What's New - September 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


September 2010 EBRI Issue Brief - "IRA Balances and Contributions: An Overview of the EBRI IRA Database"

September 2010 EBRI Issue Brief - "Sources of Health Insurance and Characteristics of the Uninsured: Analysis of the March 2010 Current Population Survey"

September 2010 EBRI Notes - "2010 Health Confidence Survey: Health Reform Does Not Increase Confidence in the Health Care System" and "Retirement Income Adequacy for Today's Workers: How Certain, How Much Will It Cost, and How Does Eligibility for Participation in a Defined Contribution Plan Help?"


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:

State and Local Government Pension Plans:  Governance Practices and Long-term Investment Strategies Have Evolved Gradually as Plans Take On Increased Investment Risk.  GAO-10-754, August 24. Highlights.

Consumer-Directed Health Plans:  Health Status, Spending, and Utilization of Enrollees in Plans Based on Health Reimbursement Arrangements.  GAO-10-616, July 16. Highlights.

Defined Benefit Pension Plans: Plans Face Valuation and Other Challenges When Investing in Hedge Funds and Private Equity, by Barbara Bovbjerg, managing director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives.  GAO-10-915T, July 20.


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.

[9/30/10]  Business Insurance:  “Senate Rejects Canceling ‘Grandfathered’ Plan Rules

[9/30/10]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in the United States, March 2010

[9/30/10]  TheStreet.com:  “Database Sheds Light on IRA Behaviors

[9/30/10]  McKinsey & Company:  Winning in the Defined Contribution Market of 2015: New Realities Reshape the Competitive Landscape

[9/30/10]  U.S. News & World Report:  “The 401(k) Match’s Big Role in Retirement Security

[9/30/10]  U.S. Senate Committee on Finance:  “Do Private Long-Term Disability Policies Provide the Protection They Promise?” [Hearing held Sept. 28, 2010, includes links to testimonies]

[9/29/10]  U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:  Instructions for Delivering Required Form Notice to Plan Participants of Sponsors Participating in Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, and Form Notice

[9/29/10]  Internal Revenue Service:  Affordable Care Act: Questions and Answers on Over-the-Counter Medicines and Drugs

[9/29/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[9/29/10]  U.S. Department of Labor:  FAQs on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

[9/29/10]  Congressional Budget Office:  The Economic Outlook and Fiscal Policy Choices [CBO testimony before the Senate Budget Committee on Sept. 28, 2010]

[9/28/10]  Internal Revenue Service:  Roth Conversions/Retirement Planning for Life Events [2010 IRS Nationwide Tax Forums presentation]

[9/28/10]  Aon Consulting:  Automatic IRA Legislation

[9/28/10]  National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators:  “National Save for Retirement Week Resolution Introduced in the Senate

[9/28/10]  Financial Accounting Standards Board:  Sept. 16, 2010, FASB Board Meeting: Reporting Loans to Participants by Defined Contribution Pension Plans (a final consensus of the Emerging Issues Task Force (EITF)) 

[9/28/10]  Hewitt Associates:  “U.S. Health Care Cost Rate Increases Reach Highest Levels in Five Years, According to New Data from Hewitt Associates” [Press Release]

[9/28/10]  Associated Press (via The Washington Post):  “AP Poll: Many Think Health Overhaul Should Do More

[9/28/10]  National Association of Insurance Commissioners:  Draft: Regulation for Uniform Definitions and Standardized Rebate Calculation Methodology for Plan Years 2011, 2012 and 2013 Per Section 2718 (b) of the Public Health Service Act [Note: The NAIC solicits comments on this draft by Oct. 4, 2010]

[9/27/10]  Insurance News Net:  “National Survey on Perception of Benefits, Future of Social Security To Be Released by Financial Industry, Nonprofits” [Press Release]

[9/27/10]  MarketWatch:  “10 IRA Tasks To Do Before the Year Ends

[9/27/10]  HighRoads:  “HighRoads Study Shows 75% of Employers Plan to Address Health Care Reform in Open Enrollment Materials -- Fortune 1000 Companies Responding to Need to Address Reform Changes through Increased Communications” [News Release]

[9/27/10]  U.S. Chamber of Commerce:  Memorandum: Small Business Leaders Poll

[9/27/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Pulling It Together...Health Reform’s Six-Month Checkup,” from Drew Altman

[9/27/10]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Social Security’s Financial Outlook: The 2010 Update in Perspective

[9/27/10]  CQ Politics:  “House Democrats Consider Pre-Election Vote to Extend Middle-Class Tax Cuts

[9/24/10]  Employee Benefit News:  “EBRI: IRA Rollovers Rise

[9/24/10]  Plan Sponsor:  “House Approves Bill to Allow In-Plan Roth Conversions

[9/24/10]  H.R. 5297:  Amendment to “Small Business Jobs Act of 2010” [See Sections 2111-2112 for Roth provisions, pages 159-162]

[9/24/10]  U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation:  Technical Explanation of the Tax Provisions in Senate Amendment 4594 to H.R. 5297, The “Small Business Jobs Act of 2010,” Scheduled for Consideration by the Senate on September 16, 2010 [The full report may be downloaded at the JCT site; see pages 37-38 for 457 plan Roth contributions and rollovers from elective deferral plans to Roth designated accounts.]

