What's New - December 2014

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[12/24/14] Society for Human Resource Management: “ACA Outlook: What Will 2015 Hold for Employers? -- An overview of coverage and reporting requirements for the year ahead

[12/24/14] Politico: “ACA employer mandate: Not as bitter in better economy

[12/24/14] LifeHealthPro: “What’s really happening to group health enrollment?

[12/24/14] HRBenefitsAlert: “How vanity and wellness go hand-in-hand for Millennials

[12/24/14] ThinkAdvisor: “Millennials Aren’t Meeting Their Match (in 401(k)s)

[12/24/14] PIMCO DC Dialogue: “DC Participants Seek Certainty” [“In this PIMCO DC Dialogue, we speak with Philip Chao, principal and chief investment officer, Chao & Company Ltd., about trust and the importance of fiduciary roles for both DC plan sponsors and consultants.”]

[12/24/14] U.S. News & World Report: “How to Claim the Saver’s Credit

[12/24/14] NAPA Net: “Congress Creates a New Savings Account

[12/23/14] Sibson Consulting: 2015 Reporting & Disclosure Calendar for Benefit Plans

[12/23/14] Segal Consulting: 2015 Reporting & Disclosure Calendar for Multiemployer Plans

[12/23/14] U.S. Departments of the Treasury (IRS), Labor (EBSA), and Health & Human Services: Amendments to Excepted Benefits; Proposed rules [as published in the Federal Register on Dec. 23, 2014]

[12/23/14] Health Affairs: “An Early Look at Changes in Employer-Sponsored Insurance Under The Affordable Care Act

[12/23/14] Day Health Strategies [Infographic]: “Five Reasons to be Optimistic about Health Care in the US

[12/23/14] Congressional Research Service: Premium Tax Credits and Federal Health Insurance Exchanges: Questions and Answers

[12/23/14] Digital Journal: “Verdict Is In On Billion Dollar Lockheed Martin Lawsuit and Its Unsettling Light on 401Ks

[12/23/14] Morningstar: “Wealthy Investors Aren’t Likely to Benefit from myRA

[12/23/14] Insured Retirement Institute: State of the Insured Retirement Industry: 2014 Review and 2015 Outlook

[12/23/14] Buck Consultants FYI® In-Depth: “ERISA@40: Then and Now” [“This is the seventh in a multi-part series of articles celebrating the 40th birthday of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. This article outlines key changes to ERISA in the last 40 years. It also examines what participants in our ERISA@40 survey think about the law, the challenges they have faced in the last 40 years with the changing employee benefits landscape, and what they think lies ahead.”]

[12/22/14] TIME: “What Retirees Need to Know about the New Federal Pension Rules

[12/22/14] Towers Watson: 2013 Asset Allocations in Fortune 1000 Pension Plans

[12/22/14] Callan Investments Institute: Countdown to a Better DC Plan

[12/22/14] Financial Advisor: “Majority of New 401(k) Participants Invest in Balanced Funds

[12/22/14] Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies: Baby Boomer Workers Are Revolutionizing Retirement: Are They and Their Employers Ready? -- 15th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey

[12/22/14] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College: Are Retirees Falling Short? Reconciling the Conflicting Evidence [Working Paper]

[12/22/14] ASPPA® Net: “Bipartisan SAVE Act Looks to Help Small Biz Retirement Plans

[12/22/14] Kaiser Family Foundation: Kaiser Health Policy Tracking Poll: December 2014 [“Poll: Majority Favors ACA’s Employer Mandate, But Opinion Can Shift”]

[12/22/14] CBS News: “Do Americans think their health care costs are affordable?

[12/22/14] Healthcare Payer News: “Vermont abandons single payer, for now

[12/19/14] Buck Consultants’ FYI®: “Congress Extends Transit Benefit Tax Parity, but Only for 2014

[12/19/14] McGraw Wentworth Benefit Advisor: “Internal Revenue Code Section 79” [“Tax Implications for Non-Discriminatory Employer-Paid Life Insurance Coverage That Exceeds $50,000”]

[12/19/14] American Journal of Managed Care: “Patients in Consumer-Driven Health Plans More Involved in Their Healthcare

[12/19/14] Employee Benefit Adviser: “The year in exchanges: Where private exchanges go from here

