What's New - January 2016



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[1/29/16] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Employment Cost Index - December 2015 [News Release]

[1/29/16] Internal Revenue Service: Nondiscrimination Relief for Closed Defined Benefit Pension Plans and Additional Changes to the Retirement Plan Nondiscrimination Requirements; Notice of proposed rulemaking and notice of public hearing [as published in the Federal Register on Jan. 29, 2016 - DATES: Written or electronic comments must be received by April 28, 2016. Outlines of topics to be discussed at the public hearing scheduled for May 19, 2016 at 10 a.m., must be received by April 28, 2016.]

[1/29/16] PlanSponsor: “Hearing Witnesses Offer Retirement Initiative Recommendations

[1/29/16] NAPA Net: “Bill Would Create New Savings Accounts with TSP Investment Options

[1/29/16] PlanAdviser: “OMB Confirms Receipt of Fiduciary Rule Language

[1/29/16] U.S. News & World Report: “How Auto-Escalation Can Help You Save More for Retirement -- Left to their own devices, many workers contribute only the bare minimum to their retirement plans.

[1/29/16] The Motley Fool: “9 Investing Stats That Will Blow You Away

[1/29/16] Sibson Consulting: “Supreme Court Confirms Ruling in Amgen v. Harris

[1/29/16] Mercer/Signal: “Like We’ve Been Saying, Employers Are Sticking With Plans

[1/29/16] Kaiser Family Foundation: Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: January 2016 [“The Affordable Care Act Doesn’t Rank Highly As an Issue for Voters in the Presidential Primaries.”]

[1/28/16] U.S. Senate Committee on Finance: Hearing titled “Helping Americans Prepare for Retirement: Increasing Access, Participation and Coverage in Retirement Savings Plans” [Hearing held January 28, 2016, includes links to witness testimonies]

[1/28/16] State Street Global Advisors’ The Participant: “Understanding Generation DC” [an excerpt from the Winter/Spring 2016 issue]

[1/28/16] WTOP.com: “Panic is passé: investors stay steady on retirement savings

[1/28/16] CNBC: “Be honest: Are you saving enough for retirement?

[1/28/16] Morningstar: “Get a Tax-Smart Plan for In-Retirement Withdrawals

[1/28/16] Towers Watson Insider: “Why Workers Retire When They Do: A Survey of U.S. Retirees

[1/28/16] PBS NewsHour: “Some cost-conscious employers exclude outpatient surgeries in health plans

[1/28/16] Society for Human Resource Management: “Health Care Surcharge for Smokers Leads to Decreased Smoking in the Workplace, New SHRM Survey Finds

[1/28/16] American Journal of Managed Care: “5 Things to Know About Value-Based Insurance Design

[1/28/16] Internal Revenue Service: “ACA and Employers: Why Size of Your Workforce Matters” [IRS Health Care Tax Tip 2016-11, Jan. 27, 2016]

[1/27/16] InsuranceNewsNet: “Obama Budget to Push Retirement Saving Proposals

[1/27/16] Vanguard Research: “Rising interest rates: Weighing risk for TDF retirees

[1/27/16] PlanSponsor: “Researchers Revisit Income Replacement Rate Calculation -- The old concept of income replacement rate is simple, but may omit significant factors.

[1/27/16] PricewaterhouseCoopers In the loop: “Managing pension costs--some solutions are time-sensitive

[1/27/16] Internal Revenue Service: Applicability of Normal Retirement Age Regulations to Governmental Pension Plans; Notice of proposed rulemaking [as published in the Federal Register on Jan. 27, 2016 - Comments and requests for a public hearing must be received by April 26, 2016.]

[1/27/16] Financial Accounting Standards Board: FASB Exposure Draft: Proposed Accounting Standards Update, Compensation--Retirement Benefits--Defined Benefit Plans--General (Subtopic 715-20): Changes to the Disclosure Requirements for Defined Benefit Plans [Comments due April 25, 2016]

[1/27/16] Financial Accounting Standards Board: FASB Exposure Draft: Proposed Accounting Standards Update, Compensation--Retirement Benefits (Topic 715): Improving the Presentation of Net Periodic Pension Cost and Net Periodic Postretirement Benefit Cost [Comments due April 25, 2016]

[1/27/16] BenefitFocus Blog: “3 Ways to Help Employees Understand and Utilize New Benefits

[1/27/16] Kaiser Health News: “Even With ‘Skin in the Game,’ Health Care Shoppers Are Not More Savvy

[1/27/16] Mercer/Signal: “Telemedicine’s Rapid Growth Offers a Low-Cost Alternative

[1/26/16] National Federation of Independent Business: The Economic Impact of H.R. 932 and Mandatory Paid Sick Leave on U.S. Small Businesses

[1/26/16] CBS MoneyWatch: “The growing movement to track employee health

[1/26/16] Health Populi: “Getting Beyond Consumer Self-Rationing in High-Deductible Health Plans

[1/26/16] Altarum Institute: “Health Spending Approaches 18% of GDP for the First Time…Again!

