What's New

What's New - May 2000

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What's new at EBRI this month:

Value of Benefits Survey: "Most workers are generally satisfied with their employment-based benefits and continue to rank health care as the most important of their employee benefits, according to the findings of the 2000 Value of Benefits Survey conducted by WorldatWork in collaboration with the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)."

2000 Retirement Confidence Survey and Minority RCS: Results of the 2000 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) and the 2000 Minority RCS were released on May 16, 2000, at an event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Evaluating the Archer-Shaw Social Security Proposal:  Using the EBRI-SSASIM2 Policy Simulation Model, the June EBRI Notes article closely examines the Archer-Shaw 1999 proposal, which incoprates the key concept of individual accounts that Gov. Bush has endorsed.

EBRI President's 1st Quarter 2000 Report

The EBRI Issue Brief and EBRI Notes for the month of May are available online for ordering. The May Issue Brief is titled "Voluntary Long-Term Care Insurance: Best Practices for Increasing Employee Participation."  The May Notes articles are "IRA Assets Total More Than $2 Trillion" and "Nonelderly Individuals With Employment-Based and Individually Purchased Health Care Coverage."

Small Employer Retirement Survey (SERS): The 2000 Results of the survey are available.

EBRI-ERF Policy Forum: The next EBRI-ERF policy forum, "The Economic Costs of the Uninsured: Implications for Business and Government" will be held on May 3, 2000, in Washington, DC. Click here for the agenda and links to background materials, as they become available.

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What's new in employee benefits:

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

If a 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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(5/30/00) The Commonwealth Fund has posted two reports of interest:

(5/26/00) Click here for a May 23, 2000, report from American Banker: "Poll Shows 401(k) Market Tough to Crack" by Matthew Hunter.

(5/25/00) What Policymakers Don’t Know About Health Insurance talks about a recent book titled Pooling Health Insurance Risks by Mark V. Pauly and Bradley Herring in which they "take an in-depth look at the relationship between premiums and expected medical expenses across the three major sources of private health insurance in the U. S.: large employment-based group insurance, small group insurance, and individual nongroup insurance."

(5/25/00) "PWBA, IRS and PBGC announced the final computer-scannable 1999 Form 5500 formats and a new website (www.efast.dol.gov) as part of the new ERISA Filing Acceptance System (EFAST).  In Brief — 1999 Form 5500, a new publication that explains the major changes to the Form 5500 and its processing, is available on the website and through PWBA’s toll free publications hotline, 1-800-998-7542. (News Release 02/03/00)."

(5/24/00) A newly released Hewitt work/life survey of 1,020 U.S. employers by Hewitt Associates, includes findings on flexible work arrangements, child care assistance, elder care programs, and adoption benefits among other work and family employee benefits.

(5/23/00) On May 17, 2000, the American Society of Pension Actuaries (ASPA) issued a press release stating that an ASPA survey confirms that the new comparability plans expand small business retirement plan coverage.

(5/22/00) "Projected OASDI Wage Bases: 2001--2009," from an Ernst & Young Tax Alert of May 10, are the estimated Social Security wage bases for 2001--2009 recently released by the Social Security Administration. The actual Social Security wage base for year 2001 will be released in October 2000.

(5/22/00) The Uninsured in America is an Online NewsHour with Jim Lehrer/Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Partnership presentation with survey results and interviews.

(5/22/00) Read Individual Social Security Accounts: The Mega-Issue of 2000, by Pete du Pont, published by Intellectual Capital.com May 17, 2000.

(5/22/00) The Financial State of Hospitals: Post-BBA and Post-BBRA is a Ernst & Young/HCIA-Sachs LLC study released May 1, 2000.

(5/22/00) The National Coalition on Health Care released May 5 the report, Déjà vu All Over Again -- The Soaring Cost of Private Health Insurance and Its Impact on Consumers and Employers.

(5/19/00) When Your Retirement Plan Changes: Understanding Your Cash Balance Plan, an online booklet from the American Academy of Actuaries, helps plan participants understand how changes to company pension plans can affect retirement planning.

(5/19/00) "The Investment Company Institute Education Foundation and the National Urban League announced May 18, 2000, that they are joining forces to sponsor a national campaign in the African-American community to promote greater awareness about investing…and to inspire individuals to become more educated about investing and to take advantage of opportunities to accumulate wealth and secure their retirement…"

(5/19/00) Click here to read the press release on AARP's new survey, "Money and the American Family." AARP's Web site also provides a preview of an article in the July-August 2000 issue of Modern Maturity on the survey, "The Allure of Money: America's Love-Hate Relationship With the Almighty Dollar."

(5/18/00) To download a copy of the 1992 U.S. Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) paper titled, Does Health Insurance Make a Difference?, go to the OTA's publications page.

(5/18/00) The Employment Cost Index for March 2000 was released April 27 by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

(5/17/00) The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has posted CAHPS® (Consumer Assessment of Health Plans), an easy-to-use kit of survey and report tools that provides reliable and valid information to help consumers and purchasers assess and choose among health plans. The kit contains a set of questionnaires to ask consumers about their experience with their health plans, sample formats for reporting results to consumers, and a handbook to help implement the surveys and produce the reports.

