What's New - May 2009

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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:

“EBRI Now on Twitter” [EBRI Press Release, 2/6/09]

401(k) Balances and Changes Due to Market Volatility

Publications:

May 2009 EBRI Issue Brief - "Plan Demographics, Participants' Saving Behavior, and Target-Date Fund Investments"

May 2009 EBRI Notes - "Consumer Engagement in Health Care: The Use of Lower Cost-Sharing" and "Income of the Elderly Population Age 65 and Over, 2007"

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Sixth Edition of EBRI's Fundamentals of Employee Benefit Programs Is Now Available

New Survey Released March 19, 2008: Preparing for Their Future: A Look at the Financial State of Gen X and Gen Y - Press Release

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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:

Reports
The Nation's Long-Term Fiscal Outlook: March 2009 Update. GAO-09-405SP, April 30.

Defined Benefit Plans: Proposed Plan Buyouts by Financial Firms Pose Potential Risks and Benefits. GAO-09-207, March 16. Highlights.

Defined Benefit Pensions: Survey Results of the Nation's Largest Private Defined Benefit Plan Sponsors. GAO-09-291, March 30. Highlights.

Testimony
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: Financial Challenges Highlight Need for Improved Governance and Management, by Barbara D. Bovbjerg, director, education, workforce, and income security, before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. GAO-09-702T, May 20. Highlights.

Financial Literacy and Education Commission: Progress Made in Fostering Partnerships, but National Strategy Remains Largely Descriptive Rather Than Strategic, by Richard J. Hillman, managing director, financial markets and community investment, before the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. GAO-09-638T, April 29. Highlights.

 

If a title link above no longer works, click here for the GAO home page and search for the report by keyword or report number. Click here to browse by date,  topic, or agency.   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 Retirement Plans Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).  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.


[5/22/09]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration [as published in the Federal Register on May 22, 2009]:

[5/22/09]  National Academy of Social Insurance:  Management Analysis of Approaches for Expanding Access to Health Care

[5/22/09]  U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan:  “Senators Coburn, Burr, and Representatives Ryan, Nunes Offer a Better Path Forward on Health Care Reform -- Bicameral Coalition of Reformers Unveil “The Patients’ Choice Act of 2009” [Press Release]

[5/22/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Kaiser Health Reform Gateway

[5/22/09]  America’s Health Insurance Plans:  Estimated Income Characteristics of HSA Accountholders in 2008

[5/22/09]  H.R. 2460:  “To allow Americans to earn paid sick time so that they can address their own health needs and the health needs of their families.”

[5/21/09]  The Washington Post:  “U.S. Pension Insurer May Need Aid as Deficit Soars

[5/21/09]  U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging:  Hearing titled “No Guarantees: As Pension Plans Crumble, Can PBGC Deliver?” [Hearing held May 20, 2009, includes links to testimonies]

[5/21/09]  U.S. Senate Committee on Finance:  Description of Policy Options -- Financing Comprehensive Health Care Reform: Proposed Health System Savings and Revenue Options

[5/21/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  “Pulling It Together: The Experts vs. The Public on Health Reform” from Drew Altman

[5/21/09]  Stanford Center on Longevity:  Health Security Project: Building Sensible Health Care Solutions--Key Findings from a Survey among U.S. Voters, Conducted Winter 2009

[5/21/09]  The New York Times:  “Should Health Benefits Be Taxed?” by Uwe E. Reinhardt

[5/20/09]  Internal Revenue Service:  Retirement News for Employers [Spring 2009]

[5/20/09]  PensionLitigationData.com:  ERISA Litigation Study [April 15, 2009]

[5/20/09]  MetLife Topics in Pension Risk Management:  “Partial Risk Transfer

[5/20/09]  The Segal Company’s Capital Checkup:  “2010 Minimums and Maximums for Health Savings Accounts Plans and High-Deductible Health Plans

[5/20/09]  Business Insurance:  “Few Firms Will Drop Mental Health Coverage: Survey

[5/20/09]  America’s Health Insurance Plans and The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education:  The Impact of Disability [prepared by Milliman, Inc.]

[5/19/09]  Internal Revenue Service:  Suspension or Reduction of Safe Harbor Nonelective Contributions; Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Public Hearing

[5/19/09]  H.R. 2331:  “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to waive the 10 percent penalty on distributions from qualified retirement plans for mortgage payments on qualified residences and in respect of unemployment and to increase the age at which distributions from qualified retirement plans are required to begin from 70-1/2 to 75.”

[5/19/09]  Urban Institute Fact Sheet on Retirement Policy:  “How Is the Financial Crisis Affecting Retirement Savings?” [May 2009, Update]

[5/19/09]  The SPARK Institute:  The Case for Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans: Coverage, Participation and Retirement Security [White Paper]

[5/19/09]  Associated Press (via The New York Times):  “Court: Old Maternity Leave Doesn’t Count

[5/19/09]  Reish Luftman Reicher & Cohen Bulletin:  “The New Take on 404(c): Confusion in the Federal Courts

[5/19/09]  CFO.com:  “Probe of Ex-Pension Chief Spotlights Shift to Stocks

[5/19/09]  Milliman, Inc.:

[5/18/09]  Internal Revenue Service:  Additional Withholding for Pensions for 2009 (Optional Procedure for Those Making Pension Payments To Offset Withholding Reductions for the Making Work Pay Credit) [Notice 1036-P]

[5/18/09]  America’s Health Insurance Plans:  January 2009 Census Shows 8 Million People Covered by HSA/High-Deductible Health Plans [May 2009]

[5/18/09]  OptumHealth:  “Health Savings Accounts Owners: Satisfied with Their Accounts, Want to Keep Them as Savings Options for Americans” [News Release]

[5/18/09]  Applied Economic Strategies (via HR Policy Association) Policy Memorandum:  “Creating a New Government Health Plan Will Significantly Increase the Cost Shift to Private Sector Payers

[5/14/09]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  “Majority of Fortune 100 Companies Offer Only Defined Contribution Plans to New Salaried Employees, Watson Wyatt Analysis Finds

[5/14/09]  Aon Consulting:  Ready 2012 -- Pension Pulse Survey

[5/14/09]  U.S. News & World Report:  “What Social Security’s Underfunding Means for Your Retirement -- The Baby Boomers Will Get Their Payouts, but What About the Rest of Us?