[1/26/16] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College’s Squared Away Blog: “Seniors Vulnerable to Drug Price Spikes

[1/26/16] PlanSponsor: “Retiree Health Costs Greater for Singles than Couples

[1/26/16] PlanAdviser: “DC Plan Stats Show Effect of PPA

[1/26/16] The Wall Street Journal: “Companies Urge Retiring Workers to Leave Something Behind--Their Money -- Savings in 401(k) retirement plans can stay, employees are told; pitching the ‘stay-over’ instead of the IRA rollover

[1/26/16] LifeHealthPro: “7 in 10 people who work with an advisor on track for retirement

[1/26/16] NAPA Net: “SCOTUS Weighs in on ERISA Plan Overpayment

[1/26/16] NJ.com: “Losing pension court case could cost N.J. big, Moody’s warns

[1/26/16] Forbes: “Alpha Opportunities in a Sluggish Return Environment

[1/21/16] BenefitsPro: “Military not impressed with retirement reforms

[1/21/16] NAPA Net: “What’s Had the Biggest Impact on DC Plan Management?

[1/21/16] PIMCO Viewpoint: “Take Action: Six Ideas for DC Plan Sponsors in 2016

[1/21/16] Investment Company Institute: How America Supports Retirement: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Who Benefits

[1/21/16] NAPA Net: “OMB Could Get Fiduciary Regulation Soon

[1/21/16] Calpensions: “State plan for automatic IRA may surface soon

[1/21/16] PlanSponsor: “Health Care Options Baffle Millennials, Parents

[1/21/16] Healthcare Payer News: “Private exchange enrollment tied to employer-sponsored plans jumps 35 percent, report says

[1/21/16] Congressional Research Service: Health-Related Tax Expenditures: Overview and Analysis

[1/21/16] McKinsey Center for U.S. Health System Reform: 2016 Individual Exchange Premiums [updated January 4, 2016] - [Note: The full article can be downloaded at the website.]

[1/20/16] PlanSponsor: “Chasing Plan Design Perfection: Evaluating a DC plan based on peer industry data -- 2015 PLANSPONSOR DC Survey: Plan Benchmarking

[1/20/16] PlanAdviser: “Addressing the High Cost of Maintaining a DB Plan

[1/20/16] U.S. News & World Report: “10 States Where Most People Don’t Get Retirement Benefits

[1/20/16] MarketWatch: “Saving for retirement? What to watch out for in 2016

[1/20/16] Nasdaq: “Some Annuities Can Work in Retirement, but Proceed With Caution

[1/20/16] Kaiser Health News: “Supreme Court Refuses to Take Case Challenging the Health Law

[1/20/16] Reuters: “High-deductible health plan enrollees aren’t shopping around

[1/20/16] MedCity News: “The three pillars of engaging healthcare consumers for health insurance companies

[1/20/16] USA Today: “Consumers’ healthcare power growing: Column -- New Internet tools give consumers ability to make smarter health care decisions.

[1/20/16] BloombergBusiness: “Employee Wellness Programs Not So Voluntary Any More -- Take a blood test or lose your health coverage.

[1/19/16] PlanSponsor: “Employers Not Prepared for ACA Tax Reporting -- Two in five employers surveyed say they are unfamiliar with new forms required by the IRS in 2016

[1/19/16] Aon Hewitt: 2016 Global Medical Trend Rates

[1/19/16] Society for Human Resource Management: “CDHP Users Cost-Conscious but Price Shopping Limited

[1/19/16] American Journal of Managed Care: “Patterns in Prescription Utilization for High-Deductible Health Plan Enrollees Show Concerning Trends

[1/19/16] Reuters: “Major drugmakers push back in U.S. price debate

[1/19/16] PlanSponsor: “A New Fee Challenge for Retirement Plan Sponsors: Levelization

[1/19/16] NAPA Net: “2016 No Game Changer for Retirement Income

[1/19/16] Investors.com: “How You Can Save Enough for Retirement

[1/19/16] Center for State & Local Government Excellence Issue Brief: “How Will State Unfunded Pension Liabilities Affect Big Cities?

[1/15/16] Internal Revenue Service: “Questions and Answers on Reporting of Offers of Health Insurance Coverage by Employers (Section 6056)

[1/15/16] PlanSponsor: “Boosting Wellness Programs in the New Year

[1/15/16] Arlington Healthcare Group: “5 Key Requirement Considerations for Value Based Health Plans

[1/15/16] NPR: “Would Paying Your Doctor Cash Up Front Get You Better Care?

