Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #231--April 1, 2004


CAAR (Current Awareness in Aging Research) is a weekly email report produced by the Center for Demography of Health and Aging at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that helps researchers keep up to date with the latest developments in the field. For more information, including an archive of back issues and subscription information see:


I. Reports and articles:


A. "Medicare Savings Programs: Results of Social Security Administration's 2002 Outreach to Low-Income Beneficiaries," (US General Accounting Office, GAO-04-363, March 26, 2004, .pdf format, 40p.).

B. "Private Pensions: Multiemployer Plans Face Short- and Long-Term Challenges," (US General Accounting Office, GAO-04-423, March 26, 2004, .pdf format, 28p.).

C. "Private Pensions: Publicly Available Reports Provide Useful but Limited Information on Plans' Financial Condition," (US General Accounting Office, GAO-04-395, March 31, 2004, .pdf format, 42p.).

Note: These are temporary addresses. GAO reports are always available at:

2. SSA REPORT: "Annual Statistical Supplement, 2003" (US Social Security Administration, March 2004, HTML and .pdf format).

3. CBO REPORT: "Administrative Costs of Private Accounts in Social Security," (Congressional Budget Office, March 2004, .pdf format, 19p.).

Follow link to "Report.pdf".

4. CMMS NEWS RELEASE: "CMS Announces Preliminary Growth Estimates for Medicare Advantage for 2005," (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, March 26, 2004).

5. UK DWP PRESS RELEASE: "Civil Partnership Bill new pension and benefit rights for same sex couples," (UK Department of Work and Pensions, March 31, 2004).

Press release from UK Department of Trade and Industry about the Civil Partnership Bill:


A. "Exploring amyloid formation by a de novo design," by Richard A. Kammerer, Dirk Kostrewa, Jess Zurdo, Andreas Detken, Carlos Garca-Echeverra, Janelle D. Green, Shirley A. Mller, Beat H. Meier, Fritz K. Winkler, Christopher M. Dobson, and Michel O. Steinmetz (_Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_, Vol. 101, No. 13, March 30, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 4435-4440).

B. "Default-mode network activity distinguishes Alzheimer's disease from healthy aging: Evidence from functional MRI," by Michael D. Greicius, Gaurav Srivastava, Allan L. Reiss, and Vinod Menon (_Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_, Vol. 101, No. 13, March 30, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 4637-4642).

7. MEDSCAPE ARTICLE: Note: Medscape requires free registration before providing articles. "Managing Menopausal Symptoms After the Women's Health Initiative," by Barbara Hackley and Mary Ellen Rousseau (_Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health_, Vol. 49, No. 2, 2004, p. 87-95, via Medscape).

8. PRB PERIODICAL: _Population Bulletin_ (Population Reference Bureau Periodical, Vol. 59, No. 1, March 2004, .pdf format). This issue is titled: "Transitions in World Population." "World population was transformed in the 20th century as technological and social changes brought steep declines in birth and death rates. Europe's population is aging and declining; all future growth will be in developing countries, among the world's poorest groups."

9. WHO PERIODICAL ARTICLE: "Current and future dependency and dependency ratios worldwide," by Rowan H. Harwood, Avan Aihie Sayer, and Miriam Hirschfeld (_Bulletin of the World Health Organization_, Vol. 82, No. 4, April 2004, .pdf format, p. 251-258).


A. "Medicare at a Glance," (Kaiser Family Foundation, March 2004, .pdf format, 2p.). Note: "This fact sheet provides a basic overview of the Medicare program, including how it is financed, who is eligible, and what benefits are covered under the program. In addition, it describes supplemental health insurance, benefits provided by the new drug law, and data on Medicare expenditures and financing."

B. "The Medicare Prescription Drug Law," (Kaiser Family Foundation, March 2004, .pdf format, 2p.). Note: "This fact sheet, describing the new Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, explores the new drug benefit, as well as additional changes to the Medicare program."

C. "Medicare Advantage," (Kaiser Family Foundation, March 2004, .pdf format, 2p.). Note: "This fact sheet, provides an overview of the Medicare Advantage program, describes program changes made by the new drug law in plan participation and beneficiary enrollment, presents data on benefits and premiums, and explains changes in Medicare payments to participating plans."

11. AARP PPI REPORT: "The Status of the Medicare Part A and Part B Trust Funds: The Trustees' 2004 Annual Report," (AARP Public Policy Institute, March 2004, .pdf and HTML format, 6p.).

12. AARP BULLETIN: Selected articles from April 2004, _AARP Bulletin_ have been made available.

Note: Selections from previous issues can be accessed via the drop down menu on the right side of the page.

13. LIS NEWSLETTER: "Luxemburg Income Study Newsletter," (Vol. 14, No. 2, Winter 2004, .pdf format 9p.)

14. AARP PRIME TIME RADIO: The following AARP _Prime Time Radio_ shows, for Mar 16. - Mar. 22, 2004, are now available (RealPlayer plug-in or helper application required, audio transcripts run between 24 and 30 minutes).

Mar. 22, 2004: Listen: Coping With the Final Move
Mar. 22, 2004: Listen: If Ever Two Were One: A Diary of Love
Mar. 16, 2004: Listen: The Girl Watchers Club
Mar. 16, 2004: Listen: How We Are Different: A Man and A Woman Talk It Out


II. Working Papers:

15. NBER: "Valuing Assets in Retirement Saving Accounts," by James Poterba (NBER Working Paper No. w10395, March 2004, .pdf format, 37p.).