[12/19/14] Internal Revenue Service: Retirement News for Employers [Dec. 18, 2014]

[12/19/14] Investment Company Institute: “Retirement Assets Total $24.2 Trillion in Third Quarter 2014

[12/19/14] BenefitsPro: “Younger workers lean on TDFs

[12/19/14] Towers Watson: Accounting for Pensions and Other Postretirement Benefits, 2014: Reporting Under U.S. GAAP Among Fortune 1000 Companies

[12/19/14] The Segal Group: Currents: Noteworthy Developments of Interest to Sponsors of Multiemployer Retirement Plans [First Quarter 2015]

[12/19/14] ThinkAdvisor: “Sen. Hatch’s 2015 Priority: Torpedo DOL Fiduciary Efforts

[12/19/14] NAPA Net: “Nationwide Settles Revenue Sharing Lawsuit -- for $140 Million

[12/19/14] The New York Times: “Selling the Family Home Is Liberating for Many Retirees

[12/18/14] Towers Watson Insider: “IRS Releases Inflation-Adjusted Limits for 2015: Limits affect qualified retirement plans, health FSAs, transportation benefits, adoption assistance and long-term care premiums

[12/18/14] Internal Revenue Service: Employee Plans News [Dec. 16, 2014]

[12/18/14] U.S. Congress: H.R. 83, “Making consolidated appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015, and for other purposes” [short title: “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015] - [Note: The law includes under Division N--Other Matters, the following provisions: Division O--Multiemployer Pension Reform, Title I: Modifications to Multiemployer Plan Rules, and Title II: Remediation Measures for Deeply Troubled Plans; Division P includes Other Retirement-Related Modifications.]

[12/18/14] The Washington Post: “Pension cuts helped keep the government open, but they hurt many retired women

[12/18/14] Ascensus: “American Airline Settlements to Be Eligible for IRA Rollover

[12/18/14] The Daily Record: “Lockheed settles suit over retirement plan

[12/18/14] Benefits Bryan Cave: “Being Proactive v. Reactive -- ACA’s Prohibition on Discrimination in Group Health Insurance

[12/18/14] Segal Consulting’s Capital Checkup: “Reference-Based Pricing and the Affordable Care Act’s Rules on Out-of-Pocket Limits

[12/18/14] Plan Sponsor: “CDHPs Make Employees More Cost Conscious

[12/18/14] Nationwide: Healthcare and Long Term Care Study Among U.S. Adults Ages 50 and Older [Presented by Nielsen]

[12/17/14] Internal Revenue Service: Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits For Use in 2015 [Publication 15-B]

[12/17/14] U.S. Department of the Treasury: Regulations Governing Retirement Savings Bonds; Final rule [as published in the Federal Register on Dec. 15, 2014]

[12/17/14] MarketWatch: “How small business 401(k) plans will look in 10 years

[12/17/14] MPR News: “Lockheed Martin case puts 401(k) plans on trial

[12/17/14] Plan Sponsor Council of America: Attitudes Towards Retirement Readiness in 403(b) Plans

[12/17/14] BMO Retirement Insights: “2014 in Review -- Defined Benefit Plan Issues

[12/17/14] Kaiser Health News: “Small Businesses Drop Coverage As Health Law Offers Alternatives

[12/17/14] Private Exchange Evaluation Collaborative: Private Exchange Employer Survey Findings[Executive Summary]

[12/17/14] National Center for Policy Analysis Health Policy Blog: “Bye, Bye ‘Bailout’: CROmnibus Takes a Small but Important Bite out of Obamacare

[12/17/14] Center for State & Local Government Excellence and National Association of State Retirement Administrators: Spotlight on Retiree Health Care Benefits for State and Local Employees in 2014

[12/12/14] Morningstar: “UPDATE: Quick! Empty your flexible spending account

[12/12/14] Society for Human Resource Management: “Millennials Most Receptive to Wellness Outreach

[12/12/14] Internal Revenue Service: 2015 Standard Mileage Rates [Notice 2014-79]

[12/12/14] PricewaterhouseCoopers: “Year-end employee benefits and compensation planning

[12/12/14] Politico: “House passes $1.1 trillion spending bill after week of drama

[12/12/14] Pension Rights Center: “Summary of the pension cutback provisions in the Kline-Miller amendment

