What's New

What's New - August 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:

Wednesday, August 28, 2002, in New York City: the Choose To Save® Program was a finalist to win a National Emmy for “Best” National Public Education Program. 

Even without the win, the nomination was a high honor for Choose To Save®.

August 2002 EBRI Issue Brief: "Retirement Plan Participation and Features, and the Standard of Living of Americans 55 or Older"

August 2002 EBRI Notes: "Disease Management Programs" and "Health Insurance Coverage and the Near Elderly, 2000"

The Basics of Medicare -- Updated With the 2002 Board of Trustees Report: The August 2002 Facts from EBRI, monthly fact sheets providing timely statistics and background on a variety of employee benefit issues.

Kansas Future Retirement Income Assessment Project: Kansans who retire over the next three decades generally won't have enough money to cover their living expenses, according to an EBRI study presented July 12, 2002, to the state's Task Force on Long-Term Care Services.  The task force, which includes legislators and advocates for the elderly, is in its third year of a five-year study of the needs of senior citizens.  The Kansas Future Retirement Income Assessment Project was conducted by EBRI and underwritten by the Milbank Memorial Fund.

The Basics of Social Security -- Updated With the 2002 Board of Trustees Report: The July 2002 Facts from EBRI, monthly fact sheets providing timely statistics and background on a variety of employee benefit issues.

Small Employer Retirement Survey: Results of the 2002 Small Employer Retirement Survey (SERS) were released Tuesday, May 7, 2002, during a panel discussion entitled, "Closing the Small Business Retirement Security Gap for Employers and Employees," at the Small Business Week conference in Washington DC.

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.

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:

Social Security Administration: Revision to the Government Pension Offset Exemption Should Be Considered.  GAO-02-950, August 15, 2002.

Federal Pensions: Judicial Survivors' Annuities System Costs.  GAO-02-763, June 26, 2002.

Social Security: Long-Term Financing Shortfall Drives Need for Reform.  Testimony by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the House Committee on the Budget. GAO-02-845T, June 19, 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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(8/26/02) The Economic Policy Institute has posted an EPI Briefing Paper dated August 2002 titled “Retirement Out of Reach: Financial Markets Will Not Generate Adequate Retirement Income for Average Household,” by Christian E. Weller.

(8/26/02) Business Week Online has posted an article by Ellen Hoffman dated August 22 and titled “The Best Benefit You’re Not Getting,” which discusses a retirement planning benefit enacted by Congress that few employers are offering.

(8/26/02) Charles Schwab & Co. issued a press release August 21 titled “Pre-Retirees Shocked by Retirement Reality; Majority Facing Serious Saving Shortfall; Women in Particular May Be Missing Ways to Catch Up,” which includes highlights from a new survey commissioned by Schwab.

(8/26/02) The Center for Studying Health System Change released Working Families’ Health Insurance Coverage, 1997-2001, dated August 2002, by Bradley C. Strunk and James C. Reschovsky.

(8/23/02) On August 20th, the Diane Rehm Show, an NPR syndicated program, discussed consumer-driven health plans.  The full segment is available online in RealPlayer Audio.

(8/23/02) Communicating for Agriculture and the Self-Employed, Inc. (CA) released July 22,   final survey results titled: Survey Shows Small Business Owners Concerned About Economic Crisis.

(8/23/02) A Study of Public Employees Retirement Systems by Michael J. Samet, Timothy P. Peach, and W. Paul Zorn “represents the first comprehensive compilation and review of the actuarial methods and assumptions used by public employees retirement systems (PERS).”

(8/23/02) Finger pointers can't settle on who's to blame for health costs by Julie Appleby was posted by USA TODAY on August 21, 2002.

(8/21/02) Maritz Research issued a press release in July titled “Retirement Nest Egg Has Cracks,” which includes highlights from a recent Maritz poll of Americans’ attitudes toward retirement planning.

(8/21/02) Watson Wyatt Worldwide’s August 19 press release is titled “New Watson Wyatt Tool Helps Employers Re-calculate Retirement Income Strategies for Workers to Maintain Living Standards.”

