What's New

What's New - April 2002

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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 ".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.


What's new at EBRI this month:

The executive summary of the April 2002 EBRI Issue Brief: "A Temporary Fix? Implications of the Move Away From Comprehensive Health Benefits "

The executive summary of the April 2002 EBRI Notes articles: “Social Security: Unemployment and Immigration" and "Retirement Annuity and Employment-Based Pension Income”

Employer Spending on Benefits 2000: The April 2002 Facts from EBRI, monthly fact sheets providing timely statistics and background on a variety of employee benefit issues.

Retirement Implications of Demographic and Family Change Symposium, June 25 - 26, 2002, at the San Francisco Marriott, San Francisco, California will deliver invaluable information to employee benefit consultants, benefit and human resource managers, actuaries and others in the public policy arena.  In cooperation with EBRI and the Society of Actuaries, this event provides in-depth coverage of critical issues facing the retirement income system, retirement income alternatives, the challenges of an aging society, the use of modeling to develop policy solutions and many other topics.  For complete symposium information, the papers to be presented, and a registration form, visit the Society of Actuaries symposium information page.

The 2002 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS): EBRI released the results of the latest survey in Washington, DC on Wednesday, February 27, 2002.  The RCS examines how well Americans think they are saving and planning for their retirement, what issues concern them, and whether age or personality types influence the way a person saves.

Company Stock Testimonies: Jack VanDerhei, Temple University and research director of the EBRI Fellows Program presented testimony at  congressional hearings during February:

Salisbury Testimony: The written testimony of EBRI President and CEO Dallas Salisbury, an expert witness at the February 7, 2002, hearing by the Senate Committe on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on “Protecting the Pensions of Working Americans: Lessons From the Enron Debacle” includes a copy of the recent EBRI survey on company stock in 401(k) plans.

ASEC President Testifies: American Savings Education Council (ASEC) President Don Blandin testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Hearing on Financial Literacy on February 6, 2002.

EBRI Survey on Company Stock in 401(k) Plans: The EBRI survey polled members of the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS) with respect to company stock investment options, whether employer contributions are required to be invested in company stock, average percentage of company stock in the employees' accounts, restrictions on selling the company stock, and blackout periods.  Additional questions examined perceptions of the Enron situation, appropriate limits for investment in company stock and the role of the government, and perceptions on public policy issues related to company stock in 401(k) plans.

EBRI Fact Sheet on Company Stock:  The December 2001 EBRI Fact Sheet provides background on company stock in retirement plans, drawn from the EBRI book, Fundamentals of Employee Benefit Programs, and the EBRI/ICI 401(k) database.

EBRI Research Findings for 2002:

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What's new in employee benefits:

  • HR News Online -- a daily update from the Society for Human Resource Management

Health and Welfare

Human Resources

Retirement

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The following items have been added to the General Accounting Office's Web site in Portable Document (PDF) format:

Medicare: Financial Outlook Poses Challenges for Sustaining Program and Adding Drug Coverage, testimony by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the House Committee on Ways and Means.  GAO-02-643T, April 17, 2002.

Private Pensions: IRS Can Improve the Quality and Usefulness of Compliance Studies.  GAO-02-353, April 12, 2002.

Private Pensions: Improving Worker Coverage and Benefits.  GAO-02-225, April 9, 2002.

Long-Term Care: Aging Baby Boom Generation Will Increase Demand and Burden on Federal and State Budgets, testimony by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. GAO-02-544T, March 21, 2002.

Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration: Opportunities for Improving Management of the Enforcement Program, (GAO-02-232), March 15, 2002.

Medicare Outpatient Drugs: Program Payments Should Reflect Market Prices.  Testimony by Laura Dummit, director, health care-Medicare payments issues, before the Subcommittee on Health, Senate Committee on Finance.GAO-02-531T, March 14, 2002.

Medigap: Current Policies Contain Coverage Gaps, Undermine Cost Control Incentives. Testimony by William J. Scanlon, managing director, health care, before the Subcommittee on Health, House Committee on Ways and Means.GAO-02-533T, March 14, 2002.

Protecting the Public Interest: Selected Governance, Regulatory Oversight, Auditing, Accounting, and Financial Reporting Issues.  Testimony by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Afairs. GAO-02-483T, March 5, 2002.

        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 General Accounting 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.

