What's New

What's New - March 2001

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What's new at EBRI this month:

Statement of Paul Fronstin, EBRI, written for the United States Senate Finance Committee, Hearing on Living Without Health Insurance: Who's Uninsured and Why? held March 13, 2001.

The March 2001 EBRI Issue Brief: "Defined Contribution Health Benefits"

The March 2001 EBRI Notes article: "A 21st Century Update on Employee Tenure"

Latest Analysis from the EBRI/ICI 401(k) Database: The latest analysis from the EBRI/ICI 401(k) Database has been published in the February 2001 EBRI Issue Brief, "401(k) Plan Asset Allocation, Account Balances, and Loan Activity in 1999."

The EBRI Notes publication for February 2001: The February Notes article is “Women on Savings and Retirement: Results From the 2000 Women's Retirement Confidence Survey.”

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.

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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 General Accounting Office's Web site in Portable Document (PDF) format:

Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service: Statement in Preamble to Regulations That Cash Balance Plans Are Not Age-Discriminatory.  GAO-01-511R, March 21, 2001.

Medicare Financing: Higher Expected Spending and Call for New Benefits Underscore Need for Meaningful Reform, by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Senate Committee on Finance. GAO-01-539T, March 22, 2001.

Health Privacy:  Regulation Enhances Protection of Patient Records But Raises Practical Concerns, by Leslie G. Aronovitz, director of health care program administration and integrity issues, before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.GAO-01-387T, February 8. 2001.

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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(3/28/01) On March 1, 2001, Spectrem Group issued a press release announcing key findings from its Affluent Market Research report, including data on the use of investment advisors.

(3/27/01) The December 2000 Issue Brief from the American Academy of Actuaries, “Social Security Benefits: Changes to the Benefit Formula and Taxation,” is a revised edition of a Fall 1997 report and includes data from the Social Security Trustees' 2000 report.

(3/26/01) On March 15, 2001, Americans for Consumer Education and Competition released the results from a national survey of high school seniors' financial literacy titled America's Money Skills Report Card.

(3/26/01) On March 19, 2001, the ESOP Association issued a press release announcing key findings from its 2000 member survey.

(3/26/01) Health Affairs has made available, exclusively online, an article titled "A Flexible Benefits Tax Credit for Health Insurance and More" by Lynn Etheredge.

(3/26/01) The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has released a working paper titled "Retiring Together or Working Alone: The Impact of Spousal Employment and Disability on Retirement Decisions" by Richard W. Johnson and Melissa Favreault.

(3/26/01) The Internal Revenue Service’s Digital Daily provides the “Employee Plans Published Guidance” page of recent Revenue Rulings, Revenue Procedures, Notices, Announcements, and Regulations pertaining to employee benefit plans.

(3/26/01) The Investment Company Institute released an “Ad Hoc Survey on Simple IRAs as of December 31, 2000.”

(3/26/01) Click here for the University of California San Diego Discussion Paper 2000-30, November 2000, "The Impact of 401(k) Plans on Retirement" by Leora Friedberg and Anthony Webb.

(3/26/01) The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Released “1999 Data for America’s Uninsured Population” from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS).

(3/26/01) A “Side-by-Side Comparison of House and Senate Pension Reform Bills” is available from the American Society of Pension Actuaries.  The chart compares H.R. 10, the Comprehensive Retirement Security and Pension Reform Act, and the Retirement Security and Savings Act.

(3/26/01) The Federal Reserve Board has released "Do the Rich Save More?" by Karen E. Dynan, Jonathan Skinner, and Stephen P. Zeldes as a part of its Finance and Economics Discussion Series.

(3/26/01) The Work-Family Researchers Electronic Network has been created in an effort to aid work-family researchers in accessing information and literature on work-family issues.

(3/26/01) The February 2001 issue of Economic Trends, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, includes recent data on "Workers' Health Insurance Costs" and "Health Care Coverage in the U.S."

(3/26/01) The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia has released a working paper dated January 24, 2001, titled "Will Bequests Attenuate the Predicted Meltdown in Stock Prices When Baby Boomers Retire?" by Andrew B. Abel.

(3/26/01) On March 19, 2001, Kaisernetwork.org released "Health Policy Report Rounds Up Recent State Legislative Action on Prescription Drug Proposals."

(3/26/01) The National Center for Employee Ownership has posted "David Johanson's ESOP Forum: March 2001, A Summary of ESOP Legal Developments During 2000."

