What's New

What's New - January 2001

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What's new at EBRI this month:

The EBRI monthly publications for January 2001, are available online for ordering.  The January Issue Brief is entitled “EBRI Research Highlights: Retirement and Health Data.”  The January Notes articles are “Retirement Plan Participation: Full-Time, Full-Year Workers Ages 18-64” and "IRA Assets Continue to Grow."

The RetireMint Educational Conference and Exhibition will take place on January 23-24, 2001, in New York City at the Hilton New York Hotel.   The conference consists of two tracks each day.  The Unifi Network of PricewaterhouseCoopers will host track one, geared to institutional investors, such as plan sponsors, employee benefits and human resources professionals, and pension plan managers.  Topics for track one include mergers and acquisitions and managing retirement plans in a changing environment.  Track two, which is free and open to the public, will be hosted by the American Savings Education Council (ASEC) and will be geared to individual investors.  Topics for track two include investing in a volatile market, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and retirement planning for the individual.  EBRI President and CEO Dallas Salisbury will make introductory remarks on January 23; while Robert Pozen, Vice Chairman, Fidelity Investments, will deliver the keynote address the same day.  Other speakers include experts from the fields of retirement investment management and financial planning.  

EBRI Conclave - EBRI held a “Members’ Conclave” on December 7, 2000, in Washington, D.C.  The purpose of the conclave was to help EBRI identify research and education topics and opportunities, while also providing Members with information and ideas that will assist them in setting strategic directions and in planning future design and implementation courses of action. Conclave Fact Sheets and PowerPoint Presentations are available.

The Social Security Administration and the American Savings Education Council  Announce a New Partnership and the Establishment of the "National Save for Your Future" Campaign: Kenneth S. Apfel, Commissioner of Social Security, and Dallas L. Salisbury, Chairman of the American Savings Education Council (ASEC),  announce the first annual "National Save for Your Future" campaign, a partnership between the Social Security Administration (SSA) and ASEC.  The campaign, to be launched in the fall of 2001, will focus on educating Americans about the need to save and plan for a comfortable retirement. 

For more information contact Cathy Noe, SSA, at 410-965-8904; Variny Paladino, ASEC, at 202-775-6321 or Danny Devine, EBRI, at 202-775-6308.

EBRI's 2000 Health Confidence Survey (HCS), the third such annual survey, was released on November 3.  This survey examines Americans' attitudes toward aspects of the health care system as it currently exists and their confidence in managed care, Medicare, and the system's future. The survey was sponsored by EBRI, the Consumer Health Education Council (CHEC), and Mathew Greenwald & Associates.  The findings reflect many Americans' confusion about managed care and concern over increasing medical costs.

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What's new in employee benefits:

  • HR News Online -- a daily update from the Society for Human Resource Management

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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(1/29/01) This Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health have released survey results entitled Post-Election Survey: The Public and the Health Care Agenda for the New Administration and Congress, which dealt with voters' priorities for spending the surplus. A Web cast of the survey's release has also been made available.

(1/26/01) In a press release issued on January 24, 2001, Watson Wyatt Worldwide announced findings from a survey on health care costs. The survey was conducted by Watson Wyatt Worldwide in collaboration with the Washington Business Group on Health and the Healthcare Financial Management Association, and is expected to be published in March.

(1/26/01) The Basics of Defined Contribution Health Insurance is the first article of a four part series by Vicki Lankarge on insure.com.

(1/25/01) Liberty Mutual has made available on its Web site a Lost Productivity Calculator to assist employers in estimating the cost of absences from work due to disability.

(1/25/01) The United Hospital Fund has made available the following working papers:

(1/25/01) The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has made available on its Web site the Trends in Health and Aging Data Warehouse, which was designed to show trends in health-related behaviors, health status, health care utilization, and cost of care for the older population in the United States.

(1/24/01) In a press release dated January 22, 2001, William M. Mercer, Inc., announced the release of Global Coordination of Retirement Plan Assets: A Mercer Survey Report.

(1/24/01) The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development reports data comparing U.S. spending on hospital care, prescription drugs, and physician services in Outlook 2001.

(1/23/01) The Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA) has made available their 2001 state legislative forecast and related materials.

(1/23/01) The U. S. Department of Labor’s Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA) announced in a January 19 press release the issuance of interpretative guidance under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to clarify the circumstances under which employee benefit plans may properly pay certain expenses relating to tax-qualification and other activities.   The guidance has been issued in the form of Advisory Opinion No. 2001-01A and six hypothetical fact patterns dealing with a variety of plan expense issues.

