What's New

What's New - October 1999

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What's new at EBRI this month:

The EBRI Issue Brief and EBRI Notes for the month of October are available online for ordering. The October Issue Brief is entitled "Health Care Consolidation and the Changing Health Care Marketplace: A Review of the Literature and Issues." The October Notes articles are "Prescription Drugs Utilization and Physician Visits" and "Lump-Sum Distributions Total $87.2 Billion in 1995."

Statement of Jack VanDerhei before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Hearing on Hybrid Pensions, September 21, 1999.

1999 Health Confidence Survey (HCS): Press Release Outlines Preliminary EBRI HCS Findings from EBRI 's Survey Which Examines Americans' Confidence in the Health Care System   click here to go to a page with links to the Survey Questionnaire, a later press release, and Fact Sheets from the results of the survey:

  • Age Differences
  • Confidence in Health Care Today
  • Confidence in the Future of Health Care
  • Gender Differences
  • Health Status Differences
  • Medicare
  • Satisfaction with Managed Care
  • Managed Care Confusion

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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 General Accounting Office's Web site in Portable Document (PDF) format:

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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(10/29/99) Click here to read the Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate of October 28, 1999, on the Health Information Confidentiality Act of 1999: Chairman's Mark of June 11, 1999.

(10/28/99) The Bureau of Labor Statistics has posted the complete bulletin titled: Employee Benefits in Medium and Large Private Establishments, 1997.  Go to the Publications and Other Documentation section of the Employee Benefits Survey page  to find the link to the PDF of the bulletin.

(10/28/99) "The 1999 Annual Employer Health Benefits Survey is undertaken jointly by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust. The survey was formerly conducted by KPMG Peat Marwick from 1991 to 1998. The survey tracks changes in employer-based health care coverage."

(10/27/99) "Surprises could tarnish the golden years" by Eileen Ambrose found on The Baltimore Sun's Sunspot site cites EBRI and ASEC.

(10/27/99) Retiree Health Coverage: Recent Trends and Employer Perspectives on Future Benefits is an October 1999 report prepared by Hewitt Associates for the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

(10/26/99) BusinessWeek Online's October 25th Daily Briefing: "Fewer Americans Have Health Coverage, but There's a Silver Lining" cites EBRI researcher Paul Fronstin.

(10/26/99) The Fairmodel "site brings the power of large scale macroeconometric analysis to anyone with access to the internet. It is a resource for business forecasters, government policy analysts, macroeconomic researchers, teachers, and students."

(10/25/99) Recent Trends in Compensation Practices (July 1999) by David Lebow, Louise Sheiner, Larry Slifman, and Martha Starr-McCluer is from the Finance and Economics Discussion Series of the Federal Reserve Board.

(10/22/99) "Representative Lazio (R-NY) has introduced H.R. 3081, "The Wage and Employment Growth Act of 1999," which includes all of the pension reform measures previously included in Title XII of H.R. 2488, the tax bill vetoed by President Clinton in September."  Click here for an Investment Company Institute analysis of the pension provisions of the bill.

(10/22/99) Announcement 99-95 contains The Internal Revenue Services's determination that the applicable number of Medical Savings Account (MSA) returns filed for 1998 is 32,371 and that the applicable number of MSA returns projected to be filed for 1999 is 44,784.

(10/22/99) Carol V. Calhoun's Employee Benefits Legal Resource Site provides a table combining the effects of the cost-of-living adjustments on Maximum Benefits and Contributions Limits for 1996-2000.

(10/21/99) Click here to read the Internal Revenue Service release on cost of living adjustments applicable to dollar limitations for pension plans and other items for tax year 2000.

(10/21/99) The Department of Human Resources at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale has listed EBRI as #4 on its BenefitsNet: A list of the top ten 10 benefits-related Web sites for Human Resource staff members.

(10/20/99)The Internal Revenue Service announced October 19, 1999, the cost-of-living adjustments applicable to dollar limitations for benefits under qualified retirement plans and to other provisions affecting such plans. The 2000 limit for 401(k) contributions increases from $10,000 to $10,500. The defined benefit section 415 limit increases to $135,000. The defined contribution section 415 limit remains unchanged at $30,000, and the annual compensation limit increased from $160,000 to $170,000. The limit for highly compensated employees increases from $80,000 to $85,000. A link to the full text of IR-1999-80 will be posted here as soon as available on the IRS site.

(10/20/99) The Third Millennium Cash Balance Pension Plan Survey (October 1999) was commissioned by the non-partisan Generation X advocacy group Third Millennium:

(10/20/99) Social Security Commissioner Kenneth S. Apfel announced a 2.4 percent Social Security increase for 2000. Click here for the press release. A fact sheet showing the effect of the various automatic adjustments is available by clicking here.

(10/20/99) The Department of Health and Human Services announced the 2000 Medicare changes regarding premiums and deductibles.