(3/22/01) The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) announced in a press release key findings from a survey of small businesses on health insurance coverage.  NAHU sponsored the survey along with the Healthcare Leadership Council, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

(3/22/01) On March 19, 2001, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) issued “2001 Model Participant Notice” [Technical Update 01-2], which includes a worksheet to assist plan sponsors in determining whether or not they are required to issue a participant notice based on funding status of the plan.

(3/20/01) The American Society of Pension Actuaries is promoting PassPensionReform.org, “a grassroots effort to expand retirement savings now.”

(3/20/01) The March 13, 2001, issue of Medscape General Medicine includes an editorial titled "A Call for a National Summit on Information Management and Healthcare Quality" by Kenneth W. Kizer.

(3/20/01) The January/February 2001 issue of Healthplan includes the article, "Health Plans Take Steps to Implement New Federal Standards for Electronic Transactions" by Tim Hrynick.

(3/20/01) The January/February 2001 issue of the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy includes an article titled "Patient Satisfaction With and Knowledge of Their Prescription Drug Coverage" by Shane P. Desselle.

(3/19/01) Today the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration released the following reports: 2001 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund ("Part A" of Medicare) and 2001 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund ("Part B" of Medicare).  The Social Security Administration released the 2001 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds.  The Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees released Status of the Social Security and Medicare Programs: A Summary of the 2001 Annual Reports.

(3/19/01) “In an article in the Feb. 28-March 13 Knowledge@Wharton, three” researchers, David Larcker, Christopher Ittner, and Richard Lambert, “look at whether the performance of new economy firms is related to the level of equity grants to employees, among other issues.  The article is titled It's Not Just How Many, But Who Gets Stock Options That matters. As a follow-up to this study, the researchers have developed a short survey focused on understanding the value of stock options from the employee's point of view.”

(3/19/01) Human resources professionals’ concerns were ranked in  the Top 5 Benefit Priorities for 2001 survey (the sixth annual) jointly conducted by the International Society of Certified  Employee Benefits Specialists and Deloitte & Touche’s Human Capital Advisory Services.

(3/19/01) Click here for a preview of the results of the year 2001 report on "Benchmarking Retirement Income Needs: Retirement Income Replacement Ratio Study" from Aon Consulting and Georgia State University.

(3/19/01) On March 12, 2001, Hewitt Associates issued a press release announcing key findings from a new report titled Self-Directed Brokerage Accounts and Fund Windows in 401(k) Plans Study 2000.

(3/15/01) On March 13, 2001, the Senate Finance Committee issued a press release following the approval of Chairman Chuck Grassley’s education package.   The package includes a provision providing for the tax-free treatment of employer-provided educational assistance and was introduced as S.133, Employee Educational Assistance Act.  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(3/14/01) On March 9, 2001, the Federal Reserve Board released Flow of Funds Accounts of the United States: Flows and Outstandings: Fourth Quarter 2000, which includes data on the impact of lower stock prices on household net worth.

(3/14/01) Defining Factors in Defined Contribution Health Plans is the February 26, 2001, "Hot Topic," a listing of bibliographic citations and news clippings, from the LIMRA InfoCenter.

(3/14/01) The Pension Research Council has made available the following working papers:

(3/14/01) The Brookings Institution has published Policy Brief no. 73 titled "A Prescription to Relieve Worker Anxiety" by Lori Kletzer and Robert Litan.

(3/14/01) The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has posted The Effect of Old-Age Insurance on Male Retirement: Evidence from Historical Cross-Country Data a December 2000 working paper by Richard Johnson.

(3/13/01) The Congressional Budget Office has posted an Internet version of its February 2001 report,  Budget Options, which explores various possibilities for the United States budget.

(3/13/01) The AARP Public Policy Institute has released “Social Security Reform Around the World” by John Turner, dated February 26, 2001.   [If the URL does not work, delete the number "25" each of the  four times it appears in the URL and hit enter]

(3/12/01) On February 27, 2001, Rep. Roy Blunt introduced H.R. 738, “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide additional retirement savings opportunities for small employers, including self-employed individuals.” A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(3/12/01) On March 8, 2001, Watson Wyatt Worldwide issued a press release announcing the release of a new nationwide survey entitled Changing Role of Health Care Benefits: Sixth Annual Survey Report on Purchasing Value In Health Care, conducted in collaboration with the Washington Business Group on Health (WBGH) and the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

(3/9/01) On March 6, 2001, the U.S. Senate voted 56-44 to overturn workplace safety rules developed by the Clinton administration's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. On March 7, 2001, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 223-206 in favor of the repeal. President Bush is expected to sign the legislation.

