What's New - April 2007

Index to All Months                                                                                                     Return to Current Month

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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:

Publications:

EBRI Publishes Detailed Look at U.S. Retirement System:  With the oldest of the nation’s baby boomers turning 60 this year, the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) has published an in-depth book on the U.S. retirement system and how it may change in the future.

April 2007 EBRI Issue Brief - "The Retirement System in Transition: The 2007 Retirement Confidence Survey"

April 2007 EBRI Notes - "Employee Tenure, 2006"

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

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:

Presentations
"Saving Our Future Requires Tough Choices Today" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, on the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, in Syracuse, New York. GAO-07-739CG, April 4. [slides]

Reports
Social Security Reform: Greater Transparency Needed about Potential General Revenue Financing. GAO-07-213, March 22.  Highlights.

Testimonies
Private Pensions: Increased Reliance on 401(k) Plans Calls for Better Information on Fees, by Barbara D. Bovbjerg, director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the House Committee on Education and Labor. GAO-07-530T, March 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.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

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.


[4/30/07] U.S. Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service:  Designated Roth Accounts Under Section 402A; Final regulations [published in the Federal Register on April 30, 2007]

[4/30/07] Segal Advisory:  "What Sponsors of Multiemployer Defined Contribution Plans Need to Know about the Movement for Greater Transparency of Fees and Expenses"

[4/27/07]  U.S. Department of the Treasury:  "Treasury Releases 'Choose to Save' Television Commercial during National Financial Literacy Month"

[4/27/07] Business Insurance:  "House Passes Bill to Prevent Genetic Bias" - Bill Summary: H.R.493, Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007.

[4/27/07] U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services:  Office for Civil Rights - HIPAA: Compliance and Enforcement [a new, enhanced Web site]

[4/27/07] National Health Policy Forum:  Review of Access and Quality of Care in SCHIP Using Standardized National Performance Measures

[4/27/07] The Segal Company:  Survey of Multiemployer Pension Plans’ PPA’06 Funded Percentage and Projected Zone Status

[4/26/07] Forums Institute for Public Policy Issue Brief:  "The Health Policy Landscape: 2007 and Beyond"

[4/26/07] American Legacy Foundation and Milliman:  Covering Smoking Cessation as a Health Benefit: A Case for Employers

[4/26/07] U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Fee and Expense Disclosures to Participants in Individual Account Plans; Request for information [published in the Federal Register on April 25, 2007]

[4/26/07] Employee Benefit News:  "Like a Moth to a Flame: Attracted by Federal Moves to Increase Transparency and Automation, 401(k) Sponsors Make See-Through Fees and Auto Features Hot"

[4/25/07] The Retirement Security Project:

[4/25/07] National Center for Employee Ownership:  "ESOPs in Mergers and Acquisitions: Wave of the Future?"

[4/25/07] Standard & Poor’s:  Improved U.S. State Pension Funding Levels Could Be on the Horizon

[4/25/07] Watson Wyatt Insider:  "DOL Issues Final Regulations on Timing of QDROs"

[4/24/07] Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:  Cover the Uninsured Week 2007

[4/24/07] National Center for Policy Analysis Brief Analysis No. 585:  "Insuring the Uninsured: Five Steps to Improve the Massachusetts Plan"

[4/24/07] The Commonwealth Fund:

[4/24/07] U.S. Dept. of the Treasury:  "Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. Statement on the 2007 Social Security and Medicare Trust Fund Reports"

[4/24/07] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Social Security’s Financial Outlook: The 2007 Report in Perspective

[4/23/07] Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees:  Status of the Social Security and Medicare Programs: A Summary of the 2007 Annual Reports

[4/23/07] Social Security Administration:  2007 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Federal Disability Insurance Trust FundsReport PDF.

[4/23/07] Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:  2007 Annual Report of the Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds

[4/23/07] Watson Wyatt Insider:  "Looking into the FASB’s Crystal Ball: What’s Ahead for Liability Measurement?"