(10/19/99) Click here to read about the recently founded Association of Workers’ Compensation Professionals (AWCP).

(10/19/99) The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) released a press release with the names of the group of health plans from across the nation that have earned NCQA's new 'Excellent' Accreditation status.

(10/18/99) "A.M. Best Co. today began providing, without charge, its Best's Ratings and insurer profiles on the Internet to help consumers make more informed insurance-buying decisions."

(10/18/99) Choosing Health Insurance That Best Meets Your Needs: A Proposal from the AMA is posted on the Web site of the American Medical Association.

(10/18/99) Hoover's Online provides a great reference source -- The List of Lists -- a compilation of links to external lists at a variety of sources that rank companies and people in a number of ways.

(10/18/99) President Clinton announced on October 12 that the U.S. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will fund a set of research studies to help public health insurance programs and health care delivery systems improve the quality of, and access to, health care for low-income children. Overall funding will total $9.1 million over three years for nine research projects.

(10/15/99) The Department of Labor has established a Web site, Futurework - Trends and Challenges for Work in the 21st Century, and posted a report of the same name.

(10/14/99) Click here to read the press release on Hewitt Associates' report: Part-Time Employee Benefits in 1999.

(10/14/99) The U.S. Administration on Aging has posted "Side-by-Side Comparison Chart: Proposals for Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act -- 1999. However, on October 4, 1999, H.R. 782, one of the bills to reauthorize the Older Americans Act was taken off the agenda by the leadership of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

(10/14/99) The Association of Private Pension and Welfare Plans' amicus brief in Georgia Pacific vs. Lyons, an 11th Circuit (Fla/Ga/Ala) case, in which "the principal issue on appeal involves the correct method of calculating lump sum payments under a cash balance pension plan" is posted on their site.

(10/13/99) Behind the Pension Tension at IBM, an interview with Olivia Mitchell, director of Wharton’s Pension Research Council, looks at the pros and cons of cash-balance plans and how they fit into companies’ long-range strategy.

(10/13/99) "Merger Due Diligence: The Devil in the Details" is the feature article this week at Workforce Online. Learn what due diligence is needed during corporate mergers and how benefits and pensions are affected.

(10/13/99) Issues in European Pension Reform is an October 1999, paper by Tryggvi Thor Herbertsson and J. Michael Orszag.

(10/13/99) The U.S. Census Bureau recently released Money Income in the United States: 1998, based on the March 1999 Current Population Survey.

(10/12/99) The Birkbeck Pensions Economics & Finance Faculty and their collaborators from the Department of Economics, Birkbeck College, University of London, has established a Web site called Pensions@Birkbeck. It also provides a link to the Pensions Institute at Birkbeck College Web site.

(10/11/99) Click here to read a short description of the best employee "perk" ever offered (in the humble opinion of this What's New page manager).

(10/08/99) Click here for the article of the week from Lawyers Weekly USA: "HMO Can Be Sued for Medical Malpractice Not Preempted by ERISA" by Jennifer W. Mathews.  Various cases involved are reviewed briefly.

(10/8/99) Merck has made the 17th edition of The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy available on their web site free of charge. Merck also provides the entire 2nd edition of The Merck Manual of Geriatrics and part of The Merck Manual of Medical Information--Home Edition on their Web site for free as well.

(10/7/99) Hewitt Associates posts its New Year 2000 Holiday Time Off Survey Results.

(10/6/99) On October 4, 1999, Paul Fronstin, Senior Research Associate with EBRI spoke with NPR's Julie Rovner about a new study from the Census Bureau showing that the number of people without health coverage rose by one million last year and now stands at over 44 million. Click here to listen to the interview.

(10/6/99) AARP's most recent research on economic security and work:

(10/5/99) Long-Term Care in the U.S. Marketplace is posted on the Milliman & Robertson site.

(10/5/99) "Extending Affordable Health Insurance to the Uninsurable" by Conrad F. Meier is the August 27, 1999, Heartland Policy Study No. 91 from The Heartland Institute.

(10/5/99) Health Insurance Coverage: 1998 from the Current Population Reports P-60 series is posted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

(10/4/99) Andrew Tobias' Mutual Fund Cost Calculator site allows users to compare fees, transaction and distribution costs, taxes, and returns on mutual fund investments.

(10/1/99) The Center for Health Care Policy and Evaluation has posted online: A Guide to Research on the Effectiveness of Managed Care Health Plans: An Annotated Bibliography of Key Findings From 1990 to 1998, 2nd Edition, August 1999.

(10/1/99) Work/life balance issues play an important role in keeping top information technology (IT) talent, according to a new survey of U.S. chief information officers (CIOs) by RHI Consulting.

(10/1/99) Click here for the PricewaterhouseCoopers report: President Clinton’s Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit: An Analysis of Displacement of Employer-Sponsored Retiree Prescription Drug Coverage done for the Citizens for Better Medicare.

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Updated 10/29/99