(1/22/01) The January 16, 2001, edition of BusinessWeek online presents “Elder Care: A Growing Concern” on a DuPont study on the number of employees responsible for an older relative and related concerns.

(1/22/01) “Cash Balance Pension Plan Conversions” by Professor Jonathan Barry Forman and Amy Nixon published in the Oklahoma City University Law Review, Vol. 25, 2000, is posted on BenefitsLink.

(1/22/01) The Impact of the Proposed HIPAA Privacy Rule on the Hospital Industry was prepared by First Consulting Group for the American Hospital Association, December 2000.

(1/22/01) The Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) has available online the following papers:

(1/19/01) Employee Benefits in State and Local Governments, 1998 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor was issued December, 2000.

(1/19/01) Working group reports of the Advisory Council of Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans (ERISA Advisory Council) for calendar year 2000 are available on the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA) Website: (1) The Working Group on Phased Retirement; (2) The Working Group on Long-Term Care; and (3) The Working Group on Benefit Continuity after Organizational Restructuring

(1/19/01) The Urban Institute published Child Care Expenses of America's Families by Linda Giannarelli and James Barsimantov in December 2000.

(1/17/01) The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans has recently published a survy titled: Employer-Sponsored Prescription Drug Benefits--A Closer LookClick here to go the the IFEBP Knowledge Center page on surveys.

(1/17/01) The Internal Revenue Service has revised its policy concerning how taxpayers may deduct the costs of weight loss/ weight control programs.  IRS Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses for Use in Preparing 2000 Returns, reflects this change in policy.  For an interpretation of this new policy, the American Obesity Association has made available "A Taxpayer's Guide on IRS Policy to Deduct Weight Control Treatment."

(1/17/01) The American Association of Health Plans has published an article entitled "Consumer Access to the National Practitioner Data Bank: The Wave of the Future," by Christopher J. Gearon, in the November/December 2000 issue of Healthplan.

(1/17/01) For a discussion of some of the issues raised in the 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on errors in health care entitled To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System, see "Errors in Medicine: Problems and Solutions for Managed Care," by William M. Valenti appearing in the November 2000 issue of The AIDS Reader.

(1/17/01) "Creating an Effective Corporate Compliance Program," by Edward J. Green appears in the November 2000 issue of Drug Benefit Trends, and addresses the issues of fraud and abuse with respect to pharmacy benefit managers.

(1/12/01) Harris Interactive has posted a Harris poll, released on January 10, 2001, entitled "Most People Continue to Think Well of Their Health Plans."

(1/12/01) On January 10, 2001, the Investment Company Institute issued a statement in the form of a press release regarding the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Report on Mutual Fund Fees and Expenses.  Click here to read the report.

(1/11/01) The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Care Financing Administration has posted HIPAA OnLine, an interactive tool designed to assist employees, employers, and other individuals with questions about health coverage, rights, and protections under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

(1/11/01) The Department of Labor has posted a survey report entitled Balancing the Needs of Families and Employers, along with a press release, fact sheet, and data files from the 2000 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) surveys.

(1/11/01) In a press release on January 8, 2001, William M. Mercer, Inc. provided key findings from its survey entitled Capitalizing on an Aging Workforce, dealing with the subject of U.S. employers and the employment of workers near and at retirement age.

(1/10/01) The Department of Labor, partnering with over seventy public and private organizations, has recently launched a health benefits education campaign.  The campaign focuses on life and work events and how they affect employees' benefit choices.  Resources include a wide variety of consumer information on health plans, including fact sheets, brochures, questions & answers, the Health Care Bill of Rights, information on HIPAA, COBRA, reports, links to related health care sites, and ERISA-related regulations, interpretations, opinions, etc., pertaining to health plans.

(1/10/01) In a press release issued on December 20, 2000, T. Rowe Price released key findings from its study on participants’ preferences regarding their 401(k) statements.

(1/10/01) The U.S. Department of Labor's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration has posted on its web site "Questions and Answers on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Nondiscrimination Requirements."  These questions and answers have been updated to provide guidance on the recently released regulations.

(1/9/01) The American Academy of Actuaries has posted their December 2000 revision of Social Security Reform: Trust Fund Investments an Issue Brief originally issued in the summer of 1998. The revision includes data from the 2000 Social Security Trustees' Report.

