What's New

What's New - March 2002

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What's new at EBRI this month:

Retirement Implications of Demographic and Family Change Symposium, June 25 - 26, 2002, at the San Francisco Marriott, San Francisco, California will deliver invaluable information to employee benefit consultants, benefit and human resource managers, actuaries and others in the public policy arena.  In cooperation with EBRI and the Society of Actuaries, this event provides in-depth coverage of critical issues facing the retirement income system, retirement income alternatives, the challenges of an aging society, the use of modeling to develop policy solutions and many other topics.  For complete symposium information, the papers to be presented, and a registration form, visit the Society of Actuaries symposium information page.

The executive summary of the March 2002 EBRI Issue Brief: "The Ongoing Growth of Defined Contribution and Individual Account Plans: Issues and Implications"

The executive summary of the March 2002 EBRI Notes articles: “Value of Benefits Constant in a Changing World: Findings from the 2001 EBRI/MGA Value of Benefits Survey" and "Pension Plan Participation Continued to Rise in 2000 - What Next?"

The 2002 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS): EBRI released the results of the latest survey in Washington, DC on Wednesday, February 27, 2002.  The RCS examines how well Americans think they are saving and planning for their retirement, what issues concern them, and whether age or personality types influence the way a person saves.

Company Stock Testimonies: Jack VanDerhei, Temple University and research director of the EBRI Fellows Program presented testimony at  congressional hearings during February:

Unemployment Insurance: The February 2002 issue of Facts from EBRI, monthly fact sheets providing timely statistics on a variety of employee benefit issues.

Salisbury Testimony: The written testimony of EBRI President and CEO Dallas Salisbury, an expert witness at the February 7, 2002, hearing by the Senate Committe on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on “Protecting the Pensions of Working Americans: Lessons From the Enron Debacle” includes a copy of the recent EBRI survey on company stock in 401(k) plans.

ASEC President Testifies: American Savings Education Council (ASEC) President Don Blandin testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Hearing on Financial Literacy on February 6, 2002.

EBRI Survey on Company Stock in 401(k) Plans: The EBRI survey polled members of the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS) with respect to company stock investment options, whether employer contributions are required to be invested in company stock, average percentage of company stock in the employees' accounts, restrictions on selling the company stock, and blackout periods.  Additional questions examined perceptions of the Enron situation, appropriate limits for investment in company stock and the role of the government, and perceptions on public policy issues related to company stock in 401(k) plans.  Click here for Survey Results.

EBRI Fact Sheet on Company Stock:  The December 2001 EBRI Fact Sheet provides background on company stock in retirement plans, drawn from the EBRI book, Fundamentals of Employee Benefit Programs, and the EBRI/ICI 401(k) database.

EBRI Research Findings for 2002:

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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 item has been added to the General Accounting Office's Web site in Portable Document (PDF) format:

Long-Term Care: Aging Baby Boom Generation Will Increase Demand and Burden on Federal and State Budgets, testimony by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. GAO-02-544T, March 21, 2002.

Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration: Opportunities for Improving Management of the Enforcement Program, (GAO-02-232), March 15, 2002.

Medicare Outpatient Drugs: Program Payments Should Reflect Market Prices.  Testimony by Laura Dummit, director, health care-Medicare payments issues, before the Subcommittee on Health, Senate Committee on Finance.GAO-02-531T, March 14, 2002.

Medigap: Current Policies Contain Coverage Gaps, Undermine Cost Control Incentives. Testimony by William J. Scanlon, managing director, health care, before the Subcommittee on Health, House Committee on Ways and Means.GAO-02-533T, March 14, 2002.

Protecting the Public Interest: Selected Governance, Regulatory Oversight, Auditing, Accounting, and Financial Reporting Issues.  Testimony by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Afairs. GAO-02-483T, March 5, 2002.

Private Pensions: Key Issues to Consider Following the Enron Collapse.  Testimony by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Senate Committee on Finance. GAO-02-480T, February 27, 2002.

