What's New - March 2008

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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 ".gov" 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.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

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What's new at EBRI this month:

Publications:

March 2008 EBRI Issue Brief - "Findings From the 2007 EBRI/Commonwealth Fund Consumerism in Health Survey"

March 2008 EBRI Notes - "Total Individual Account Retirement Plan Assets, by Demographics, 2004"

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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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EBRI Research Findings for 2003-2004:

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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:

Presentations
"Making Tough Budget Choices to Create a Better Future," by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, in Washington, D.C. GAO-08-604CG, March 12, 2008.

"Saving Our Future Requires Tough Choices Today," by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, on the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour at the Maddy Institute, California State University, Fresno. GAO-08-584CG, March 6, 2008.

Reports
The Nation's Long-Term Fiscal Outlook: January 2008 Update. GAO-08-591R, March 21.

Testimonies
Health Information Technology: HHS Is Pursuing Efforts to Advance Nationwide Implementation, but Has Not Defined a National Strategy, by Valerie C. Melvin, director, human capital and management information systems issues, before the Senate Committee on the Budget. GAO-08-499T, February 14. 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.


[3/31/08]  CFO.com:  “A Fatal Flaw for CDHPs? Consumer-Driven Health Plans May Not Pass the Test of Time if Companies Don’t Do a Better Job of Communicating Their Virtues to Employees

[3/31/08]  American Medical Association:  “Employer Mandates Hit Legal Snag, States Continue to Search for Options

[3/31/08]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  “95% of Online Poll Respondents Say Nation’s Health Care System Needs Fundamental Change, Should Be Overhauled

[3/31/08]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “Congress Considers Medicare Legislation

[3/28/08]  Center for Studying Health System Change Issue Brief:  “Consumer-Directed Health Plans: Mixed Employer Signals, Complex Market Dynamics

[3/28/08]  AFL-CIO:  2008 Health Care for America Survey: Summary of Findings

[3/28/08]  Hewitt Associates:  Hewitt FMLA Resources for Employers

[3/28/08]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Retirement Benefits of State and Local Government Workers

[3/28/08]  Congressional Research Service:  Bear Stearns: Crisis and “Rescue” for a Major Provider of Mortgage-Related Products

[3/26/08]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in State and Local Governments in the United States, September 2007

[3/26/08]  Retiree Drug Subsidy Program:  Important Reconciliation Deadline Information

[3/26/08]  Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association:  Medical Cost Reference Guide: Facts and Trends Driving Healthcare Costs, Quality and Access

[3/26/08]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College Issue in Brief #8-5:  “Social Security’s Financial Outlook: The 2008 Update in Perspective

[3/25/08]  Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees:

[3/25/08]  Business Insurance:  “High Court Lets EEOC Retiree Health Care Rule Stand

[3/25/08]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  Model Notice of Multiemployer Plan in Critical Status; Proposed Rule [as published in the Federal Register on March 25, 2008]

[3/25/08]  WTTW:  Retirement Revolution [a two-part PBS documentary that explores the challenges and opportunities of the 78 million Baby Boomers who are heading into retirement] - The series will be released in two one-hour segments: part 1 will premiere on Monday, March 31st at 10:00 pm EDT, part 2 on Monday, April 7th at 10:00 pm EDT.

[3/25/08]  Social Security Bulletin:  “Have People Delayed Claiming Retirement Benefits? Responses to Changes in Social Security Rules

[3/24/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Plans News [Spring 2008]

[3/24/08]  PIMCO:  Creating the Next Generation Glidepaths for Defined Contribution Plans

[3/24/08]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employer Costs for Paid Leave in Private Industry, December 2007

[3/24/08]  Urban Institute:  Current Strategies to Employ and Retain Older Workers

[3/21/08]  Federal Register, March 21, 2008:

[3/21/08]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “Accounting Proposal Would Require More Postretirement Benefit Disclosure

[3/21/08]  National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators: 

[3/21/08]  Reuters (via The New York Times):  “Republicans and Democrats Diverge on Health Care

[3/20/08]  Mayo Clinic:  “Health Care Reform Survey: Costs Are Top Worry

[3/20/08]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  The 2008 Presidential Candidates on Health Care Reform [Updated March 5, 2008]

[3/20/08]  Financial Accounting Standards Board:  “Proposed FASB Staff Position That Would Amend FASB Statement No. 132 (revised 2003), Employers’ Disclosures about Pensions and Other Postretirement Benefits

[3/20/08]  Society of Professional Benefit Administrators:  What’s the Size, Role & Future of TPAs’ Marketplace?