(8/21/02) The American Academy of Actuaries invites all actuaries to register for the Pension Assistance List (PAL) which is a nationwide referral service to help individuals understand their pension benefits.

(8/21/02) Winfried Schmähl and Sabine Horstmann are the authors of Transformation of Pension Systems in Central and Eastern Europe published by Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.

(8/19/02) On August 15, 2002, Fidelity Investments issued a press release titled “Fidelity/Monster Survey Reveals Positive Outlook Among Nation’s Job Changers: High Awareness of Financial Options Signals New Trend Toward Keeping Retirement Savings Working.”

(8/19/02) The Economic Policy Institute has posted “Retirement Insecurity: The Income Shortfalls Awaiting the Soon-to-Retire,” by Edward N. Wolff.

(8/19/02) The U.S. Senate Committee on Finance has posted the “National Employee Savings and Trust Equity Guarantee Act” [NESTEG Act] and related documents, as follows:

(8/15/02) The memorandum titled “Latest Findings on Employer-Based Coverage of Contraception” presents new findings from the soon to be released Kaiser/HRET 2002 Annual Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits.

(8/15/02) On August 12 New York Life Investment Management issued a press release titled “Mainstay Funds Finds Generation-X Financially Savvy, Well Positioned to Weather Financial Downturn,” which includes highlights from its 2nd annual GenX Survey.

(8/15/02) WorldatWork issued a press release August 8 titled “Market, Economy Can’t Deter Use of Employee Stock,” which includes key findings from its 29th annual Total Salary Increase Budget Survey.

(8/15/02) The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ “Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information; Final Rule” was published in the Federal Register on August 14, 2002.

(8/15/02) On August 13, 2002, Standard & Poor’s issued a press release titled S&P Publishes List of 68 Firms to Expense Stock Options.   Click here for the complete list, which will be updated regularly.

(8/15/02) The Human Rights Campaign issued a press release August 13 titled “13 Companies Earn Perfect Score on First HRC Corporate Equality Index -- Demonstrate Leadership with Regard to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Employees.”

(8/13/02) The Workplace Forecast: A Strategic Outlook 2002-2003 is the latest in the biennial series from the Society for Human Resource Management.

(8/13/02) On August 10, 2002, the White House issued a press release titled “President to Host Economic Forum Tuesday.”  Pension security and affordable health care will be among the topics discussed.

(8/13/02) The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights has posted “Medical Privacy - National Standards to Protect the Privacy of Personal Health Information.”   This page includes links to the following, as well as links to a variety of other related information:

(8/13/02) USA Today featured an article August 8 by Matt Krantz titled “Firms Expensing Stock Options Aren’t Taking Huge Hit.”

(8/13/02) “Financial Planning and Wealth Accumulation: Identifying Individuals' Propensity to Plan” by Mimi Lord, is reprinted with the publisher’s permission from the July-August 2002 issue of the Journal of Retirement Planning.

(8/13/02) On August 1, 2002, Sen. Paul Wellstone introduced in the U.S. Senate S.2875 titled “A bill to amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to increase the maximum levels of guaranteed single-employer plan benefits, and for other purposes.” A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(8/8/02) www.GovBenefits.gov will make it easier to search for U.S. government benefits one may be eligible to receive.

(8/8/02) Iinformation is now available on the 2002 EBN-Hay Group Benefits Management Survey, conducted over the past three months at BenefitNews.com.

(8/8/02) The Center for Studying Health System Change has released Who Do You Trust? Americans' Perspectives on Health Care, 1997-2001

(8/8/02) “The Journal of Pension Economics and Finance (JPEF) focuses on the economics and finance of pensions and retirement income.  The journal is associated with the International Network of Pension Regulators and Supervisors.”  A free sample issue of Volume 1, Issue 01 (March 2002) is currently available online.

(8/8/02) The International Social Security Association (ISSA) and the International Network of Pension Regulators and Supervisors (INPRS) have announced the publication of a CD ROM titled Complementary and Private Pensions 2002, which includes in-depth data pertaining to voluntary occupational and mandatory private pension systems in forty countries. All country information is provided in English, as well as ten country profiles also available in French. The CD ROM costs $50 (US); ordering information can be found at the ISSA site.