        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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(3/28/02) The Social Security Administration has posted a news release, “Social Security Trust Funds: Long-Range Deficits Remain,” along with the 2002 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds, issued on March 26, 2002. 
Click here for the pdf of the report.  A Summary of the 2002 Annual Reports, Status of the Social Security and Medicare Programs, has also been posted.

(3/28/02) PlanSponsor.com has posted its 2002 Defined Benefit Survey.

(3/28/02) The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions has posted “Protecting America’s Pensions Act,” Statement of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, March 20, 2002.

(3/28/02) The U.S. House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Rural Enterprises, Agriculture & Technology has posted the witness list with links to testimonies from its March 19 hearing titled “Access to Health Care in Rural America.”

(3/28/02) Report of the Department of the Treasury on Employer Stock in 401k Plans, February 28, 2002, has been posted.

(3/22/02) The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a press release March 21, 2002, titled “HHS Proposes Changes That Protect Privacy, Access to Care.”  An HHS Fact Sheet titled “Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information -- Proposed Rule Modification” has also been posted.

(3/22/02) The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has posted descriptive information, along with cost and order information, about its 2001 Employee Benefits Study.

(3/22/02) E-Health Options for Business: Evaluating the Choices is a new report from The Commonwealth Fund by Sharon Silow-Carroll and Lisa Duchon.

(3/22/02) Health Affairs is publishing “Renewed Emphasis on Consumer Cost Sharing in Health Insurance Benefit Design” by Jamie Robinson exclusively on its Web site.  Robert Crane and Laura Tollen of Kaiser Permanente, and Jay Gellert, President and CEO of Health Net, offer perspectives on the topic.

(3/22/02) The Social Security Network, a Century Foundation Project, has released “Two False Claims about African-Americans and Social Security,” by Bernard Wasow, a senior fellow at the Foundation, as part of its series titled “Setting the Record Straight on Social Security Privatization.”

(3/22/02) The Vanguard Group and ChevronTexaco have created a Web site for ChevronTexaco Employee Savings Investment Plan participants to communicate the transition process of the plan to Vanguard including the trading of company stock during the transition period.

(3/22/02) CIGNA's February 2002 Pension Analyst contains “Withholding State Income Taxes From Pension and Annuity Payments” and CIGNA's latest State Withholding Information Sheet.

(3/22/02) The Investment Company Institute has released an “Ad Hoc Survey on Simple IRAs as of December 31, 2001.”

(3/22/02) The American Benefits Council has posted a Summary of Key Pending Health Legislation (current as of March 15, 2002).

(3/22/02) Health Insurance Coverage in America: 2000 Data Update from The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation provides the national data on health insurance coverage.  A fact sheet, The Uninsured and Their Access to Health Care, provides a summary of the uninsured problem.

(3/20/02) Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao named five new members to the Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Plans (ERISA Advisory Council) on March 15.  The new members are David L. Wray, John J. Szczur, Michele M. Weldon, Judy E. Weiss, and Dana M. Muir.  The Council makes recommendations to the Labor Department on current employee benefit issues.

(3/20/02) The March 2002 issue of Workforce features the article “What Works: Build a Case for HR's Bottom-Line Impact” by Tom Terez.

(3/20/02) FreeERISA.com has added a “Provider/Client Data Base which links financial institutions to their clients providing a virtual 'Who has the Business' -- at least according to Schedule D of the Form 5500.” 

(3/20/02) Assessing State External Review Programs and the Effects of Pending Federal Patients’ Rights Legislation is a March 2002 report for the Kaiser Family Foundation by researchers at Georgetown University’s Institute for Health Care Research and Policy.

(3/19/02) The Employer Quality Partnership Web site “has been designed to help employees, employers, and the self-employed understand the issues and the resources for Navigating the Health Care System.”