[9/24/10]  Mercer’s DC Connections:

[9/24/10]  The New York Times:  “The Illusion of Pension Savings

[9/23/10]  U.S. News & World Report [Blog]:  “401(k) Rollovers Fuel IRA Growth

[9/23/10]  U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor:  The Affordable Care Act: Six Months Later

[9/23/10]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “Important Health Care Reform Guidance Released on Age 26 Rules and Grandfathered Plan Status

[9/23/10]  The George Washington University Department of Health Policy:  Research Report - A Heavy Burden: The Individual Costs of Being Overweight and Obese in the United States

[9/23/10]  Internal Revenue Service:  Request for Comments on Requirements Prohibiting Discrimination in Favor of Highly Compensated Individuals in Insured Group Health Plans [Notice 2010-63]

[9/23/10]  The New York Times:  “Debate on Tax Cuts May Be Delayed

[9/22/10]  American Payroll Association:  2010 “Getting Paid in America” Survey Results

[9/22/10]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  “Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth Among the Youngest Baby Boomers: Results from a Longitudinal Survey” [News Release]

[9/22/10]  U.S. Department of Labor:

[9/22/10]  USA Today:

[9/22/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[9/22/10]  The 2010 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Behavioral Finance & Economics:  Proceedings - September 15-17, 2010, Chicago, Illinois

[9/21/10]  Health Affairs:  “National Health Spending Projections: The Estimated Impact of Reform through 2019

[9/21/10]  Sibson Consulting:  2011 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey

[9/21/10]  Journal of Accountancy:  “Senate Passes Small Business Tax Relief

[9/21/10]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Costs of Retirement and Savings Benefits for Employers in Private Industry, June 2010

[9/21/10]  BNA’s Pension & Benefits Reporter (via Sibson Consulting):  “Seven Answers for Employers with Questions about Annuitizing 401(k) Plans

[9/22/10]  Profit Sharing/401k Council of America:  “401(k) Sponsors Increase Focus on Plan Investments” [Blog]

[9/21/10]  The Washington Post:

[9/20/10]  U.S. Department of Labor:

[9/20/10]  Business Insurance:  “Borzi: Requiring Annuity Payout Options Unlikely

[9/20/10]  Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration:  Statistical Trends in Retirement Plans

[9/20/10]  Associated Press (via The Washington Post):  “Americans Struggle to Regain Their Shrunken Wealth

[9/20/10]  Towers Watson:  Retirement Attitudes -- Part I: Confidence in Retirement

[9/20/10]  Investment Company Institute:  The Economics of Providing 401(k) Plans: Services, Fees, and Expenses, 2009

[9/20/10]  U.S. Census Bureau:  Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009

[9/20/10]  CQ Politics:

[9/16/10]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Automatic Enrollment in Savings and Thrift Retirement Plans, March 2009 [Chart]

[9/16/10]  Workforce Management:  “Retirement Readiness: Can Employers Do More?

[9/16/10]  Ameriprise Financial:  New Retirement Mindscape II study: How the economic environment has changed the stages of retirement

[9/16/10]  National Center for Employee Ownership and Employee Ownership Foundation:

[9/16/10]  Retirement USA:  The Retirement Income Deficit

[9/16/10]  The New York Times:  “Looking Ahead to the Spend-Down Years

[9/16/10]  Towers Watson:  “Employer Health Care Costs Expected to Rise 8.2% in 2011, Towers Watson Survey Finds

[9/16/10]  Aegis Risk LLC and International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists:  Medical Stop Loss Premium Survey - 2010

[9/16/10]  CBO Economic and Budget Issue Brief:  “How Does Obesity in Adults Affect Spending on Health Care?

[9/16/10]  U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:  CiudadoDeSalud.gov: Tome control del cuidado de su salud [Spanish-language version of the HealthCare.gov website]

[9/15/10]  The New York Times:

[9/15/10]  CQ Politics:

[9/15/10]  Charles Schwab:

[9/15/10]  Towers Watson Insider:  “Pension Freezes Continue Among Fortune 1000 Companies in 2010

[9/15/10]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Problems with State-Local Final Pay Plans and Options for Reform

[9/15/10]  Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index:  Milliman Analysis: Pension Funded Status Reaches 10-Year Low at 70.1%: Funded Status Decreased by $108B during August 2010

[9/15/10]  Government Executive.com:  “OPM Extends Federal Leave Without Pay to Same-Sex Couples

[9/14/10]  The Los Angeles Times:

[9/14/10]  American Benefits Council:  Technical Corrections and Guidance Needed: 2010 Funding Relief Legislation

[9/14/10]  Hewitt Associates:  Point of View: The Role of Roth 401(k) in Retirement Savings

[9/14/10]  ING Institute for Retirement Research: Public Employees in Focus: ING Studies the Economic Outlook of Today’s Government Workforce

[9/14/10]  National Academy of Social Insurance:  Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage, and Costs, 2008

[9/13/10]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employer Costs for Employee Compensation -- June 2010

[9/13/10]  Chicago Sun-Times:  “Back on Your Feet? Focus on Savings: Experts

[9/13/10]  Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America:  Reclaiming the Future [This report reflects the results of a survey of 3,257 U.S. adults ages 44-75 on their attitudes about retirement; a white paper and an executive summary can be downloaded at the site.]

