What's New - July 2009

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What's new at EBRI this month:

“EBRI Now on Twitter” [EBRI Press Release, 2/6/09]

401(k) Balances and Changes Due to Market Volatility

Publications:

July 2009 EBRI Issue Brief - "What Does Consistent Participation in 401(k) Plans Generate?"

July 2009 EBRI Issue Brief - "The 2009 Health Confidence Survey: Public Opinion on Health Reform Varies; Strong Support for Insurance Market Reform and Public Plan Option, Mixed Response to Tax Cap"

July 2009 EBRI Notes - "More Detail on Lump-Sum Distributions of Workers Who Have Left a Job, 2006" and "The Basics of Medicare, Updated With the 2009 Board of Trustees Report"

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Sixth Edition of EBRI's Fundamentals of Employee Benefit Programs Is Now Available

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

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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
The Nation's Long-Term Fiscal Outlook: March 2009 Update. GAO-09-405SP, April 30.

Testimony
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: Financial Challenges Highlight Need for Improved Governance and Management, by Barbara D. Bovbjerg, director, education, workforce, and income security, before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. GAO-09-702T, May 20. Highlights.

 

If a title link above no longer works, click here for the GAO home page and search for the report by keyword or report number. Click here to browse by date,  topic, or agency.   Searches for reports can also be conducted in the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Reports Online via GPO Access database.

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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 Retirement Plans Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).  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.


[7/31/09]  Watson Wyatt Insider:

[7/31/09]  National Institute on Retirement Security:  The Pension Factor: Assessing the Role of Defined Benefit Plans in Reducing Elder Hardships:

[7/31/09]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Access to Medical Care Benefits: Private Industry vs. State and Local Government

[7/31/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[7/30/09]  Watson Wyatt Insider:

[7/30/09]  Prudential Retirement:

[7/30/09]  Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Statistical Brief #251:  “Employer-Sponsored Single, Employee-Plus-One, and Family Health Insurance Coverage: Selection and Cost, 2008

[7/30/09]  The Commonwealth Fund Issue Brief:  “Chronic Burdens: The Persistently High Out-of-Pocket Health Care Expenses Faced by Many Americans with Chronic Conditions

[7/30/09]  Reuters (via Business Insurance):  “Obesity Costs U.S. Health System $147B: Study

[7/30/09]  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Urban Institute:  How We Can Pay for Health Care Reform

[7/29/09]  Chicago Tribune:  “Government Studying Company-Sponsored Automatic IRAs

[7/29/09]  Executive Office of the President, Council of Economic Advisers:  The Economic Effects of Health Care Reform on Small Businesses and Their Employees

[7/29/09]  The Commonwealth Fund Issue Brief:  “Failure to Protect: Why the Individual Insurance Market Is Not a Viable Option for Most U.S. Families -- Findings from the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey, 2007

[7/29/09]  Social Security Administration Policy Brief:  “Distributional Effects of Raising the Social Security Taxable Maximum

[7/28/09]  Pensions & Investments:  “Funds Not on New Agency’s Menu: Frank Says CFPA Won’t Oversee Mutual Funds or Retirement Plans

[7/28/09]  Congressional Research Service:  Financial Regulatory Reform: Analysis of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) as Proposed by the Obama Administration and H.R. 3126

[7/28/09]  The Los Angeles Times:  “Q&A: How a Healthcare Overhaul Could Affect You

[7/28/09]  The New England Journal of Medicine:  “Medicare Part D Update – Lessons Learned and Unfinished Business

[7/24/09]  Families and Work Institute:  The Impact of the Recession on Employers

[7/24/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Health Care and the Middle Class: More Costs and Less Coverage

[7/24/09]  Social Security Bulletin:  “Retiring in Debt? Differences between the 1995 and 2004 Near-Retiree Cohorts

[7/24/09]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Is Latin America Retreating from Individual Retirement Accounts?

[7/23/09]  Watson Wyatt Insider:

[7/23/09]  The Segal Company:  Segal Study of Multiemployer Defined Contribution Plans [Summer 2009]

[7/23/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[7/23/09]  National Public Radio:  “Why Health Care Overhaul Now?

[7/22/09]  Congressional Budget Office:  Preliminary Estimate of the Effects on the Deficit of H.R. 3200, The America’s Health Choices Act of 2009 [included in CBO letter dated 7/17/09 to Rep. Charles B. Rangel]

[7/22/09]  Business Insurance:  “COBRA Expansion Added to House Health Reform Bill

[7/22/09]  Aon Consulting:  Health Care Reform ’09 Survey Report

[7/22/09]  Milliman:  “Comprehending the Compromise: Key Considerations in Understanding the ‘Co-Op’ as an Alternative to the ‘Public Plan’” [An interview with James O’Connor, a principal and consulting actuary at Milliman]

[7/22/09]  The Los Angeles Times:  “California’s Biggest Government Pension Funds Lose Almost $100 Billion

[7/21/09]  The Los Angeles Times:  “CalPERS Expected to Report Losing Nearly One-Quarter of Investment Portfolio

[7/21/09]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Annual Reporting Requirements for 403(b) Plans [Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2009-02]

[7/21/09]  American Benefits Council:  Summary of Investment Advice Legislative Issues

[7/21/09]  Prudential  Retirement:  The Search for a Safe Way to Save for Retirement

[7/21/09]  Society of Actuaries, LIMRA, and InFRE:

[7/20/09]  The Washington Post:  “The Cost of Taxing Health Benefits

[7/20/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Side-by-Side Comparison of Major Health Care Reform Proposals [interactive comparison tool, updated 7/17/09]

