What's New - March 2012

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[3/30/12]  U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means:  Full committee hearing titled “Individual and Employer Mandates in the Democrats’ Health Care Law” [Hearing held March 29, 2012, includes links to written testimonies]

[3/30/12]  Central Valley Business Times:  “More part-time workers lack health coverage

[3/30/12]  Milliman, Inc.:  2012 Pension Funding Study -- Decline in Discount Rates Drives Pension Plans to Record Deficits in 2011

[3/30/12]  U.S. Census Bureau:  Finances of Selected State and Local Government Employee Retirement Systems

[3/30/12]  The Washington Post:  “Michelle Singletary: Improving your financial literacy is a good investment

[3/30/12]  The Ledger:  “Seniors Finding Way Back Into Work Force

[3/29/12]  U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Subcommittee on Economic Policy:  Hearing titled “Retirement (In)security: Examining the Retirement Savings Deficit” [Hearing held March 28, 2012, includes links to archived webcast and to written testimonies]

[3/29/12]  National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators:  NAGDCA 2012 Survey of Defined Contribution Plans

[3/29/12]  TIAA-CREF:  “TIAA-CREF Survey Reveals Majority of Americans Miss Opportunity to Contribute to IRAs for Retirement Savings” [Press Release]

[3/29/12]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  How Can Employers Encourage Young Workers to Save for Retirement?

[3/29/12]  The Council for Affordable Health Insurance’s Policy Trends:  “Trends in State Mandated Benefits, 2011

[3/29/12]  AARP:  AARP Health Law Guide -- Learn How the Health Care Law Benefits You, Now and Later [“This guide will help you find resources tailored to your needs, whether it’s about Medicare, health insurance coverage for you or your family, or public programs that may work for you.”]

[3/28/12]  Kaiser Health News:  “Transcript: Highlights of the Lively Arguments at the Supreme Court, Day 2” [Includes excerpts from Tuesday’s oral arguments]

[3/28/12]  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:  Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Establishment of Exchanges and Qualified Health Plans; Exchange Standards for Employers; Final rule, Interim final rule [as published in the Federal Register on March 27, 2012]

[3/28/12]  Wellness Council of America:  How Benefit Costs Are Killing Your Company: Will You Survive? An Exclusive Expert Interview with Wendy Lynch

[3/28/12]  Towers Watson Insider:  “Attraction and Retention: What Employees Value Most

[3/28/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “Inflation Risk Is Different for DB and DC Plans

[3/28/12]  J.P.Morgan Asset Management:  Keepin’ it real: Inflation risk as an asset allocation problem

[3/27/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “U.S. Supreme Court Begins Hearing Health Care Reform Case

[3/27/12]  PR Newswire:  “Financial Impact of Health Reform on Employer Benefits Not as Significant as Anticipated

[3/27/12]  Bloomberg:  “Wise Ways to Spend a Tax Refund

[3/27/12]  Plan Adviser:  “TDFs See Significant Growth in 401(k)s

[3/27/12]  Watchdog.org:  “Commentary: Actuaries ponder ‘pension funding to avoid ruin’

[3/27/12]  Institutional Retirement Income Council:  The Problem With Spending Too Fast: Retirement Savings Withdrawal Rates

[3/26/12]  International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans:  National Employee Benefits Day, April 2, 2012 [“National Employee Benefits Day acknowledges trustees, administrators, corporate benefits practitioners, and professional advisors for their dedication to providing quality benefits and the important role they play in their colleagues’ well-being.”]

[3/26/12]  Prudential Financial:  Voluntary Benefits: A Critical Tool for Improving Employees’ Financial Wellness

[3/26/12]  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:  Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Standards Related to Reinsurance, Risk Corridors, and Risk Adjustment; Final Rule [as published in the Federal Register on March 23, 2012]

[3/26/12]  The Commonwealth Fund Issue Brief:  “Implementing the Affordable Care Act: State Action on Early Market Reforms

[3/26/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “How to Prepare for M&A Retirement Plan Transition

[3/26/12]  BMO Retirement Institute:  Single in Retirement

[3/23/12]  Prudential Financial:  Sixth Annual Study of Employee Benefits: Today & Beyond

[3/23/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “Plan Sponsors Not Sold on Benefits of Bundling

[3/23/12]  CBS MoneyWatch:  “Retirement secrets of successful investors

[3/23/12]  Merrill Lynch:  Merrill Lynch Affluent Insights Survey [Note: Full report can be downloaded at the ML website.]

