What's New - October 2007

Index to All Months                                                                                                    Return to Current Month

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

What's new at EBRI this month:

Publications:

October 2007 EBRI Issue Brief - "Sources of Health Insurance and Characteristics of the Uninsured: Analysis of the March 2007 Current Population Survey"

October 2007 EBRI Notes - "401(k)-Type Plans and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)"

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Asset Allocation and Default Investments in 401(k) Plans, This information sheet on the Department of Labor’s final ruling on default investments in 401(k) plans provides data on assets held in stable-value, GICs (guaranteed investment contracts, an insurance product), or money-market funds (excluded from the rule) and balanced funds (included in the rule).

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.

EBRI Fact Sheet on PBGC - A four-page fact sheet with background information, key data and charts, and information links about the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the federal agency that insures the traditional pensions of about 44 million Americans.

Frequently Asked Questions About Benefits - This section of EBRI's Web site is designed to answer basic questions about major benefit issues and trends. It provides short, graphical answers, with links to the detailed data underlying the figure. In addition, references are provided to the relevant EBRI publication.


EBRI Research Findings for 2003-2004:

_______________________________________________

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
"America's Fiscal Future and Retirement Security" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the American Council of Life Insurers' CEO Capital Forum, in Washington, D.C. GAO-08-236CG, October 23.

"America's Fiscal Future" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Society of Professional Journalists, in Washington. GAO-08-170CG, October 4.

"Fiscal Stewardship in the 21st Century" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Commerce Club, in Atlanta, Georgia. GAO-08-150CG, October 1. [slides]

"Saving Our Future Requires Tough Choices Today" by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, on the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour at Georgia State University, in Atlanta, Georgia. GAO-08-151CG, October 1. [slides]

Reports
State and Local Government Retiree Benefits: Current Status of Benefit Structures, Protections, and Fiscal Outlook for Funding Future Costs. GAO-07-1156, September 24. Highlights.

Retirement Security: Women Face Challenges in Ensuring Financial Security in Retirement. GAO-08-105, October 11. Highlights.

Testimonies
Private Pensions: Information That Sponsors and Participants Need to Understand 401(k) Plan Fees, by Barbara D. Bovbjerg, director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the House Committee on Ways and Means. GAO-08-222T, October 30. Highlights.

Private Pensions: 401(k) Plan Participants and Sponsors Need Better Information on Fees, by Barbara D. Bovbjerg, director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. GAO-08-95T, October 24. 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.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

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.


[10/31/07]  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation:  “PBGC Announces Maximum Insurance Benefit for 2008

[10/31/07]  U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means:  Hearing on the Appropriateness of Retirement Plan Fees [includes links to testimonies]

[10/31/07]  U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation:  Present Law and Background Relating to Qualified Retirement Plan Fees

[10/31/07]  Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America:  A Primer on Plan Fees

[10/30/07]  U.S. News & World Report:  “Desperate to Control Healthcare Costs, Employers Are Rolling Out Wellness Programs with Teeth

[10/30/07]  The New England Journal of Medicine:  “Learning from Failure in Health Care Reform” [Perspective], by Jonathan Oberlander, Ph.D.

[10/30/07]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Kaiser Health Security Watch

[10/29/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Pension Protection Act of 2006 -- PL 109-280, enacted 8-17-2006: Guidance/Other Information Available as of 9/30/07

[10/29/07]  Sibson Consulting’s Compliance Alert:  “Extension of Date for Certain Individual Account Plans to Provide Individual Benefit Statements

[10/29/07]  U.S. Senate Committee on Finance:  Hearing on “Small Business Health Insurance: Building a Gateway to Coverage” [includes links to testimonies]

[10/29/07]  U.S. House Committee on Small Business:  Hearing on “Health Insurer Consolidation: The Impact on Small Business” [includes links to testimonies]

[10/25/07]  U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means:  “Chairman Rangel Announces a Hearing on the Appropriateness of Retirement Plan Fees

[10/25/07]  U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging:  Hearing on “Hidden: 401(k) Fees: How Disclosure Can Increase Retirement Security” [includes links to testimonies]

[10/25/07]  Prudential Financial’s Pension Analyst Compliance Bulletin:  “Elective Deferral Limits for 2008 for Employees of Non-Profit and Governmental Employers” 

[10/25/07]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  “Employer-Provided ‘Quality of Life’ Benefits for Workers in Private Industry, 2007

[10/25/07]  University of Michigan Retirement Research Center:  Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation [Working Paper]

[10/25/07]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  A New Approach to Raising Social Security’s Earliest Eligibility Age [Working Paper Executive Summary]Full Paper.