[12/12/14] U.S. Senate Committee on Finance: “Wyden Criticizes House Proposal on Multiemployer Pensions

[12/12/14] Vanguard Research Note: “Company stock in defined contribution plans: An update

[12/12/14] BenefitsPro: “Still clueless about 401(k) fees

[12/12/14] TIAA-CREF: “For Retirement Preparation, Higher Education Professionals Are at the Head of the Class

[12/12/14] Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement: The Middle-Income Boomer Retirement Gap: Savings, Education and Advice

[12/12/14] Plan Adviser: “2015 Year in Preview -- Trends, legislation, regulations and litigation will continue to affect the retirement industry in 2015.

[12/11/14] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Employer Costs for Employee Compensation -- September 2014” [News Release]

[12/11/14] U.S. House of Representatives: Amendment to Rules Committee Print 113-59 Offered by Mr. Kline of Minnesota and Mr. George Miller of California [short title: “Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014”]

[12/11/14] U.S. House of Representatives: Fact Sheet: Bipartisan Multiemployer Pension Reform Agreement

[12/11/14] Congressional Budget Office: CBO Estimate of the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 [As posted on the website of the House Committee on Rules on December 9, 2014]

[12/11/14] U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions: “Harkin Statement on Multiemployer Pension Cuts Proposed by the House

[12/11/14] Plan Sponsor: “Spending Bill Would Allow Pension Benefit Cuts

[12/11/14] Investment News: “Congress set to pass bill giving SEC a budget boost, leaving DOL fiduciary rule alone - Amendment allowing cuts to pension benefits also in play

[12/11/14] Bloomberg: “Is Congress About to Cut Your Pension?

[12/11/14] Mercer: “Employers Hold the Line on Health Benefit Cost Growth

[12/11/14] Society for Human Resource Management: “Thinking Strategically About Private Exchanges

[12/11/14] Bass, Berry & Sims PLC: “EEOC Targets Voluntariness of Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs

[12/10/14] The Wall Street Journal: “U.S. House Reaches Bipartisan Agreement on Pension Legislation -- Bill Aims to Avert Crisis That Threatens Pensions of Hundreds of Thousands of Retirees

[12/10/14] U.S. Senate Committee on Finance: Hearing titled “Social Security: Is a Key Foundation of Economic Security Working for Women?” [Hearing held Dec. 9, 2014, includes links to witness testimonies]

[12/10/14] Internal Revenue Service: Employee Plans News [Dec. 9, 2014]

[12/10/14] NAPA Net: “How Do Plan Sponsors Measure Success?

[12/10/14] PIMCO: “Designing Balanced DC Menus: Considering Equity Investments” [“Fourth in a series of articles exploring diversifying asset strategies, including capital preservation, fixed income, real assets and equities.”]

[12/10/14] Crain’s Chicago Business: “Why Illinois pension reform may be constitutional

[12/10/14] Reuters: “South Carolina public employees lose pension reform appeal

[12/10/14] The Commonwealth Fund Issue Brief: “National Trends in the Cost of Employer Health Insurance Coverage, 2003-2013

[12/10/14] Kaiser Health News: “Consumers May Miss Out on Subsidies Due to Uncertainty About Job-Based Coverage

[12/10/14] The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism [The Private Exchange Blog]: “What Do Employers and Employees Really Think About Private Exchanges?

[12/9/14] Government Executive: “House Approves Tax Deal That Would Retroactively Boost Mass Transit Benefits

[12/9/14] Calpensions: “California copied as states seek retirement plans

[12/9/14] BrightScope and Investment Company Institute: The BrightScope/ICI Defined Contribution Plan Profile: A Close Look at 401(k) Plans

[12/9/14] Fidelity Investments: “Money Market Reform and Workplace Savings Plans: A plan sponsor guide to what’s ahead

[12/9/14] Plan Adviser: “With No Presumption of Prudence, RadioShack Faces New Lawsuit

[12/9/14] Plan Sponsor: “Changes Ahead for Public DBs

[12/9/14] Weber Shandwick: Leveraging the Gen X Retirement Market: From Overlooked to Opportunity

[12/9/14] Urban Institute Health Reform Monitoring Survey: “Taking Stock: Health Insurance Coverage under the ACA as of September 2014