[3/23/12]  eHealth®:  Small Employer Health Insurance Survey

[3/23/12]  Phoenix Business Journal:  “Workplace wellness: CDHP enrollees tend to monitor spending

[3/22/12]  Internal Revenue Service:  Employee Plans News [March 20, 2012]

[3/22/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “One-Third of Americans Have Hope for a Secure Retirement

[3/22/12]  DailyFinance.com:  “Roth’s Rapid Rise: Why Fear of Tax Hikes Is Fueling a Roth IRA Boom

[3/22/12]  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

[3/22/12]  Kaiser Family Foundation Notes on Health Insurance and Reform:  “The Individual Mandate: How Sweeping?

[3/22/12]  The Los Angeles Times:

[3/21/12]  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:  FAQs About Affordable Care Act Implementation Part VIII [regarding implementation of the summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) provisions of the ACA]

[3/21/12]  U.S. Departments of the Treasury (IRS), Labor (EBSA), and Health and Human Services:  Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act; Advance notice of proposed rulemaking [as published in the Federal Register on March 21, 2012]

[3/21/12]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[3/21/12]  Employee Benefit Adviser:  “DOL explains what’s lurking on the legislative horizon

[3/21/12]  Plan Adviser:  “Changing Tax Treatment of 401(k)s Will Reduce Accounts

[3/21/12]  PIMCO DC Dialogue™:  “Simple, but not simpler.” [“In this PIMCO DC Dialogue™, we talk with Professor Brigitte Madrian about defined contribution (DC) plan design and the human behavioral considerations.”]

[3/20/12]  MetLife:  10th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends

[3/20/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “Fee Disclosure for ERISA and Non-ERISA Plans

[3/20/12]  Public News Service:  “State Workers’ Pensions Central in WA Budget Battle

[3/20/12]  AARP Public Policy Institute:  Social Security: A Key Retirement Resource for Women

[3/19/12]  National Institute for Health Care Reform Research Brief:  “Great Recession Accelerated Long-Term Decline of Employer Health Coverage

[3/19/12]  The New England Journal of Medicine:  “Slower Growth in Medicare Spending -- Is This the New Normal?” [Perspective]

[3/19/12]  Smart Money:  “The Big Business of 401(k) Plans -- Investors will soon learn more about the costs of their retirement plans. Many may wonder whether they’re getting what they pay for.

[3/19/12]  STLtoday.com:  “The retirement crisis: Even when we need to work longer, many of us can’t

[3/19/12]  Center for State and Local Government Excellence:  “Understanding Finances and Changes in Retiree Health Care

[3/19/12]  Social Security Administration:

[3/16/12]  Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation:  CBO and JCT’s Estimates of the Effects of the Affordable Care Act on the Number of People Obtaining Employment-Based Health Insurance

[3/16/12]  Kaiser Family Foundation:

[3/16/12]  Bloomberg:  “Cigna CEO Cordani Says Court Won’t Derail Health-Care Shift

[3/16/12]  Plan Sponsor:

[3/16/12]  Business Insurance:  “Dreams of comfortable retirement ebb among Americans: EBRI

[3/16/12]  U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging:  Hearing titled “Opportunities for Savings: Removing Obstacles for Small Business” [Hearing held March 7, 2012, includes links to archived webcast and to written testimonies]

[3/15/12]  Deloitte and International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists:  2012 Top Five Total Rewards Priorities Survey -- Strategic challenges zero in on shortage of talent and pressures of health care

[3/15/12]  Congressional Budget Office:  Updated Estimates for the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act

[3/15/12]  Huffington Post:  “Health Care Reform Could Get You a Raise, But There’s a Catch

[3/15/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “Second Opinions: Employer Mandate, Waiting Period, and Auto-Enrollment Issues -- Part I

[3/15/12]  Legal Broadcast Network (via YouTube):  “Annuity News Now” [Host Scott Drake interview with EBRI Research Director Jack VanDerhei discussing findings from EBRI’s 2012 Retirement Confidence Survey]

[3/15/12]  Investment News:  “Bleak retirement survey reveals silver lining for financial advisers

[3/15/12]  Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards:  Shifting Economy Survey Results

[3/14/12]  Internal Revenue Service:  Small Business Health Care Tax Credit for Small Employers [Updated Feb. 14, 2012]

[3/14/12]  Business Insurance:  “Health exchanges need to notify employers about employees eligible for subsidies: HHS

