What's New - February 2017



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[2/28/17] Seyfarth Shaw LLP: Future Employer Outlook Survey: Future of Work [Note: The full survey report can be downloaded at the website.]

[2/28/17] Guardian Life Insurance Company of America: Mind, Body, and Wallet: Financial Stress Impacts the Emotional and Physical Well-Being of Working Americans -- The Guardian Workplace Benefits Study: 4th Annual

[2/28/17] The Vanguard Group: TDF Adoption in 2016

[2/28/17] Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement: 10 Years After the Crisis: Middle-Income Boomers Rebounding But Not Recovered

[2/28/17] PlanSponsor: “Only 38% of American Households Meeting Their Savings Needs -- More than one quarter, 27%, are not making any progress at all.

[2/28/17] National Institute on Retirement Security: Retirement Security 2017: A Roadmap for Policy Makers -- Americans’ Views of the Retirement Crisis and Solutions [Note: The full report can be downloaded at the website.]

[2/28/17] Willis Towers Watson Insider: “A Tale of Two Countries: Defined Contribution Plans in the U.K. and U.S.

[2/28/17] Wakely: Healthcare Reform 2.0: How the Current Administration May Transform the Industry [White Paper]

[2/28/17] HIT Consultant: “Welltok: 4 Strategies to Improve Employee Health Engagement

[2/28/17] The Motley Fool: “8 Medicare Stats That Will Blow You Away

[2/27/17] Pentegra Retirement Services: The Impact of Rising Interest Rates on Defined Benefit Plans - The Return to the Overfunded Plan [White Paper]

[2/27/17] PlanSponsor: “Employers Shifting to Programs That Include Financial Well-Being -- Employers are also looking for a platform/hub partner to thoughtfully integrate their benefit initiatives.

[2/27/17] Vanguard Blog for Institutional Investors: “Carpe Diem-How to seize better retirement outcomes

[2/27/17] NAPA Net: “Obamacare Replacement Expands HSA Capabilities, Funding

[2/27/17] Kaiser Health News: “Treatment Gaps Persist Between Low- and High-Income Workers, Even With Insurance

[2/27/17] National Bureau of Economic Research: “State Health Insurance Mandates and Labor Market Outcomes: New Evidence on Old Questions” [NBER Working Paper No. 23203]

[2/24/17] Devenir Research: 2016 Year-End HSA Market Statistics & Trends [Note: The full executive summary report can be downloaded at the website.]

[2/24/17] Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Statistical Brief #499: “Trends in Enrollment, Offers, Eligibility and Take-Up for Employer-Sponsored Insurance: Private-Sector, by State Medicaid Expansion Status, 2008-2015

[2/24/17] Marsh & McLennan Companies: Health Reform and American Businesses: Critical Partner for Success [A Public Policy Point of View]

[2/24/17] NAPA Net: “What Would Americans Change About Their 401(k)s?

[2/24/17] Willis Towers Watson: International Pension Plan Survey 2016

[2/23/17] Callan Institute: 2017 Defined Contribution Trends Survey [10th Anniversary Edition]

[2/23/17] ICI Research Report: “Defined Contribution Plan Participants’ Activities, First Three Quarters of 2016

[2/23/17] ICI Research Report: “American Views on Defined Contribution Plan Saving, 2016

[2/23/17] TD Ameritrade: Parents and Grandparents Retirement Survey

[2/23/17] NAPA Net: “Selling the 2nd Most Important Benefit

[2/23/17] CNBC: “Obamacare repeal may birth a new retirement account

[2/22/17] National Center for Health Statistics: Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, January-September 2016

[2/22/17] DARKDaily.com: “Study Reveals Surprises in How Healthcare Consumers Respond to Wellness Programs and Incentives, Some of Which Utilize Clinical Laboratory Tests as Benchmarks

[2/22/17] PlanSponsor: “Multiemployer Plans Have Some Successes -- Account balances in multiemployer DC plans have grown, and the funded percentage of multiemployer DB plans has improved, a study shows.

