What's New

What's New - March 1999

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What's new at EBRI this month:

Social Security--Preliminary Analysis of "USA"

The EBRI Issue Brief and EBRI Notes for the month of March are available online for ordering. The March Issue Brief is entitled "Contingent Workers and Workers in Alternative Work Arrangements."  The March Notes articles include: "Are Individual Social Security Accounts Feasible?" and "National Health Expenditures Top $1 Trillion Dollars for Second Year in 1997."

Congressional Testimony: Paul J. Yakoboski, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate, Employee Benefit Research Institute, presented testimony at the hearing on Increasing Savings For Retirement held by the U.S. Senate Committee On Finance, Wednesday, February 24, 1999.

New EBRI/ICI Database on 401(k) Participant Activity: EBRI's January 1999 Issue Brief examines "401(k) Plan Asset Allocation, Account Balances and Loan Activity."  The result of two years' collaboration between EBRI and the Investment Company Institute (ICI) in the collection of data on participants in 401(k) plans, this new database includes 1996 information on 6.6 million active participants in 27,762 plans holding nearly $246 billion in assets.  The database includes demographic information, annual contributions, plan balances, asset allocation, and loans, and is by far the most comprehensive source of information on individual plan participants.

EBRI Research Findings for 1998:

Consumer Health Education Council (CHEC): The Employee Benefit Research Institute Education and Research Fund  has posted the Strategic Plan of CHEC and a CHEC Tools and Resources page.

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What's new in employee benefits:

  • The American Compensation Association provides listings of human resources-related congressional bills with links to the bills and to background information on the bills.
  • Late-breaking news items from the weekly publication Business Insurance are posted every Friday before the Monday issue date.
  • Click here for the latest available issue of the Washington Status Report from the research staff of Hewitt Associates.
  • Click here for the daily edition of the Society for Human Resource Management's newspaper, HR News Online.
  • Click here for the American Compensation Association's Compensation & Benefits NEWSLINE.
  • The following items have been added to the General Accounting Office's Web site in Portable Document (PDF) format:

If a GAO title link above no longer works, click here for the GAO Index of Reports and Testimony, FY99, and search for the report by entering words or phrases from the title. Reports will also be added to GAO's searchable WAIS database in ASCII and PDF formats within 24 hours of the original posting. Any individual report may be retrieved directly in text and PDF formats with the following URL: http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?RPTNO replacing RPTNO with the report number (e.g., GAO/OCG-98-1).

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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(3/31/99) The 1999 Social Security and Medicare Trustees reports have been released:

(3/30/99) Available on the National Academy of Social Insurance Web site are advance findings of the report: Workers Compensation: Benefits, Costs and Coverage. See "Workers’ Compensation Payments Decline in 1996."

(3/29/99) Click here for Analysis of Issues Relating to Social Security Individual Private Accounts which were scheduled for a public hearing before the Senate Committee on Finance on March 16, 1999, prepared by the Staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation.

(3/26/99) Click here to go to a Web site with links to Congressional Research Service WWW Accessible Reports.

(3/25/99) The March 1999 issue of the newsletter Managing 401k Plans includes the following article: "How to Communicate 401(k) Plan Fees to Your Participants."

(3/23/99) The cover story of the Life/Health Edition of the March 1999 issue of Best's Review, "Prognosis: Uncertain - Experimental Medical Treatments Can Cost Insurers Plenty--Whether or Not They Cover Them" is by Lynna Goch.

(3/22/99) Click here to go to the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare Web site.

(3/22/99) The National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA) publishes the World Directory of Think Tanks 1999 which provides information on the world's major policy research think tanks. EBRI is among those listed.

(3/19/99) A new trade association, the National Association of Alternative Benefit Consultants, has announced its formation. The specific alternative benefit plans are medical savings account programs and self-funded health benefit programs. NAABC spokesperson, Harvey Randecker, can be reached at (800) 627-0552.

(3/18/99) "Factors Affecting Employer-Provided Retirement Benefits" is available at Compensation and Working Conditions Online (Winter 1998, Vol. 3, No. 4).