(3/19/02) The Segal Company’s March 2002 Newsletter is on the topic "Helping Employers Cope: Multiemployer EAPs."  [Employee Assistance  Programs]

(3/19/02) "Total Compensation in a Recession: HR Priorities Shift According to New Survey Analysis" by Steven E. Gross and Susan Haberman is reprinted with permission from Employee Benefits Journal, March 2002, published by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

(3/19/02) Access and Experiences Regarding Medical Care, Fall 2000, is a recent Statistical Brief on national estimates of health care quality from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

(3/19/02) The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Quality Dividend Calculator "has been developed to help employers assess the value of the health care purchased for their employees."

(3/18/02) On March 7 Rep. Carolyn Maloney introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R.3915, “Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act of 2002.”  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(3/18/02) The U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations has posted the witness list with links to testimonies from its March 13 hearing titled “Assessing Mental Health Parity: Implications for Patients and Employers.”

(3/18/02) The U.S. government has unveiled a new and improved FirstGov site.  The official U.S. government web portal has been redesigned pulling together data from 35 million federal Web pages.   It contains a user-friendly index (must have been designed by a librarian).

(3/18/02) The American Benefits Council chart, Summary and Comparison of Legislation Affecting Retirement Plan Investments, was updated March 6, 2002.

(3/15/02) The Employment Policy Foundation presents the Center for Work and Family Balance, “a new research center that will monitor, analyze and promote policies that encourage flexibility, innovation and freedom of choice in working arrangements and conditions of employment.”  The center's first policy report, Human Resources and Public Policy Implications of the Changing Working Household, is available.  The center has also produced Fact Sheets.

 (3/15/02) The Public Pension Coordinating Council's survey Web site currently allows viewing of the responses to the Council's 2001 Survey of State and Local Government Employee Retirement Systems by clicking on "View System Data."  Soon, the survey database will be posted and available for download, along with the survey report. 

(3/15/02) Charles Schwab & Co. issued a press release March 13 titled “Schwab Survey Reveals The Lessons of Enron May Still Be Unclear; While Many Americans Are Changing the Way They Invest, They May Still Be in the Dark When It Comes to Diversification.”

(3/15/02) The Reserve Officers Association of the United States has produced the Survey of Fortune 500 Company Benefits Policies for Reserve and National Guard Member Callups.

(3/13/02) On October 11, 2001, Rep. Bill Thomas introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R.3090, “Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002,” which is the economic stimulus package signed by the President on March 9, 2002, becoming Public Law 107-147.  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(3/13/02) Aon Consulting’s Alert for March 12, 2002, is titled, “Economic Stimulus Package Contains Benefit Provisions.”

(3/13/02) “Sperling's BestPlaces was developed to put facts about cities and living [conditions] in the hands of the public, so you can make better decisions about the best places for you to live, work, retire, play, or relocate.”

(3/13/02) The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee on Public Health has posted the witness list with links to testimonies from its hearing held March 12 titled “The Health Care Crisis of the Uninsured: What Are the Solutions?

(3/12/02) BenefitsLink has posted a document containing the relevant portions of the text of the new stimulus legislation, HR 3090, Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002, of the JCT explanation addressing pension funding, and of the EGTRRA technical corrections.

(3/12/02) TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company provides a long-term care premium calculator for the long-term care insurance policy underwritten by them.

(3/12/02) The Fine Print - Overview of Post-Enron Bills addresses the current issues surrounding 401(k) plans and company stock options programs.

(3/12/02) On March 6, 2002, Sen. Ted Kennedy introduced in the U.S. Senate S.1992, “Protecting America’s Pensions Act of 2002.”  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(3/12/02) Business Week Online posted a special report dated February 4 titled “After Enron, Bracing for a Backlash,” which includes highlights from a joint Business Week/HarrisInteractive poll of Americans conducted in January about their views of corporate America.

(3/12/02) The President's Fiscal Year 2003 Budget: An Overview of Health Programs is a Kaiser chartbook which “describes the government's overall budget situation and examines the health policies and programs proposed in the President's … budget.”

(3/12/02) The U.S. House of Representatives Democratic leader, Rep. Richard Gephardt, issued a press release dated March 5 titled “Gephardt Special Order Statement on Social Security: (as Delivered on the Floor of the House)."

