What's New - July 2008

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What's new at EBRI this month:

Publications:

July 2008 EBRI Issue Brief - "EBRI 2008 Recent Retirees Survey: Report of Findings"

July 2008 EBRI Notes - "EBRI Policy Forum: Defined Contribution Plans in a Post-PPA Environment"

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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
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]

Testimonies
State and Local Government Pension Plans: Current Structure and Funded Status, by Barbara D. Bovbjerg, director, education, workforce, and income security, before the Joint Economic Committee. GAO-08-983T, July 10. 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.

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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.


[7/31/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Stock Purchase Plans Under Internal Revenue Code Section 423; Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [as published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2008]

[7/31/08]  Associated Press [via The New York Times]:  “Retiring in Stages: Boomers Get More Options

[7/31/08]  Health Affairs:  “The Distribution of Public Spending for Health Care in the United States, 2002

[7/29/08]  American Benefits Council:  Proposed Mental Health Parity Bill Chart [Updated July 25, 2008]

[7/29/08]  Center for State and Local Government Excellence Issue Brief:  “Financing Retiree Health Care: Assessing GASB 45 Estimates of Liabilities

[7/29/08]  The Segal Company’s Capital Checkup:  “Medicare Reform Bill Passes over President Bush’s Veto

[7/29/08]  U.S. News & World Report:  “Rethinking 401(k) Rollovers: 7 Things to Consider before You Move Your Nest Egg into an IRA

[7/28/08]  U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health:  Hearing on Promoting the Adoption and Use of Health Information Technology [includes links to testimonies]

[7/28/08]  Wellness Council of America:  Utilizing Incentives to Maximize Participation

[7/28/08]  The Wall Street Journal:  “Gender Split on Retirement Worries

[7/28/08]  ICMA-RC:  “House Subcommittee Hearing Considers Changes in IRA Incentives

[7/24/08]  Investment Company Institute Research Fundamentals:  “The U.S. Retirement Market, 2007

[7/24/08]  Contingencies:  “It’s Time for a National Discussion on Retirement

[7/24/08]  Governmental Accounting Standards Board:  Proposed GASB Technical Bulletin: Determining the Annual Required Contribution Adjustment for Postemployment Benefits

[7/24/08]  TIAA-CREF Institute Research Dialogue:  “Pension Plan Characteristics and Framing Effects in Employee Savings Behavior

[7/23/08]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  “U.S. Labor Department Proposes Regulations to Improve Disclosure of Fees and Expenses to Workers with 401(k)-type Benefit Plans” [News Release]

[7/23/08]  Deloitte Consulting, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, and International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS):

[7/23/08]   Social Security Administration:  The Retirement Estimator [New Online Benefit Calculator]

[7/22/08]  National Center for Health Statistics:  Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 2007

[7/22/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employer Comparable Contributions to Health Savings Accounts Under Section 4980G, and Requirement of Return for Filing of the Excise Tax Under Section 4980B, 4980D, 4980E, or 4980G; Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Public Hearing [as published in the Federal Register on July 16, 2008]

[7/22/08]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  2007 Annual Report

[7/22/08]  National Center for Policy Analysis:  401(k) Borrowing Calculator: How Much Will Borrowing Cost You?

[7/18/08]  Milliman’s Client Action Bulletin:  “State Laws on Marriage: Implications for Employee Benefit Plans

[7/18/08]  Center for State & Local Government Excellence Issue Brief:  “The Crisis in State and Local Government Retiree Health Benefit Plans: Myths and Realities

[7/18/08]  Contingencies:  “Accounting Quandary for Health Benefits in Retirement

[7/18/08]  The Commonwealth Fund:  Why Not the Best? Results from the National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance, 2008

[7/17/08]  Center for American Progress:  Robbing Tomorrow to Pay for Today: Economically Squeezed Families Are Turning to Their 401(k)s to Make Ends Meet

[7/17/08]  Joint Economic Committee:  Hearing on “Your Money, Your Future: Public Pension Plans and the Need to Strengthen Retirement Security and Economic Growth” [includes links to testimonies]

[7/17/08]  Hewitt Associates:  Final HMO Rate Increases for 2008 by Region

[7/17/08]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  How Much Do Older Workers Value Employee Health Insurance?

