What's New - August 2008

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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:

August 2008 EBRI Issue Brief - "Lessons From the Evolution of 401(k) Retirement Plans for Increased Consumerism in Health Care: An Application of Behavioral Research"

August 2008 EBRI Notes - "The Impact of Immigration on Health Insurance Coverage in the United States, 1994-2006" and "Saving for Health Care Expenses in Retirement: The Use of Health Savings Accounts"

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New Survey Released March 19, 2008: Preparing for Their Future: A Look at the Financial State of Gen X and Gen Y - Press Release

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.

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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
PBGC Assets: Implementation of New Investment Policy Will Need Stronger Board Oversight. GAO-08-667, July 17. Highlights.

Private Pensions: Fulfilling Fiduciary Obligations Can Present Challenges for 401(k) Plan Sponsors. GAO-08-774, July 16. Highlights.
Related Product: Private Pensions: GAO Survey of 401(k) Plan Sponsor Practices (GAO-08-870SP, July 2008), an E-supplement to GAO-08-774. GAO-08-870SP, July 16. [Internet only]

Defined Benefit Pensions: Plan Freezes Affect Millions of Participants and May Pose Retirement Income Challenges. GAO-08-817, July 21. Highlights.
Related Product: Defined Benefit Pensions: Survey of Sponsors of Large Defined Benefit Pension Plans (GAO-08-818SP, July 2008), an E-supplement to GAO-08-817. GAO-08-818SP, July 21. [Internet only]


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.


[8/27/08]  The Vanguard Group:  How America Saves 2008: A Report on Vanguard 2007 Defined Contribution Plan Data

[8/27/08]  Hewitt Associates:  “IRS Updates and Expands Guidance on Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) for Plan Failures

[8/27/08]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  Answering Your Questions about Health Savings Accounts [Updated for 2008 and 2009]

[8/26/08]  U.S. Census Bureau:  Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007

[8/26/08]  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:  F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America

[8/25/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation: 

[8/25/08]  Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:  “Lower Medicare Part D Costs Than Expected in 2009

[8/25/08]  The Vanguard Group:  “How Financial Literacy and Trust in Financial Institutions Affect 401(k) Savings Behavior

[8/25/08]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:

[8/22/08]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:


[8/22/08]  National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators:  NAGDCA 2008 Survey of Defined Contribution Plans II

[8/22/08]  Congressional Budget Office:  Updated Long-Term Projections for Social Security

[8/22/08]  SurePayroll:  “SurePayroll Insights Survey: Survey Estimates That 39 Million Americans Who Work for Small Businesses Do Not Have Access to a Company-Sponsored 401(k) Plan

[8/21/08]  Sibson Consulting:  Abstract of 2009 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey

[8/21/08]  Center for Studying Health System Change Tracking Report No. 20:  “Striking Jump in Consumers Seeking Health Care Information

[8/21/08]  health08.org:  Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Election 2008 -- August 2008

[8/21/08]  The Chicago Tribune:  “Health Care No Longer Primary Ailment: Economy, Price of Gas, War in Iraq Have Surpassed Insurance as Top Election Issue for Candidates

[8/20/08]  The Commonwealth Fund:  Losing Ground: How the Loss of Adequate Health Insurance Is Burdening Working Families -- Findings from The Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Surveys, 2001-2007

[8/20/08]  Health Affairs:  “Health Information Technology: A Few Years of Magical Thinking? -- Technology and Standards Alone Will Not Lead to Health IT Adoption, Let Alone Transform Health Care

[8/20/08]  Urban Institute:  Storm Clouds Ahead for 401(k) Plans?