[1/15/16] TIME: “What to Do With Your HSA Money When You Go on Medicare

[1/15/16] Pension Rights Center: “State-based retirement plans for the private sector

[1/15/16] Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Pension Lump-Sum Payouts and Your Retirement Security: A guide for consumers considering their retirement payout options from a private-sector plan

[1/15/16] NAPA Net: “New Jersey Pivots on State-Run Retirement Plan Design

[1/15/16] The National Law Review: “Second Multi-employer Pension Plan Seeks to Reduce Core Benefits

[1/15/16] USA Today: “For some savers, a managed 401(k)’s tailoring beats a target date fund

[1/14/16] Internal Revenue Service: “Questions and Answers about Health Care Information Forms for Individuals (Forms 1095-A, 1095-B, 1095-C)

[1/14/16] ThinkAdvisor: “Consumer-Driven Health Plans Drive Cost-Consciousness: EBRI

[1/14/16] American Journal of Managed Care: “PBMs Can Help Bend the Cost Curve: Express Scripts’ Tim Wentworth

[1/14/16] The New York Times: “Understanding Health Savings Accounts

[1/14/16] Milliman Pension Funding Index: “Milliman Analysis: 2015 ends with modest funded status improvement over 2014 based on rising interest rates

[1/14/16] The Pew Charitable Trusts: Who’s In, Who’s Out: A Look at Access to Employer-based Retirement Plans and Participation in the States [Note: The full report can be downloaded at the website.]

[1/14/16] NAPA Net: “JPMorgan Stock Drop Suit Survives Second Challenge

[1/14/16] TIME: “8 Financial Decisions You’ll Never Regret

[1/14/16] Employee Benefit News: “Obama calls on country to strengthen benefits

[1/14/16] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Number of paid sick leave days in 2015 varies by length of service and establishment size

[1/13/16] Plan Sponsor Council of America: 58th Annual Survey of Profit Sharing and 401(k) Plans [Overview]

[1/13/16] ABC News: “Workers Are Saving More for Retirement, Led by Millennials

[1/13/16] TIME: “Catch-Up Contributions Put Retirees Way Ahead

[1/13/16] PlanAdviser: “Most Americans Rely on Their Spouse for Retirement Advice

[1/13/16] LifeHealthPro: “Pre-retirees seeking guaranteed income stream

[1/13/16] NPR: “Why Employers’ Incentives for Weight Loss Fall Flat With Workers

[1/13/16] CBS MoneyWatch: “Where are the young signups for Obamacare?

[1/13/16] BloombergView: “Sticking With the Same Job Isn’t Out of Style

[1/12/16] Aon Hewitt: 2016 Hot Topics in Retirement and Financial Well-Being

[1/12/16] Prudential: Expanding the Case for Stable Value: New insights into what drives decision-makers to embrace stable value funds

[1/12/16] Human Resource Executive Online: “The New Landscape for Company Stock -- In light of a recent Supreme Court ruling on retirement-plan oversight, here are three suggestions to help organizations manage the issues related to overseeing a company stock fund in its defined-contribution plan.

[1/12/16] Plan Sponsor Council of America: “Participants Putting More Money in Workplace Retirement Plans, Taking Out Less

[1/12/16] The Hill: “Obama vetoes health bill repeal

[1/12/16] Littler: “The Wellness Program Awakens: District Court Rejects EEOC Challenge in Flambeau

[1/12/16] Internal Revenue Service: Application of Retroactive Increase in Excludable Transit Benefits [Notice 2016-6]

[1/12/16] Jackson Lewis P.C.: “The Evolving Paid Sick Leave Patchwork: 2016 Update

[1/12/16] Internal Revenue Service: Definitions of Terms Relating to Marital Status; Notice of public hearing on proposed rulemaking [as published in the Federal Register on January 12, 2016 - SUMMARY: This document provides notice of public hearing on proposed regulations relating to the holdings of Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015, Windsor v. United States, 2013, and a revenue ruling that define terms in the Internal Revenue Code (Code) describing the marital status of taxpayers. DATES: The public hearing is being held on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. The IRS must receive outlines of the topics to be discussed at the public hearing by Friday, January 15, 2016.]

[1/8/16] The Segal Group: Trends: Noteworthy Developments of Interest to Employers that Sponsor Health Plans [First Quarter 2016]

[1/8/16] IFAwebnews: “More employers offering lump-sum ‘critical illness’ health plans

[1/8/16] PostBulletin.com: “Health insurance negotiations

[1/8/16] Mercer: “Can Workplace Wellness Signal Superior Stock Performance?

