What's New

What's New - June 2003

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EBRI Celebrates 25th Anniversary in 2003:  The Employee Benefit Research Institute will celebrate its 25th anniversary on September 19, 2003, at a gala event at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.

Live, Interactive Two Hour Audio/Video Briefing:

The 1.5 Million Question: How to Provide -- and Pay for-- Retiree Health Care?

The Employee Benefit Research Institute in Collaboration with the Medical Business Exchange presents an in-depth discussion on one of the most pressing social/welfare issues of our age.   There is a 30% discount for EBRI Members.  Click here to register.

Date/Time of Briefing: June 26, 2003 / 2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)

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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 “.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.

What's new at EBRI this month:

EBRI Research Highlights: Retirement Benefits

EBRI Notes [June 2003]

  • "National Health Spending Up 8.7 Percent Between 2000-2001; Spending for Health Care Will Continue to Grow"

  • "Income of the Elderly Population: 2001”

401(k) Plan Account Balances, Asset Allocation, and Loan Activity in 2001

 

2003 Small Employer Retirement Survey

 

2003 Texas Retirement Confidence Survey

2003 Florida Retirement Confidence Survey

2003 EBRI Annual Report

The Social Security Administration and the American Savings Education Council launched the national Save For Your Future™ Campaign to educate Americans about saving and planning for all stages of  life, including retirement.

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EBRI Research Findings for 2002-2003:

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What's new in employee benefits:

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

Health and Welfare

Human Resources

Retirement

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The following items have been added to the General Accounting Office's Web site in Portable Document (PDF) format:

Reports
Military Retiree Health Benefits: Enrollment Low in Federal Employee Health Plans Under DOD Demonstration.  GAO-03-547, June 6, 2003.  Highlights.

Federal Pensions: DOL Oversight and Thrift Savings Plan Accountability.  GAO-03-400, April 23, 2003.  Highlights

Retirement Income: Intergenerational Comparisons of Wealth and Future Income.  GAO-03-429, April 25, 2003.  Highlights

Social Security and Minorities: Earnings, Disability Incidence, and Mortality Are Key Factors That Influence Taxes Paid and Benefits Received.  GAO-03-387, April 23, 2003.  Highlights.

Testimony
Social Security: Issues Relating to Noncoverage of Public Employees, by Barbara D. Bovbjerg, director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the Subcommittee on Social Security, House Committee on Ways and Means.  GAO-03-710T, May 1, 2003.  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 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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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

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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.


[6/25/03]   The results of the MetLife Retirement Income IQ Test, a national poll that gauges pre-retirees’knowledge of retirement income issues which was commissioned by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, were released today by a panel of retirement industry experts at an event hosted by the Institute and the American Savings Education Council (ASEC) in Washington, DC.

MetLife Retirement Income IQ: Findings from the 2003 National Survey of American Pre-Retirees

Press Release

 

[6/25/03]    The Investment Company Institute posted “Mutual Funds and the U.S. Retirement Market in 2002,” the June 2003 issue of Fundamentals.

[6/25/03]  The following documents have been added to the Congressional Budget Office site:

[6/25/03]  Design and Actuarial Aspects of Deferred Retirement Option Programs is available from the Society of Actuaries.

[6/25/03]  Dr. Ed Yardeni's Economics Network is provided by Prudential Financial; an April 2003 publication of interest on the site is the Consumer Handbook (With Baby Boom Charts).

[6/25/03]  The Society for Human Resource Management issued a press release June 22, “Rising Health Care Costs Force Employers to Cut Some Non-Essential Benefits,” which includes findings from its 2003 Survey of Employer Benefits.

[6/25/03]  Atlantic Information Services, Inc. posted a reprint of an article from the June 13 issue of  Inside Consumer-Directed Care titled “Where Is the Consumer-Directed Movement Headed in 2004?

[6/20/03]  The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has posted the papers from the Retirement Research Consortium Annual Conference, "Securing Retirement Income for Tomorrow's Retirees," held May 15-16, 2003, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

[6/20/03]  Total Retirement Management: Time For An Integrated Approach from Fidelity Workplace Services is posted at BenefitsLink

[6/20/03]  Cynthia L. Moore for the National Council on Teacher Retirement has posted a chart showing the provisions in HR 1776 affecting both governmental and private retirement plans.