[8/20/08]  Principal Financial Group:  The Principal 10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security

[8/19/08]  Aon Corporation:  “Employers Face 10.6 Percent Health Care Cost Increases, Says Aon Consulting

[8/19/08]  Milliman’s Client Action Bulletin:  “FAQs about Schedule C Fee Disclosures for Defined Contribution Plans

[8/19/08]  Towers Perrin:  Managing Pension Surplus: A New Playbook for a New Era [White Paper]

[8/19/08]  Financial Research Corporation:  IRA Rollover Dynamics 2008: Market Sizing, Benchmarks, & Best Practices [Study Overview and Table of Contents]

[8/18/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Retirement News for Employers [Summer 2008]

[8/18/08]  Aon Consulting Forum:  “Roth 401(k): A Tool for a Broad Spectrum of Employees

[8/18/08]  Deloitte Center for Health Solutions:  Medical Tourism: Consumers in Search of Value

[8/15/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Plans News: “Revenue Procedure 2008-50 Updates IRS’s Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System” [Special Edition, August 14, 2008]

[8/15/08]  National Institute on Retirement Security:  A Better Bang for the Buck: The Economic Efficiencies of Defined Benefit Pension Plans

[8/15/08]  Economic Policy Institute:  Social Security: Here Today, Still Here Tomorrow -- Why Today’s Young Workers Should Be Confident about the Program’s Future

[8/15/08]  Social Security Administration Policy Brief:  “Distributional Effects of Increasing the Benefit Computation Period

[8/14/08]  Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments, August 2008

[8/14/08]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “Same-Sex Marriage Issues Complicate Employee Benefit Plan Administration

[8/14/08]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  “Associations, Trade Groups Offer Members Group-Like Health Insurance

[8/14/08]  Congressional Research Service:

[8/14/08]  Congressional Budget Office:  Behavioral Economics: Lessons from Retirement Research for Health Care and Beyond -- A Presentation by CBO Director Peter Orszag to the Retirement Research Consortium

[8/13/08]  Charles Schwab:  A Shared Benefit: Employer Views on the Value of 401(k) Plans

[8/13/08]  Hay Group Benefits Alert:  “DOL Proposes Defined Contribution Plan Investment and Expense Disclosure Rules” 

[8/13/08]  Congressional Research Service:  H.R. 6500, The Thrift Savings Plan Enhancement Act of 2008

[8/13/08]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Do Households Have a Good Sense of Their Retirement Preparedness?

[8/12/08]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employee Benefits in the United States, March 2008

[8/12/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Plans News [Special Edition, August 6, 2008]

[8/12/08]  National Institute on Retirement Security:  Asset Allocation Patterns in DB and DC Plans

[8/12/08]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  Obama vs. McCain: Competing Health Care Visions

[8/7/08]  U.S. Department of the Treasury:  “Treasury, IRS Issue Ruling Preventing Certain Pension Transfers

[8/7/08]  The Commonwealth Fund:  Public Views on U.S. Health System Organization: A Call for New Directions

[8/7/08]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  “Increased Popularity of Medical Tourism Affects Health Care Provider Revenue

[8/7/08]  Association of Academic Health Centers:  Out of Order, Out of Time: The State of the Nation’s Health Workforce

[8/5/08]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employment Cost Index--June 2008

[8/5/08]  U.S. Senate Committee on Finance:  Hearing on “Health Benefits in the Tax Code: The Right Incentives” [includes links to testimonies]

[8/5/08]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “Massachusetts Provides Revised Guidance on Minimum Creditable Coverage Requirements

[8/5/08]  Center for State & Local Government Excellence:  New Data on State Defined Contribution and Defined Benefit Plans

[8/4/08]  U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission:  401(k) Debit Cards: What You Might Not Know

[8/4/08]  Human Resource Executive Online:  “Health Care: Can We Afford It?” by Dallas Salisbury

[8/4/08]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Work Schedules in the National Compensation Survey

[8/4/08]  American Academy of Actuaries:

[8/1/08]  Internal Revenue Service:

[8/1/08]  Social Security Administration:  Income of the Population 55 or Older, 2004 (Expanded Edition) [released July 2008]

[8/1/08]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  The Annuity Puzzle and Negative Framing

[8/1/08]  Buck Consultants InsightOut:  “The Obama and McCain Health Care Platforms: A Guide for Employers

Updated 8/27/08