(3/12/02) The U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security has posted the witness list with links to testimonies from its March 6 hearing titled “Social Security Improvements for Women, Seniors, and Working Americans.”

(3/12/02) Workplace Doctors is a free question and answer forum about aspects of workplace communication and relations.

(3/11/02) Harris Interactive has released the results of recent research in an article titled “’Haggling’ With Health Care Providers about Their Prices Likely to Increase Sharply as Out-of-Pocket Costs Rise,” which appeared in the March 6 issue of Health Care News.

(3/11/02) Company Stock and Retirement Plan Diversification by Olivia S. Mitchell and Stephen P. Utkus is the latest Working Paper published by the Pension Research Council.

(3/11/02) Produced for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization program, Shifting Responsibilities: Models of Defined Contribution Health Plans was written by the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy.

(3/11/02) On March 7, 2002, Fidelity Investments issued a press release titled “Fidelity Publishes Special Report on Company Stock and 401(k) Plans.”

(3/11/02) Watson Wyatt Worldwide issued a press release dated March 7 titled “Employers Bring New Levels of Business Discipline to Health Cost Dilemma.”   It includes highlights from the soon-to-be-released “Seventh Annual WBGH/Watson Wyatt Worldwide Survey,” conducted jointly by Watson Wyatt Worldwide and the Washington Business Group on Health.

(3/8/02) A new report from The Commonwealth Fund, Diverse Communities, Common Concerns: Assessing Health Care Quality for Minority Americans, is based on findings from the Fund's 2001 Health Care Quality Survey.

(3/8/02) The Investor Trust Poll sponsored by TowersGroup is discussed in their March 5 press release, “Investor Poll: Who Do You Trust?”  The questionaire summary shows the level of satisfaction with company stock in 401(k)s.

(3/8/02) The Committee on Investment of Employee Benefit Assets, an affiliate of the Association for Financial Professionals (CIEBA of AFP), issued a press release March 5 titled “Survey of Large Pension Plan Sponsors Shows Company Stock a Complex Component of Company-Provided Plans.”

(3/8/02) The Social Security Administration Office of the Actuary released a report dated January 31, 2002, by Stephen C. Goss, chief actuary, titled "Estimates of Financial Effects for Three Models Developed by the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security."  Rep. Robert Matsui issued a news release February 1, 2002, titled "Actuarial Analysis Proves that Social Security Privatization Does Not Add Up."  The President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security released its final report on December 21, 2001, titled "Strengthening Social Security and Creating Personal Wealth for All Americans." Also released was "Appendix to the Final Report of the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security."

(3/8/02) The U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee has posted the witness list with links to testimonies from its hearing titled “Employee and Employer Views on Retirement Security,” held March 5, 2002.

(3/8/02) On February 14 Sen. Tim Johnson introduced in the U.S. Senate S.1945, “Safe and Fair Deposit Insurance Act of 2002.”  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

 

(3/8/02) Sen. Charles Grassley introduced February 27 in the U.S. Senate S.1971, “National Employee Savings and Trust Equity Guarantee Act.”  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

 

(3/8/02) Financial Engines issued a press release February 11 titled “Financial Engines Customer Base Grows to 650 Plan Sponsor Clients Serving Over 1.9 Million Employees in 2001,” which includes highlights from its 2001 Participant Survey.

(3/8/02) Ryan Labs Inc.'s Asset/Liability Watch for February shows the differential between asset classes and the growth rate of benefit liabilities.

(3/7/02) The U.S. Department of Labor provides the Register of Reporting Labor Organizations – a handy quick reference source on labor unions.

(3/7/02) Sen. Tim Hutchinson introduced February 26 in the U.S. Senate S.1969, “Pension Security Act of 2002.”  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(3/7/02) On March 1, 2002, Sen. Tim Hutchinson introduced in the U.S. Senate S.1978, “Retirement Security Advice Act of 2002.”  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

(3/7/02) The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association has initiated the Healthcare Cost Campaign.

