What's New - April 2006

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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.

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What's new at EBRI this month:

Publications:

April 2006 EBRI Issue Brief - "Will More of Us Be Working Forever? The 2006 Retirement Confidence Survey"

April 2006 EBRI Notes - "Changes in the OASI Benefit Distribution Under Various Social Security Reform Alternatives" and "Tax Expenditures and Employee Benefits: Estimates From the FY 2007 Budget"

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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:

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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:

Reports
Private Pensions: Opportunities Exist to Further Improve the Transparency of PBGC's Financial Disclosures. GAO-06-429, March 27.  Highlights.

Testimony
National Saving: Current Saving Decisions Have Profound Implications for Our Nation's Future Well-Being, by Thomas J. McCool, director, Center for Economics, before the Senate Committee on Finance. GAO-06-628T, April 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.

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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 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.


[4/27/06] The Commonwealth Fund:  Gaps in Health Insurance: An All-American Problem -- Findings from The Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey

[4/27/06] U.S. Chamber of Commerce:  "U.S. Chamber Study Finds Employee Benefit Costs Consume 40 Percent of Payroll Expenses"

[4/27/06] University of Michigan Retirement Research Center:  Baby Boomer Retirement Security: The Roles of Planning, Financial Literacy, and Housing Wealth [Working Paper]

[4/27/06] HSBC:  The Future of Retirement 2005

[4/26/06] Aon Consulting Forum:  "Aon Consulting’s 2006 National Employee Benefits Trends Survey: Key Findings"

[4/26/06] Business Insurance:  "Mass. House Overrides Employer Health Charge Veto"

[4/26/06] U.S. Internal Revenue Service:  Sample Amendment for Roth Elective Deferrals [Notice 2006-44]

[4/26/06] U.S. Department of the Treasury:  "Prepared Remarks on Pension and Health Care Reforms, Assistant Secretary Mark J. Warshawsky"

[4/25/06] Business Insurance:  "Treasury Official Urges Pension Reform Review"

[4/25/06] Workforce Management:  "Airlines Turn to Multiemployer Pension Plans"

[4/25/06] Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Semiannual Regulatory Agenda [as published in the Federal Register on 4/24/06]

[4/25/06] HR Policy Association:  "Key Democrats Propose Federally-Run Health Insurance Exchange for Small Businesses"   

[4/24/06] Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured:  Key Facts: Massachusetts Health Care Reform Plan

[4/24/06] Workforce Management:  "Tallying the True Cost of Absenteeism"

[4/24/06] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  "How Secure Are Retirement Nest Eggs?"

[4/24/06] Prudential Financial:  Building Retirement Security at Home

[4/21/06] U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  "Labor Department Announces Final Rules to Help Workers in Abandoned 401(k) Plans"

[4/21/06] Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:  Creditable Coverage Guidance and Model Notices for Use After May 15, 2006

[4/21/06] Employee Benefit News:  "Coverage for Part-Timers Creates Few Ripples"

[4/21/06] American Medical Association:  Competition in Health Insurance: A Comprehensive Study of U.S. Markets [2005 Update]

[4/20/06] U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Fact Sheet: Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program

[4/20/06] Business Insurance:  "Vote Set to Override Veto of Mass. Health Care Fee"

[4/20/06] Employee Benefit News:  "Health Literacy Missing Link in Health Care Consumerism"

[4/20/06] Employee Benefit News:  "Putting the New in Annuities: Insurers Pin Hopes on Improved Products, Regulatory Change"

[4/19/06] American Academy of Actuaries Issue Brief:  "Longevity and Retirement Policy: Modernizing America’s Retirement Programs to Keep Pace with Longevity"

[4/19/06] Mellon Asset Management:  Managing Risk For Frozen Pension Plans

[4/19/06] Employee Benefit News:  "DOL Fiduciary Opinion Should Help Protect Employees from Some Breeds of Financial Planning Sharks"

[4/19/06] Milliman’s Client Action Bulletin:  "Accounting Rule to Require Balance Sheet Reporting of Pensions"

[4/18/06] Employee Benefit News:  "Pension Reform Hurdles, Strategies for Clearing Them"

[4/18/06] 401khelpcenter.com:  Selecting and Monitoring Pension Consultants: Tips for Plan Fiduciaries

[4/18/06] Reuters (via Business Insurance):  "Wal-Mart Reducing Certain Prescription Copays"

[4/18/06] Center for Studying Health System Change:  "Public Employees’ Health Benefits Survive Major Threats, So Far"

[4/14/06] Milliman, Inc.:  2006 Pension Funding Study

[4/14/06] Reuters (via Business Insurance):  "GM Says UAW Deal Will Save $13B in Health Costs"

[4/14/06] Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:  "The Long-Term Uninsured in America, 2000-2003: Estimates for the U.S. Population under Age 65"

[4/14/06] The Century Foundation:  Public Policy in an Older America

[4/13/06] The Segal Company Capital Checkup:  "CMS Announces Indexed Medicare Part D Amounts for 2007"

[4/13/06] The Council for Affordable Health Insurance’s Issues and Answers:  "The Pitfalls of Mandating Health Insurance Coverage"

[4/13/06] Infinisource Benefit News:  As COBRA Turns 20, Common Employer Mistakes Persist

[4/13/06] Milliman’s Client Action Bulletin:  "IRS Amends 'Relative Value' Disclosure Rules for Retirement Plans"

[4/13/06] TIAA-CREF Institute:  The Expanding “Roth” Retirement Account

[4/12/06] Watson Wyatt Insider:  "The 11th Hour for Pension Reform"

[4/12/06] AARP:  Portfolio on Pensions [a collection of recently released international comparative resources on public, private and occupational pensions]

[4/10/06] The Segal Company:  Results of the Segal Survey of Multiemployer Health Funds’ Response to the Initial Availability of Medicare Part D Coverage

[4/10/06] AARP Fact Sheet:  "The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation 2005 Fiscal Year Report: An Agency Facing Continuing Financial Challenges"

[4/10/06] Monthly Labor Review:  "Projected Pension Income: Equality or Disparity for the Baby-Boom Cohort?"

[4/7/06] Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:  A Brief Overview of the Major Flaws with Health Savings Accounts

[4/7/06] Congressional Budget Office:  Long-Term Analysis of S.2427, the Sustainable Solvency First for Social Security Act of 2006

[4/7/06] Aon Consulting Alert: "FASB to Change Employers’ Balance Sheet for Pensions and Retiree Health Benefits in 2006"

[4/7/06] AARP Issue Brief:  "Designing 401(k) Plans That Encourage Retirement Savings: Lessons from Behavioral Finance"

[4/6/06] Employee Benefit News:  "The Sky Is Falling, Except When It Isn’t: Boomer Retirement Histrionics Good for Everyone"

[4/4/06] Employee Benefit News:  "Super Stores Challenge Fair Share in Court"

[4/4/06] Social Security Administration:  Social Security Programs Throughout the World: The Americas, 2005

[4/3/06] Alliance for Health Reform:  HSAs and High-Deductible Health Plans: A Primer

[4/3/06] National Association of Realtors:  Attitudes Towards Small Business Health Care

[4/3/06] Kaiser Family Foundation:  Women’s Health Insurance Coverage Fact SheetHealth Insurance Coverage of Women Ages 18-64, by State, 2003-2004

[4/3/06] Pensions Policy Institute:  Shaping a Stable Pensions Solution: How Pension Experts Would Reform UK Pensions

[4/3/06] Watson Wyatt Worldwide Global News Briefs:  "Japan Requires Employers to Change Retirement Age"

Updated 4/27/06