What's New - March 2015



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[3/31/15] Towers Watson Insider: “President’s 2016 Budget Would Change Health, Retirement and Compensation Programs

[3/31/15] National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators: Public Sector Defined Contribution Plan Survey Report [Published March 2015]

[3/31/15] WealthManagement.com: “Traditional Pensions: Did a Golden Age Ever Exist?

[3/31/15] Gallup: “Investors in U.S. With 401(k) Value One-on-One Advice Most

[3/31/15] El Paso Inc.: “Why we’re not saving enough for retirement

[3/31/15] PlanSponsor: “Addressing Post-Retirement Risks -- The cost of delaying consideration of retirement income products

[3/31/15] NAPA Net: “Oregon Weighs State Retirement Savings Plan

[3/31/15] U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration: FAQs about Affordable Care Act Implementation (Part XXIV) [Summary of Benefits and Coverage]

[3/31/15] Internal Revenue Service: Health Insurance Providers Fee; Procedural and Administrative Guidance [Notice 2015-29] - [“This notice provides guidance on how the special rule for expatriate health plans for the 2014 and 2015 fee years under the Expatriate Health Coverage Clarification Act of 2014 applies for purposes of the fee imposed by § 9010 of the Affordable Care Act. This notice obsoletes Notice 2014-24, 2014-16 IRB 942.”]

[3/31/15] Kaiser Family Foundation: “Medicare’s Income-Related Premiums: A Data Note

[3/30/15] U.S. Census Bureau: Summary of the Quarterly Survey of Public Pensions for 2014:Q4 - Pension Earnings Increase in Fourth Quarter of 2014 [Released March 26, 2015]

[3/30/15] Russell Investments Fiduciary Matters blog: “Asset allocation changes among the U.S.’s biggest pension plans

[3/30/15] Morningstar: “America’s $4 Trillion Retirement Gap

[3/30/15] Bloomberg BNA Pension and Benefits Blog: “Borzi Lays Out Process for Fiduciary Rule; De-Risking Among Issues Council to Study

[3/30/15] NAPA Net: “With Court Date Approaching, Another 401(k) Revenue Sharing Case Settles” [Krueger v. Ameriprise Financial]

[3/30/15] PlanSponsor: “HSA Contributions Declined in 2014

[3/30/15] BenefitsPro: “Wellness incentive spending sets record -- But many employees aren’t biting

[3/30/15] AARP Public Policy Institute: “Job Lock and Employer-Provided Health Insurance: Evidence from the Literature” [Includes links to PDFs: In-Brief, Full-Report, and Appendix]

[3/30/15] The Los Angeles Times: “Rising healthcare costs are pressuring patients

[3/30/15] Brookings [Blog]: “Five years old, going on ten: The future of the Affordable Care Act

[3/27/15] Society for Human Resource Management: “EEOC Readies Wellness Incentives Rule; Congress Responds

[3/27/15] Plan Sponsor: “Employees Leaving Wellness Incentives on the Table

[3/27/15] HealthView Services: 2015 Retirement Health Care Costs Data Report

[3/27/15] Kaiser Health News: “FAQ: The House Passes a Bill to Fix Medicare’s Doctor Payments. What’s In It?

[3/27/15] JD Supra, LLC: “Plan Sponsor Agrees to $62 Million Settlement in ERISA Case Challenging 401(k) Plan Fees” [Abbott v. Lockheed Martin Corp.]

[3/27/15] Bloomberg: “Rethinking the Shift-to-Bonds Strategy -- Low rates and longevity alter rules for retirees

[3/26/15] Investment Company Institute: “Retirement Assets Total $24.7 Trillion in Fourth Quarter 2014

[3/26/15] Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Saving early can be a savior for your retirement

[3/26/15] Plan Adviser: “Tangible Retirement Messaging Drives Better Outcomes

[3/26/15] Forbes: “Key Question for Millennial Job-Switchers: What To Do With Your Old 401(k)?

[3/26/15] Reuters (via CNBC): “Employer incentives for US worker wellness programs set record

[3/26/15] Society for Human Resource Management: SHRM Survey Findings: Health Care Reform--2015 Update

[3/26/15] Kaiser Health News: “High-Deductible Plans Bring Lower Costs Now, But Will They Bring Pricey Problems?