[6/20/03]  The following documents have been added to the Congressional Budget Office site:

[6/20/03]  A research paper by Mercer Investment Consulting, Contributing Company Stock to a Pension Plan: Investment and Fiduciary Implications, covers the major investment and fiduciary implications associated with contributing company stock to a pension plan.

[6/20/03]  At a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies’ hearing, Health Care Access and Affordability: Cost Containment Strategies, Karen Davis, president of The Commonwealth Fund, presented testimony titled, American Health Care: Why So Costly?  [Press Release]    [Chartpack]

[6/20/03]  The American Benefits Council has prepared a comparison chart summarizing the differences in the standard Medicare prescription drug benefit under House and Senate bills.

[6/20/03]  A study by FTI Consulting is an analysis of defined benefit pension funding disclosed in 10-K filings with the SEC by S&P 500 companies.

[6/20/03]  The Mature Market Institute released The MetLife Study of Sons at Work: Balancing Employment and Eldercare.

[6/20/03]  Prudential's Survey of America's Pre-Retirees contains gender-specific findings which serve as a follow-up to Prudential's 2002 Study on the Financial Experience and Behaviors Among Women, the company's bi-annual look at the financial health of America's Baby Boom women.

[6/20/03]  The Principal Global Financial Well-Being Study™  “compares retirement confidence, organized saving, employee benefit coverage and benefit programs among employees in six countries: India, Japan, Hong Kong, Brazil, Australia and the United States.”

[6/19/03]  The Commonwealth Fund has made available the four complete case studies, plus two additional ones not covered in the March/April 2003 Health Affairs article, “The Business Case for Quality: Case Studies and An Analysis.”  The case studies follow:

[6/19/03]  A Del Webb June 17 press release titled “Financial Concerns Loom for Baby Boomers Planning Their Retirement,” includes findings from its most recent Baby Boomer ReportClick here for the 2003 Survey Results Summary.

[6/19/03]  The American Council of Life Insurers released the April 2003 report: Profile of Immediate Annuity Owners.

[6/19/03]  Hewitt Associates’ June 17 press release, “Hewitt Associates Study Shows Economy, Market Volatility Has Taken a Toll on U.S. Employees’ Interaction with 401(k) Plans,” includes findings from their report titled How Well Are Employees Saving and Investing in 401(k) Plans, 2002 Hewitt Universe Benchmarks.

[6/19/03]  Towers Perrin’s June 17 press release, “Pension Plan Funding Levels Decline Further During First Quarter 2003 As Worldwide Capital Markets Continue Downturn,” includes highlights from the recent Towers Perrin Global Capital Market Update: First Quarter 2003 Results.

[6/19/03]  The Washington Business Group on Health’s June 17 press release announces the formation of The Institute on the Costs and Health Effects of Obesity to address corporate America’s concern with those issues.

 [6/19/03]  The June 13 issue of Health Care News features “Prescription Drug Prices, Hospital Costs and Doctors’ Fees,” based on a recent Harris Interactive survey.

[6/19/03]  Rep. Dave Weldon introduced June 11 in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R.2439, Seniors’ Retirement Recovery Act of 2003.  Bill Summary & Status information is available.

[6/19/03]  The Institute for Policy Innovation released a June 2003 report titled A Progressive Proposal for Social Security Personal Accounts written by Peter Ferrara.

[6/19/03]  On June 12 Rep. Earl Pomeroy introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R.2458, Secure Annuity Income for Life Act of 2003.  Bill Summary & Status information is available.

[6/19/03]  New York Life Investment Management issued a press release titled “Mainstay Funds’ Third Annual Survey Finds Generation X Shaken By Market Losses,” which includes findings from the Third Annual GenX Survey released by the MainStay division of New York Life Investment Management.

[6/19/03]  Sen. Jeff Bingaman introduced May 8 in the U.S. Senate S.1030, HealthCARE Act of 2003.  Bill Summary & Status information is available.

[6/19/03]  Can There Be Too Much Choice in a Retirement Savings Plan? asks The Vanguard Center for Retirement Research.

[6/19/03]  The Heritage Foundation's Center for Health Policy Studies will explore market-based tools to expand the options available to patients and their families.

[6/19/03]  Decision Making In Consumer-Directed Health Plans is an AARP Public Policy Institute Issue Paper.

[6/19/03]  Click here for Fast Forward: 25 Trends That Will Change the Way You Do Business according to Workforce.

[6/11/03]  The Internal Revenue Service posted a news release June 4 titled “IRS Helps Small Business Retirement Plans Stay Compliant.”

