What's New - April 2017



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[4/28/17] Investment Company Institute: 2017 Investment Company Fact Book: A Review of Trends and Activities in the Investment Company Industry

[4/28/17] NAPA Net: “Plan Sponsors Like, Want to Expand HSAs

[4/28/17] Willis Towers Watson: “U.S. employers find all-encompassing strategy key to building effective health care programs -- Survey finds that employers are taking a variety of steps to stem cost increases and improve employee health

[4/28/17] Brookings: “The Hutchins Center Explains: Prescription drug spending

[4/27/17] HR Policy Association: Workplace 2020: Making the Workplace Work -- Chief Human Resource Officers on Trends Shaping the Workplace, the Outdated Policies That Govern It--and the Way Forward

[4/27/17] Mercer/Signal: “Annual Planning: Best Practices Check List

[4/27/17] Willis Towers Watson: “Infographic: Employers focus on improving quality and access for behavioral health services

[4/27/17] HealthLeaders Media: “Private Health Insurance Exchanges Set to Grow Rapidly

[4/27/17] Harvard Business Review: “The Business Case for Providing Health Insurance to Low-Income Employees

[4/27/17] TIAA Institute Trends and Issues: “New Evidence on the Demand for Advice within Retirement Plans

[4/27/17] Willis Towers Watson Insider: “WTW Pension 100: Year-end 2016 disclosures of funding, discount rates, asset allocations and contributions

[4/26/17] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College Brief: “Who Contributes to Individual Retirement Accounts?” [Note: The full brief can be downloaded at the website.]

[4/26/17] PlanAdviser: “Gen X Faces Hurdles -- They need to save 15% of their salary, but are socking away only 7%

[4/26/17] HR Daily Advisor: “Increased Cost-Sharing Makes Voluntary Benefits More Attractive

[4/26/17] Health Affairs [Blog]: “The Payment Reform Landscape: For Employers, Keep Pushing Ahead

[4/25/17] Mercer/Signal: “HSA Plans and Onsite Clinics: Can This Marriage Be Saved?

[4/25/17] HR Dive: “The future of employee healthcare engagement looks strangely human

[4/25/17] The Keckley Report: “Health Insurance: Is It Time to Reset?

[4/25/17] PlanSponsor: “Moving From a Wellness Program to a Well-Being Program

[4/25/17] Kaiser Family Foundation Issue Brief: “Income and Assets of Medicare Beneficiaries, 2016-2035

[4/25/17] Morningstar: Save More Today: Improving Retirement Savings Rates with Carrots, Sticks, and Nudges [Note: The full report can be downloaded at the website.]

[4/25/17] NAPA Net: “5 Things You May Not Know About Roth 401(k)s

[4/24/17] Human Resource Executive Online: “Creating a Culture of Health

[4/24/17] Center for State & Local Government Excellence and AARP: Understanding Public Pensions: A Guide for Elected Officials [Note: The full publication can be downloaded at the website.]

[4/24/17] Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index: “Milliman Analysis: Funded status improves in March by $28 billion -- Investment gains and increasing interest rates drive funded ratio to 85.3%

[4/24/17] Morningstar: 2017 Target-Date Fund Landscape: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions [Note: The full report can be downloaded at the website.]

[4/24/17] InvestmentNews: “Retirees embrace the gig economy -- For some, freelance work replaces pensions in traditional retirement three-legged stool

[4/21/17] Corporate Synergies®: “Employee Miscommunication: the Wall that Divides

[4/21/17] CFO.com: “How to Get Your ROI on Employee Benefits Spending

[4/21/17] Northeast Business Group on Health: Digital Diabetes Solutions in Action: An Opportunity Study

[4/21/17] PlanAdviser: “’Unnerved’ Investors Seek Confidence In Advice -- News headlines surrounding the recent U.S. elections and the future of the Affordable Care Act have left many investors unnerved, says Jim Jessee, with MFS.

[4/20/17] TIAA: Not-for-Profit Plan Sponsor Insights Survey by TIAA [Executive Summary]

[4/20/17] PlanSponsor: “Participants Must Be ‘Nudged’ Toward Higher Savings Rates -- New research by Morningstar suggests plan sponsors may benefit from increasing default savings rates, relying on opt-out auto escalation features, and stretching the employer match.