[9/13/10]  Brookings Institution:  “Expanding Automatic Enrollment and Making Saver’s Credit a Match Will Help to Improve Retirement Security” [Blog]

[9/13/10]  Mercer:  “Even As Reform Pushes Up Benefit Cost, Employers Will Take Steps to Hold 2011 Increase to 5.9%” [Press Release]

[9/13/10]  U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:

[9/9/10]  Chicago Sun-Times:  “’I Think I’m Never Going to be Able to Retire’: Many See Grim Future as They’re Forced to Tap into Savings

[9/9/10]  Education Sector:  Better Benefits: Reforming Teacher Pensions for a Changing Work Force [The full report can be downloaded at the website]

[9/9/10]  Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies:  Women & Retirement: Current Outlook & New Opportunities

[9/9/10]  U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:  Process for Obtaining Waivers of the Annual Limits Requirements of PHS Act Section 2711 [Group and Individual Markets]

[9/9/10]  Internal Revenue Service:

[9/9/10]  The New York Times:  “Health Plan Won’t Fuel Big Spending, Report Says

[9/8/10]  Ideas in Action with Jim Glassman [a new half-hour weekly series on ideas and their consequences]:  “America’s Retirement Problem: Should We Ditch 401(k) Plans?” [featuring a panel of experts--Dallas Salisbury, Teresa Ghilarducci, and Alex Brill--debating this issue]

[9/8/10]  Towers Watson:  Pensions & Investments / Towers Watson 300 Analysis - Year End 2009 [the largest retirement funds]

[9/8/10]  Allianz Demographic Pulse:  Big and Getting Better: Despite Financial Crisis Global Retirement Market Expected to Grow to €36 Trillion until 2020

[9/8/10]  Aon Consulting:  2010 Health Care Trend Survey

[9/8/10]  American Benefits Council:  IRS Issues New Guidance Regarding the Reimbursement from Employer Plans of Over-the-Counter Medicine and Drugs

[9/7/10]  Internal Revenue Service:

[9/7/10]  Sibson Consulting Compliance Alert:  “Upcoming Compliance Deadlines for Qualified Plans” 

[9/7/10]  Society for Human Resource Management:  SHRM Poll: 401(k) Investment Education and Advice Organizations Are Providing to Plan Participants [Survey results can be downloaded at the website]

[9/7/10]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Adjusting Social Security for Increasing Life Expectancy: Effects on Progressivity [Working Paper]

[9/7/10]  National Public Radio:  “National Review: No One Fix for Social Security,” by Andrew G. Biggs

[9/3/10]  Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research & Educational Trust:  Employer Health Benefits 2010 Annual Survey:

[9/3/10]  The Los Angeles Times:  “U.S. Employers Push Increase in Cost of Healthcare onto Workers

[9/3/10]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefit Security Administration:  Public Comments: Reasonable Contract or Arrangement Under Section 408(b)(2)--Fee Disclosure - Interim Final Rule

[9/3/10]  Financial Finesse, Inc.:  Financial Finesse Reports [Research on Financial Trends]: Q2 2010 Research

[9/3/10]  American Payroll Association:  Understanding the Effects of the 2001, 2003, and 2004 Income Tax Cuts

[9/2/10]  The President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board:  The Report on Tax Reform Options: Simplification, Compliance, and Corporate Taxation [See Section II.b., “Option Group B: Simplifying Savings and Retirement Incentives”]

[9/2/10]  Towers Watson:  Retirement Attitudes -- Part I: Confidence in Retirement:

[9/2/10]  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

[9/2/10]  The Washington Post:  “Health Insurance Tax Credit Likely to Affect Small Part of Small-Business Workforce

[9/2/10]  The Commonwealth Fund:  Realizing Health Reform’s Potential: Small Businesses and The Affordable Care Act of 2010:

[9/2/10]  International Data Corporation:  “IDC Releases First Forecast for U.S. Employee Benefits Outsourcing Services; Healthcare Reform Will Be the Key Driver for Market Growth in the Coming Years” [Press Release]

[9/1/10]  Profit Sharing/401k Council of America:  Welcome to 401(k) Day 2010: “Taking You There” [This site includes a 401(k) Participant Center and a 401(k) Sponsor Center with links to a wide variety of resources.]

[9/1/10]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  “Disparities in Automatic Enrollment Plan Availability

[9/1/10]  U.S. News & World Report:  “5 Retirement Myths

[9/1/10]  401khelpcenter.com:  Retirement Industry Acronyms and Abbreviations

[9/1/10]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:

[9/1/10]  The Washington Post:

Updated 9/30/10