Many studies compare household balances in tax-deferred retirement accounts such as 401(k) plans with financial assets held outside these accounts, but these different asset components are not directly comparable. Taxes and in some cases penalties are due when assets are withdrawn from some retirement saving plans. These factors imply that a dollar held inside a retirement account may be less valuable in supporting retirement income than a dollar held in a similar asset outside these accounts. This is particularly important for households that are considering withdrawing assets from the tax-deferred accounts in the near future. For households with long deferral horizons, the opportunity for tax-free compound returns in retirement accounts can permit a dollar inside such an account to support more retirement consumption than a dollar outside such accounts, even though the account principal will be taxed on distribution. This paper illustrates the potential differences in the retirement support value of a dollar of invested in a bond, or in corporate stock, inside and outside tax-deferred accounts. It draws on a range of data sources to calibrate the value of the tax burden, and the benefit of compound growth, for assets held in retirement accounts, and describes the differences in relative valuation for households of different ages.

Click on "PDF" or submit your email address at the bottom of the abstract for full text.

16. CENTER FOR RETIREMENT RESEARCH AT BOSTON COLLEGE: "Household Demand for Variable Annuities," by Jeffrey R. Brown and James M. Poterba (CRR WP 2004-08, March 2004, .pdf format, 37p.).


Between 1990 and 2000, total sales of variable annuities in the U.S. grew from just over $5 billion to nearly $140 billion. These products now account for approximately half of all private market annuity sales. Variable annuities resemble mutual funds, but they qualify for special tax treatment as insurance products because they provide an option to convert to a life annuity. This paper describes the tax treatment of variable annuities and presents summary information on the ownership patterns for variable annuities. It also explores the relative importance of several distinct motives for household purchase of variable annuities. We use household data from the 1998 and 2001 waves of the Survey of Consumer Finances to examine ownership patterns and to test for the importance of tax and insurance considerations in variable annuity demand. We find that variable annuity ownership is highly concentrated among high income and high net wealth sub-groups of the population, although the concentration is lower than for several other categories of financial assets. We find mixed support for the role of tax considerations in generating variable annuity demand, and we outline a set of research issues that focus on household annuity purchases.

17. CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH ON THE JAPANESE ECONOMY [CIRJE] UNIVERSITY OF TOKYO: "Analyzing an Aging Population---A Dynamic General Equilibrium Approach---" by Shinichi Nishiyama (CIRJE-F-266, March 2004, .pdf format, p.).


This paper shows the macroeconomic and welfare implications of an aging population in the United States, using an overlapping-generations model with heterogeneous households. The model uses three population projections in Social Security Administration (2003), and generates economies as equilibrium transition paths from 1961 to 2200. The paper demonstrates how several different population projections and government financing assumptions -- to make the Social Security system sustainable -- affect households decisions and welfare. One of the policy experiments shows that an immediate increase in the payroll tax may not improve the welfare of future generations as much as it reduces the welfare of current generations.

III. Journal Tables of Contents (check your library for availability):

18. American Journal of Public Health (Vol. 94, No. 4, April 2004). Note: Full electronic text of this journal is available in the ProQuest Research Library and the EBSCO Host Academic Search Elite Database. Check your library for the availability of these databases and this issue.

19. Public Policy and Aging (Vol. 14, No. 1, 2004).

20. INGENTA Tables of Contents: INGENTA provides fee based document delivery services for selected journals.

A. Point your browser to:

B. click on "browse by publication"
C. Click the "fax/ariel" radio button, type the Journal Name in the "by words in the title" search box and click "search".
D. View the table of contents for the issue noted.

American Sociological Review (Vol. 69, No. 1, February 2004). Note: Full electronic text of this journal is available in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database and this issue.

Clinical Gerontologist (Vol. 27, No. 3, 2004).

Journal of Aging and Social Policy (Vol. 16, No. 1, 2004).


21. AMEDEO MEDICAL LITERATURE: Note: "AMEDEO has been created to serve the needs of healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, administrators, other members of the health professions, and patients and their friends. They can easily access timely, relevant information within their respective fields... All AMEDEO services are free of charge. This policy was made possible thanks to generous unrestricted educational grants provided by AMGEN, Berlex, Eisai, Glaxo Wellcome, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, and Schering AG."

A. Osteoporosis: Literature for the week of March 31, 2004:

B. Alzheimer's Disease: Literature for the week of March 31, 2004:

C. Parkinson's Disease: Literature for the week of March 31, 2004:

D. Prostate Cancer: Literature for the week of March 31, 2004:

AMADEO Literature Guide:


IV. Legislation Information Updates:

22. US HOUSE COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS, SUBCOMMITTEE ON HEALTH HEARING TESTIMONY: "Hearing on Medicare Drug Discount Card," a hearing held April 1, 2004.

To view the testimony:

23. US SENATE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS HEARING PUBLICATION: "Safeguarding America's Retirement Security: An Examination of Defined Benefit Pension Plans and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation," a hearing held September 15, 2003 (S. Hrg. 108-285, .pdf and ASCII text format, 160p.).

Scroll down to or "find in page" "108-285" (without the quotes).


V. Websites of Interest:

24. KAISEREDU.ORG: The Kaiser Family Foundation has opened this site, which provides "health policy students and faculty easy access to data, literature, news and developments regarding major health policy topics and debates." Several of the modules focus on Medicare.




Charlie Fiss
Information Manager
Center for Demography and Ecology and
Center for Demography of Health and Aging
Rm. 4470A Social Science Bldg
1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1393
Phone: (608) 265-9240
Fax: (608) 262-8400