What's New

What's New - August 1999

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What's new at EBRI this month:


The EBRI Issue Brief and EBRI Notes for the month of August are available online for ordering. The August Issue Brief is entitled "The 1999 Small Employer Retirement Survey: Building a Better Mousetrap Is Not Enough." The August Notes articles are "Severing the Link Between Health Insurance and Employment" and "Lessons from the 1999 Youth and Money Survey."

An Overview of Cash Balance Plans: This feature article from the July 1999 EBRI Notes outlines the pros and cons of "cash balance" retirement plans, which have generated strong interest among employers and workers, as well as considerable news coverage.

The EBRI Issue Brief and EBRI Notes for the month of July are available online for ordering. The July Issue Brief is entitled "Employment-Based Health Insurance: A Look at Tax Issues and Public Opinion." The July Notes article is "An Overview of Cash Balance Plans."

Employee Tools: Results of the 1999 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) and the 1999 Small Employer Retirement Survey (SERS) show we are making progress in educating Americans about the need to make retirement savings and planning a priority, but we must do more to help. To that end, we have created two new retirement planning tools based on the results of this year’s RCS-the Retirement Readiness Rating and the Retirement Personality Profiler.

  • The Retirement Readiness Rating (R3) measures how well individual workers are doing in terms of preparing for their retirement. Individuals answer a series of 11 questions and receive tips on action items they can take that will help them improve their financial preparations for retirement.
  • The Retirement Personality Profiler asks individuals a short series of questions and then determines whether the individual is a Planner, Saver, Struggler, Impulsive, or Denier. Based on their retirement personality, the Profiler provides tips on how the individual can do a better job of planning and saving for retirement.

EBRI Research Findings for 1998-1999:

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What's new in employee benefits:

  • The American Compensation Association provides listings of human resources-related congressional bills with links to the bills and to background information on the bills.
  • Late-breaking news items from the weekly publication Business Insurance are posted every Friday before the Monday issue date.
  • Click here for the latest available issue of the Washington Status Report from the research staff of Hewitt Associates.
  • Click here for the daily edition of the Society for Human Resource Management's newspaper, HR News Online.
  • Click here for the American Compensation Association's Compensation & Benefits NEWSLINE.
  • The following items have been added to the General Accounting Office's Web site in Portable Document (PDF) format:

If a title link above no longer works, click here for the GAO Index of Reports and Testimony, FY99, and search for the report by entering words or phrases from the title. Reports will also be added to GAO's searchable WAIS database in ASCII and PDF formats within 24 hours of the original posting. Any individual report may be retrieved directly in text and PDF formats with the following URL: http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?RPTNO replacing RPTNO with the report number (e.g., GAO/OCG-98-1).

 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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(8/30/99) Plan Sponsor Exchange, a new source on the Internet, provides a Web site for interaction and research among the plan sponsor community.

(8/27/99) Click here for Health Insurance Status of the Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population: 1997 done by J.P. Vistnes and S.H. Zuvekas for the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research; MEPS Research Findings No. 8, AHCPR Pub. No. 99-0030. "This report provides preliminary estimates of the health insurance status of the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S.population during the first half of 1997, including the size and characteristics of the population with private health insurance, with public insurance, and without any health care coverage."

(8/27/99) "More than 140 members of the Society of Actuaries’ Futurism Section revealed their educated beliefs on 25 questions about the future in a recent study. The special project, a Delphi study, was conducted in conjunction with the Society’s 50th anniversary in 1999 and the approaching Year 2000."

(8/27/99) Internet Users Want to Manage Health Insurance Benefits Online is the headline on the August 25 press release from Cyber Dialogue, an Internet database marketing company.

(8/26/99) Job Hopping May Jeopardize Retirement, by James E. Challenger, president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., is from the August 22, 1999, issue of the Chicago Sun-Times.

(8/25/99) A research study on public pension reform, Pension Liberation for Texas by Peter J. Ferrara, is available on the Web site of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

(8/25/99) The South Carolina Policy Council has posted, What’s Best for Social Security by U.S. Representative Mark Sanford.

(8/24/99) The "Official U.S. Government Site for Medicare Information" has posted Medicare & You 2000. The handbook explains Medicare benefits, plan choices, and where to call for help.