[7/16/08]  Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments, July 2008

[7/16/08]  U.S. Department of Labor:  FAQs About the 2009 Form 5500 Schedule C

[7/16/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Health Care and the Economy in Two Swing States: A Look at Ohio and Florida

[7/16/08]  Congressional Research Service:  Medicare: Payments to Physicians [Updated July 1, 2008]

[7/15/08]  Reish Luftman Reicher & Cohen:

[7/15/08]  Americans for Secure Retirement:

[7/15/08]  Families USA Fact Sheet:  “Five Good Reasons to Increase Health Coverage for Parents

[7/15/08]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  The 2008 Presidential Candidates on Health Care Reform [Updated June 4, 2008]

[7/11/08]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  “Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth Among the Youngest Baby Boomers: Results from a Longitudinal Survey

[7/11/08]  Hewitt Associates:  “Hewitt Research Shows Women Much Less Prepared to Retire Than Men

[7/11/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Reasonable Good Faith Interpretation of Required Minimum Distribution Rules by Governmental Plans; Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [as published in the Federal Register on July 10, 2008]

[7/11/08]  H.R.6331:  “Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008” [Bill Text]

[7/10/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Tax Subsidies for Health Insurance: An Issue Brief

[7/10/08]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “Projecting Health Care Cost Trends: Observations on the SOA’s New Model

[7/10/08]  The New York Times:  “Small Business Is Latest Focus in Health Fight

[7/10/08]  Milliman’s Client Action Bulletin:  “IRS Issues New Q’s and A’s on Health Savings Accounts

[7/8/08]  The Segal Group:  2008 Segal Medicare Part D Survey of Multiemployer Health Funds

[7/8/08]  American Medical Association:  2008 National Health Insurer Report Card

[7/8/08]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “IRS Proposed Regulations Would Encourage Generosity in Cash Balance Conversions

[7/8/08]  The Washington Post:  “Candidates Diverge on How to Save Social Security

[7/3/08]  Internal Revenue Service:

[7/3/08]  Monthly Labor Review:  “Employers’ Health Insurance Cost Burden, 1996-2005

[7/3/08]  Bipartisan Policy Center (via Robert Wood Johnson Foundation):  Financing the U.S. Health System: Issues and Options for Change

[7/3/08]  Hewitt Associates:  2008 Presidential Election:

[7/2/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Health Insurance Coverage in America, 2006

[7/2/08]  The New England Journal of Medicine:  “Health Care Reform in Massachusetts -- Expanding Coverage, Escalating Costs,” by Robert Steinbrook, M.D. [Perspective]

[7/2/08]  Urban Institute:  Why Not a “Super Simple” Saving Plan for the United States?

[7/2/08]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Bankruptcy Filing Date Treated as Plan Termination Date for Certain Purposes; Guaranteed Benefits; Allocation of Plan Assets; Pension Protection Act of 2006; Proposed Rule [as published in the Federal Register on July 1, 2008]

[7/1/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Pulling It Together: Moving Away from Employer Based Coverage: Don’t Forget Public Opinion,” from Drew Altman

[7/1/08]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “IRS, DOL and PBGC Propose Guidance on PPA Changes for Multiemployer Plans

[7/1/08]  University of Michigan Retirement Research Center:  The Efficiency of Pension Plan Investment Menus: Investment Choices in Defined Contribution Pension Plans [Working Paper]

[7/1/08]  U.S. Department of the Treasury Issue Brief No. 5:  “Social Security Reform: Strategies for Progressive Benefit Adjustments

Updated 7/31/08