(3/9/01) According to the American Benefits Council, the Portman-Cardin retirement savings plan legislation is scheduled to be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 14, 2001. The Senate bill, cosponsored by Senators Charles Grassley and Max Baucus, will most likely be introduced later this month. Click here for a summary of the Portman-Cardin Plan (updated February 1, 2001).

(3/8/01) In a press release dated March 6, 2001, the Health Insurance Association of America and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association announced the release of a report entitled The Impact of Medical Technology on Future Health Care Costs.

(3/7/01) On February 26, 2001, the Federal Register published corrections to the effective date and the compliance date regarding the final privacy regulations issued by the Department of Health and Human Services. The effective date as published in the December 28, 2000, issue of the Federal Register was February 26, 2001; the new effective date will be April 14, 2001. The compliance date for most plans, as published in the December 28, 2000, Federal Register, was February 26, 2003; the new compliance date will be April 14, 2003. On February 28, 2001, the Federal Register published a request for comments to the final rule pertaining to “Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information.”

(3/7/01) The January 2001 issue of Drug Benefit Trends features an article entitled “Consumerism and Escalating Drug Costs: A Volatile Mix” by Timothy F. Dickman and Howard R. Veit.

(3/5/01) The Consumer-Driven Healthcare Association is being formed to promote defined contribution health plans according to a Minneapolis-based spokesman.

(3/5/01) The Institute of Medicine has made available their latest report on medical errors and health care quality: Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century.

(3/5/01) On March 1, 2001, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research released The State of Health Insurance in California: Recent Trends, Future Prospects.   Click here for the PDF version.

(3/2/01) Starting with the March 1, 2001, issue, the New England Journal of Medicine will be running a series of six weekly articles about the "principal [health policy] challenges facing the Bush Administration and Congress, as well as the major policy alternatives."  For more information, see “NEJM Series Examines Election's Impact on Health Care.”  

(3/2/01) “Health Care Marketplace: States Consider Legislation to Help Small Businesses Provide Health Insurance Benefits” is a March 1, 2001, Kaisernetwork.org Daily Health Policy Report.

(3/2/01) On February 27, 2001, Xylo, Inc., a provider of work/life solutions, issued a press release announcing the February 2001 Xylo Report: Job Security Within the U.S. Workforce.

(3/2/01) On February 27, 2001, American Express issued a press release announcing key findings from a survey on whether Americans seek advice for their financial planning. The survey was conducted by Yankelovich Partners for American Express.

(3/2/01) On February 26, 2001, the Department of Labor’s Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA) announced a new toll-free number,1-866-463-3278, to assist Form 5500 filers. Click here for the press release.

(3/2/01) On January 30, 2001, Senator Charles Grassley introduced S. 220, Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2001.  A Bill Summary & Status is available.  On January 31, 2001, Rep. George Gekas introduced H.R. 333, Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2001.  A Bill Summary & Status is available.  Both bills contain provisions protecting retirement savings plans such as 403(b) plans, 457 plans and IRAs during bankruptcy.

(3/1/01) Northwestern Mutual Financial Network has issued a press release about its recent survey of Americans on their financial planning for their future, as well as survey findings from Money Maladies. The survey was conducted on behalf of Northwestern by Harris Interactive.  

(3/1/01) “Social Security and Education” is the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) Policy Report No. 240 (January 2001) by Liqun Liu and Andrew J. Rettenmaier.

(3/1/01) The Internal Revenue Service has launched a Small Business and Self-Employed Community Web site.  See IR-2001-026 for more information.

(3/1/01) In a press release dated February 26, 2001, Liberty Mutual Group announced findings from its first annual Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index.

(3/1/01) Taking Stock In Employee Benefits: The Democratization of Broad-Based Stock Plans: An Employer Perspective was released in February by the American Benefits Council.

(3/1/01) The U.S. Census Bureau has made available Household Net Worth and Asset Ownership: 1995, as well as a press release and report highlights.

(3/1/01) The U.S. Census Bureau has released data from its 1999 Service Annual Survey: Health Care and Social Assistance Services.

(3/1/01) In the U.S. Senate on February 7, 2001, Senator John McCain introduced S.283, Bipartisan Patient Protection Act of 2001.   A Bill Summary & Status is available .  On this same date, Senator McCain introduced S.284, Bipartisan Patient Protection Act of 2001-Part II.  A Bill Summary & Status is available.  In the U.S. House of Representatives on February 8, 2001, Rep. Greg Ganske introduced H.R.526, Bipartisan Patient Protection Act of 2001.  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(2/28/01) The White House has recently released the following:

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Updated 3/28/01