[10/24/07]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:

[10/24/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Notice of Additional 2008 Transition Relief under Section 409A [Notice 2007-86]

[10/24/07]  University of Michigan Retirement Research Center:  Are 401(k) Saving Rates Changing? Cohort/Period Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study [Working Paper]
 
[10/24/07]  National Conference of State Legislatures:  HIPAA: Impacts and Actions by States - Medical record privacy, security and electronic transactions.

[10/23/07]  Towers Perrin:  “Efforts to Manage Health Care Costs Succeeding for High-Performing Companies

[10/23/07]  Gallup, Inc.:  “Financially Speaking, What’s Troubling Americans? Nothing Dominates, but Economic Uncertainty and Retirement Savings Register High

[10/23/07]  Ernst & Young:  2007 Aging U.S. Workforce Survey: Challenges and Responses - An Ongoing Review

[10/23/07] Watson Wyatt Insider:  “Improved Pension Funding and Lower Business Risk in 2006

[10/22/07]  Office of U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson: 

[10/22/07]  Office of U.S. Congressman Earl Pomeroy: 

[10/22/07]  Reish Luftman Reicher & Cohen:  Agreements with Service Providers: Participant Investment Advice

[10/22/07]  Congressional Research Service:  Retirement Savings Accounts: Fees, Expenses, and Account Balances

[10/22/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  COLA Increases for Dollar Limitations on Benefits and Contributions

[10/22/07]  CIGNA:  CIGNA Choice Fund® Experience Study: Summary of Key Findings

[10/22/07]  Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured:  States Moving Toward Comprehensive Health Care Reform

[10/22/07]  The Commonwealth Fund:  A Roadmap to Health Insurance for All: Principles for Reform

[10/19/07]  Buck Consultants FYI:  "IRS Announces Key Benefit Plan Limits for 2008" [including Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits]

[10/19/07]  PLANSPONSOR.com:  "Maximum Benefit and Contribution Limits for 2000-2008 [As published by the Internal Revenue Service]"

[10/19/07]  John Hancock Insurance and Financial Services: "John Hancock Study of 401(k) Participants Investment Outcomes Reveals Common Investing Behaviors"

[10/19/07]  Investment Company Institute:  "U.S. Retirement Assets Hit $16.6 Trillion in First Quarter: ICI Launches New Series of Quarterly Updates for Americans’ Savings"

[10/19/07]  National Association of State Retirement Administrators:  Public Fund Survey Summary of Findings for FY 2006

[10/18/07]  JPMorgan Chase & Co.:  "2008 IRS Benefit Limits, Social Security Increases Now Available"

[10/18/07]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:

[10/18/07]  Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured:  Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007 (CHIPRA)

[10/18/07]  The Milbank Quarterly:  "Markets and Medical Care: The United States, 1993-2005"

[10/17/07]  Kaiser Family Foundation’s health08.org:  2008 Presidential Candidate Health Care Proposals: Side-by-Side Summary [Interactive Online Tool]

[10/17/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Tax Issues on Distributions from Retirement Plans [slide presentation from the 2007 IRS Nationwide Tax Forum]

[10/17/07]  The Segal Group’s Capital Checkup:  "2008 Medicare Premiums, Deductibles and Coinsurance"

[10/17/07]  Social Security Administration Fact Sheet:  "2008 Social Security Changes"

[10/16/07]  U.S. Department of Labor:  Periodic Pension Benefit Statements for Non-Participant Directed Individual Account Plans [Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2007-03]

[10/16/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Plans News [Special Edition, October 2007]

[10/16/07]  Milliman, Inc.:  Monthly Benefit News and Developments, October 2007

[10/16/07]  Vanguard Group:  Recent Changes to Defined Benefit Plan Design: 2000-2006

[10/16/07]  Committee for Economic Development:  Quality, Affordable Health Care for All: Moving Beyond the Employer-Based Health-Insurance System

[10/16/07]  American Hospital Association:  Healthy People Are the Foundation for a Productive America [includes data on work time lost due to illness]

[10/15/07]  Congressional Research Service:  Spending by Employers on Health Insurance: A Data Brief

[10/15/07]  National Conference of State Legislatures:  2007 Bills on Universal Health Care Coverage: Legislatures Fill in the Gaps

[10/15/07]  Business Roundtable:  Doing Well Through Wellness:  2006-07 Survey of Wellness Programs at Business Roundtable Member Companies

[10/15/07]  U.S. Department of the Treasury:  Issue Brief No. 2 -- Social Security Reform: A Framework for Analysis

[10/12/07]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:

[10/12/07]  Buck Consultants FYI:  “IRS Issues Pension Yield Curve

[10/12/07]  Principal Financial Group:

[10/12/07]  University of Michigan Retirement Research Center:  Financial Literacy and Retirement Planning: New Evidence from the Rand American Life Panel [Working Paper]

[10/12/07]  Ariel Mutual Funds and Charles Schwab:  The Ariel-Schwab Black Paper: A Decade of Research on African-American Wealth Building and Retirement Planning

[10/11/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Listing of Published Guidance (January - September 2007)

[10/11/07]  H.R. 3765, The Defined Contribution Plan Fee Transparency Act of 2007:  “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide transparency with respect to fees and expenses charged to participant-directed defined contribution plans.”  Bill Text.