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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

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(4/23/02) The California HealthCare Foundation has released “Why Don’t More Small Businesses Offer Health Insurance? Summary Report on the 2000 CHCF/Mercer Survey,” which was done by CHCF in collaboration with William M. Mercer, Inc.   The California HealthCare Foundation has also posted a report by Eleanor K. Murray titled “Why Don’t More Small Businesses Offer Health Insurance? Detailed Findings from the 2000 CHCF/Mercer Survey.”

(4/23/02) The IRS issued a news release titled “IRS Further Simplifies Distribution Rules for Retirement Plans,” dated April 16, 2002 [IR-2002-50].

(4/23/02) The Segal Company publishes the 2002 Annual Reporting & Disclosure Calendar for Benefit Plans.

(4/23/02) The April 2002 issue of Plan Sponsor features the implications of the pending retirement of the Baby Boomers.

(4/23/02) A Statistical Profile of Employee Ownership  was updated this month by The National Center for Employee Ownership.

(4/19/02) “Required Distributions From Retirement Plans; Final Rule,” from the U.S. Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service, was published in the Federal Register on April 17, 2002.

(4/19/02) The Joint Committee on Taxation has released “Technical Explanation of the Revenue Provisions of H.R.3762, ‘The Pension Security Act of 2002’,” dated April 11, 2002, [JCX-24-02].

(4/19/02) The U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means has posted Rept. 107-382, Part 1, “Employee Retirement Savings Bill of Rights.”  A related Joint Committee on Taxation document has also been posted titled “Description of Chairman’s Amendment in the Nature of the Substitute to H.R.3669, ‘The Employee Retirement Savings Bill of Rights,’” dated March 13, 2002, [JCX-15-02].

(4/19/02) The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine issued a press release on April 12 titled “ACP-ASIM Releases Plan to Ensure All Americans Have Health Insurance by 2009.”

(4/19/02) The Weighted Average Interest Rate Table from the Internal Revenue Service gives the rates to be used in lieu of 30-year Treasury securities rates which are no longer being issued.  

(4/19/02) BenefitsLink has posted the Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America (PSCA) April 12 paper which provides a section-by-section summary of HR 3762, “The Pension Security Act of 2002,”passed April 11 by the House.

(4/19/02) The most recent edition of the Income of the Aged Chartbook, 2000, is available from the Social Security Administration.

(4/15/02) On April 10, 2002, CIGNA Retirement & Investment Services issued a press release titled “Study: Majority of Americans Aren't Making Connection Between Newly Legislated Retirement Savings Opportunities and Tax-Time Advantages.”

(4/15/02) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a press release April 12 titled “Smoking Costs Nation $150 Billion Each Year in Health Costs, Lost Productivity,” which includes key findings from a new study.

(4/15/02) Liability and ERISA Plans by David R. Levin of Wiley Rein & Fielding provides an overview of fiduciary liability provisions under ERISA and discussions of leading cases on the topic.

(4/15/02) The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce has made available Rept. 107-383, Part 1, Pension Security Act of 2002 [H.R.3762].

(4/15/02) The executive summary of “Protecting Participants and Beneficiaries in a Phased Retirement World” by Patricia L. Scahill and Jonathan Barry Forman has been reprinted online with the permission of The Society of Actuaries.  The full report will be presented at The Society of Actuaries Conference on Retirement Implications of Demographic and Family Change on June 25 - 26, 2002, in San Francisco.

(4/9/02) U.S. Internal Revenue Service has suspended the requirements for specified fringe benefit plans to file Schedule F of the Form 5500.

(4/9/02) In the annual report released yesterday, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) reported a surplus of $7.7 billion for the year ended Sept. 30, 2001, in its insurance program for single-employer defined benefit pension plans.

(4/9/02) The Alliance for Investor Education (AIE) has created a "401(k) Survival Kit," “a collection of its members’ best-available information on the topic.”

 (4/9/02) Click here for the April 3, 2002, Health Affairs Web Exclusive titled “Changes In Insurance Coverage: 1994–2000 And Beyond” by John Holahan and Mary Beth Pohl.

(4/9/02) The Public Pension Coordinating Council's Survey Web Site has posted The 2001 Survey of State and Local Government Employee Retirement Systems survey report.

 (4/9/02) The 2002 Fortune 500, America’s Largest Corporations, is available.

 (4/4/02) Click here to read “20 Low-cost Benefits Ideas” in Ioma's Report on Managing Benefits Plans, April 01, 2002.