[2/22/17] NASRA Issue Brief: “Public Pension Plan Investment Return Assumptions” [Updated February 2017]

[2/21/17] Human Resource Executive Online: “Communication is Key -- In a world of benefits challenges, getting the word out about what you offer is the most important step you can take toward ensuring a successful benefits program.

[2/21/17] International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans: Multiemployer Retirement Plan Landscape: A Ten-Year Look (2005-2014) - [Note: Free to IFEBP members; available for purchase by nonmembers]

[2/21/17] Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: “Retirement Matters: State-by-State Pension Plan Information

[2/21/17] The Pew Charitable Trusts Issue Brief: “Retirement Plan Access and Participation Across Generations” [Note: The full report can be downloaded at the website.]

[2/21/17] PlanAdviser: “’Through’ TDFs May Make Sense -- 70% of participants keep their money in the funds after retiring.

[2/21/17] NAPA Net: “Americans (Still) Clueless About Retirement -- But Know They’re Not Doing Enough

[2/21/17] PlanSponsor: “Gen X Must Commit To Personal Saving

[2/21/17] Four Seasons Financial Education: 2017 FSFE Employee Financial Wellness Survey [A National Survey of 511 Employees]

[2/21/17] Healthcare Trends Institute: “Healthcare Benefits in 2017: What Employers Have to Say

[2/21/17] Diabetes Care: “Among Low-Income Respondents With Diabetes, High-Deductible Versus No-Deductible Insurance Sharply Reduces Medical Service Use

[2/17/17] Fractl: “Employee Benefits Study: Which Job Perks are Most Important to Employees?

[2/17/17] America’s Health Insurance Plans Issue Brief: “Health Savings Accounts: A Growing Tool for Consumers

[2/17/17] National Public Radio (via OPB.org): “The Perplexing Psychology of Saving for Health Care

[2/17/17] The Wall Street Journal: “GOP May Trim Tax Break for Employer-Backed Insurance -- Capping how much of employees’ health benefits can be shielded from income and payroll taxes could offset cost of emerging health plan

[2/17/17] Urban Institute: Recent Evidence on the ACA and Employment: Has the ACA Been a Job Killer? 2016 Update

[2/17/17] Kaiser Family Foundation Issue Brief: “Key Issues in Children’s Health Coverage

[2/16/17] Mercer: Inside Employees’ Minds™: Insights on Financial Wellness

[2/16/17] PlanSponsor: “Move to HDHPs Creates Need for Health Literacy and Wellness Tools -- Organizations looking to make employees their own best care managers, understand it requires creating an informed health care shopper and providing an environment that guides positive employee behavior and promotes engagement.

[2/16/17] Health Affairs: “Health Care Use And Spending Patterns Vary By Wage Level In Employer-Sponsored Plans” [Note: The abstract is available for free; a username and a password will be required to view the full text.]

[2/16/17] LDI Issue Brief: “How Has the Affordable Care Act Affected Work and Wages?

[2/15/17] Gallup: “American Workplace Changing at a Dizzying Pace

[2/15/17] Boston Consulting Group: “Why Paid Family Leave Is Good Business

[2/15/17] American Academy of Actuaries Issue Brief: “Association Health Plans

[2/15/17] Health Affairs [Blog]: “The Future of Essential Health Benefits

[2/15/17] Aon Hewitt: 2017 Hot Topics in Retirement and Financial Wellbeing [Note: The full report can be downloaded at the website.]

[2/15/17] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College Brief: “How Job Changes Affect Retirement Timing by Socioeconomic Status” [Note: The full brief can be downloaded at the website.]

[2/15/17] Forbes (via American Enterprise Institute): “Retirees’ incomes rising, dependence on Social Security benefits lower

[2/13/17] National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems: 2016 NCPERS: Public Retirement System Study [Study conducted by NCPERS & Cobalt Community Research]

[2/13/17] The Pew Charitable Trusts Issue Brief: “Having a Retirement Plan Can Depend on Industry or Hours Worked -- Barriers, balances, and opportunities for savings

[2/13/17] BrightScope and Investment Company Institute: The BrightScope/ICI Defined Contribution Plan Profile: A Close Look at 401(k) Plans, 2014

[2/13/17] 401kTV: “Defined Contribution (DC) Record-Keepers” [alphabetical listing of top DC record-keepers]

[2/13/17] PlanSponsor: “Couples Should Get In Sync About Retirement Savings -- People are more likely to agree with their spouse or partner on daily expenses than on retirement savings, a survey finds.