[12/8/14] Gallup: “As ACA Takes Effect, Majority OK With Personal Health Costs

[12/8/14] BenefitsPro: “Healthy customers equal good business

[12/8/14] Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: “Employers Unfamiliar with Information on the Quality of Health Plans

[12/8/14] Ulitzer: “New Peterson Center on Healthcare Announces Major Initiatives to Improve Performance of U.S. Healthcare

[12/8/14] Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index: “Milliman analysis: Corporate pension funded status drops by $8 billion in November

[12/8/14] Plan Sponsor: “Plenty of Regulatory Action Ahead for Retirement Industry

[12/8/14] The Motley Fool: “The Shockingly Simple Solution to Our Retirement Crisis

[12/8/14] USA Today: “Powell: Don’t let inertia sink 401(k) plans

[12/5/14] In These Times: “Lame-Duck Congress Nears Last-Minute Vote on Sweeping Pension Reform

[12/5/14] Internal Revenue Service: Employee Plans News [Dec. 3, 2014]

[12/5/14] Prudential’s Pension Analyst: “2014 Plan Year: Year-End compliance reminders -- For defined contribution plans subject to ERISA

[12/5/14] Prudential’s Pension Analyst: “2014 Plan Year: Year-End compliance reminders -- For defined contribution plans not subject to ERISA

[12/5/14] CFO.com: “Pension Power for the 401(k)

[12/5/14] T. Rowe Price Investment Dialogue: “Target-Date Glide Paths: Balancing Plan Sponsor Goals

[12/5/14] Manning & Napier: Roadmap to a Successful Tiered Investment Menu Design and Communication Program [White Paper]

[12/5/14] National Institute on Retirement Security: Still a Better Bang for the Buck: An Update on the Economic Efficiencies of Defined Benefit Plans

[12/5/14] The Wall Street Journal: “More Cost of Health Care Shifts to Consumers -- High-Deductible Insurance Plans Prompt Some to Delay Treatment

[12/5/14] Health Affairs Web First: “National Health Spending in 2013 Continued Pattern of Low Growth

[12/4/14] Wolters Kluwer Law & Business: “IRS issues guidance on transportation fringe benefits

[12/4/14] Health Affairs [Blog]: “Workplace Wellness Produces No Savings

[12/4/14] LifeHealthPro: “Employers clash with administration over wellness

[12/4/14] Harvard Business Review: “Use Behavioral Economics to Achieve Wellness Goals

[12/4/14] The University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service and Center for State & Local Government Excellence: Local Government Strategies to Address Rising Health Care Costs

[12/4/14] Plan Sponsor: “Affluence No Buffer for Fear of Health Costs in Retirement

[12/4/14] The Washington Post: “Congress could soon allow [multi-employer] pension plans to cut benefits for current retirees

[12/4/14] Plan Sponsor Council of America: 57th Annual Survey of Profit Sharing and 401(k) Plans [Overview]

[12/4/14] NAPA Net: “Illinois Poised to Create Nation’s First State Auto-IRA Program

[12/4/14] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College Brief: “Do Census Data Understate Retirement Income?

[12/4/14] The Motley Fool: “3 Flaws Nearly Every Retirement Calculator Has

[12/4/14] azcentral.com: “Tax obligations can be a surprise to retirees

[12/3/14] Delawareonline.com: “Think last year’s health plan has you covered? Check.

[12/3/14] Kiplinger’s Personal Finance: “Make the Most of a Health Savings Account” [Includes a link to “FAQs About Health Savings Accounts”]

[12/3/14] TIME: “Why 1 in 3 Americans Is Scared to Go to the Doctor

[12/3/14] The Los Angeles Times: “Why ‘wellness’ program scams cost employers and harm employees

[12/3/14] Internal Revenue Service: Employee Plans News [Dec. 1, 2014]

[12/3/14] Plan Adviser: “Open Architecture vs. All-Proprietary Target-Date Funds

[12/3/14] NAPA Net: “Why Aren’t More Offering Lifetime Income Options?