(8/24/99) The Council of Economic Advisers has prepared the following reports:

(8/23/99) Compliance Alert, The Segal Company's electronic newsletter summarizing recent important federal legislation and regulations relating to administration and compliance, offers the following:

(8/23/99) Hewitt Associates' Summer 1999 Bulletin Board has short updates on the following issues:

  • Rising Consumer Dissatisfaction With Managed Care Plans in U.S.
  • Hot IT Skills in Demand
  • Employee Ownership Plans--Do They Drive Business Results?
  • Hong Kong Salaries Continue Upward Trend
  • Broadbanding is Here to Stay
  • Employers Enhance Educational Reimbursement Programs
  • Salaried Employee Benefits Provided by Major U.S. Employers in 1998

(8/20/99) The Urban Institute has posted The Implications of Social Security's Long-Range Financial Projections by Lawrence H. Thompson, number 6 in the series, "The Retirement Project."

(8/19/99) Click here to read an interview with Russ Mueller on his career with a look back at 25 years of ERISA in the August Enrolled Actuaries Report.

(8/19/99) Read current international and national "press reports on life and work in the revolutionary new world economy" at Gary Johnson's BraveNewWorkWorld & NewWork News.

(8/19/99) Enrollment Increases in State CHIP Programs: December 1998 to June 1999 is a new survey of state officials conducted by Vernon Smith of Health Management Associates for the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.

(8/19/99) A new American Academy of Actuaries Issue Paper, "Assumptions Used to Project Social Security's Financial Condition" is available on their Web site.

(8/17/99) Click here for a guide to the employee benefits provisions in the Taxpayer Refund and Relief Act of 1999: H.R. 2488 (formerly, the Financial Freedom Act of 1999) available on Carol V. Calhoun's Employee Benefits Legal Resource Web Site.

(8/17/99) Click here to read the details on the Social Security Reform Radio Tour. The editors of Beyond the Basics: Social Security Reform, Richard C. Leone and Greg Anrig, Jr., are undertaking a radio tour to discuss Social Security reform with listeners across the country. Tune in and call in to participate in the debate.

(8/13/99) The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has released a new study entitled Business and Employee Attitudes Toward the New State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Click here for the executive summary.

(8/12/99) Click here for RAND's recently released issue paper entitled A Flood of Litigation? Predicting the Consequences of Changing Legal Remedies Available to ERISA Beneficiaries.

(8/11/99) Watson Wyatt Worldwide released on August 10, 1999, a 64-page report entitled Improving U.S. Retirement Security and National Saving by Enhancing Employer-Based Pension Plans. Click here for the press release.

(8/6/99) The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has released the 1999 edition of OECD Health Data, which provides data from 1960 to 1997 on OECD's Health Care Systems including expenditure estimates for 1998. See Publication Announcement with sample tables.

(8/1/99) The cover story for the August 16, 1999, issue of Fortune is "Blueprint For Building a Wealthy Future: Constructing a Dream Retirement is Likely to Cost More Than You Ever Imagined. But Don't Worry: You Can Get There. All You Need is a Simple Plan." The story, by Carolyn T. Geer, cites EBRI.

(8/1/99) The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) released its third annual State of Managed Care Quality report.

(8/1/99) The Survey of Physicians and Nurses is a national random survey of 1053 doctors and 768 nurses on their experiences with and attitudes towards health plans. It was conducted by researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.

(8/1/99) Benefit Card Firms Expand Services and Alliances by Linda Koco from National Underwriter's Life & Health Financial Services edition

(8/1/99) Celebrate 401(k) Day on September 7, 1999! The Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America (PSCA) provides free communication tools which can be modified to fit your company's needs.

(8/1/99) Click here for Best's Review Life/Health July cover story, "The Top 500: Fine-Tuning the Product Mix," on the top 500 life/health companies in 1998.

(8/1/99) The Health Privacy Project, Institute for Health Care Research and Policy, Georgetown University, "released a detailed report of how states are legislating medical records confidentiality. Entitled "The State of Health Privacy: An Uneven Terrain," the report is the first publication of its kind to provide a comprehensive comparison of health privacy laws at the state level

(8/1/99) "The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) announced expansion of its Internet Pension Search in an effort to locate nearly 10,000 people owed more than $19 million in pension benefits. To reconnect people with missing retirement money, PBGC will now include last-known addresses of those named in the Pension Search Directory and will provide tips for self-searchesfor unclaimed pensions in a new guide, Finding A Lost Pension."

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Updated 8/30/99