[6/11/03]  Health Affairs posted a Web exclusive article titled “Tracking Health Care Costs: Trends Stabilize But Remain High in 2002,” by Bradley C. Strunk and Paul B. Ginsburg.

[6/11/03]  On June 5 Rep. William Thomas introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R.2351, Health Savings Account Availability Act.  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

[6/11/03]  Sen. Olympia Snowe introduced May 13 in the U.S. Senate S.1053, Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2003.  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

[6/11/03]  SEI Investments issued a press release June 4 titled “Multi-Country Pension Study Finds Widespread Damage,” which includes highlights from a recent SEI Investments study of 151 mid-size companies in the US, UK, Canada, and Holland with pension assets valued at an average $180 million.

[6/6/03]  The U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce issued a press release June 4 titled “Witnesses Cite Burdensome Rules and Regulations as Causes for Decline in Defined Benefit Pension Plans” regarding the Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations’ Hearing on “Strengthening Pension Security: Examining the Health and Future of the Defined Benefit Plan.”

[6/6/03]  HSBC Bank released a May 2003 research report titled “Strategy Ideas: US Pensions in Trouble.”  [This report is available in a restricted area of the HSBC site only by contacting and requesting a password from an HSBC representative.]

[6/6/03]  In September 2002 Columbia University’s Columbia News featured an article titled “Business’ Iyengar Receives National Science Foundation Award for Study of Perception of Choice,” which highlights research done by Sheena Iyengar, a Columbia Business School professor, on employees who were offered 401(k) plans through their jobs.  One conclusion drawn from the research was that “the more retirement options employees were offered, the less they wound up participating in any program at all.”

[6/6/03]  Buck Consultants issues the "Survey of Year-End 2002 Global U.S. GAAP (SFAS 87) Assumptions," [2002 global pension benefit disclosure assumptions] in a 6/4/03, issue of  For Your Information.

[6/5/03]  “HMOs' black ink gets blacker” is a ‘Quick View’ published June 2/9, 2003, by American Medical News.

[6/5/03]  Buck Consultants issues their recent Corporate Governance Survey.

[6/5/03]  Consumers Take Charge: Defined-Contribution Health Plans, posted by strategy+business and knowledge@wharton, examines health plan options.

[6/5/03]  The Herald reports that the government of the United Kingdom will create a benefits guarantee fund in “Company Pensions to Follow US Model; Government Ready to Adopt Benefits Guarantee Fund.”

[6/5/03]  The National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) has posted the most recent update of  “The Employee Ownership 100: America's Largest Companies That Are 50% or More Employee-Owned Through an ESOP, Stock Purchase Plan, or Other Broad-Based Ownership Plan.”

[6/5/03]  P&I's 2003 Money Managers Directory, published in May, contains profiles, rankings, and data.  Posted on P&I’s site, at present, is a listing of the "Top 250 [Money Manager] Firms Ranked by Worldwide Assets."

[6/4/03]  Deloitte & Touche has produced their 2003 IRS Benefit Plan Limits pamphlet which includes data for the 2001 and 2002 tax years.

[6/4/03]  BenefitsLink now presents an enhanced view of Today's Federal Register.  The links on Today's Federal Register  provide a modified version of the Federal Register's table of contents with customized 'quick links' at the top of the table of contents to indicate whether anything was published today from the IRS, EBSA, PBGC or SEC; if there is, the ‘quick links’ go directly to that agency's listing-- no scrolling required.

[6/4/03]  See the Ernst &Young Personal Financial Counseling practice report for new tax law details: President Bush Signs Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003: Learn First Hand About the Provisions of This Act and How They May Affect Your Tax and Investment Planning.

[6/4/03]  The Internal Revenue Service has announced that if you have a technical or procedural question relating to retirement plans, go to the EP Customer Account Services site.  Answers to many of your questions may already be available under Frequently Asked Questions about Retirement Plans.  If you do not find the answer to your question or have a specific concern about your retirement plan, you may call, write, or e-mail your question:

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.

[6/3/03]  “Investment Education for the 21st Century” by Richard D. Glass and Stan Marshall is reprinted at Investment Horizons from the June 2003 Employee Benefits Journal published by the International Foundation of Employee Benefits.  

[6/3/03]   Internal Revenue Service technical guidance, Announcement 2003-32, describes the second white paper on “The Future of the Employee Plans Determination Letter Program.”

[6/3/03]  A survey from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies on investor confidence in reaching retirement goals was conducted in April.