(5/17/00) The Social Security Network has posted Social Security Privatization: Eleven Myths. The Social Security Network has also created a special section on "Social Security and the 2000 Elections."

(5/17/00) Human Capital I.Q., Vol. 2, from Deloitte & Touche, contains the following:

1) Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program Offered by the Department of Labor:

--The VFC Process
--The Ambiguity of Fiduciary Breaches

2) Reporting to the Health Protection Data Bank & Uniform Standards for Health Data Transmission

3) COBRA Timetables Part 1—Maximum Coverage Periods

(5/16/00) The report, Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage, and Costs, 1997-1998, New Estimates, by the National Academy of Social Insurance provides "the only comprehensive national data on this state-run program. The study provides estimates of workers’ compensation payments – cash and medical – for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the few federal programs providing workers’ compensation benefits."

(5/16/00) Insure.com has posted Change in Health Premiums: March 2000 to April 2000. "Average health insurance premiums for HMO and non-HMO health plans in the United States rose slightly across the board during April 2000. But compared to the same period last year, there's been a dramatic jump averaging almost 8 percent, according to data from Ceridian Benefits Services, a Palm Harbor, Fla., provider of employee benefits administration services."

(5/16/00) The Brookings Institution will hold a "Priorities 2000 National Issues Forum" titled, Living Longer: The Challenges of an Aging Population on May 25, 2000.

(5/16/00) The 1999 CFP Board Consumer Survey on attitudes/approaches to financial planning advice and services has been posted by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. Click here to read the additional Summary of Consumer Attitudes.

(5/16/00) Private Pensions At Risk, written by Michael Calabrese, is available on IntellectualCapital.com.

(5/15/00) Portfolio Choice, Trading, and Returns in a Large 401(k) Plan by Julie Agnew, Pierluigi Balduzzi, and Annika Sundén is Center for Retirement Research at Boston CollegeWorking Paper No. 2000-06.

(5/15/00) Click here to read "Mutual Fund Assets and Flows in 1999," in Perspective, February 2000, from the Investment Company Institute.

(5/15/00) "Employee Benefits Held Captive" by Marilyn Ostermiller in the May 2000 Best's Review, reports that "more companies are expected to move their workers’ compensation and disability programs into a captive if the U.S. Department of Labor approves the concept."

(5/12/00) Join the Debate: Your Guide to Health Issues in the 2000 Election was developed as part of a nonpartisan public education initiative of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and the League of Women Voters Education Fund. The guide provides basic facts about five key health policy topics candidates are discussing in the 2000 election.

(5/12/00) The Investment Company Institute has posted the 2000 edition of the Mutual Fund Fact Book.

(5/11/00) A nationwide survey, sponsored by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, found 12th graders' level of knowledge of personal finance basics to be declining. Click here for the press release. Click here for the 2000 Jump$tart Questionnaire & Results.

(5/11/00) The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), a retirement savings plan for federal employees, has posted the Thrift Savings Plan Highlights, May 2000, edition.

(5/11/00) The Silicon Valley-based accounting firm Mohler, Nixon & Williams' seventh annual 401(k) survey, in which over 400 northern California companies from various industries participated, is available online.

(5/10/00) "What's a Perk? Whatever It Takes" by Wendy Fawthrop is one of several May 8, 2000, Seattle Times articles on employee benefits.

(5/10/00) The May 2000 issue of CFO Magazine includes an article titled "Advice With a Price," by Robert Stowe England, dealing with the issue of companies offering workers Internet-based guidance for 401(k) investments.

(5/10/00) The U.S. Department of Labor's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration has posted the Private Pension Plan Bulletin: Abstract of 1996 Form 5500 Annual Reports, Number 9, Winter 1999--2000.

(5/10/00) "Running the Numbers: Need Help Benchmarking Compensation, Benefits or Occupational Safety? Chances Are the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Can Help" is an article in the May 2000 issue of HR Magazine.

(5/8/00) The Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Protection site has added a consumer education page on investments.

(5/5/00) The Employment Policy Foundation and the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation have published a book entitled Paid Family Leave: At What Cost? Click here for key findings.

(5/1/00) Stewart D. Friedman and Jeffrey H. Greenhaus address work and family conflicts in their new book, Work and Family - Allies or Enemies? What Happens When Business Professionals Confront Life Choices which is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in June 2000.

(5/1/00) Representatives from a variety of health and medical companies discussed Internet strategy for the medical community at the 5th annual Wharton New Ventures in Health Care Conference on April 13.

(5/1/00) Rand E. Rosenblatt, Professor Of Law & Associate Dean For Academic Affairs, Rutgers University Law School, presented testimony February 24 on ERISA preemption before the Subcommittee On Employer-Employee Relations of the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the United States House of Representatives' hearing on "Erisa: A Quarter Century of Providing Workers Health Insurance."

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Updated 5/31/00