[4/20/17] Investment Company Institute: “New ICI Analysis: Most Americans Maintain or Increase Spendable Income After Claiming Social Security, Tax Data Show

[4/20/17] Fidelity Health Marketplace: “Taking the Guesswork out of Medical Costs -- Point your employees to these resources today

[4/20/17] TechTarget: “The heady benefits of mindfulness in the workplace

[4/20/17] Fortune: “Prepare for the Digital Health Revolution -- The business of medicine is inefficient, expensive, and ripe for disruption. Here are 21 companies that are using technology to reinvent it--and to change our lives in the process.

[4/19/17] PlanAdviser: “Consultants Make Recommendations for Plan Sponsor Fund Lineups -- Consultants interviewed by PIMCO weighed in on which target-date strategies are best for which plans, which active strategies are best for which investments, and more.

[4/19/17] Financial Engines: In Whose Best Interest? (Part 2) A Financial Engines Survey on the Conflict of Interest Rule

[4/19/17] The Pew Charitable Trusts: State Public Pension Funds Increase Use of Complex Investments

[4/19/17] GOBankingRates: “1 in 3 Americans Don’t Know These Basic Finance Terms -- Basic finance terms like 401k, net worth and HELOC tripped up respondents in this survey.

[4/19/17] workspan [The Magazine of WorldatWork]: “How to Help Employees Ease Into Retirement

[4/19/17] The Milbank Quarterly: “Beyond Health Insurance: Remaining Disparities in US Health Care in the Post-ACA Era” [Note: The full study can be downloaded at the website.]

[4/19/17] Winstead PC: “Changes to Stabilize HealthCare.gov Have Implications for Employer Sponsored Health Plans

[4/19/17] USA Today: “The USA can learn from these foreign health care systems

[4/17/17] Willis Towers Watson: “Health outcomes: Employers should re-evaluate their wellness and incentive programs

[4/17/17] The Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point: “Who Would Gain Under the Proposal to Expand Health Savings Accounts?

[4/17/17] Health Affairs [Blog]: “Looking Ahead To 2018: Will A Shorter Open Enrollment Period Reduce Adverse Selection In Exchange Plans?

[4/17/17] The New York Times’ The Upshot: “How Behavioral Economics Can Produce Better Health Care

[4/17/17] The Motley Fool: “Wow! Americans Pay More for Healthcare per Person Than the 85 Cheapest Countries Combined

[4/17/17] Chief Investment Officer: “More Corporate Pension Plans Transferring Risk, Milliman Reports

[4/17/17] InvestmentNews: “What will be the next big thing for 401(k) plans? 401(k) plans have changed markedly over the past few decades with the proliferation of mutual funds and the growth of target-date funds and automatic plan-design features. What’s next?

[4/17/17] Russell Investments’ Fiduciary Matters Blog: “Lifetime retirement income reporting can be simple and effective

[4/17/17] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College’s Squared Away Blog: “Hispanic Retirees: Low Saving, Long Life

[4/17/17] PlanSponsor: “The Role of Families in Lifetime Financial Security

[4/14/17] PlanAdviser: “Employees Have Yet to Embrace HSAs -- With the right support, employees are more likely to both choose and report satisfaction with HSA-linked health coverage.

[4/14/17] Segal Consulting Update: “Congressional Efforts to Amend the Affordable Care Act Stall: What’s Next?

[4/14/17] Mercer: DB Pensions and the Emergence of the Big Bang Strategy

[4/14/17] RiXtrema Research: Significant Fee Waste in Retirement Plans -- New Study Using Quantitative Methods [Working Paper]

[4/14/17] American Institute of CPAs: “Less than Half of Non-Retired Americans Confident They’ll Reach Financial Goals by Retirement: AICPA Survey

[4/12/17] NASRA Issue Brief: “State and Local Government Spending on Public Employee Retirement Systems” [Updated April 2017]

[4/12/17] Milliman's DB Digest [Best Practices for Pension Administration]: “Lump-sum windows: Administrative tips to consider

[4/12/17] Lexology: “Benefits - Back to Basics - Plan Loans and Retirement Leakage

[4/12/17] PenChecks Blog: “The Confident Participant: How To Create An Effective 401k Education Program

[4/12/17] Vanguard Blog for Institutional Investors: “Building a world-class retirement portfolio

