2012 Health Confidence Survey: Americans Remain Confident About Health Care, Concerned About Costs, Following Supreme Court Decision

Increasing Default Deferral Rates in Automatic Enrollment 401(k) Plans: The Impact on Retirement Savings Success in Plans With Automatic Escalation

September 2012, Vol. 33, No. 9
Paperback, 24 pp.
PDF, 2,205 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2012

Download Notes PDF pdf

Executive Summary

2012 Health Confidence Survey: Americans Remain Confident About Health Care, Concerned About Costs, Following Supreme Court Decision



  • Confidence about various aspects of today’s health care system has remained fairly level before and after the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and has not apparently been impacted by the June 2012 Supreme Court decision.
  • Asked to rate the health care system, Americans offer a diverse perspective: 28 percent consider it to be “good,” 28 percent say “fair,” and 26 percent rate it “poor,” while 12 percent rate it very good and 5 percent say it is “excellent.” However, the 2012 Health Confidence Survey finds that the percentage of Americans rating the health care system as poor doubled between 1998 and 2004 (rising from 15 percent to 30 percent).
  • In contrast with the ratings for the health care system overall, Americans’ rating of their own health plans continues to be generally favorable—more than half of those with health insurance are extremely or very satisfied with their current plans, and a third are somewhat satisfied.
  • Dissatisfaction with the health care system appears to be focused primarily on cost.
  • Among those experiencing cost increases in their plans in the past year, 31 percent state they have decreased their contributions to retirement plans, and more than half have decreased their contributions to other savings as a result.

Increasing Default Deferral Rates in Automatic Enrollment 401(k) Plans: The Impact on Retirement Savings Success in Plans With Automatic Escalation



  • A plan design often suggested as a way to improve retirement income adequacy for 401(k) participants is increasing the initial default deferral rate.
  • Under a set of specified behavioral assumptions, more than a quarter of those in the lowest-income quartile who had previously NOT been successful under actual default contribution rates were found to be successful as a result of the change in deferral percentage.
  • When employees in the highest-income quartile were analyzed under the same set of assumptions, the percentage of those who had NOT previously been successful (under the actual default contribution rates) that now ARE successful as a result of the change in deferral rate was 18.4 percent.