[3/26/15] AcademyHealth Research Insights: “Health Plan Features: Implications of Narrow Networks and the Trade-Off between Price and Choice

[3/26/15] Buck Consultants at Xerox (via workspan): “How Private Exchanges Should Integrate Well-Being

[3/26/15] Memphis Daily News: “Utilizing Health Savings Accounts

[3/25/15] Plan Sponsor: “Incentives Bring Needed Participants to Wellness Programs

[3/25/15] Employee Benefit News: “Self-insurance draws new converts among small employers

[3/25/15] Baltimore Business Journal: “Millennials aren’t as bad at health care management as we thought

[3/25/15] Warner Norcross & Judd LLP: “Supreme Court Repudiates Case Law on Retiree Health Care -- What Should Employers Do?” [M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett]

[3/25/15] Internal Revenue Service: Employee Plans News [March 25, 2015]

[3/25/15] BMO Retirement Services: Perspectives 2015: Defined contribution retirement plan benchmarks

[3/25/15] The Motley Fool: “Want to Retire Rich? Keep Your 401(k) Choices Simple

[3/25/15] The Segal Group: Currents: Noteworthy Developments of Interest to Sponsors of Multiemployer Retirement Plans [Second Quarter 2015]

[3/25/15] CNBC: “Funding shortfalls put pensions in peril

[3/25/15] Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Senate leader links pension overhaul, vote on new budget

[3/24/15] Empower Institute: Lifetime Income Score V: Optimism and opportunity

[3/24/15] CNBC [Includes video]: “For millions, 401(k) plans have fallen short

[3/24/15] PIMCO: Defined Contribution Consulting Support and Trends Survey: 9th Annual Survey Highlights 2015

[3/24/15] NAPA Net: “State Role in Expanding Coverage Doesn’t Have to Be Partisan

[3/24/15] Congressional Research Service: Federal Employees’ Retirement System: The Role of the Thrift Savings Plan

[3/24/15] Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative: “Is There a Future for Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance?

[3/24/15] Plan Sponsor: “CDHP Cost Saving Not Just a One-Time Event

[3/24/15] ABC News: “On 5th Anniversary of Health Care Law, No End to Debate

[3/24/15] Kaiser Family Foundation: “Repayments and Refunds: Estimating the Effects of 2014 Premium Tax Credit Reconciliation

[3/24/15] The Wall Street Journal: “What Measures Should Be Used to Evaluate Health Care?

[3/23/15] Nasdaq: “Pensions Fade, but Today’s Job-Hoppers May Benefit

[3/23/15] Cammack Retirement Group: Staying Ahead of the Curve: Nine Hot Trends for Defined Contribution Retirement Plan Sponsors

[3/23/15] Cheat Sheet (via USA Today): “3 hard retirement truths facing Baby Boomers

[3/23/15] Russell Investments Fiduciary Matters blog: “There’s $27 trillion in the U.S. retirement savings system: don’t expect legislators to leave it alone

[3/23/15] Internal Revenue Service: Extension of Temporary Nondiscrimination Relief for Closed Defined Benefit Plans [Notice 2015-28]

[3/23/15] Buck Consultants’ FYI®: “DOL Provides Flexibility in Fee Disclosure Timing

[3/23/15] The Capital Times: “Pension rulings going against government workers

[3/23/15] Kaiser Health News: “Health Law Brings No Drop in Insurance Enrollment at Work, Study Finds

[3/23/15] Plan Sponsor: “Hearing Witness Says ACA Hasn’t Helped Small Employers

[3/23/15] Morningstar: “New Strategies for Covering Long-Term Care Costs

[3/20/15] U.S. Senate Committee on Finance: Hearing titled “The Affordable Care Act at Five Years” [Hearing held March 19, 2015, includes links to witness testimonies]

[3/20/15] PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute: Healthcare Reform: Five trends to watch as the Affordable Care Act turns five

[3/20/15] The Wall Street Journal: “After Five Years, Public Opinion on Health Law Remains Divided

[3/20/15] The RAND Blog: “When It Comes to the Value of Wellness, Ask About Fairness, Not Just About Effectiveness

[3/20/15] Fox Business: “The Key Law That Impacts Your Retirement

[3/20/15] NAPA Net: “SEC Aligns with White House on Need to Address Fiduciary Standards

[3/20/15] CBS News: “Working in retirement: Fantasy or reality?