[2/13/17] American Institute of CPAs: 2016 Mid-year AICPA CPA Personal Financial Planning Trends Survey

[2/13/17] Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies: Retirement Preparations in a New Age of Self-Employment: The Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey 2016

[2/13/17] The Wall Street Journal: “Employers Balk at Curbs on Generous Health Plans -- GOP caps on tax-free benefits draw similar opposition as Affordable Care Act’s ‘Cadillac Tax’” [Note: A subscription may be required to view the full article.]

[2/13/17] Economic Policy Institute: “Repealing the Affordable Care Act Would Cost Jobs in Every State

[2/13/17] Michigan Retirement Research Center: Long-term Individual and Population Consequences of Early-life Access to Health Insurance [Working Paper] - [Note: The full paper can be downloaded at the website.]

[2/10/17] Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index: “Milliman Analysis: 2017 starts optimistically with a funded status improvement -- Milliman 100 PFI funded ratio rises to 81.6%

[2/10/17] Reuters: “Exclusive: Labor Department to delay, revisit fiduciary rule -- sources

[2/10/17] Financial Finesse: Workplace Financial Wellness Programs: Best Practices

[2/10/17] Financial Finesse: Workplace Financial Wellness Programs: Frequently Asked Questions

[2/10/17] Social Science Research Network: Required Retirement Savings Rates Today [Note: The full paper can be downloaded at the SSRN website.]

[2/10/17] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College’s Squared Away Blog: “Retiree Benefits: Tale of 2 Cities (States)

[2/10/17] Greenwich Associates and American Century Investments®: Impact Investing: Individual Investors Seeking New Opportunities

[2/9/17] ICI Research Perspective: “The Role of IRAs in U.S. Households’ Saving for Retirement, 2016

[2/9/17] Willis Towers Watson: Global Pension Assets Study 2017 [Note: The full report can be downloaded at the website.]

[2/9/17] CNBC: “The pros, cons of using target-date funds in 401(k) plans

[2/9/17] W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research Research Highlight: “Can Employers Adapt When Workers Want to Delay Retirement?” [Note: This article includes a link to the first chapter and table of contents from Extending Work Life: Can Employers Adapt When Employees Want to Delay Retirement? (a new book available from the Upjohn Institute Press).]

[2/9/17] Reuters: “U.S. court upholds Obama-era retirement advice rule

[2/9/17] Alegeus: 2017 Alegeus Healthcare State of Denial Research Report [Note: The full report can be downloaded at the website after filling out a form.]

[2/9/17] Brookings: “New Data on Sign-ups through the ACA’s Marketplaces Should Lay ‘Death Spiral’ Claims to Rest

[2/9/17] Becker’s Spine Review: “Deloitte: 18 trends in global healthcare for 2017

[2/7/17] WorldatWork: Inventory of Total Rewards Programs & Practices

[2/7/17] Health Fitness Corporation: “8 ways to help your employees find time for fitness

[2/7/17] Healthcare Finance News: “Surprise Medical Bills a Costly Problem for Health Plans, Study Says

[2/7/17] National Academy of Social Insurance: “Building on the Family and Medical Leave Act 24 Years On

[2/7/17] NAPA Net: “3 Ways to Get Your Automatic Enrollment Plan Out of its Rut

[2/7/17] USA Today: “Why retirement savings are at an all-time high

[2/6/17] Vanguard Research Note: “Reenrollment: One year later

[2/6/17] U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Securing America’s Retirement: A Legislative Roadmap

[2/6/17] NAPA Net: “The Fiduciary Rule: Where Things Stand Now

[2/6/17] Bloomberg BNA: “CVS Wins Round Over Stable Value Fund Investments in 401(k) Plan

[2/6/17] FedSmith.com: “New Military Retirement System Has Big Changes

[2/6/17] Healthcare Trends Institute: “How Insurers Are Working to Combat Rising Prescription Costs

