What's New - September 2008

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What's new at EBRI this month:


September 2008 EBRI Issue Brief - "Sources of Health Insurance and Characteristics of the Uninsured: Analysis of the March 2008 Current Population Survey"

September 2008 EBRI Notes - "IRA Assets and Contributions, 2007" and "Domestic Partner Benefits: Facts and Background"


New Survey Released March 19, 2008: Preparing for Their Future: A Look at the Financial State of Gen X and Gen Y - Press Release

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.



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:

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: Some Steps Have Been Taken to Improve Contracting, but a More Strategic Approach Is Needed. GAO-08-871, August 18. Highlights.

Health Information Technology: HHS Has Taken Important Steps to Address Privacy Principles and Challenges, Although More Work Remains. GAO-08-1138, September 17. Highlights.

Federal Pensions: Judicial Survivors' Annuities System Costs. GAO-08-1104, September 17. Highlights.

Individual Retirement Accounts: Additional IRS Actions Could Help Taxpayers Facing Challenges in Complying with Key Tax Rules. GAO-08-654, August 14. Highlights.

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: Need for Improved Oversight Persists. GAO-08-1062, September 10. Highlights.

Defined Benefit Pension Plans: Guidance Needed to Better Inform Plans of the Challenges and Risks of Investing in Hedge Funds and Private Equity. GAO-08-692, August 14. Highlights.

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: Improvements Needed to Address Financial and Management Challenges, by Barbara D. Bovbjerg, director, education, workforce, and income security, before the Subcommittee on Oversight, House Committee on Ways and Means. GAO-08-1162T, September 24. 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.

[9/30/08]  Hewitt Associates:  2008 Presidential Election [Updated Sept. 22, 2008]

[9/30/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Prescription Drug Trends

[9/30/08]  Social Security Administration:  Social Security Programs Throughout the World: Europe, 2008

[9/29/08]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:

[9/29/08]  Investment Company Institute:  Frequently Asked Questions About Money Market Funds

[9/29/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Rulings and Determination Letters [Rev. Proc. 2008-61]

[9/29/08]  Congressional Research Service:  The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA): A Legal Overview

[9/25/08]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  “BLS Introduces New Employment Cost Indexes for 14 Metropolitan Areas

[9/25/08]  Center for Studying Health System Change Tracking Report No. 21:  “Trade-Offs Getting Tougher: Problems Paying Medical Bills Increase for U.S. Families, 2003-2007

[9/25/08]  WorldatWork:  Rewarding a Multigenerational Workforce: A Survey of WorldatWork Members

[9/25/08]  Joint Committee on Taxation:  Present Law and Background Relating to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

[9/24/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Employer Health Benefits 2008 Annual Survey

[9/24/08]  The New York Times:  “Congress Backs Parity in Coverage of Illnesses

[9/24/08]  Center for State & Local Government Excellence:  Retiree Health Plans: A National Assessment

[9/24/08]  Mercer:  “World Economic Forum and Mercer Report on an Ageing Population and the Impact on Business

[9/23/08]  Hewitt Associates:  Annual Health Care Cost Increases: National Averages

[9/23/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation Issue Brief:  “How Does the Benefit Value of Medicare Compare to the Benefit Value of Typical Large Employer Plans?

[9/23/08]  Prudential Financial’s Pension Analyst Compliance Bulletin:  “DOL Publishes Participant Contribution Timing Rules for Small Plans and Clarifies Trustee Role for Late Transmittal of Contributions

[9/23/08]  401khelpcenter:  Collected Wisdom™ - ERISA Advisory Council Final Working Reports

[9/22/08]  Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:  “CMS Announces Medicare Premiums, Deductibles for 2009

[9/22/08]  Wellness Council of America:  12 Steps To Successfully Implementing Your Health Risk Appraisal

[9/22/08]  Business Roundtable:  Health Care Reform in America: A Business Roundtable Plan

[9/22/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation’s health08.org:

[9/19/08]  Internal Revenue Service:

[9/19/08]  Congressional Research Service:

[9/19/08]  Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies:  Single Women in the U.S.A.: Retirement Dreams v. Financial Realities

[9/19/08]  National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems:  Selected State Pension and Retirement Legislation Enacted in 2008

[9/18/08]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  “Mental Health Parity To Be Included in Tax Legislation Scheduled for Vote This Week

[9/18/08]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “Reminder: Deadline for Medicare Part D Creditable Coverage Notices Approaches

[9/18/08]  Congressional Budget Office:  A Federal Perspective on Health Care Policy and Costs [a presentation to the Center for Public Health, Stanford University]

[9/18/08]  Congressional Research Service:  Health Savings Accounts and High-Deductible Health Plans: A Data Primer

[9/18/08]  National Center for Policy Analysis:  A Framework for Medicare Reform

[9/17/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Retirement Plans FAQs regarding Governmental Plan Determination Letters

