What's New - August 2014

Index to All Months

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

SIGN UP FOR: EBRIef, a weekly update featuring both current and past EBRI research, testimony and presentations, as well as ASEC activities, regulatory updates, applicable court decisions, and research and news from across the employee benefit industry. Sign up here.

EBRIef archives:

Visit EBRI's Blog!

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

[8/20/14] Mercer: 2014/2015 US Compensation Planning Survey Report, Executive Summary

[8/20/14] Bloomberg BNA: “ACA Simplified-Reporting Threshold Must Be Met Each Month, IRS Official Says

[8/20/14] SCOTUSblog: “A plea to leave fate of health care subsidies to the Court

[8/20/14] The New York Times: “Using Health Savings Accounts to Invest for Retirement

[8/20/14] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: National Compensation Survey: Health and Retirement Plan Provisions in Private Industry in the United States, 2013

[8/20/14] Charles Schwab: 401(k) Participant Survey

[8/20/14] Towers Watson Insider: “Final Rules Expand on Proposal to Facilitate Longevity Annuities for Retirees

[8/20/14] NAPA Net: “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda: 4th Circuit Adds a New Fiduciary Twist” [White Paper]

[8/18/14] Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index: “Milliman analysis: Corporate pension funded status drops by $5 billion in July due to investment losses

[8/18/14] CNBC.com: “Rough road ahead for ‘pension smoothing’

[8/18/14] Tri-City Herald: “Court: Washington state can nix public pension increases

[8/18/14] Plan Sponsor: “Government Sees Retirement Plan Tax Deferrals as Expenditures

[8/18/14] The Wall Street Journal: “The Truth about Retirement for Baby Boomers

[8/18/14] The Motley Fool: “A Lot of Us Will Run Out of Money in Retirement

[8/18/14] U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration: Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2014-01: Fiduciary Duties and Missing Participants in Terminated Defined Contribution Plans

[8/18/14] LifeHealthPro: “States offer employees rich, low-deductible plans

[8/18/14] BenefitsPro: “CDHP satisfaction keeps growing

[8/18/14] Kaiser Family Foundation: Medicare Part D in Its Ninth Year: The 2014 Marketplace and Key Trends, 2006-2014

[8/15/14] Internal Revenue Service: Update for Weighted Average Interest Rates, Yield Curves, and Segment Rates, Notice 2014-48 [Excerpt: “The rates in this notice reflect the application of § 430(h)(2)(C)(iv), which was added by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, Public Law 112-141 (MAP-21) and amended by section 2003 of the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014 (HATFA).”]

[8/15/14] Towers Watson Insider: “Pension Funding Stabilization: Estimated Impact of Extending Interest Rate Corridors

[8/15/14] Bloomberg BNA [Blog]: “Obstacles Loom for House Legislation on Frozen Retirement Plans, Speaker Says

[8/15/14] Government Executive: “Not Everyone Is Eligible for Phased Retirement

[8/15/14] Plan Sponsor: “Key Considerations Impact Retirement Readiness Modeling

[8/15/14] Buck Consultants FYI® In-depth: “ERISA@40: A History Lesson” [“This is the first in a multi-part series of articles to be published over the next several months celebrating the 40th birthday of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. ERISA was signed into law by President Gerald Ford on September 2, 1974 -- Labor Day….This first article looks back at the evolution of private sector retirement plans in the US and emerging federal regulation of those plans up to the date that ERISA was inked.”]

[8/15/14] Baltimore Business Journal: “Your corporate health plan might be changing. Here are 3 things to look for

[8/15/14] Human Resource Executive Online: “What Happened to Part-time Work?

