What's new at EBRI this month:


September 2007 EBRI Issue Brief - "Health Insurance and Taxes: Can Changing the Tax Treatment of Health Insurance Fix Our Health Care System?"

September 2007 EBRI Notes - "The Expected Impact of Automatic Escalation of 401(k) Contributions on Retirement Income"


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:

"Fiscal and Retirement Challenges" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the UJA Foundation of New York, in New York City. GAO-07-1263CG, September 19. [slides]

"Fiscal and Health Care Challenges" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, at the HR Policy Association's Washington Policy Conference, in Washington, D.C. GAO-07-1231CG, September 6.

Employer-Sponsored Benefits: Many Factors Affect the Treatment of Pension and Health Benefits in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. GAO-07-1101, September 6. Highlights.

Health Care 20 Years From Now: Taking Steps Today to Meet Tomorrow's Challenges. (Highlights of a forum convened by the comptroller general of the United States.) GAO-07-1155SP, September 2007. 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.

[9/27/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Plans News [Fall 2007]

[9/27/07]  Prudential Financial’s Pension Analyst Compliance Bulletin:  "Changes to 403(b) Transfer and Exchange Rules Require Immediate Attention"

[9/27/07]  Alliance for Health Reform:  Employer-Based Coverage: Shore It Up or Ship It Out? [Briefing held 9/21/07 that includes links to speakers’ presentations and source materials]

[9/27/07]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  "Accident and Health Insurance Premiums Would Be Taxable Under IRS Proposal"

[9/26/07]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  "Employer-Sponsored Health Plan Costs Expected to Increase 8.7% in 2008, According to Study"

[9/26/07]  Congressional Budget Office:  Cost Estimate for H.R. 976, Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007

[9/26/07]  National Committee for Quality Assurance:  The State of Health Care Quality 2007

[9/26/07]  Congressional Research Service:

[9/25/07]  U.S. Department of the Treasury:

[9/25/07]  Congressional Research Service:

[9/25/07]  Wellness Councils of America:  Big Steps for Small Businesses: 10 Health Promotion Programming Ideas Every Small Business Should Consider

[9/25/07]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  The Role of Private Insurance in Financing Long-Term Care

[9/24/07]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employer Costs for Employee Compensation--June 2007

[9/24/07]  Investment Company Institute Research Fundamentals:  "The Economics of Providing 401(k) Plans: Services, Fees, and Expenses, 2006"

[9/24/07]  Buck Consultants FYI:  "DOL Clarifies Fiduciary Standards for the Selection of Annuity Providers for Defined Benefit and Individual Account Plans"

[9/24/07]  American Academy of Actuaries Issue Brief:  "Social Security: Evaluating the Structure for Basic Benefits"

[9/24/07]  Benefits & Compensation Digest:  "Health Savings Accounts--American Idol?"

[9/24/07]  America’s Health Insurance Plans:  Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Guide: How to Choose Your 2008 Plan

[9/21/07]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  "House Subcommittee Passes Mental Health Parity Bill"

[9/21/07]  Families USA:  Wrong Direction: One Out of Three Americans Are Uninsured

[9/21/07]  Thompson Publishing Group:  The Pension Protection Act of 2006: Essential Insights

[9/21/07]  AARP:  Hispanics Age 65 and Older: Sources of Retirement Income in 2005

[9/20/07]  The SPARK Institute:  An Industry Analysis of the Fair Disclosure for Retirement Security Act of 2007 [introduced by Rep. George Miller on July 26, 2007]

[9/20/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Temporary Closing of the Determination Letter Program for Adopters of Pre-Approved Defined Contribution Plans [Announcement 2007-90]

[9/20/07]  The Segal Company:  2008 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey

[9/20/07]  Health Care 2008:  “The Presidential Candidate Forums, organized by the Federation of American Hospitals and Families USA, feature candidates being interviewed by a panel of prominent journalists from ABC News, National Public Radio, the Wall Street Journal, and the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. The forums, taking place at the Kaiser Family Foundation's Barbara Jordan Conference Center, will be taped for broadcast by MacNeil-Lehrer productions and webcast by kaisernetwork, Kaiser's health news and information service.”  Press Release.

[9/20/07]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  The 2008 Presidential Candidates on Health Care Reform [Updated September 17, 2007]

[9/19/07]  The Commonwealth Fund Issue Brief:  "Whither Employer-Based Health Insurance? The Current and Future Role of U.S. Companies in the Provision and Financing of Health Insurance"

[9/19/07]  American Benefits Council:  Side-by-Side Comparison of the Senate and House Mental Health Parity Bills [Updated September 14, 2007]

[9/19/07]  Congressional Research Service:  U.S. Healthcare Spending: Comparison with Other OECD Countries

[9/19/07]  Alliance for Health Reform:  Crowd-Out and SCHIP Reauthorization: An Alliance for Health Reform Toolkit

[9/19/07]  Prudential Financial:  Study of Employee Benefits: 2007 & Beyond

[9/19/07]  Russell Investment Group: 

[9/18/07]  Health Affairs:  "Health Spending by State of Residence, 1991-2004"

[9/18/07]  AARP:  Automatic 401(k) Overview for Employers

[9/18/07]  Journal of Financial Planning:  "Will DC Automatic Programs Eliminate Need for Education and Advice in the Workplace?" by Stacy L. Schaus

[9/18/07]  Principal Financial Group:  The Principal 10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security

[9/18/07]  U.S. Social Security Administration:  How Have People Responded to Changes in the Retirement Earnings Test in 2000?