[4/23/07] InvestmentNews:  "House Passes Executive Comp Bill"

[4/23/07] Internal Revenue Service:  Archer Medical Savings Accounts -- Cut-Off Year [Announcement 2007-44]

[4/20/07] Business Insurance:  "Large Employers to Stay Involved in Health Care"

[4/20/07] Buck Consultants, an ACS Company:  "Buck Consultants Survey: 2007 Health Care Costs Will Continue to Outpace Inflation"

[4/20/07] The Segal Company’s Capital Checkup:  "Steps Health Plan Sponsors Can Take to Prepare for the May 23, 2007 Deadline for Using HIPAA National Provider Identifiers"

[4/20/07] Employee Benefit News:  "Mental Health Parity Bill Back on the Table for Discussion"

[4/19/07] Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  "Genetic Discrimination Bill Would Increase Insurance Access, CBO Report Finds"

[4/19/07] Congressional Research Service:  Regulation of Health Benefits Under ERISA: An Outline

[4/19/07] Health Affairs:  "Will Pay-For-Performance and Quality Reporting Affect Health Care Disparities?"

[4/19/07] Employee Benefit News:  "Running the Numbers: ROI Calculations Lacking Outside Health Programs"

[4/18/07] Employee Benefit News:  "Bush Health Proposal Would Phase Out FSAs, HRAs"

[4/18/07] Buck Consultants, an ACS Company:  "American Business Sees Retirement Crisis Looming; Taking Steps to Engage Workers"

[4/18/07] National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators:  "GASB 45: New Standards in Reporting OPEB"

[4/18/07] Congressional Budget Office:  Characteristics and Pay of Federal Civilian Employees

[4/17/07] Business Insurance:  "Workers Rank Health Care Top Benefit"

[4/17/07] Employee Benefit News:  "J.D. Power Releases Results from First-Ever Health Plan Satisfaction Survey"

[4/17/07] Workforce Management:  "Top CDHP Providers for Employer-Sponsored Plans"

[4/17/07] Urban Institute:  Job Changes at Older Ages: Effects on Wages, Benefits, and Other Job Attributes

[4/13/07] U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration: 

[4/13/07] Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  "Massachusetts Connector Likely to Approve Health Insurance Exemptions"

[4/13/07] Alliance for Health Reform:  Health Care Coverage in America: Understanding the Issues and Proposed Solutions [updated March 2007]

[4/13/07] MarketWatch:  "Equality in Benefits for Domestic Partners: Bill in Congress Would End Taxation of Company-Provided Health Perks"

[4/12/07] American Institute of Certified Public Accountants:  "American Adults Still Expect to Retire with a Pension, According to AICPA Survey"

[4/12/07] Towers Perrin and CFO Research Services:  Pension Plan Risk: Using the Calm before the Next Storm

[4/12/07] Milliman, Inc.:  2007 Pension Funding Study--The Return to Full Funding (Almost). More Details.

[4/12/07] Internal Revenue Service:  Application of Section 409A to Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans; Final regulations

[4/12/07] Internal Revenue Service:  Guidance Regarding the Application of Section 409A to Split-Dollar Life Insurance Arrangements [Notice 2007-34]

[4/12/07] U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Proposed Extension of Information Collection Request Submitted for Public Comment; Final Rule on Health Care Continuation Coverage; Notice [published in the Federal Register on April 9, 2007]

[4/11/07] Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments, April 2007

[4/11/07] Journal of Financial Planning:  "New Comparability Plan: A New Paradigm in Retirement Planning for Small-Business Owners"

[4/11/07] 403(b)wise:  The 403(b) Market

[4/11/07] Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  "More Small Businesses Offering High-Deductible Health Insurance Plans"

[4/10/07] Office of U.S. Congressman Pete Stark:  "Stark Introduces AmeriCare: Commonwealth Fund Study Finds Legislation Would Provide Universal Coverage and Lower Health Care Costs" [press release].  AmeriCare Health Care Act of 2007 [one-page summary]