[3/14/12]  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:  State Considerations on Adopting Health Reform’s “Basic Health” Option -- Federal Guidance Needed for States to Fully Assess Option

[3/14/12]  J.D. Power & Associates:  “Interest in Health Insurance Exchanges Grows in Both the Individual and Group Health Insurance Markets

[3/14/12]  The Vanguard Group:  Target-Date Fund Adoption in 2011

[3/14/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “Sponsors, Advisers Can Boost Retirement Confidence

[3/14/12]  AdvisorOne:  “EBRI: Workers’ Biggest Concerns Are Job Security, Debt Levels

[3/14/12]  The Fiscal Times:  “Retirement Fears Remain at Historic High

[3/13/12]  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

[3/13/12]  Human Resource Executive Online:  “HSAs Trending Up

[3/13/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “Confidence in Ability to Afford Retirement Remains Low

[3/13/12]  CNNMoney:  “Retirement scare: 60% of workers have less than $25,000 saved

[3/13/12]  The Wall Street Journal [Blog]:  “No Gains in Retirement Confidence

[3/13/12]  Business Insurance:  “Pension funding relief measure with lawmakers -- Employers hope for changes to cut plan contributions

[3/12/12]  The New York Times:  “Health Care Exchange Rules to Be Set

[3/12/12]  Willis:  The Health Care Reform Survey, 2011-2012

[3/12/12]  Kaiser Family Foundation Notes on Health Insurance and Reform:  “Health Insurance Transparency under the Affordable Care Act

[3/12/12]  HealthPolicyForum.org:  “Activating Consumers with Financial Control: Lessons from Health Savings Accounts

[3/12/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “Written Financial Plan for Retirement Boosts Confidence

[3/12/12]  The Washington Post:  “US stock market rally helped rebuild household wealth at end of 2011; debt increased

[3/9/12]  Towers Watson and National Business Group on Health:  17th Annual Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care

[3/9/12]  WorldatWork:  Total Rewards and Employee Well-Being: A Report by WorldatWork

[3/9/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “Employers Exploring Corporate Health Exchange Model

[3/9/12]  USA Today:  “Legislation might help smaller firms offer retirement plans

[3/9/12]  National Institute on Retirement Security:  Pensionomics 2012: Measuring the Economic Impact of DB Pension Expenditures

[3/9/12]  The New York Times:  “After the Storm, the Little Nest Eggs That Couldn’t

[3/8/12]  Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index:  “Milliman analysis: Pension plans continue modest 2012 gains even as discount rates revisit their all-time low

[3/8/12]  Financial Finesse, Inc.:  Trends in Employee Financial Issues: Year in Review 2011

[3/8/12]  Reuters:  “Your Money: How low must retirement withdrawals go?

[3/8/12]  HighRoads:  “Long-Term Care Coverage for Employees Continues to Decline as More Insurers Leave, Says HighRoads Study

[3/8/12]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Comparison of Medicare Premium Support Proposals

[3/8/12]  Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:  Do Income Taxes Affect the Progressivity of Social Security?

[3/7/12]  Milliman Inc.:  2012 Key Administrative Dates and Deadlines for Calendar-Year Multiemployer Defined Benefit Plans [Subject to ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code]

[3/7/12]  H.R. 4050:  “To simplify and enhance qualified retirement plans, and for other purposes.” [short title: “Retirement Plan Simplification and Enhancement Act of 2012”]

[3/7/12]  Plan Sponsor:

[3/7/12]  Towers Watson Insider:  “Funded Status of Fortune 1000 DB Plans Declines in 2011

[3/7/12]  GoldSeek.com:  “Baby Boomers: Here’s How You Can Retire Well

[3/7/12]  International Federation of Health Plans:  2011 Comparative Price Report: Medical and Hospital Fees by Country

[3/7/12]  Milliman Research Report:  Measuring the Strength of the Individual Mandate

[3/6/12]  InsideCounsel:  “Consumers driving health care -- Research shows balances soared over the last half-decade

[3/6/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “State Pensions See Bump in Funded Status

[3/6/12]  The Washington Post:  “Higher contributions part of a trend

[3/6/12]  The Vanguard Group:  Professionally managed allocations: Participant usage and impact

[3/6/12]  Reuters:  “Your Money: Why Have Americans Forgotten the IRA?