(8/8/02) The U.S. Department of Labor issued a press release dated August 6 titled “Secretary Elaine L. Chao Announces Assistance to Help Small Businesses Avoid Health Benefit Scams -- Advocates Stronger Protections and Greater Access to Health Benefits.”

(8/7/02) U.S. Congressional Bibliographies, compiled by John A. McGeachy of North Carolina State University, provides comprehensive lists of Senate hearings, prints, and publications from 1983 to the present.  Also provided are lists of House committee meetings recorded in the Congressional Record's Daily Digest from 1985 to the present.  The Senate pages are searchable by keyword, committee name, or Senate number.

(8/7/02) An interview with EBRI’s Dallas Salisbury is in the July 2002 issue of Plan Sponsor.  Read: “Q&A: Boomers in a Bind: Dallas Salisbury says the next generation of retirees may find its expectations unfulfilled.” 

(8/7/02) “Just Out Of Reish: Show And Tell Communication Gaps Can Cost You” about 404(c) compliance is from the July 2002 issue of Plan Sponsor magazine.

(8/7/02) U.S. Rep. George Miller, the ranking member of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, issued a press release August 1 titled “House Democrats Urge September Hearings on Private Pension Security,” which includes the letter from Rep. Miller and Rep. Rob Andrews to Committee Chairman John Boehner requesting the hearings.

(8/2/02) The U.S. Department of Labor’s Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration has posted Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program, dated August 1, 2002, which provides additional guidance on correcting late contributions.

(8/2/02) The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has posted a report dated July 2002 titled State Long-Term Care: Recent Developments and Policy Directions, prepared by Barbara Coleman, Wendy Fox-Grage, and Donna Folkemer of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

(8/2/02) BenefitsLink provides the text of the Corporate Accountability Bill [H.R. 3763] – the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 [P.L. 107-204] -- with links to the benefits-related provisions.

(8/1/02) On February 14, 2002, Rep. Michael Oxley introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R.3763, “Corporate and Auditing Accountability, Responsibility, and Transparency Act of 2002,” which was signed into law by President Bush on July 30, 2002.  This bill includes provisions on pension plan blackout periods.  A Bill Summary & Status is available.  Click here for the White House press release dated July 30 titled “President Bush Signs Corporate Corruption Bill.”

(8/1/02) The Society of Actuaries held the Retirement Implications of Demographic and Family Change Symposium in June 2002 at which papers were presented on various topics surrounding the issue.  Click here for fulltext of the papers.

(8/1/02) The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics has posted “Employment Cost Index--June 2002,” dated July 25, 2002.

(8/1/02) WorldatWork has posted a July 25 news release titled “Comp Professionals: Wait-and-See on Option Expensing.”  The complete survey, titled Stock Option Expensing: A Quick Hit Survey,  is also available.

(8/1/02) The April 2002 issue of New York University Law Review features an article by Susan J. Stabile titled “The Behavior of Defined Contribution Plan Participants.”

(8/1/02) “New Trends in U.S. Pensions” by Olivia S. Mitchell with the assistance of Erica L. Dykes is a paper from Benefits for the Workplace of the Future to be published in 2003.

(8/1/02) WorkersCompensation.com provides services and information on the named topic for all 50 states and includes information provided by the American Insurance Association.

(8/1/02) Prefunding Retiree Medical Obligations is a concise review of the issue by Anna Rappaport of Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

(8/1/02) The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has posted the fulltext of Employee Costs and the Decline in Health Insurance Coverage by David M. Cuter.

(8/1/02) Watson Wyatt Worldwide issued a press release on July 25 titled “Declining Levels of Employee Trust Are a Major Threat to Corporate Competitiveness, Watson Wyatt Study Finds,” which includes highlights from Watson Wyatt’s WorkUSA 2002 survey.

(8/1/02) Deloitte & Touche has posted “Employer Health Care Strategy Survey 2001,” conducted by Deloitte & Touche’s Human Capital Advisory Services practice and Business & Health magazine.

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Updated 8/30/02