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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Increases in Tricare Costs: Background and Options for Congress

Increases in Tricare Costs: Background and Options for Congress

Date: October 23, 2008
Creator: Jansen, Don J.
Description: In its FY2007, FY2008, and FY2009 budget submissions, the Department of Defense (DOD) proposed increases in Tricare enrollment fees, deductibles, and pharmacy co-payments for retired beneficiaries not yet eligible for Medicare. In passing the FY2009 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress included measures establishing demonstration projects intended to find ways to contain costs through increased use of preventive care services by TRICARE beneficiaries. The scope of these measures are limited. Defense health care spending will likely remain an issue for the DOD in the next Administration, and Congress can anticipate being asked to consider new proposals to constrain costs.
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H.R. 6500, The Thrift Savings Plan Enhancement Act of 2008

H.R. 6500, The Thrift Savings Plan Enhancement Act of 2008

Date: July 29, 2008
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report describes the various aspects of the Thrift Savings Plan Enhancement Act of 2008.
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401(k) Plans and Retirement Savings: Issues for Congress

401(k) Plans and Retirement Savings: Issues for Congress

Date: July 14, 2009
Creator: Purcell, Patrick & Topoleski, John J.
Description: Over the past 25 years, defined contribution (DC) plans - including 401(k) plans - have become the most prevalent form of employer-sponsored retirement plan in the United States. This report describes seven major policy issues with respect to defined contribution plans: 1) access to employer-sponsored retirement plans; 2) participation in employer-sponsored plans; 3) contribution rates; 4) investment choices; 5) fee disclosure; 6) leakage from retirement savings; and 7) converting retirement savings into income.
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Supplemental Security Income (SSI): A Fact Sheet

Supplemental Security Income (SSI): A Fact Sheet

Date: January 8, 2008
Creator: Szymendera, Scott
Description: The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, Title XVI of the Social Security Act, was enacted in 1972 and implemented in 1974 to assure a minimum cash income to all aged, blind, or disabled persons. SSI is provided to eligible aged or disabled individuals or couples who have limited income and resources.
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Social Security and Medicare Taxes and Premiums: Fact Sheet

Social Security and Medicare Taxes and Premiums: Fact Sheet

Date: January 13, 2004
Creator: Nuschler, Dawn
Description: Financing for social security -- Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance -- and the Hospital Insurance part of Medicare is provided primarily by taxes levied on wages and net self-employment income. Financing for the Supplementary Medical Insurance portion of Medicare is provided by premiums from enrollees and payments from the government. This report describes these taxes and premiums.
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Social Security: Raising the Retirement Age Background and Issues

Social Security: Raising the Retirement Age Background and Issues

Date: June 24, 2002
Creator: Kollmann, Geoffrey
Description: The Social Security "full retirement age" will gradually rise from 65 to 67 beginning with people who attain age 62 in 2000 (i.e., those born in 1938). Early retirement benefits will still be available beginning at age 62, but at lower levels. To help solve Social Security's long-range financing problems, it has been proposed that these ages be raised further.
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Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: A Fact Sheet

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: A Fact Sheet

Date: January 29, 2008
Creator: Topoleski, John J.
Description: The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is a federal government agency established in 1974 by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) (P.L. 93- 406). It was created to protect the pensions of participants and beneficiaries covered by private sector, defined benefit (DB) plans. These pension plans provide a specified monthly benefit at retirement, usually either a percent of salary or a flat dollar amount multiplied by years of service. Defined contribution plans, such as ยง401(k) plans, are not insured. The PBGC is chaired by the Secretary of Labor, with the Secretaries of Treasury and Commerce serving as board members.
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Regulating Private Pensions: A Brief Summary of ERISA

Regulating Private Pensions: A Brief Summary of ERISA

Date: January 15, 2004
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report briefly discusses the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), and how it protects the interests of participants and beneficiaries in private-sector employee benefit plans. ERISA covers a number of fringe benefits provided by employers, but most of its provisions deal with pension plans. Pension plans sponsored by the federal, state, and local governments, or by churches generally are exempt from ERISA.
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Concurrent Receipt: Background and Issues for Congress

Concurrent Receipt: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: September 24, 2010
Creator: Henning, Charles A.
Description: "Concurrent Receipt" refers to the simultaneous receipt of two types of monetary benefits: military retired pay and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation. This report addresses the two primary components of the concurrent receipt program: Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) and Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payments (CRDP). It reviews the possible legislative expansion of the program to additional populations and provide several potential options for Congress to consider.
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Converting Retirement Savings into Income: Annuities and Periodic Withdrawals

Converting Retirement Savings into Income: Annuities and Periodic Withdrawals

Date: December 1, 2008
Creator: Mulvey, Janemarie & Purcell, Patrick
Description: To a worker contemplating retirement, there is perhaps no more important question than "How long will my money last?" Congress has a strong interest in the income security of older Americans because much of their income is either provided directly from public programs like Social Security, or in the case of pensions and retirement accounts, is subsidized through tax deductions and deferrals. This report looks at strategies to help deal with the following risks: longevity, investment, inflation, and unexpected events.
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Converting Retirement Savings into Income: Annuities and Periodic Withdrawals