[10/11/07]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  “UAW Contract with GM Would Create Health Care Reform Institute

[10/11/07]  Congressional Research Service:  Mortality of Americans Age 65 and Older: 1980 to 2004

[10/10/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  Interest Rate Modification [Notice 2007-81, providing guidance on the corporate bond yield curve to be used for PPA funding rules]

[10/10/07]  U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration:  e-laws - ERISA Fiduciary Advisor [new website]

[10/10/07]  Buck Consultants FYI:  "IRS Proposed Regulations on Funding Balances and Benefit Restrictions Under PPA"

[10/10/07]  CIGNA and ICMA:  CIGNA/ICMA Local Government Employee Health Insurance Survey

[10/10/07]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  "UAW Contract With GM Reduces Health Plan Choices"

[10/9/07]  U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means:  “Chairman Rangel Requests Public Comment on H.R. 3361, A Bill to Make Technical Corrections to the Pension Protection Act of 2006

[10/9/07]  Internal Revenue Service:  401(k) Plan Potential Mistakes

[10/9/07]  Monthly Labor Review:  "Employer Generosity in Employer-Matched 401(k) Plans, 2002-03"

[10/9/07]  Empire Center for New York State Policy:  State & Local Government Average Pension Benefit, FY 2006, in dollars

[10/5/07]  U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor:  Hearing on “H.R. 3185, the 401(k) Fair Disclosure for Retirement Security Act of 2007” [includes links to testimonies]

[10/5/07]  Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America:  A Primer on Plan Fees and an Analysis of H.R. 3185, The 401(k) Fair Disclosure for Retirement Security Act of 2007

[10/5/07]  ANC Foundation and International Foundation for Retirement Education:  A New Model for Retirement Education and Counseling

[10/5/07]  Milken Institute:  An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease

[10/4/07]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  "UAW-GM Contract Would Divert Cost-of-Living Increases To Fund VEBA"

[10/4/07]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Medicare Costs and Retirement Security

[10/4/07]  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Flexible Work and Part-Time Jobs [chart data]

[10/4/07]  U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation:  Estimates of Federal Tax Expenditures for Fiscal Years 2007-2011

[10/3/07]  MetLife:  “Big Envelope” White Paper: Open Benefits Enrollment: The Employee Experience

[10/3/07]  Booz Allen Hamilton:  Healthcare Consumerism: Trends in Consumer Cost-Sharing [Discussion Document]

[10/3/07]  America’s Health Insurance Plans:  Health Claim Appeals: A Guide to Resolving Health Insurance Disputes

[10/3/07]  Council for Disability Awareness:  Employer Information & Resource Center

[10/2/07]  401khelpcenter:  "Hearing Scheduled on Fee Disclosure Bill, H.R. 3185"

[10/2/07]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Trends in Health Care Costs and Spending

[10/2/07]  Blue Cross and Blue and Shield Association:  CDHPs: Consumer Perspectives [a BCBS presentation at the Consumer Driven Healthcare Summit, Sept. 28, 2007]
 
[10/2/07]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  Health Insurance Mandates in the States 2007: A State-by-State Breakdown of Health Insurance Mandates and Their Costs

[10/2/07]  U.S. Social Security Administration:  Fast Facts & Figures About Social Security, 2007

[10/1/07]  Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:  "House Committee Passes Mental Health Parity Bill"

[10/1/07]  Aon Consulting Forum:  "Health Management in the Technology Age"

[10/1/07]  IBM:  Healthcare 2015 and U.S. Health Plans: New Roles, New Competencies [Executive Summary]

[10/1/07]  Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and America’s Health Insurance Plans:  Questions and Answers About Health Insurance: A Consumer Guide

[10/1/07]  ICMA-RC:  "National Save for Retirement Week Kicks Off Oct. 21"

[10/1/07]  Pension Rights Center:  Companies That Have Changed Their Defined Benefit Pension Plans [Updated]

[10/1/07]  Congressional Research Service:  Consumer Spending by Older Americans, 1985-2005

[10/1/07] Society of Actuaries:  The SOA’s Committee on Living to 100 Research Symposia invites you to its third, triennial international symposium on high-age mortality and related issues taking place January 7-9, 2008, in Orlando, Florida.  Actuaries, demographers, gerontologists, and other professionals from around the world will be among those presenting papers on such thought-provoking subjects as:

  • mortality trends and projection methods;
  • theories on aging;
  • enhanced mortality rate and population projections; and
  • implications of an aging population for social, financial, health care, and retirement systems.

Click here for further information.

Updated 10/31/07