[3/19/08]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  Methods for Computing Withdrawal Liability; Reallocation Liability Upon Mass Withdrawal; Pension Protection Act of 2006; Proposed Rule [as published in the Federal Register on March 19, 2008]

[3/19/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  EP Determination Letter Resource Guide [for retirement plan sponsors]

[3/19/08]  The Segal Company:  Improvement in Multiemployer Pension Plans’ Withdrawal Liability Funded Ratios Continues

[3/19/08]  National Center for Employee Ownership:  “Bear Stearns and Employee Ownership

[3/19/08]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  “More Companies, Workers Adopt Consumer-Directed Health Plans” [Press Release] 

[3/19/08]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  “NPR Examines Health Care Programs in San Francisco, Massachusetts, Elsewhere

[3/18/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Multiemployer Plan Funding Guidance; Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [as published in the Federal Register on March 18, 2008]

[3/18/08]  Milliman’s Client Action Bulletin:

[3/18/08]  MassMutual Financial Group:

[3/18/08]  Pensions & Investments:

[3/17/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation Snapshots:  “Employer Health Insurance Costs and Worker Compensation

[3/17/08]  Managed Care Magazine:  “You Will Live Healthily! Employers Want To Do Everything within the Law To Make Workers Change Their Lifestyles, and They Expect Health Plans To Help

[3/17/08]  Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Statistical Brief #197:  “Medical Expenditures of the Non-Elderly by Age and Insurance Status, 2004

[3/17/08]  Internal Revenue Service: 

[3/13/08]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  “Employer Costs for Employee Compensation--December 2007

[3/13/08]  U.S. House Committee on Ways & Means:

[3/13/08]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  Retirement Plan Design: Past, Present and Future [Executive Summary]

[3/13/08]  National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems Research Series:  “GASB 45 Survey of NCPERS Members

[3/13/08]  The Segal Company:  Survey of Multiemployer Pension Plans’ Anticipated Zone Status and Funded Percentage under PPA’06

[3/13/08]  The Commonwealth Fund:  Health Policy Reform in the 2008 Election Season

[3/12/08]  Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefits News and Developments, March 2008

[3/12/08]  The Segal Group’s Capital Checkup:  “DOL Issues Checklist for Wellness Programs

[3/12/08]  Managed Care Magazine:

[3/12/08]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Participant Perceptions and Decision-Making Concerning Retirement Benefits [Working Paper]

[3/11/08]  Milliman’s Client Action Bulletin:  “PBGC Proposes New Filing Standards for Underfunded Plans

[3/11/08]  Vanguard Investment Counseling and Research:  Evaluating and Implementing Target-Date Portfolios: Four Key Considerations

[3/11/08]  Milliman, Inc.:  “Living with GASB 45: How to Manage Liabilities Associated with Retiree Medical Benefits” [as published in Benefits Quarterly, First Quarter 2008]

[3/11/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Roll Call Examines Prospects for Health Care Legislation This Year in Congress

[3/10/08]  The Commonwealth Fund:  “Health Policy Reform: Beyond the 2008 Elections -- A Resource for Journalists from The Commonwealth Fund” [Supplement to the March/April 2008 issue of the Columbia Journalism Review]

[3/10/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Election 2008 -- March 2008

[3/10/08]  National Conference of State Legislatures:  “The Changing Definition of ‘Dependent’: Who Is Insured and For How Long?

[3/10/08]  Congressional Research Service:

[3/7/08]  Watson Wyatt Insider:

[3/7/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Miscellaneous Pension Protection Act Changes [Notice 2008-30]

[3/7/08]  Wilshire Consulting:  2008 Wilshire Report on State Retirement Systems: Funding Levels and Asset Allocation

[3/7/08]  Social Security Bulletin:  “The Never-Married in Old Age: Projections and Concerns for the Near Future

[3/6/08]  Deloitte:  2008 Survey of Health Care Consumers: Executive Summary

[3/6/08]  American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations:  2008 Study of Consumer-Directed Health Plans

[3/6/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  NPR/Kaiser/Harvard Survey: The Public on Requiring Individuals to Have Health Insurance

[3/6/08]  Internal Revenue Service:  Supplemental Health Insurance Coverage as Excepted Benefits Under HIPAA and Related Legislation [Notice 2008-23]

[3/4/08]  Congressional Budget Office:  Taxes and Health Insurance [Presentation]

[3/4/08]  Prudential’s Four Pillars of Retirement SeriesSaving for Retirement at Work: Employee and Business Reactions to an Automatic IRA Concept

[3/3/08]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Pulling It Together: Separating the Forest from the Trees in the Health Reform Debate

[3/3/08]  Center for State & Local Government Excellence Issue Brief:  “What Do We Know About the Universe of State and Local Plans?

[3/3/08]  Milliman’s Client Action Bulletin:  “Supreme Court Allows Individual 401(k) Plan Participants to Sue

[3/3/08]  National Center for Employee Ownership:  Implications of the LaRue Decision for ESOPs

[3/3/08]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:

[3/3/08]  Congressional Research Service:  Social Security: “Transition Costs”

Updated 3/31/08