[3/20/15] Bankrate.com: “Do you want a big tax refund or bigger paycheck?

[3/19/15] Atlantic Information Services, Inc.: “Private Exchanges: When Will Employer Adoption Catch Up to the Industry Buzz?” [Note: Login required to read full article.]

[3/19/15] Public Agenda: How Much Will It Cost? How Americans Use Prices in Health Care [A Report by Public Agenda, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation]

[3/19/15] Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Marketplace Premium Changes Throughout the United States, 2014-2015

[3/19/15] Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Nevada PERS a model for nation; don’t change it

[3/19/15] Milliman Multiemployer Pension Funding Study [Spring 2015]: “2014 a so-so year for most multiemployer plans; impact of new legislation remains to be seen

[3/19/15] U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration Fact Sheet: “Direct Final Rule Provides Flexibility for the Timing of Annual Disclosures to Workers in 401(k)-Type Retirement Plans

[3/19/15] The Vanguard Group: Target-date fund adoption in 2014

[3/19/15] State Street Global Advisors’ The Participant: “DC Investor Survey [Biannual Report]--Financial stress impedes employees’ ability to take action and hurts the corporate bottom line

[3/19/15] NAPA Net: “Case of the Week: RMDs for 401(k)s

[3/19/15] Fortune: “How investors can win in a volatile market

[3/18/15] U.S. Departments of the Treasury (IRS), Labor (EBSA), and Health & Human Services: Amendments to Excepted Benefits; Final rules [as published in the Federal Register on March 18, 2015]

[3/18/15] U.S. Census Bureau: Small Area Health Insurance Estimates: 2013

[3/18/15] Bloomberg BNA: “Positive Employee Feedback Has Use of Telehealth Increasing at Pitney Bowes

[3/18/15] CFA Institute: “Advisors: Ask Your Clients How They Take Care of Their Health

[3/18/15] Plan Adviser: “Managed Accounts Show Little Fee Compression

[3/18/15] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College: Are Retirees Falling Short? Reconciling the Conflicting Evidence

[3/18/15] The Huffington Post: “The Great Illusion of Retirement Savings

[3/18/15] HCPLive: “Americans’ Retirement Savings Gap Tops $4 Trillion

[3/17/15] Financial Advisor: “Are High-Deductible Health Plans Right for Your Older Clients?

[3/17/15] The Wall Street Journal: “How to Plan for Health Costs in Retirement -- Some services--like doctor visits and prescription drugs--are more predictable and easier to forecast

[3/17/15] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Employer costs for union workers averaged $46.50 per hour worked in December 2014

[3/17/15] Frenkel Benefits [Blog]: “Taxability of LTD Benefits: Where Do You Stand?

[3/17/15] Prudential Investment Management: “Should a Plan Re-risk While De-Risking?

[3/17/15] Nuveen Asset Management: “How Old Is Your Pension Plan? -- Matching Pension Investing to Plan Demographics

[3/17/15] NAPA Net: “Warren Blasts Advisors at Senate Hearing

[3/16/15] J.P. Morgan Asset Management: “Off balance: The unintended consequences of prioritizing one risk in target date fund design

[3/16/15] NAPA Net: “How Did Participants React to Record Market Highs in February?

[3/16/15] The Motley Fool: “The Importance of Social Security to Our Retirements Can’t Be Overstated

[3/16/15] The Wall Street Journal: “A Guide to Not Retiring

[3/16/15] Employee Benefit Adviser: “Proposed changes to SBC concern large employers

[3/16/15] Bloomberg: “U.S. Health-Care Spending Probably Jumped 5 Percent in 2014

[3/16/15] LifeHealthPro: “Drugmakers turn up heat on insurers

[3/16/15] SheppardMullin Healthcare Law Blog: “Stripping the ACA of Both the Carrot and the Stick: Sticking it to Consumers On and Off the Federal Exchange