[9/18/07]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Strategic Plan: FY 2008 - 2013

[9/17/07]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Multi-Employer Pension Plan Information Made Available on Request; Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [published in the Federal Register on September 14, 2007]

[9/17/07]  A.G. Edwards:  2007 Nest Egg Index: How Well Are Americans Saving Money?

[9/17/07]  Institute for Women’s Policy Research Fact Sheet:  "Maternity Leave in the United States"

[9/17/07]  Urban Institute:

[9/17/07]  Congressional Research Service:  What Happens if SCHIP Is Not “Reauthorized”?

[9/13/07]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration: 

[9/13/07]  Sibson Consulting Bulletin:  "IRS Issues Final Rules Clarifying Dependent Care Expense Reimbursement"

[9/13/07]  Congressional Research Service:  Leave Benefits in the United States [Updated July 27, 2007]

[9/13/07]  Aon Consulting and International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists:  Aon Consulting/ISCEBS Survey: CDH Plans Continue to Grow in Popularity

[9/13/07]  Transamerica Retirement Services:  Women’s Retirement Security in Jeopardy: Eighth Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey

[9/12/07]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  "Mental Health Parity Reform Nears Passage"

[9/12/07]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  The Burden of Out-of-Pocket Health Spending Among Older Versus Younger Adults: Analysis from the Consumer Expenditure Survey, 1998-2003

[9/12/07]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  The 2008 Presidential Candidates on Health Care Reform [Updated September 10, 2007]

[9/12/07]  Federal Reserve Board:  Why Do Firms Offer Risky Defined Benefit Pension Plans?

[9/11/07]  Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust:  Employer Health Benefits 2007 Annual Survey

[9/11/07]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  "PPA Remains on Legislative Agenda"

[9/11/07]  Congressional Research Service:  Older Workers: Employment and Retirement Trends [Updated September 7, 2007]

[9/11/07]  Contingencies:  "How Efficient Are Retirement Programs in Delivering Dollars to Retirees?"

[9/11/07]  Journal of Financial Planning:  "Modern Portfolio Decumulation: A New Strategy for Managing Retirement Income" by Richard K. Fullmer

[9/10/07]  Congressional Research Service:  Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends [Updated September 6, 2007]

[9/10/07]  The Vanguard Group:  How America Saves 2007: A Report on Vanguard 2006 Defined Contribution Plan Data

[9/10/07]  Sibson Consulting:  Abstract of the 2008 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey

[9/10/07]  The Journal Gazette:  "Companies Eye Trusts for Retirees: Independent Funds Handle Health Care"

[9/10/07]  International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans:  Six Steps for Cutting Spending for Multiemployer Self-Funded Health Plans

[9/10/07]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  "House, Senate SCHIP Bills Include Medicare, FMLA Provisions"

[9/7/07]  Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America:  401(k) Day 2007

[9/7/07]  Pensions & Investments:  "PPA One Year Later: Impact Huge in Target-Date Funds, Auto-Enrollment"

[9/7/07]  Business Insurance:  "IRS Intractable on Plan Conversion Issue"

[9/7/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Listing of Published Guidance (January - August 2007)

[9/7/07]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  "Workforce Management and Retirement in a 401(k) World"

[9/7/07]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Promoting Work: Implications of Raising Social Security’s Early Retirement Age

[9/6/07]  Business Insurance:  "IRS Says It Will Tax 401(k) Savings Used to Buy Retiree Health Coverage"

[9/6/07]  Business Insurance:  "IRS Plan Would Limit Lump-Sum Payments in Underfunded DB Plans"

[9/6/07]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  "Cashing Out: A Threat to Retirement Security?"

[9/6/07]  Investment Advisor:  "Failure to Compute? DOL to Tell Congress by Year-End if Computer Models Are Suitable for IRAs"

[9/6/07]  Financial Research Corporation:  "The More Investors Have at Stake, the More They Want Investment Solutions and Advice"

[9/6/07]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  The 2008 Presidential Candidates on Health Care Reform [Updated September 4, 2007]

[9/5/07]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  "FASB Kicks Off Phase Two of Postretirement Benefit Accounting Reform"

[9/5/07]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  "AFL-CIO Announces Campaign to Expand Health Insurance to All U.S. Residents by End of 2009"

[9/5/07]  Financial Industry Regulatory Authority:  FINRA Investor Education Survey [Executive Summary]

[9/5/07]  Pensions & Investments:  "World’s Largest Pension Funds: $10 Trillion Strong"

[9/1/07]  U.S. Census Bureau:  Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2006

[9/1/07]  Business Insurance:  "Health Premiums for Union Members Costlier: Survey"

[9/1/07]  National Business Coalition on Health:  The eValue8 Cornerstone Report:  Measuring the Success of America’s Health Plans

[9/1/07]  Kaiser Health Tracking Poll:  "Election 2008 - August 2007"

[9/1/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Benefit Restrictions for Underfunded Pension Plans; Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [full text]

[9/1/07]  IRS Employee Plans News:  “IRS Issues Proposed Rules on Benefit Restrictions for Underfunded Pension Plans” [News Flash, August 29, 2007]

[9/1/07]  National Bureau of Economic Research:  The Impact of Employer Matching on Savings Plan Participation Under Automatic Enrollment [Abstract of Working Paper]

[9/1/07]  Fidelity Research Institute:  Structuring Income for Retirement: Addressing America’s Emerging Guaranteed Income “Gap”

[9/1/07]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  "Pension Freezes: Has the Worst Passed?"

[9/1/07] 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 9/27/07