[8/14/14] Prudential Financial: Eighth Annual Study of Employee Benefits Today & Beyond: Delivering the Benefits Message

[8/14/14] Towers Watson [Infographic]: “Employers Act to Control Health Care Costs -- Insights from the 2014 Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health (NBGH) Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care

[8/14/14] Fierce Health Payer: “Satisfaction with consumer-driven health plans on the rise

[8/14/14] Internal Revenue Service: Health Insurance Providers Fee [Notice 2014-47]

[8/14/14] Cheiron: “Pension Provisions in Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014

[8/14/14] Investment Company Institute Research Report: “Defined Contribution Plan Participants’ Activities, First Quarter 2014

[8/14/14] MSN Money: “How the 401k became a $4 trillion key to US retirement

[8/14/14] Ernst & Young: Building a Better Retirement World -- Insights for Better Outcomes in the Global Pension & Retirement Market

[8/13/14] The Pew Charitable Trusts and MacArthur Foundation: State Employee Health Plan Spending -- An Examination of Premiums, Cost Drivers, and Policy Approaches

[8/13/14] Kaiser Health News: “16% of Large Employers Plan to Offer Low-Benefit ‘Skinny’ Plans Despite ACA: Survey

[8/13/14] BenefitsPro: “Bill would grant nondiscrimination relief to frozen plans

[8/13/14] Workforce.com: “State of Retirement: Legislators Mull Retiree Funds

[8/13/14] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College Brief: “Private Sector Multiemployer Pension Plans – A Primer” [Note: The full Brief can be downloaded at the website.]

[8/13/14] Rochester Democrat & Chronicle: “Retirement under knife at Kodak, Xerox division

[8/13/14] Bank of America Merrill Lynch: Changing the Conversation about Retirement [White Paper]

[8/13/14] Plan Sponsor: “Survey Says: 40 Years of ERISA

[8/12/14] The White House: The Labor Force Participation Rate Since 2007: Causes and Policy Implications

[8/12/14] Bloomberg: “U.S. Public Pensions Show Biggest Investment Gain in Three Years

[8/12/14] TIAA-CREF: TIAA-CREF Investing in You Survey, Executive Summary [Excerpt: “A new TIAA-CREF survey reveals that more than one-third of Americans who contribute to an employer-sponsored retirement plan (36 percent) have never increased the percentage of their salary they contribute to their company’s plan.”]

[8/12/14] USA Today: “Many employees would take lower salary for bigger 401(k) match

[8/12/14] Human Resource Executive Online: “Pushing the Employee-Savings Envelope

[8/12/14] Plan Sponsor: “Preparing for Health Benefits Open Enrollment Period

[8/12/14] San Jose Mercury News: “San Mateo: High-tech startup challenges insurance industry

[8/12/14] Institute for HealthCare Consumerism [Private Exchange Blog]: “How the ACA and Exchanges Are Driving a New ‘Whole Workforce’ Strategy

[8/11/14] PIMCO: “Global DC Plans: Similar Destinations, Distinctly Different Paths

[8/11/14] CBS Money Watch: “How to get a better retirement plan at work

[8/11/14] USA Today: “How to save a million bucks for retirement -- Million-dollar savers take full advantage of their employers’ 401(k) match and profit-sharing

[8/11/14] Morningstar: “Retirement Health-Care Costs: The Swing Factors

[8/11/14] Bloomberg BNA: “Employer Health Exclusion Tops Tax Expenditures in JCT Report

[8/11/14] Washington Business Journal: “The No. 1 piece of advice I received for making sure your business is ready for the employer mandate

[8/11/14] National Journal: “If You Like Your Obamacare Plan, It’ll Cost You

[8/11/14] LifeHealthPro: “90 percent will qualify for individual mandate exemption

[8/8/14] U.S. Office of Personnel Management: Phased Retirement; Final rule [as published in the Federal Register on August 8, 2014]

[8/8/14] SEI: Update on Pension Funding Relief in 2014

[8/8/14] J.P. Morgan Asset Management Investment Insights: “Liability-driven investment (LDI) solutions

[8/8/14] Sibson Consulting’s Compliance Alert: “Guidance on Offering Longevity Annuities in DC Plans

[8/8/14] BenefitsPro: “Baby boomers caught in squeeze play

[8/8/14] Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System:

[8/8/14] National Center for Policy Analysis: “Who’s Moving to Consumer-Driven Health Plans? Doctors’ Offices!