[9/17/08]  Milliman’s PERiScope:  “The IRS Pays a Call on Public Retirement Plans

[9/17/08]  Urban Institute:  Distributional Analysis of Pension and Social Security Reforms: Alternative Approaches and a Report on an Expert Panel Meeting

[9/17/08]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Identifying Local Differences in Retirement Patterns [Conference Paper]

[9/16/08]  Miller & Chevalier:  “Miller & Chevalier and the American Benefits Council Announce Results of Corporate Health Care Policy Survey

[9/16/08]  Center for Economic and Policy Research:  Parental Leave Policies in 21 Countries: Assessing Generosity and Gender Equality

[9/16/08]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  How Much Do State Economic and Other Characteristics Affect Retirement Behavior?

[9/16/08]  Society of Actuaries:  The Phases of Retirement and Planning for the Unexpected: 2007 Risks and Process of Retirement Survey Report

[9/15/08]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “IRS Finalizes Mortality Tables for DB Plans

[9/16/08]  U.S. Small Business Administration:  Health Savings Accounts [new Web site]

[9/15/08]  Alliant and International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists:  American Workers: Getting Ahead or Just Getting By? [White Paper]

[9/15/08]  Pension Rights Center:  Planning for the Future: What Working Women Need to Know about Social Security and Retirement Savings

[9/11/08]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employer Costs for Employee Compensation--June 2008

[9/11/08]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  “Senate Finance Committee Members Push for Compromise on Mental Health Parity Legislation

[9/11/08]  Ernst & Young:  Retirement Vulnerability of New Retirees: The Likelihood of Outliving Their Assets [by Ernst & Young for Americans for Secure Retirement]

[9/11/08]  MetLife Mature Market Institute:  Feeling the Economic Pinch: A MetLife QuickPOLL of Americans 60+

[9/10/08]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  “Employment Rates, Economic Factors Could Decrease Access to Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage for Workers Younger Than Age 65, According to EBRI Analysis

[9/10/08]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “IRS Releases HSA Comparability Guidance

[9/10/08]  American Academy of Actuaries:  Capitol Hill Briefing on Social Security, Sept. 5, 2008

[9/10/08]  Social Security Administration:  Estimating the First Instance of Substantive-Covered Earnings in the Labor Market 

[9/9/08]  AARP:  Comparison of 401(k) Participants’ Understanding of Model Fee Disclosure Forms Developed by the Department of Labor and AARP

[9/9/08]  JPMorgan Chase & Co.:  “What Pension Policy Issues Are at Stake This November?

[9/9/08]  Towers Perrin:  Defined Benefit Plans Amid Market Volatility [a report prepared by CFO Research Services in collaboration with Towers Perrin]

[9/8/08]  Congressional Research Service:

[9/8/08]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  Accounting for Employee Benefits: Reactions to the IASB’s Preliminary Views Paper from Around the World [Executive Summary]

[9/5/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Qualified Transportation Fringes [Notice 2008-74]

[9/5/08]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “SEC Proposes to Adopt International Accounting Standards

[9/5/08]  Contingencies:  “An Actuary Weighs the Candidates’ Health Reform Proposals” by Cori Uccello

[9/5/08]  Social Security Administration:  Fast Facts & Figures about Social Security, 2008

[9/4/08]  Internal Revenue Service:

[9/4/08]  National Center for Policy Analysis Policy Report No. 314:  “To Roth or Not?” by Laurence J. Kotlikoff et al.

[9/4/08]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “San Francisco Will Require Employers to Offer Transportation Benefits

[9/4/08]  National Academy of Social Insurance:  Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage, and Costs, 2006

[9/3/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Retirement News for Employers [Special Edition, August 29, 2008]

[9/3/08]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “Social Security, Medicare, and Americans’ Confidence in Their Retirement Future

[9/3/08]  Hudson Institute:  Union vs. Private Pension Plans: How Secure Are Union Members’ Retirements?

[9/3/08]  Mercer:  “Employers Take Variety of Initiatives to Alleviate Impact of Higher Gasoline Prices on Employees

[9/2/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Five Basic Facts on the Uninsured

[9/2/08]  Wellness Council of America:  You Can’t Change What You Can’t Measure: The Importance of Providing an Opportunity for Health Screening

[9/2/08]  Center for Studying Health System Change Research Brief No. 7:  “A Health Plan Work in Progress: Hospital-Physician Price and Quality Transparency

[9/2/08]  WorldatWork:  WorldatWork 35th Annual Salary Budget Survey: 2008-2009 Top-Level Data

[9/2/08]  Society of Actuaries:  2008 Living to 100 and Beyond Monograph [including links to papers presented at the symposium held January 7-9, 2008]

Updated 9/30/08