(3/17/99) Currently available on the Web site of The Economist, "Social Security Reform: America’s Golden Opportunity," by Martin Feldstein.

(3/17/99) Five Rules for Real Social Security Reform by David John is from the Heritage Foundation.

(3/16/99) Keith Ambachtsheer, Sandra Halim, and Tom Scheibelhut wrote the February 5, 1999, study: Do Public Pension Funds Underperform Corporate Pension Funds? Click here for the study summary and conclusions.

(3/16/99) Private versus Public Pension Fund Investment Performance is the title of the February 4, 1999, study by Wilshire Associates.

(3/15/99) The CalPERS Shareowner Forum has been established by the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS). The corporate governance web site includes the CalPERS' Library Catalog which is a bibliographic database with abstracts comprising much of the history of the development of corporate governance.

(3/12/99) Click here for "Year 2000 Responsibilities of ERISA Plan Fiduciaries." The material is an excerpt from Troubleshooting Employee Benefit Plans: Strategies for Year 2000 Compliance, published by Thompson Publishing GroupĀ®.

(3/11/99) Changes in Employee Health Coverage by Small Businesses on the Kaiser Family Foundation Web site presents a summary of findings from the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and KPMG Peat Marwick.

(3/10/99) Click here for the monthly fund returns of the Thrift Savings Plan for Federal Employees.

(3/9/99) Quality Health Care: New Challenges as Medicare Evolves is the final report prepared for The National Coalition on Health Care by John F. Sheils, Molly J. Coye, Genny B. Jacks, and Richard E. Dixon.

(3/8/99) Over the past year, the League of Women Voters Education Fund, in partnership with The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, sponsored more than 300 public meetings to give citizens the opportunity to express their views on Medicare - in focus groups, community dialogues, and large open meetings that included participation of more than 6,500 Americans. Participants' views are described in a new report, How Americans Talk About Medicare Reform: The Public Voice, available in PDF format.

(3/5/99) Click here for the statement of Lawrence White, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, Stern School of Business, New York University, before the Subcommittee on Social Security of the House Committee on Ways and Means March 3, 1999, hearing on Social Security's Trust Funds in the Stock Market.

(3/5/99) Social Security Reforms in Britain: The Principles of Effective Privatization by Peter Lilley, is a recent Heritage Foundation Backgrounder. The Rt. Hon. Peter Lilley, M.P., Secretary of State for Social Security in the United Kingdom from 1992 to 1997, explains the British pension system and outlines the specifics of his 1997 "Basic Pension Plus" proposal.

(3/4/99) "Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits a Boon to Employers, Employees" is available to read on Benefits & HR Adviser (Vol. 8, No. 4, Winter 1999), a Grant Thornton newsletter focusing on benefits and human resource issues.

(3/3/99) A press release from the Social Security Network reads: Top Economists, Including Six Nobel Prize Winners, Speak Out to Support President's Plan to Reduce Debt: Nobel Laureate Robert Solow Will Highlight March 8 News Conference. Over 100 of the nation’s leading economists have united under the banner of Economists for Increased National Savings.

(3/3/99) The U.S. Department of Labor's 1999 ERISA Advisory Council held its inaugural meeting on February 24 and identified the issues it will study in the upcoming year. Three working groups were formed to study (1) cash balance and other "hybrid" retirement plans, (2) whether defined benefit plan excess assets can or should be used to fund retiree medical benefits, and (3) the employee benefit implications of the growing use of contingent workers.

(3/2/99) A new study has been released by the AFL-CIO and the Institute for Women's Policy Research: Equal Pay for Working Families: National and State Data on the Pay Gap and Its Costs.

(3/1/99) Regional offices of the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA) will host a nationwide Employee Benefits Customer Service Day on Saturday, March 20, 1999, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Workers and their families are invited to telephone the agency with questions about their employer-provided pension and health benefits.

(3/1/99) The National Academy of Social Insurance Web site has added a Social Security Sourcebook page.

(3/1/99) "Can We Afford Social Security When Baby Boomers Retire?" by Virginia Reno and Kathryn Olson is a Social Security Brief from the National Academy of Social Insurance.

(3/1/99) The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has posted new reports:

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Updated 3/31/99