[1/8/16] InvestmentNews: “Retirement readiness improves, but most Americans’ savings still fall short

[1/8/16] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College’s Squared Away Blog: “Few Put Finances First When Retiring

[1/7/16] Forbes: “10 Things You Absolutely Need to Know about Employee Benefits

[1/7/16] NAPA Net: “Top Workplace Trends for 2016

[1/7/16] KHN Morning Briefing: “Republicans Send Symbolic Health Law Repeal to Obama

[1/7/16] Kaiser Family Foundation Issue Brief: “Workplace Wellness Programs Characteristics and Requirements

[1/7/16] U.S. News & World Report: “Saving for Retirement: Tips for All Ages

[1/7/16] TIME: “These Are the Best Retirement Withdrawal Strategies

[1/7/16] BenefitsPro: “Uniform retirement age only benefits those on top -- Poorer workers’ life expectancy is shorter than wealthier ones

[1/7/16] The White House: 2015 White House Conference on Aging Final Report [Note: The report can be downloaded at the website.]

[1/6/16] NAPA Net: “How Did the Average 401(k) Close Out 2015?

[1/6/16] PlanSponsor: “Participants Most Vulnerable in ‘Retirement Red Zone’ -- Suffering an extreme bear market event near the onset of retirement can seriously derail an individual’s ability to maintain financial security late into life.

[1/6/16] PIMCO: Defined Contribution Survey for Multinational Corporations [Note: The full survey report can be downloaded at the website.]

[1/6/16] Groom Law Group Benefits Brief: “Church Plan Law Changes as Part of the Omnibus Budget Deal; Church 401(a)/403(b) Plan Transfers and Mergers Now Permitted

[1/6/16] Journal of the American Medical Association: “Recent Trends in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Premiums

[1/6/16] CBS MoneyWatch: “How painful will health care costs be in 2016?

[1/6/16] Wolters Kluwer Law & Business: “CDHP enrollees more cost conscious than traditional plan enrollees

[1/6/16] Kaiser Family Foundation: The Burden of Medical Debt: Results from the Kaiser Family Foundation/New York Times Medical Bills Survey

[1/6/16] Politico: “What’s coming in health IT in 2016

[1/6/16] Society for Human Resource Management: “Easing the Student Loan Debt Burden? Points to Consider -- Student loan repayment benefits help drive loyalty among young workers

[1/4/16] Internal Revenue Service: Extension of the Due Dates for 2015 Information Reporting Under I.R.C. §§ 6055 and 6056 [Notice 2016-4]

[1/4/16] Internal Revenue Service: “Eight Facts for ALEs About New Information Statements to be Filed in 2016” [IRS Health Care Tax Tip 2015-85, Dec. 29, 2015]

[1/4/16] Human Resource Executive Online: “Tracking Healthcare Benefit Costs

[1/4/16] U.S. Census Bureau: Quarterly Survey of Public Pensions: State & Local Government - 2015 Third Quarter

[1/4/16] NAPA Net: “New Jersey Moves Forward With State-Run Retirement Program

[1/4/16] InvestmentNews: “Are state-run retirement plans a good deal for private-sector workers?

[1/4/16] PlanSponsor: “Streamlined DC Investment Menu Could Save Participants Millions -- Researchers with The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania strive to quantify participants’ behaviors before and after a fundamental rethinking of the DC plan investment menu.

[1/4/16] Financial Advisor: “Low-Cost Options Drive Down 401(k) Expenses

[1/4/16] PlanAdviser: “Participants Need Nudge to Focus on Finances in 2016

[1/4/16] Internal Revenue Service: Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits For Use in 2016 [Publication 15-B]


What's new at EBRI this month:

EBRI 2015 Fall Policy Forum: "What Moves the Retirement Readiness Needle During the Accumulation Period: Quantification of Risks and Evaluation of New Proposals" [“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


January 2016 EBRI Notes - "Impact of Workplace Wellness-Program Participation on Medication Adherence" and "Differences in Out-of-Pocket Health Care Expenses of Older Single and Couple Households"

December 2015 EBRI Issue Brief - "Findings from the 2015 EBRI/Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey"

December 2015 EBRI Notes - "The Effect of the Current Population Survey Redesign on Retirement-Plan Participation Estimates" and "Worker Opinions About Employee Benefits: Differences Among Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Generation X Have Implications for Plan Sponsors"


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:

Social Security's Future: Answers to Key Questions. GAO-16-75SP, October 27.

Retirement Security: Federal Action Could Help State Efforts to Expand Private Sector Coverage. GAO-15-556, September 10. Highlights.

Private Health Insurance: The Range of Premiums and Plan Availability for Individuals in 2014 and 2015. GAO-15-687, August 10. Highlights.

401(K) Plans: Clearer Regulations Could Help Plan Sponsors Choose Investments for Participants. GAO-15-578, August 25. Highlights.

Pension Advance Transactions: Questionable Business Practices and the Federal Response, by Stephen Lord, managing director, forensic audits and investigative service, before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. GAO-15-846T, September 30. 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.

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Updated 1/29/16