[8/8/14] SCOTUSblog: “Pressing for speed on health care subsidies

[8/8/14] Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Medicare and the Marketplace [Note: The complete document may be downloaded at the CMS website.]

[8/8/14] Congressional Research Service: Social Security: Calculation and History of Taxing Benefits

[8/7/14] Investment Company Institute: “Unconventional Wisdom on Retirement Preparedness

[8/7/14] Fiduciary News: “How a Fiduciary Can Assess a Retirement Investor’s GOT [Goal-Oriented Target]

[8/7/14] HCPLive: “Consistent 401(k) Participation Pays Off

[8/7/14] Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner: “Smartphone Usage Up Among Retirement Plan Participants

[8/7/14] Internal Revenue Service: Longevity Annuity Contracts; Correction [as published in the Federal Register on August 6, 2014; “This document contains corrections to final regulations (TD 9673) that were published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 (79 FR 37633). The final regulations are relating to the use of longevity annuity contracts in tax qualified defined contribution plans.”]

[8/7/14] Devenir: 2014 Devenir HSA Research Report - Executive Summary: Midyear HSA Market Statistics & Trends

[8/7/14] Mercer: “US Health Care Reform: Are We There Yet?

[8/7/14] St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “You could get health coverage -- whether you want it or not

[8/7/14] Health Affairs [Blog]: “The Payment Reform Landscape: Accountable Care Organizations

[8/6/14] Society for Human Resource Management: “EBRI Forum Highlights Benefit Challenges

[8/6/14] Internal Revenue Service: Employee Plans News [August 4, 2014]

[8/6/14] BenefitsPro: “Smaller 401(k)s outperform bigger plans

[8/6/14] LifeHealthPro: “Most IRA investors withdraw the bare minimum: EBRI

[8/6/14] Brookings: “Unfunded Retiree Healthcare Benefits Are the Elephant in the Room

[8/6/14] Kaiser Health News: “Health Law Calls for Some Workers To Be Automatically Enrolled in Coverage

[8/6/14] EBG Advisors: “Complimentary Webinar to Examine Population Health Strategies for Employer-Based Coverage” [Note: The webinar is scheduled for Aug. 26, 2014, at 12:00 p.m. ET. Click on the link for further details and to register for the event.]

[8/6/14] Social Security Administration Perspectives: “The Social Security Windfall Elimination and Government Pension Offset Provisions for Public Employees in the Health and Retirement Study” [Excerpt: “We find that about 3.5 percent of households are subject to either the WEP or the GPO, and that the provisions reduce the present value of their Social Security benefits by roughly one-fifth. Households affected by both provisions experience benefit reductions of about one-third.”]

[8/5/14] Social Security Administration: “We are excited to announce that August 17- 23, 2014 will mark the first National my Social Security Week! During this week, Social Security will host numerous events and activities across the country to raise awareness about the benefits of having a my Social Security account and to encourage the public to sign up for their account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

[8/5/14] Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: “Lump Sum or Annuity? Making a Choice” [Questions & Answers]

[8/5/14] Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association: “Should Governments Go Automatic? Overcoming Challenges to Automatic Escalation in a Public DC Plan Through Pragmatic Solutions

[8/5/14] DesMoinesRegister.com: “How to cover your health care costs in retirement

[8/5/14] IRS Webinar: “The Affordable Care Act: How Applicable Large Employers Should Report Health Care Coverage under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 6056,” will be held on August 14 at 12 p.m. Eastern Time. [Note: Click on the link for more details and to register for the event.]

[8/5/14] Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:

[8/4/14] Towers Watson: “Client Advisory: Pension Funding Stabilization Nears Enactment

[8/4/14] Strategic Benefit Services: “Investment Policy Statements

[8/4/14] Principal Financial Group: ESOP diversification requirements

[8/4/14] Associated Press (via The Buffalo News): “As wealth erodes, retirement outlook not so golden

[8/4/14] Plan Sponsor: “It Is Difficult to Factor Social Security into Retirement Planning

[8/4/14] Social Security Administration Actuarial Note: “Replacement Rates for Retirees: What Makes Sense for Planning and Evaluation?” [“This actuarial note analyzes different approaches to developing Social Security benefit replacement rates for new retirees.”]