(3/6/02) The first of the Pension Research Council’s 2002 series of Working Papers has been posted:

(3/6/02) The Principal Financial Group has released The Principal Financial Well-Being Index Executive Summary for the first quarter of 2002.

(3/6/02) On February 28, 2002, Rep. John LaFalce introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R.3818, “Comprehensive Investor Protection Act of 2002.”  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

 

(3/6/02) The RAND Center for Employer-Sponsored Health and Pension Benefits has posted papers presented at the RAND conference, "Retirement Research and Public Policy," held in Washington, DC on January 11, 2002.

(3/6/02) Time.com has posted "Health Care Has a Relapse: Costs are soaring. States are struggling. People are losing their coverage. Has Washington even noticed?" by Karen Tumulty from the Saturday, March 2 issue.

(3/6/02) On Thursday, March 14, from 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. EST, Watson Wyatt, Financial Executives International (FEI), and the FEI Research Foundation will host a combination Web conference/teleconference to discuss the issue of company stock in defined contribution plans.  Click here for registration details.

(3/5/02) The U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security has released the witness list with links to testimonies from its February 28 hearing titled “Social Security Improvements for Women, Seniors, and Working Americans.”

 

(3/5/02) Paul C. Light, of The Brookings Institution, writes about “Government's Next Great Achievements,” in the March 1, 2002, edition of Government Executive.   It is based on the Institution’s 2001 survey on the federal government's top 10 priorities for the future.

(3/5/02) Advisor Today is the official publication of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA).

(3/4/02) "The International Network of Pensions Regulators and Supervisors (INPRS) is a global network … comprised of regulatory and supervisory authorities from 64 countries and 12 international organisations.  The INPRS is serviced by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development."

(3/4/02) According to a survey, Long-Term Care Insurance in 1998-1999, released February 22 by the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA) the number of Americans who have purchased long-term care insurance has more than tripled over the last decade.

(3/4/02) Reducing Negative Surprises in Retirement by Mimi Lord, TIAA-CREF Institute, discusses a research paper titled Retirement Consumption: Insights from a Survey, by John Ameriks, Andrew Caplin, and John Leahy.

(3/1/02) BenefitsLink has posted the fulltext of the February 28, 2002, Report of the Department of the Treasury on Employer Stock in 401(k) Plans.

(3/1/02) The White House has released the transcript of President Bush’s remarks delivered on February 28 at the 2002 National Summit on Retirement Savings.  The transcript is titled President Promotes Retirement Security Agenda.

(3/1/02) Click here to read the background material provided delegates to the 2002 National Summit on Retirement Savings.

(3/1/02) The U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations has posted the witness list with links to testimonies from its hearing held February 27, 2002, titled “Enron and Beyond: Legislative Solutions.”

(3/1/02) The U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means has posted the witness list from its hearing held on February 26, 2002, titled “Retirement Security and Defined Contribution Plans.”  Also included are links to the witnesses’ prepared statements.

(3/1/02) The Insurance Information Institute and the Financial Services Roundtable have launched a new financial services Web site that provides an online, frequently updated, version of its recently released Financial Services Fact Book 2002.  The site features graphs and charts on insurance, banking, securities and on financial services as a whole.

(3/1/02) The 2002 version of IRS Publication 15-B, Employer's Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits for Benefits Provided in 2002 has been posted by the Internal Revenue Service.

(3/1/02) The Internal Revenue Service has published a Special Edition of Employee Plans News titled: "Useful Determination Program Information for GUST Applications."

(3/1/02) The National Retiree Legislative Network, Inc. (NRLN), a District of Columbia-based nonprofit social welfare organization, states as its mission: “to secure federal legislation that will guarantee the fair and equitable treatment of retirees in private and public sector health and pension programs and which will improve the adequacy of benefits provided by such programs.”  

(3/1/02) Rep. John Boehner introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives February 14, 2002, H.R.3762, Pension Security Act of 2002.  A Bill Summary & Status is available.

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Updated 3/29/02