(1/9/01) Clark/Bardes Consulting-Compensation Resource Grouphas posted Executive Benefits: A Survey of Current Trends: 2000 Benefit Survey Results.

(1/9/01) December 26, 2000, marked the debut of "Risks & Benefits," a weekly column covering risk management, employee benefits, compensation, and other workplace issues of interest to senior financial executives on CFO.com

(1/9/01) In a press release dated December 7, 2000, WorldatWork announced key findings from its Online Benefits Communications and Services Survey.

(1/9/01) In the September 2000 issue of Current Issues in Economics and Finance, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York published “A Nation of Spendthrifts? An Analysis of Trends in Personal and Gross Saving” by Richard Peach and Charles Steindel.

(1/8/01) The Economic Policy Committee of the European Commission has posted the November 2000 Progress Report to the Ecofin Council on the Impact of Ageing Populations on Public Pension Systems.

(1/5/01) Milliman and Robertson’s Winter 2000 issue of Benefits Perspectives addresses the employee benefit issues that arise in corporate mergers and acquisitions.

(1/4/01) In its December 2000 issue of IOMA's Report on Managing 401(k) Plans, the Institute of Management and Administration cites the BARRA RogersCasey/IOMA Annual Defined Contribution Survey 2000 on the topic of employers offering investment advice.

(1/4/01) The Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor issued a press release on December 19, 2000, announcing the creation of the Office of Participant Assistance and Communications in an effort to assist workers covered by private-sector pension and health benefit plans.

(1/4/01) Deloitte Consulting issued a press release on September 14, 2000, announcing key findings from its study entitled Winning the Loyalty of the e-Health Consumer: Building an e-Business Roadmap.

(1/3/01) The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently launched a video public service campaign called “The Social Security Quiz Show.”  SSA has partnered with the American Savings Education Council and others to promote the public service announcement and to help place it in movie theaters across the country.

(1/3/01) The final health care privacy regulations have been published in the December 28 Federal Register.  They are available in eight parts under the Health and Human Services section in both text and pdf format.

(1/3/01) A December 26 press release from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation states the following: “The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2001 was signed into law by President Clinton on Dec. 21, 2000. The Act includes a provision that more than doubles the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's (PBGC) maximum benefit guarantee for workers in multiemployer pension plans. For a worker with 30 years under the plan, the maximum annual guarantee increases from $5,850 to $12,870. The legislation marks the first increase in PBGC's multiemployer guarantee since 1980.”

(1/3/01) The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation announced December 22 several proposed regulatory changes concerning how it pays benefits to participants in terminated defined benefit pension plans it takes over.  Comments on the proposal, which appears in the December 26, 2000, Federal Register, must be received by February 26, 2001, and may be sent by e-mail to reg.comments@pbgc.gov.

(1/2/01) www.UltimateInsuranceLinks.com, posted compliments of G. Barry Klein, lists Property/Casualty primary & reinsurance companies, Life/Health companies, MGAs, Excess & Surplus Lines Brokers, & Other Wholesalers, Vendors, Trade & Professional Organizations, and Publishers along with short descriptions.

(1/2/01) The Society of Professional Benefit Administrators (SPBA) has posted State of the TPA Industry + Forecast as of December 2000 by SPBA President Fred Hunt.

(1/2/01) The Brookings Institution has released Paul C. Light's new report, "Government's Greatest Achievements of the Past Half Century: What the Federal Government Tried to Accomplish, Where it Succeeded and Failed, and Why."  The report, based on a survey of 450 history and political science professors, ranks the federal government's 50 greatest endeavors, considering difficulty, importance, and degree of success.  “Promote Financial Security in Retirement” is ranked in the top ten.

(1/2/01) Deloitte & Touche published their Surveys of Year-End Pension and Retiree Medical Assumptions in November (the 2000 Surveys of SFAS No. 87 and 106 Economic Assumptions).

(1/2/01) In a press release dated December 13, 2000, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a Decision finding that the denial of health insurance coverage for prescription contraceptives by the employee health plan in question constituted a violation of the law since it covered a number of comparable prescription drugs and other services.  The Commission Decision on Coverage of Contraception is available online, as are Questions & Answers about the Decision.

(1/2/01) The American Medical Association “proposes expanding health insurance coverage and patient choice through a system of refundable tax credits.”  The report, Expanding Health Insurance: The AMA Proposal for Reform, on the proposal is available online.

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