Converting Retirement Savings into Income: Annuities and Periodic Withdrawals

Date: December 1, 2008
Creator: Mulvey, Janemarie & Purcell, Patrick
Description: To a worker contemplating retirement, there is perhaps no more important question than "How long will my money last?" Congress has a strong interest in the income security of older Americans because much of their income is either provided directly from public programs like Social Security, or in the case of pensions and retirement accounts, is subsidized through tax deductions and deferrals. This report discusses risks involved with retirement fund disbursement and strategies for dealing with such risks.
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Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC): A Fact Sheet

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC): A Fact Sheet

Date: April 16, 2012
Creator: Topoleski, John J.
Description: The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is a federal government agency established in 1974 by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA; P.L. 93-406). It was created to protect the pensions of participants and beneficiaries covered by private sector, defined benefit (DB) plans. The PBGC is chaired by the Secretary of Labor, with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Commerce serving as board members. In the 112th Congress, an amendment offered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to S. 1813, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), contains provisions that would address the use of excess defined benefit pension plan assets and the interest rates that defined benefit plans use to value plan liabilities.
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Older Americans Act: FY2015 Appropriations Overview

Older Americans Act: FY2015 Appropriations Overview

Date: January 30, 2015
Creator: Napili, Angela & Colello, Kirsten J.
Description: This report discusses Older Americans Act (OAA) funding. It begins with an overview of OAA's FY2015 funding and provides a detailed breakdown of current-year funding for each of the act's programs and activities. The report then reviews OAA's funding history since FY2001. Next, it summarizes FY2015 legislative activity with respect to OAA appropriations. It concludes with a discussion of FY2015 funding decisions for selected OAA programs.
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Income of Americans Aged 65 and Older, 1968 to 2008

Income of Americans Aged 65 and Older, 1968 to 2008

Date: November 4, 2009
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report presents data collected by the Census Bureau in the Current Population Survey from 1969 through 2009 about the employment status and the sources and amounts of income received by people aged 65 and older.
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Income and Poverty Among Older Americans in 2007

Income and Poverty Among Older Americans in 2007

Date: October 3, 2008
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report describes the income and poverty status of the 36.8 million Americans age 65 and older who were living in households in 2007. The report also describes how the proportion of total income received from each source differs between high-income individuals and households and low-income individuals and households.
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Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends

Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends

Date: September 8, 2008
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report discusses trends that will affect the economic well-being of future retirees.
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Factors Affecting the Demand for Long-Term Care Insurance: Issues for Congress

Factors Affecting the Demand for Long-Term Care Insurance: Issues for Congress

Date: May 27, 2009
Creator: Mulvey, Janemarie
Description: This report will discuss the role of long-term care insurance (LTCI) in financing long term care (LTC) costs and current trends in the LTCI industry; factors affecting the demand for LTCI, including cost and complexity of the product and adequacy of consumer protections; and key features of legislative proposals in the 111th Congress to address these issues.
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Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends

Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends

Date: September 11, 2015
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report discusses trends that will affect the economic well-being of future retirees.
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Income and Poverty Among Older Americans in 2008

Income and Poverty Among Older Americans in 2008

Date: October 2, 2009
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report describes the sources and amounts of income received by the 37.8 million Americans aged 65 and older who lived in non-institutional settings in 2008. The report also describes how the proportion of total income received from each source differs between high-income individuals and households and low-income individuals and households.
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Retirement Savings and Household Wealth in 2007

Retirement Savings and Household Wealth in 2007

Date: April 8, 2009
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report discusses various issues that impact the retirement income of Americans. About half of all workers in the United States participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan of some kind, a proportion that has remained relatively stable over the past thirty years. Because the majority of assets held in retirement accounts are invested in stocks, trends in stock prices have a significant impact on households' retirement account balances.
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Medicare's Hospice Benefit

Medicare's Hospice Benefit

Date: March 9, 2009
Creator: Stone, Julie
Description: This report discusses Medicare's hospice benefit, which was provides care that specializes in the relief of the pain and symptoms associated with a terminal illness and the provision of supportive and counseling services to patients and their families during the final stages of a patient's illness and death.
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End-of-Life Care: Services, Costs, Ethics, and Quality of Care

End-of-Life Care: Services, Costs, Ethics, and Quality of Care

Date: February 23, 2009
Creator: Colello, Kirsten J.; Mulvey, Janemarie; Sarata, Amanda K.; Williams, Erin D. & Thomas, Kenneth R.
Description: This report provides information on various aspects of end-of-life care: (1) demographic and historical changes affecting death and dying in the United States (2) the definitions of end-of-life, palliative, and hospice care (3) costs associated with end-of-life care (4) end-of-life care laws and ethics (5) quality of care at the end of life and (6) policy issues that would modify or expand the federal government's role in addressing end-of-life care.
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Increases in Tricare Costs: Background and Options for Congress

Increases in Tricare Costs: Background and Options for Congress

Date: May 14, 2009
Creator: Jansen, Don J.
Description: This report discusses budgetary matters for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), specifically regarding past instances of debate regarding the Tricare system. The dollar amounts allocated to health care in the budget of the DOD have more than doubled since FY2001, growing from about $17 billion to over $44.8 billion in FY2009.
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Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage

Date: March 3, 2009
Creator: Morgan, Paulette C.
Description: This report is an overview of the Medicare Advantage (MA) program, an alternative way for Medicare beneficiaries to receive covered benefits, and includes legislative history and analysis of recent trends.
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