[8/4/14] SCOTUSblog: “Health care subsidies issue rushed to Court

[8/4/14] McGraw Wentworth Benefit Advisor: “Health Plan Trends” [“In this fifth issue of the McGraw Wentworth Benefit Advisor for 2014, we provide our annual review of health plan trends and actions employers are taking to control health plan costs.”]

[8/4/14] Kaiser Family Foundation: Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: July 2014

[8/4/14] The Wall Street Journal: “3 Takeaways from the Medicare Trustees Report

[8/1/14] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

[8/1/14] The Los Angeles Times: “Congress approves temporary highway funding measure” [Excerpt: “The temporary plan approved Thursday allows companies to defer payments to employee pension funds, thereby increasing taxable profits in the short term. But critics of the so-called "pension smoothing" say it is a gimmick that does not actually generate additional revenue over time, since the pension plans eventually need to recoup the dollars.”]

[8/1/14] ThinkAdvisor: “401(k) Savers Who Stuck Out Financial Crisis Reaping Rewards

[8/1/14] Benefits Law Journal: “Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefits: Fiduciary Considerations for Plan Sponsors

[8/1/14] myStockOptions.com: “New Survey Shows Importance of Stock Plans to Employees and Gains Insights Into Their Use of Proceeds

[8/1/14] Huffington Post: “How Financially Literate Is the Investing Public?

[8/1/14] Benefits Quarterly: “CDHPs: As Enrollment Goes Up, a Time to Tune Up” [Includes data from Mercer’s annual National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans]

[8/1/14] Kaiser Family Foundation: “The Potential Side Effects of Halbig” [“The recent decision of a three-judge panel in the Halbig case, if it prevails, would have a direct effect on the availability of subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).”]

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What's new at EBRI this month:

EBRI 2014 Spring Policy Forum: “’Crisis’ Management: Uncertainty and the Workplace” [“gavel-to-gavel” webcast - Prerecorded broadcast available through the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans]

EBRI 2013 Fall Policy Forum: “Employee Benefits: Today, Tomorrow, and Yesterday” [“gavel-to-gavel” webcast - Prerecorded broadcast available through the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans]

EBRI's Recent Media Coverage

“EBRI Now on Twitter” [EBRI Press Release, 2/6/09]

401(k) Balances and Changes Due to Market Volatility

Publications:

August 2014 EBRI Issue Brief - "'Crisis' Management: Uncertainty and the Workplace"

August 2014 EBRI Notes - "Satisfaction With Health Coverage and Care: Findings from the 2013 EBRI/Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey" and "Contributory 'Negligence?' The Impact of Future Contributions to Defined Contribution Plans on Retirement Income Adequacy for Gen Xers"

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What's new in employee benefits:


The following items have been added to the Government Accountability Office's Web site in Portable Document (PDF) format:

Reports
Health Prevention: Cost-effective Services in Recent Peer-Reviewed Health Care Literature. GAO-14-789R, August 11.

401(K) Plans: Improvements Can Be Made to Better Protect Participants in Managed Accounts. GAO-14-310, June 25. Highlights.

Private Health Insurance: Early Effects of Medical Loss Ratio Requirements and Rebates on Insurers and Enrollees. GAO-14-580, July 10. Highlights.

Private Pensions: Targeted Revisions Could Improve Usefulness of Form 5500 Information. GAO-14-441, June 5. Highlights.

Pension Advance Transactions: Questionable Business Practices Identified. GAO-14-420, June 4. Highlights.

 

If a title link above no longer works, click here for the GAO home page and search for the report by keyword or report number. Click here to browse by date,  topic, or agency.   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.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Updated 8/20/14