[6/3/03]  The National Women's Business Council posted two reports:

[6/3/03]  The Department of Labor has two new resources for employers seeking information on labor laws:

[6/3/03]  On May 21 Rep. Rob Portman introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R.2178, Professional Employer Organization Workers Benefits Act of 2003.  Bill Summary & Status information is available.

[6/3/03]  Aon Consulting posted its Spring 2003 Health Care Trend Survey.

[6/3/03]  The National Business Coalition on Health issued a press release May 19 titled “New Report Shows Uninsured Are Business’s Problem, Too,” which includes an overview of its report titled Changing the Role of the Stakeholders--Covering the Uninsured.

[6/3/03]  Financial Engines issued a press release May 14 titled “Financial Engines’ Advice Impact Data Show Improvement in Employees’ Retirement Planning,” which includes key findings from a recent survey.

[6/3/03]  Tax Subsidies for Private Health Insurance: Who Currently Benefits and What Are the Implications for Policy? is Issue 3: May 2003, from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Synthesis Project.

[6/3/03]  According to the Society of Professional Administrators And Recordkeepers' 2003 Marketplace Update, “Retirement Assets, Participant Satisfaction Declining,” as written by Jenna Gottlieb in Defined Contribution News posted at Institutional Investor.com.

[6/2/03]  The Bureau of Labor Statistics released Employer Costs for Employee Compensation -- March 2003 this month. The Employment Cost Index for total compensation for March 2003 was released April 2003.

[6/2/03]  The National Defined Contribution Council (NDCC) “is dedicated to the promotion and protection of the defined contribution industry and the public it serves.  It is the only organization formed specifically to address the special needs of plan service providers.”

[6/2/03]  The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College recently released new working papers:

[6/2/03]  The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality released MEPS Statistical Brief  #17: “Employer Sponsored Health Insurance for Full Time Employees and Retirees: 1998 and 2000,” dated May 2003.


[6/1/03]  Click here for Health Economics Core Library Recommendations, 2003, compiled by AcademyHealth and funded by the National Library of Medicine.

[6/1/03]  H.R.2, Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 was signed by the President on May 28, 2003.  The House Rules Committee posted the Conference Report.

[6/1/03]  The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Semiannual Regulatory Agenda [Agenda of Regulations Under Development] is posted in the May 27, 2003, issue of the Federal Register

[6/1/03]  The Employee Benefits Security Administration’s current agenda is published in the Federal Register.

[6/1/03]   Health Affairs posts a Web exclusive on health insurance reform -- “Employment-Based Health Insurance Is Failing: Now What?” by Alain C. Enthoven described as "a strategy, based on managed competition, to free employers from the health care cost spiral and produce effective managed care."

[6/1/03]  The New York Stock Exchange now provides its Fact Book only online -- to view or download at no cost.

[6/1/03]  The Health Assistance Partnership provides an Overview of ERISA Claims Procedure Regulations with a focus on the impact on employment-based health benefit plans.

[6/1/03]  In "Manipulating Numbers by the Health Care Establishment" the Galen Institute comments on a recent report by the National Coalition on Health Care titled Charting the Cost of Inaction.

[6/1/03]  Rep. Nancy L. Johnson introduced May 14 in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R.2096, Long-Term Care and Retirement Security Act of 2003.   Bill Summary & Status information is available.

[6/1/03]  Liability for Medical Malpractice: Issues and Evidence is a May 2003 Joint Economic Committee study.

[6/1/03]  Business Insurance posted an article May 13 by Jerry Geisel titled “Bill Would Extend Transfers of Surplus Pension Assets.”

[6/1/03]  The Urban Institute publishes a May 16 discussion paper, Tax Incentives for Health Insurance, by Leonard E. Burman, Cori E. Uccello, Laura Wheaton, and Deborah Kobes.

[6/1/03]  The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College released the April 2003 Just the Facts on Retirement Issues.  "Pension Accounting & Personal Saving" is by Annamaria Lusardi, Jonathan Skinner, and Steven Venti.  

[6/1/03]  Executive Compensation: Recent Trends, Changes, and Highlights recounts the recent review by Sibson Consulting, the human capital consulting division of The Segal Company, of a random sampling of large-company proxy statements filed with the SEC during February-March of 2003.

[6/1/03]  The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) issued two MEPS Statistical Briefs on insurance coverage provided by businesses:

                                         


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Updated 6/30/03