[7/20/09]  Milliman’s Health Perspectives:  “Market-Based Insurance Design: A New Approach to Bend the Healthcare Cost Curve

[7/20/09]  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

[7/17/09]  The New York Times:  “House Committee Approves Health Care Bill

[7/17/09]  U.S. House Committees on Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor:  America’s Affordable Health Choices Act Implementation Timeline

[7/17/09]  Families USA:  The Clock Is Ticking: More Americans Losing Health Coverage

[7/17/09]  The Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College Fact Sheet 23:  “Health Behaviors and Health Care Costs in the Multigenerational Work Force

[7/16/09]  Congressional Research Service:  401(k) Plans and Retirement Savings: Issues for Congress

[7/16/09]  U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions:  “In Historic Vote, HELP Committee Approves the Affordable Health Choices Act” [Press Release]

[7/16/09]  The Commonwealth Fund Issue Brief:  “Setting a National Minimum Standard for Health Benefits: How Do State Benefit Mandates Compare with Benefits in Large-Group Plans?

[7/16/09]  Social Security Administration:  Fast Facts & Figures about Social Security, 2009

[7/16/09]  Towers Perrin:  A Qualified Commitment to DB Plans: Risk Management Amid a Steep Downturn [A Report Prepared by CFO Research Services in collaboration with Towers Perrin]

[7/15/09]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  National Compensation Survey: Health Plan Provisions in Private Industry in the United States, 2008

[7/15/09]  U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor:  “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act

[7/15/09]  Mercer:  Managing Health Benefits in Challenging Times: A Mercer Survey on Recession and Reform

[7/15/09]  Congressional Budget Office:

[7/15/09]  Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development:  Health Update: The Newsletter on Health-Related Activities at the OECD [Lead article: “Health Spending and the Economic Crisis”]

[7/15/09]  Center for State & Local Government Excellence:  At a Crossroads: The Financing and Future of Health Benefits for State and Local Government Retirees

[7/10/09]  MetLife:  Small Business Benefits: Cost-Effective Strategies for Maximizing ROI

[7/10/09]  The Segal Company:  Study of State Employee Health Benefits

[7/10/09]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “Crunch Time for Health Care Reform Debate

[7/10/09]  Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Brief:  “Tax Debate: Workers Who Get Health Coverage from Their Employers Don’t Pay Income or Payroll Taxes on It. Should Some of It Be Taxed to Help Spread Coverage to Others?

[7/10/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Pulling It Together: Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks” from Drew Altman

[7/9/09]  Kaiser Health News:

[7/9/09]  Americans for Secure Retirement:  Updated Retirement Vulnerability Analysis: The Likelihood of Outliving Their Financial Assets [by Ernst & Young for Americans for Secure Retirement]

[7/9/09]  The Los Angeles Times:  “Minorities Lag Behind Whites in Retirement Savings - Blacks and Latinos Accumulate Less in Their 401(k) Plans Than Whites of Similar Income Levels, A Study Finds. Besides Saving Too Little, They Tend to Invest Too Conservatively

[7/9/09]  Congressional Research Service:  Leave Benefits in the United States

[7/8/09]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  146th Meeting of the Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans; Notice of Meeting [as published in the Federal Register on July 6, 2009] - The three-day open meeting will be held July 21-23, 2009, and the Council will study the following issues:

  • Approaches for Retirement Security in the United States;
  • Stable Value Funds and Retirement Security in the Current Economic Conditions;
  • Promoting Retirement Literacy and Security by Streamlining Disclosures to Participants and Beneficiaries 

[7/8/09]  Principal Financial Group and Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America:  403(b) Target Date Fund Survey

[7/8/09]  The Wall Street Journal:  “Breaking Down the Obama IRA

[7/8/09]  Centers for Disease Control & Prevention:  CDC’s LEAN Works! - A Workplace Obesity Prevention Program

[7/7/09]  Ariel Investments and Hewitt Associates:

[7/7/09]  Mercer:  “Employers Prefer Incremental Approach to Health Care Reform

[7/7/09]  Congressional Research Service:  Employment-Based Health Coverage and Health Reform: Selected Legal Considerations

[7/7/09]  Internal Revenue Service:  Listing of Published Guidance (January – June 2009)

[7/6/09]  U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics:

[7/6/09]  Congressional Budget Office:  A Preliminary Analysis of the HELP Committee’s Health Insurance Provisions [included in CBO letter dated 7/2/09 to Sen. Kennedy]

[7/6/09]  AARP Public Policy Institute:

[7/6/09]  Knowledge@Wharton:  “Information Technology: Not a Cure for the High Cost of Health Care

[7/2/09]  Kaiser Health News:  “HELP Democrats Draft New Bill with Public Plan and Employer Mandate That They Say Is Cheaper

[7/2/09]  Society for Human Resource Management:

[7/2/09]  USA Today:  “Key Senate Democrats Trim Cost of Health Care Bill

[7/2/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation Public Opinion:  Data Note: Footing the Bill [Willingness to Pay]

[7/1/09]  Society for Human Resource Management:

[7/1/09]  Principal Financial Group:  Rebuilding what was lost in 2008 -- How long might it take? [a new online tool]

[7/1/09]  ERISA Industry Committee:  “House Committees Examine Draft Legislation, While Senate Committees Delay Markups” [health care reform legislation]

[7/1/09]  Zogby International:  Senior Level Executives’ Attitudes on Healthcare and Health Insurance

Updated 7/31/09