[4/12/17] FINRA Investor Education Foundation’s Insights: Financial Capability: “Race and Financial Capability in America: Understanding the Native American Experience

[4/12/17] Lockton: Businesses Overwhelmingly Oppose Taxing Healthcare Benefits

[4/11/17] HR Dive: “Healthcare 2020: 8 healthcare questions you need to be prepared to answer -- A recap of the National Business Group on Health’s 2017 Business Health Agenda conference

[4/11/17] Healthcare Trends Institute: “Employers Need New Evaluation Process of PBMs to Control Drug Costs

[4/11/17] NAPA Net: “5 Things You May Not Know About HSAs

[4/11/17] National Public Radio: “How U.S. Health Care Became Big Business

[4/11/17] PlanSponsor: “More Companies Including Financial Wellness in Well-Being Programs -- They are also increasing incentives and expanding the use of ergonomic workstations as part of their physical well-being programs.

[4/11/17] MetLife: Paycheck or Pot of Gold Study -- Making workplace retirement savings last

[4/11/17] Bloomberg BNA: “Pension Insurance Premiums Are Soaring but Tamable

[4/11/17] PlanAdviser: “TDF Market Shows Signs of Maturity -- An increase in the number of TDF providers has been a positive development for investors, as it has led to lower fees and more product choices, according to Mercer research.

[4/10/17] Gallup: “US Uninsured Rate Edges Up Slightly

[4/10/17] Vox.com: “What we know about the 30 million Americans who are still uninsured -- The inequality of uninsurance.

[4/10/17] PlanAdviser: “Financial Wellness is About Doing and Feeling Better -- A new assessment by Fidelity Investments measures financial wellness by taking into account money management skills and feelings toward finance.

[4/10/17] Kiplinger: “The Trouble with Target-Date Funds in Retirement -- They may not make sense once you’re past the target date.

[4/10/17] Prudential Financial: Why Employers Should Care About the Cost of Delayed Retirements [Note: The full paper can be downloaded at the website.]

[4/7/17] Kaiser Family Foundation Issue Brief: “Changing Rules for Workplace Wellness Programs: Implications for Sensitive Health Conditions

[4/7/17] Human Resource Executive Online: “New Focus on Flexibility -- Five years ago, when HRE was celebrating its 25th anniversary, workplace flexibility was not nearly as paramount to employers as it is today.

[4/7/17] Milliman: 2017 Corporate Pension Funding Study [White Paper]

[4/7/17] PlanSponsor: “DB Plan Sponsors Overpaying PBGC Premiums -- A change in the recording and timing of contributions could save DB plan sponsors thousands or more in PBGC premiums, a report contends.

[4/7/17] Retirement Income Journal: “Retirement Clearinghouse gathers allies for its ‘auto-portability’ solution” [Note: A subscription may be required to view the full article.]

[4/7/17] PlanAdviser: “Addressing the Retirement Savings Struggles of Women -- Plan design and other strategies can help women catch up to the retirement savings of men.

[4/7/17] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College’s Squared Away Blog: “Retirees Don’t Touch Home Equity

[4/7/17] Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy: Financial Literacy Month - 2017 [“As the original promoter of Financial Literacy Month (FLM), Jump$tart Coalition along with its national partners, 51 affiliated state coalitions, financial educators and other members of the financial literacy community, champion a month-long campaign in April to raise public awareness about the importance of financial literacy.”] - [Note: The website includes links to the FLM Tool Kit, Jump$tart FLM events, and partner events.]

[4/6/17] Insured Retirement Institute: “IRI Baby Boomer Expectations for Retirement 2017

[4/6/17] PlanSponsor: “Common Misunderstandings in Financial Literacy -- Among other results, the digital investment advisor company Stash found a lack of 401(k) utilization from Millennials.

[4/6/17] The Motley Fool (via USA Today): “10 incredible financial statistics that sum up the average American

[4/6/17] PlanSponsor: “HSA Adoption Growing -- HSA adoption is on the rise, but several misconceptions are keeping people back from maximizing their benefits, according to research by Fidelity Investments.