[4/10/07] Business Insurance:  "Maine Governor Proposes Health Care Reforms"

[4/10/07] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Health Savings Accounts

[4/10/07] Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  "U.S. Health Care System Should Focus on Preventive Health, According to Report"

[4/9/07] Journal of Financial Planning:  "National Savings Rate Guidelines for Individuals"

[4/9/07] Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Plans News [Special Edition, April 2007]

[4/9/07] Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:  "Notification of Changes in Medicare Part D Payment for Calendar Year 2008 (Part D Payment Notification)"

[4/9/07] The New England Journal of Medicine:  "Benefits with Risks -- Bush’s Tax-Based Health Care Proposals," by Robert D. Reischauer, Ph.D. [Perspective]

[4/9/07] Aon Consulting Forum:  "Medical Tourism: The Ultimate Outsourcing"

[4/6/07] Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service:  Limitations on Benefits and Contributions Under Qualified Plans; Final regulations and removal of temporary regulations [published in the Federal Register on April 5, 2007]

[4/6/07] The Segal Company’s Capital Checkup:  "Maximizing Retiree Drug Subsidy Income"

[4/6/07] California HealthCare Foundation:  Snapshot: Health Care Costs 101, 2007 Edition [Overview]. Full Report.

[4/6/07] Employee Benefit News:  "The Rules, They Are a Changin’: PPA Ushers New Regulations for Employer-Owned Life Insurance"

[4/5/07] Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  "Unclaimed Pension Benefits Total $133M at PBGC: Pension Insurer’s Web Site Offers Link to Missing Retirement Money"

[4/5/07] Congressional Research Service:  The Financial Health of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

[4/5/07] AXA Equitable:  "America Tops 11 Countries in Retirement Savings: AXA’s Global Retirement Scope Survey Reveals Americans Lead in Retirement Savings but Lag in Pension Security"

[4/5/07] 403(b)wise: Benefits Officials:  "Stop Acting Like 98-pound Weaklings and Start Throwing Your Weight Around to Gain 403(b) Pricing Breaks"

[4/5/07] Employee Benefit News:  "Tax Laws Impede HSAs for Domestic Partners"

[4/4/07] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employer Costs for Paid Leave in Private Industry, December 2006

[4/4/07] Employee Benefit News:  "Calculating ROI for Corporate Health Care"

[4/4/07] Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  Health Insurance Mandates in the States 2007

[4/4/07] U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation:  Description of Revenue Provisions Contained in the President’s Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Proposal [JCS-2-07]

[4/3/07] Towers Perrin Monitor:  "Changing Benefit Practices Challenge Companies"

[4/3/07] ICMA-RC:  "Senate OK’s Bill to Provide Roth 457 Plans to State, Local Government Workers"

[4/3/07] America’s Health Insurance Plans:  January 2007 Census Shows 4.5 Million People Covered by HSA/High-Deductible Health Plans. Slides.

[4/3/07] AISHealth.com:  "Can Consumer-Directed Health and Universal Coverage Coexist?" [reprinted from the Jan. 26, 2007, issue of Inside Consumer-Directed Care]

[4/3/07] Congressional Research Service:  Stock Options: The Backdating Issue

[4/3/07] Sun Life Financial:  "The Retirement Spending Boom: How Baby Boomers Need Income Flexibility to Live Their Lives Their Way"

[4/2/07] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Pretax Benefits: Access to Section 125 Cafeteria Benefits and Health Savings Accounts in the United States, Private Industry

[4/2/07] Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  "Employers Extend Wellness Program Incentives to Healthy Workers"

[4/2/07] Business Insurance:  "Free Prescription Drugs Boost Usage, Cut Costs"

[4/2/07] Congressional Budget Office:  Utilization of Tax Incentives for Retirement Saving: Update to 2003

[4/2/07] Congressional Research Service:  The Economics of Corporate Executive Pay

[4/2/07] Watson Wyatt Insider:  "Social Security -- The Fate of the 1983 Long-Term Solution and the Lessons for Future Reform"

Updated 4/30/07