[5/14/09]  String Financial™:  Market Insights: Helping Tomorrow’s Retirees Better Prepare Today -- A String Financial Defined Contribution Participant Study

[5/13/09]  Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News & Developments, May 2009

[5/13/09]  The White House:  Remarks by the President After Roundtable with Business Leaders to Discuss Employer Health Care Costs

[5/13/09]  U.S. Senate Committee on Finance:

[5/13/09]  John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development [Rutgers University]:  Healthy at Work? Unequal Access to Employer Wellness Programs

[5/12/09]  Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees:

[5/12/09]  U.S. Senate Committee on Finance:  Roundtable Discussion on “Financing Comprehensive Health Care Reform” [Held May 12, 2009, includes links to witness statements]

[5/12/09]  S. 960:  Medicare Early Access Act of 2009 [Full text]

[5/12/09]  Urban Institute Commentary on Retirement Policy:  “Securing Social Security: Lessons for the Next Debate

[5/12/09]  AARP Public Policy Institute:

[5/11/09]  The Compliance Exchange:  “All the News. From All Sources. A News and Ideas Exchange Forum for Compliance, Legal, Regulatory, Risk and Audit Professionals”

[5/11/09]  Milliman:  Preparing for Parity: Investing in Mental Health [White Paper]

[5/11/09]  CIGNA:  Back to Basics: Choosing and Using Disability Insurance -- Understanding Views of Disability Insurance Plans

[5/11/09]  Morningstar:  “The Best and Worst 529 College-Savings Plans: Our Annual Review of the 529 College-Savings Industry

[5/8/09]  The New York Times:  “Taxing Those With Insurance to Pay for Those Without

[5/8/09]  The American Journal of Managed Care:  “Physicians Respond to Pay-for-Performance Incentives: Larger Incentives Yield Greater Participation

[5/8/09]  National Institute on Retirement Security Issue Brief:  “Shattering the Retirement Glass Ceiling: Women Need a Three-Legged Stool

[5/8/09]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Consumer Expenditures in 2007

[5/7/09]  Watson Wyatt Insider:

[5/7/09]   American Bar Association:  “Tax Issues in Health Care Reform

[5/7/09]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  “Golden Gate Restaurant Association Rejects San Francisco’s Offer to Drop Lawsuit

[5/7/09]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[5/6/09]  U.S. Senate Committee on Finance:  Roundtable Discussion on “Expanding Health Care Coverage” [Held May 5, 2009, includes links to testimonies]

[5/6/09]  HR Policy Association:  Position of HR Policy Association Regarding Reform of the U.S. Health Care System -- An Agenda for Mutual Responsibility

[5/6/09]  Institute for Women’s Policy Research:  “Challenge in Curbing the Spread of Swine Flu: Half of Workforce Lacks Paid Sick Days” [Press Release]

[5/6/09]  Medicare Today:

[5/5/09]  The Vanguard Group:  Inertia and Retirement Savings: Participant Behavior in 2008

[5/5/09]  Age Wave & Harris Interactive:  Retirement at the Tipping Point: The Year That Changed Everything™ -- A National Study Exploring How Four Generations Are Rethinking Retirement

[5/5/09]  TIAA-CREF Institute Trends and Issues:  “Framing and Annuities

[5/5/09]  Economic Policy Institute:  Working the Graveyard Shift: Why Raising the Social Security Retirement Age Is Not the Answer

[5/5/09]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Strange But True: Claim Social Security Now, Claim More Later

[5/5/09]  ThePort Network, Nonprofit Technology Network, and Common Knowledge:  Nonprofit Social Network Survey Report

[5/4/09]  Internal Revenue Service:  Extension of Date for Multiemployer Plans to Elect Relief under Sections 204 and 205 of WRERA [Notice 2009-42]

[5/4/09]  Watson Wyatt Insider:  “Watson Wyatt Pension 100 -- 2008 Disclosures of Funding, Discount Rates, Asset Allocations, and Contributions

[5/4/09]  Families USA:  Too Great a Burden: Americans Face Rising Health Care Costs

[5/4/09]  The Segal Company’s Capital Checkup:  “Final Updates to HIPAA EDI Rules

[5/4/09]  U.S. Senate Committee on Finance:  “Finance Leaders Release Health Care Reform Policy Options” [Press Release]

[5/4/09]  Congressional Research Service:

[5/1/09]  Hewitt Associates:  Survey Findings: Hot Topics in Retirement 2009

[5/1/09]  Investment Company Institute:  10 Myths About 401(k)s--And the Facts

[5/1/09]  U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means:  Hearing on “Health Reform in the 21st Century: Employer Sponsored Insurance” [Hearing held April 29, 2009, includes links to testimonies]

[5/1/09]  U.S. Department of the Treasury:  Health Savings Accounts [a tri-fold brochure for use in 2009]

[5/1/09]  Buck Consultants:

[5/1/09]  Watson Wyatt Worldwide:  HR Technology and Service Delivery in the Current Economic Crisis: Selected Findings from Watson Wyatt’s 2009 HR Technology Trends Survey

Updated 5/22/09