[2/6/17] Acclaris (A Willis Towers Watson Company): “HSA/FSA/HRA Comparison Chart

[2/6/17] The Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point: “Regulation of Narrow Networks: With Federal Protections in Jeopardy, State Approaches Take on Added Significance

[2/6/17] Urban Institute: Instead of ACA Repeal and Replace, Fix It

[2/6/17] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College’s Squared Away Blog: “Good Health Insurance is What Counts

[2/3/17] America Saves Week: America Saves Week 2017 runs from February 27 to March 4, 2017. America Saves Week is coordinated by America Saves and the American Savings Education Council. Started in 2007, the Week is an annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status. Join thousands of organizations for a week to promote automatic savings.

[2/3/17] NAPA Net: “Did the January Effect Affect 401(k) Balances?

[2/3/17] PlanSponsor: “401(k) Balances, Contributions Reach Record Highs in 2016, Fidelity Reports -- The average balance was $92,500 at the end of the fourth quarter.

[2/3/17] NAPA Net: “Trump Tackles Fiduciary Reg Just Short of its ‘Go’ Line

[2/3/17] Milliman Public Pension Funding Index: “Public pension funded ratio falls back during Q4, landing at 70.1% -- Fourth quarter 2016 funded status declines by $54 billion as overall asset returns fall short of their quarterly benchmark

[2/3/17] Vanguard: “2017 might be DB sponsors’ last best chance to offer lump sums

[2/3/17] Thomson Reuters’ EBIA Weekly Newsletter: “How Does an Employer Comply With HIPAA’s Privacy Rule When Reporting Health Plan Enrollment Information on Form 1095-C?

[2/3/17] Kaiser Health News: “HSAs: ‘Tax-Break Trifecta’ Or Insurance Gimmick Benefiting The Wealthy?

[2/3/17] Reuters: “Maternity, paternity leave rates in the U.S. remain low

[2/2/17] ForUsAll: “Who are the Top 10 Small Business 401k Providers?

[2/2/17] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College Brief: “Target-Date Funds: What’s Under the Hood?” [Note: The full brief can be downloaded at the website.]

[2/2/17] 401(k) Specialist: “401k-To-IRA Rollovers Show Little Sign Of Slowing

[2/2/17] Chief Investment Officer: “Study Shows Pension Fund Assets Grow by 4.3% in 2016

[2/2/17] Wisconsin Legislative Council: Comparative Study of Major Public Employee Retirement Systems [Includes years 1982-2015]

[2/2/17] Willis Towers Watson Insider: “PBGC adds to list of early warning factors

[2/2/17] Vanguard Research: Retirement Transitions in Four Countries [Note: The full PDF can be downloaded at the website.]

[2/2/17] PlanSponsor: “Few Employers Believe HDHPs Have Been Effective for Cost-Cutting -- Employers are seeking new solutions for cost control, compliance and plan administration, a study finds.

[2/2/17] Benefitfocus [Blog]: “Consumer-Driven Health Care: Can Your Employees Afford It?

[2/2/17] CFO.com: “How to Rein In the Soaring Costs of Specialty Drugs -- The 420-employer National Business Group on Health recommends public-policy changes relating to the proliferating category of specialty drugs.

[2/2/17] Comstock’s: “A Port in the Storm -- Value-based health insurance may offer stability for employers in a marketplace about to be upended by more new federal policies

[2/2/17] NAPA Net: “What Should HSA Plans Do Ahead of the Fiduciary Regulation?

[2/2/17] Health Affairs [Blog]: “ACA Round-Up: Open Enrollment Ends, Issa Introduces FEHB-Based Replacement Plan

[2/2/17] U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Education and the Workforce: Hearing titled “Rescuing Americans from the Failed Health Care Law and Advancing Patient-Centered Solutions” [Hearing held Feb. 1, 2017, includes links to witness testimonies]

[2/2/17] Mintz Levin: “EEOC v. Flambeau, Judicial Restraint, and the (Uncertain) Future of Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs

[2/2/17] HRBenefitsAlert.com: “4 keys to a solid paid parental leave policy


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)


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 2/28/17