[12/3/14] USA Today: “What's your retirement IQ? For most, it's lousy

[12/3/14] PIMCO DC Design: “Global DC Plans: Achieving Consistent Philosophy and Governance

[12/3/14] Bloomberg BNA: “As Fiduciary Rule Stalls, DOL Advances Amicus Brief Program, Targets Providers

[12/2/14] Aon Hewitt: Deferred Annuities in Target Date Funds: An Explanation of Guidance Issued by the Department of the Treasury

[12/2/14] NAPA Net: “Illinois, New Jersey Stymied in Efforts to Address State Pension Woes

[12/2/14] The Motley Fool: “Retirement Planning: When Procrastination Is a Great Idea

[12/2/14] Philly.com: “Monday Money Tip: Lawsuits point up need to look at 401(k) fees

[12/2/14] Plan Adviser: “Judge Orders Fee Case Evidence Be Given to DOL

[12/2/14] LifeHealthPro: “Solving the mystery of the PBGC’s record deficit

[12/2/14] The Los Angeles Times: “Understanding the pitfalls of reverse mortgages

[12/2/14] Reuters: “Exclusive: U.S. CEOs threaten to pull tacit Obamacare support over ‘wellness’ spat

[12/2/14] Kaiser Health News: “If High Court Strikes Federal Exchange Subsidies, Health Law Could Unravel

[12/2/14] Bloomberg BNA: “Daily Employer-Provided Meals: As Taxable As They Are Delicious

[12/1/14] Society for Human Resource Management: “CDHPs Enroll Nearly a Quarter of Covered Employees

[12/1/14] Syracuse.com: “Obamacare taxes, rules boosting costs for those who get health insurance at work

[12/1/14] Fox Business: “Defined Contribution Health Benefits the Future?

[12/1/14] Kaiser Health News: “Administration Warns Employers: Don’t Dump Sick Workers From Plans

[12/1/14] Recordnet.com: “Health care rules to affect many tax returns

[12/1/14] The Motley Fool: “Here’s the Average 401k at Retirement. Are You on Track?

[12/1/14] NAPA Net: “TDFs to Garner Nearly 90% of New Contributions by 2019

[12/1/14] Putnam Investments: “Who are the 10-percent savers?


What's new at EBRI this month:

EBRI 2014 Fall Policy Forum: “Measured Matters” [“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


December 2014 EBRI Issue Brief - "401(k) Plan Asset Allocation, Account Balances, and Loan Activity in 2013"

December 2014 EBRI Issue Brief - "Findings from the 2014 EBRI/Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey"

December 2014 EBRI Notes - "What to Expect During Open-Enrollment Season: Findings from the SHRM/EBRI 2014 Health Benefits Survey" and "History of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Part 1"


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:

401(K) Plans: Greater Protections Needed for Forced Transfers and Inactive Accounts. GAO-15-73, November 21. Highlights.

Private Health Insurance: Concentration of Enrollees among Individual, Small Group, and Large Group Insurers from 2010 through 2013. GAO-15-101R, December 1.

Individual Retirement Accounts: IRS Could Bolster Enforcement on Multimillion Dollar Accounts, but More Direction from Congress Is Needed. GAO-15-16, October 20. Highlights.

Small Business Health Insurance Exchanges: Low Initial Enrollment Likely due to Multiple, Evolving Factors. GAO-15-58, November 13. Highlights.

Pension Plan Valuation: Views on Using Multiple Measures to Offer a More Complete Financial Picture. GAO-14-264, September 30. Highlights.

Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act: Largest Issuers of Health Coverage Participated in Most Exchanges, and Number of Plans Available Varied.
GAO-14-657, August 29. Highlights.

Statement for the Record: Individual Retirement Accounts: Preliminary Information on IRA Balances Accumulated as of 2011, by James R. McTigue, director, strategic issues, and Charles A. Jeszeck, director, education, workforce, and income security issues, to the Senate Committee on Finance. GAO-14-878T, September 16. Highlights.
["This statement was amended on October 22, 2014, to revise the estimated individual retirement account and defined contribution plan accumulations for our illustrative contribution scenarios with balances invested in an S&P 500 portfolio. The original estimates used a price index that did not include reinvested dividends. Table 2 and the text on page 8 have been updated to reflect total returns on the investments."]

Older Americans: Inability to Repay Student Loans May Affect Financial Security of a Small Percentage of Retirees, by Charles A. Jeszeck, director, education, workforce, and income security, before the Senate Special Committee On Aging. GAO-14-866T, September 10. Highlights.

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Updated 12/24/14