[4/5/17] MetLife: Work Redefined: A New Age of Benefits

[4/5/17] Fidelity Investments: Making the Most of Your HSA

[4/5/17] National Conference of State Legislatures: “States Tackle Health Care

[4/5/17] Gallup: “Can You Manage Employees You Rarely See?” [U.S. employees who work at home at least sometimes: 43%]

[4/5/17] Pew Research Center FactTank: “Why workers don’t always take family or medical leave when they need to

[4/5/17] Human Resource Executive Online: “Making Unlimited Vacation Work -- If work/life balance is as big a conundrum as ever, giving workers more control over vacation is often seen as a big part of the solution. What would happen, for instance, if companies gave workers all the time off they wanted? Some employers are beginning to grant unlimited vacation and sick time, and the results are surprising.

[4/5/17] Vanguard Blog for Institutional Investors: “Helping employees retire well: Here’s what works best

[4/5/17] Russell Investments’ Fiduciary Matters Blog: “$20bn club update: large plan sponsors are using every tool in the toolbox to manage pension cost and risk

[4/5/17] NAPA Net: “Save Our Savings Coalition Launches

[4/3/17] U.S. Census Bureau: Quarterly Survey of Public Pensions: Fourth Quarter 2016

[4/3/17] PlanAdviser: “Millennials Strongest Proponents of Auto Features

[4/3/17] PlanAdviser: “Is 70 the New 65? Nearly one-third of those 60 and older are planning to stay in the workforce until age 70.

[4/3/17] National Retirement Planning Coalition: National Retirement Planning Week®: April 3-7 [Note: The website includes links to NRPW resources.]

[4/3/17] Social Security Administration: Social Security Programs Throughout the World: Asia and the Pacific, 2016

[4/3/17] Healthcare Financial Management Association: “High-Cost Patients Give Up on Shopping: Survey -- Some Companies Are Bucking the Trend and Finding Ways to Increase Utilization of Price Transparency Tools, Especially Among Employees With Costly Health Conditions.

[4/3/17] Human Resource Executive Online [Blog]: “Taking Well-Being’s Pulse

[4/3/17] Small Business Majority and Center for American Progress: Opinion Poll: Small Businesses Support Paid Family Leave Programs [Note: The full report can be downloaded at the website.]

What's new at EBRI this month:

EBRI 2016 Fall Policy Forum: "Retirement and Health Policy Directions in 2017 and Beyond" ["gavel-to-gavel" webcast - Prerecorded broadcast available through the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans]

EBRI's Recent Media Coverage

Change in Average Account Balances (by Age and Tenure)


April 27, 2017 EBRI Notes - "Consumer Engagement in Health Care and Choice of Health Plan: Differences Among Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Generation X Have Implications for Plan Sponsors"

April 18, 2017 EBRI Notes - "Value of Workplace Benefits: Findings from the 2016 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey"

March 23, 2017 EBRI Issue Brief - "Health Plan Switching: A Case Study--Implications for Private- and Public-Health-Insurance Exchanges and Increased Health Plan Choice"

March 21, 2017 EBRI Issue Brief - "The 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey: Many Workers Lack Retirement Confidence and Feel Stressed About Retirement Preparations"

Feb. 27, 2017 EBRI Notes - "Retirement Policy Directions in 2017 and Beyond"

Feb. 23, 2017 EBRI Notes - "Health Experts Consider a Post-ACA World"

Feb. 21, 2017 EBRI Notes - "Geographic Variation in Spending Among Older American Households"

Feb. 8, 2017 EBRI Issue Brief - "How Does the Level of Household Savings Affect Preference for Immediate Annuities?"

Jan. 31, 2017 EBRI Notes - "Savings Medicare Beneficiaries Need for Health Expenses: Some Couples Could Need as Much as $350,000"

Jan. 17, 2017 EBRI Issue Brief - "Individual Retirement Account Balances, Contributions, Withdrawals, and Asset Allocation Longitudinal Results 2010-2014: The EBRI IRA Database"


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:

Private Health Insurance: In Most States and New Exchanges, Enrollees Continued to be Concentrated among Few Issuers in 2014. GAO-16-724, September 6, 2016; Reissued on February 14, 2017.

Retirement Security: Improved Guidance Could Help Account Owners Understand the Risks of Investing in Unconventional Assets.
GAO-17-102: Published Dec. 8, 2016; Publicly Released Jan. 9, 2017.

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.  

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Updated 4/28/17