[3/6/12]  Reverse Mortgage Daily:  “Healthcare Costs Skyrocket, But Housing Still No. 1 Expense for Seniors

[3/5/12]  Milliman Insight:  “Healthcare reform in 2012: Blind curves ahead

[3/5/12]  Employee Benefit News:  “Defined contribution plans to pick up lifetime income options more aggressively

[3/5/12]  Reuters:  “Stern Advice: The last 401(k) generation? Will the baby boomers be the only generation to retire with 401(k) plans? It could happen.

[3/5/12]  H.R. 4049:  “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to expand personal saving and retirement savings coverage by enabling employees not covered by qualifying retirement plans to save for retirement through automatic IRA arrangements, and for other purposes.” [short title: “The Automatic IRA Act of 2012”]

[3/5/12]  AARP Public Policy Institute:

[3/2/12]  Compensation and Working Conditions:  “Paid Sick Leave: Prevalence, Provision, and Usage among Full-Time Workers in Private Industry

[3/2/12]  Plan Sponsor:  “Employers Continue to Increase Wellness Program Efforts

[3/2/12]  The New England Journal of Medicine:  “Supreme Court Review of the Health Care Reform Law” [Perspective]

[3/2/12]  Kaiser Family Foundation:  Kaiser Health Tracking Poll -- February 2012

[3/2/12]  The Los Angeles Times:

[3/2/11]  MetLife:  MetLife U.S. Pension Risk Behavior Index: Fourth Annual Study of Risk Management Attitudes and Aptitude Among Defined Benefit Pension Plan Sponsors

[3/2/12]  The American College and State Farm® Center for Women and Financial Services:  Financial Goals, Concerns, and Actions of Women Business Owners - Focus: Retirement Planning

[3/1/12]  TIAA-CREF:  “Assessing reasonableness of 403(b) retirement plan fees: Best practices for defining Who, What, How and Why

[3/1/12]  The Brandes Institute:  Boomers Behaving Badly: A Better Solution to the “Money Death” Problem

[3/1/12]  Business Insider:  “Boomers Are Splitting Pills and Skipping Doctors Visits to Cut Health Care Costs

[3/1/12]  Reuters (via Employee Benefit News):  “Savings made simple with seven easy tips

[3/1/12]  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Urban Institute:  State Progress Toward Health Reform Implementation: Slower Moving States Have Much to Gain

[3/1/12]  National Institute for Health Care Reform Policy Analysis:  “State Benefit Mandates and National Health Reform

[3/1/12]  Council for Affordable Health Insurance:  Health Insurance Mandates in the States 2011: Executive Summary

[3/1/12]  Social Security Administration:  OASDI and SSI Program Rates & Limits, 2012


What's new at EBRI this month:

EBRI 2011 Fall Policy Forum: “Innovations in Employment-Based Health Benefits: Lessons Learned for Public Policy” [“gavel to gavel” webcast - Prerecorded broadcast available through the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans]

EBRI 2011 Spring Policy Forum: “Is There a Future for Retirement?” ["gavel to gavel" webcast - Prerecorded broadcast available through the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans]

Visit EBRI's Blog!

EBRI's Recent Media Coverage

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

401(k) Balances and Changes Due to Market Volatility


March 2012 EBRI Issue Brief - "The 2012 Retirement Confidence Survey: Job Insecurity, Debt Weigh on Retirement Confidence, Savings"

March 2012 EBRI Notes - "Modifying the Federal Tax Treatment of 401(k) Plan Contributions: Projected Impact on Participant Account Balances" and "Trends in Health Coverage for Part-Time Workers"


What's new in employee benefits:

  • HR News Online -- a daily update from the Society for Human Resource Management

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

Defined Benefit Pension Plans: Recent Developments Highlight Challenges of Hedge Fund and Private Equity Investing. GAO-12-324, February 16. Highlights.

Private Pensions: Better Agency Coordination Could Help Small Employers Address Challenges to Plan Sponsorship. GAO-12-326, March 5. Highlights.

State and Local Government Pension Plans: Economic Downturn Spurs Efforts to Address Costs and Sustainability. GAO-12-322, March 2. Highlights.

Unemployment Insurance: Economic Circumstances of Individuals Who Exhausted Benefits. GAO-12-408, February 17. Highlights.

Federal Employees' Compensation Act: Benefits for Retirement-Age Beneficiaries. GAO-12-309R, February 6.

Private Pensions: Better Agency Coordination Could Help Small Employers Address Challenges to Plan Sponsorship by Charles A. Jeszeck, director, education, workforce, and income security, before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. GAO-12-459T, March 7.

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 3/30/12