(4/4/02) National Public Radio reports “Poll: Americans Favor Privatizing Social Security: Bipartisan Survey Yields Surprising Results.”

(4/4/02) Finding Court Opinions On The Web, presented online by the "National Law Journal," is adapted from the book, The Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web, by Robert J. Ambrogi, and published by ALM Publishing.

(4/3/02) “Live Long and Prosper: Challenges Ahead For an Aging Population” by Erica L. Groshen and Thomas Klitgaard is published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the February 2002 issue of Current Issues in Economics and Finance.

(4/3/02) Access to the National Survey of Small Businesses survey highlights and chartpack and to the survey toplines is available on the Kaiser Family Foundation Web site.

(4/3/02) Workforce.com has published “Retirement at Risk: What HR Must Do” by Shari Caudron.  Links are also provided to:

Pension Benefits: Trends & Implications for 2002: The results of a 2002 Workforce HR Trends survey

Online Retirement and Pension Resources: Web sites offering retirement reports, studies, and tools

(4/3/02) Integrating Work and Family Life: A Holistic Approach [last revised 3/4/2002] is a product of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Work-Family Policy Network.

(4/3/02) State Legislative Health Care and Insurance Issues: 2001 Survey of Plans, the annual report based on a survey of Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, highlights major health legislation enacted in the states during the year and spotlights issue trends. 

(4/3/02) “The Almanac of Policy Issues provides comprehensive links and background information on major U.S. public policy issues including health care and Social Security.”

(4/2/02) The online video presentation "New Tax Laws Help Boost Retirement Savings" launched Monday, April 1 on Fidelity.com.   See “Insight from financial professionals” for access to the presentations.  EBRI's Dallas Salisbury is one of the participants.

(4/2/02) Compensation and Working Conditions Online, Spring 2001 edition, features “Stock Option Plans Surveyed by NCS,” from the Bureau of Labor Statistics National Compensation Survey (NCS).

(4/2/02) The Washington Business Group on Health (WBGH) issued a news release March 21, 2002, titled “New Employer Initiative Addressing Health Care Disparities Announced,” detailing a pilot project by WBGH and Pfizer/PfizerHealth Solutions, which will be a part of the WBGH initiative titled “Health Disparities: Promoting Health for a Culturally Diverse Workforce.”

(4/2/02) Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care, from the National Academy Press, is an in-depth report examining healthcare disparities between racial minorities and whites.

(4/2/02) The “Government Says Federal Pension, Health  Liabilities Exceed Public Debt,” is a March 29 release from Dow Jones Newswires.  It refers to the 2001 Financial Report of the United States Government by the Treasury Department.

(4/2/02) Click here for the Pension Research Council March 2002 working paper titled: Guaranteeing Defined Contribution Pensions: The Option to Buy Back a Defined Benefit Promise.

(4/1/02) Surfwax, a meta-search engine, with tools for managing results, “offers multiple seamless dimensions for information search and retrieval (patents pending), including FocusWords, SearchSets, SiteSnaps, ContextZooming, and InfoCubby.”

 (4/1/02) The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) provides a side-by-side comparison in “Major Committee Bills: Employer Stock in Defined Contribution Plans” [as of March 26, 2002].

 (4/1/02) The European Union’s Economic Policy Committee has posted Annual Report on Structural Reforms 2002, dated 5 March 2002.  Section 4 deals with ageing, pensions, and fiscal sustainability.

(4/1/02) The Health Care Financing Administration has posted the 2002 Annual Report of the Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds.  To see the Table of Contents, Tables & Figures listings, click here.

(4/1/02) The text of "Protecting America's Pensions Act of 2002" (S. 1992), as approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee March 21, is available on the American Benefits Council site.  Click here for Reported Version of S. 1992 Discussion Draft.

(4/1/02) How to Make the Right Voluntary-Benefit Choices is presented by Workforce.com.

(4/1/02) Company Stock and the ERISA Fiduciary: The Aftermath of Enron by William A. Schmidt of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP, Washington, DC is a March 20, 2002, Trusts & Estates online exclusive.

(4/1/02) The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing February 6 titled, "Women and Aging: Bearing the Burden of Long-Term Care."

(4/1/02) The Kaiser Family Foundation presents selected findings from the forthcoming National Survey of Physicians.  For the summary and chartpack of Part I: Doctors on Disparities in Medical Care, click here.

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Updated 4/30/02