[3/13/15] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Employer Costs for Employee Compensation -- December 2014” [News Release]

[3/13/15] WorldatWork: Total Rewards and Employee Well-Being Practices [A Report by WorldatWork, Underwritten by HealthMine]

[3/13/15] Plan Sponsor: “Objectives Met By DC Health Benefit Arrangements

[3/13/15] Towers Watson: Achieving High-Performance Health Care Programs

[3/13/15] St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “’Staggering’ crisis looms in retirement income, senators learn

[3/13/15] National Institute on Retirement Security: The Continuing Retirement Savings Crisis

[3/13/15] NAPA Net: “Key GOP Senators Say DOL Fiduciary Rule Could Restrict Access to Advice

[3/13/15] BenefitsPro: “Supreme Court asked to hear another 401(k) case

[3/13/15] NAPA Net: “Cuts Ahead For Multiemployer Plan Benefits?

[3/12/15] U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging: Hearing titled “Bridging the Gap: How Prepared are Americans for Retirement?” [Hearing held March 12, 2015, includes links to witness testimonies]

[3/12/15] Employee Benefit News: “Employees want choice, but generally content with health coverage

[3/12/15] HERO and Mercer LLC: HERO Employee Health Management Best Practices Scorecard In Collaboration With Mercer© -- Annual Report 2014

[3/12/15] Express Scripts: 2014 Drug Trend Report

[3/12/15] The Wall Street Journal: “Health-Care Deductibles Climbing Out of Reach

[3/12/15] Internal Revenue Service: “Affordable Care Act: Are you an applicable large employer?” [Publication 5208]

[3/12/15] Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: PBGC’s Multiemployer Guarantee

[3/12/15] Plan Sponsor: “Boosting Plan Participation Without Auto-Enrollment -- For most non-ERISA 403(b) plans, automatic enrollment is not an option

[3/12/15] National Association of State Retirement Administrators: Spotlight on The Annual Required Contribution Experience of State Retirement Plans, FY 01 to FY 13

[3/12/15] MarketWatch: “Stable value is a cost-effective alternative to annuities

[3/12/15] The New York Times: “Two Generations, Retired and Together

[3/11/15] Urban Institute: “401(k) Participant Behavior in a Volatile Economy

[3/11/15] NAPA Net: “4 Things You Need to Know About Default Funds

[3/11/15] Fidelity Investments: “Glide Path Caution! A Steep Slope Could Derail Retirement Income Success

[3/11/15] Principal Financial Group: Millennial Research Study, The Principal Financial Group® - 2015

[3/11/15] USA Today: “What’s the best retirement advice you ever got?

[3/11/15] NorthJersey.com: “Retirement plans would be required under new NJ bill

[3/11/15] Towers Watson: Global Pension Assets Study 2015

[3/11/15] Kaiser Health News: “The Boss May Be Able to Force You to Buy Company Insurance

[3/11/15] Kaiser Family Foundation Issue Brief: “Consumer Assets and Patient Cost Sharing

[3/11/15] Wolters Kluwer Law & Business: “Push for Earned Sick Leave Continues

[3/10/15] Plan Sponsor: “Employers Exploring New Health Care Delivery Options

[3/10/15] Employee Benefit Adviser: “Why Hilton Worldwide moved to a private exchange

[3/10/15] Health Affairs [Blog]: “Go Slow on Reference Pricing: Not Ready for Prime Time

[3/10/15] Calpensions: “Brown plan may cut state retiree health payment

[3/10/15] The Cheat Sheet: “How Much Will Health Care Cost You in Retirement?

[3/10/15] Internal Revenue Service: “Affordable Care Act: What employers need to know” [Publication 5200]

[3/10/15] Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index: “Milliman analysis: Funded status improves in February due to a rise in corporate bond discount rates and investment gains

[3/10/15] PennLive: “Solving Pa.’s public pension problem a toughie for state leaders

[3/10/15] FedSmith.com: “Legislation Introduced to Cut Federal Pensions

[3/10/15] USA Today: “Securing retirement income with annuities

[3/9/15] Chief Investment Officer: “US State Pensions: Returns Improving, Underfunding Remains

[3/9/15] LIMRA: “2014 Pension Buy-out Sales More than Double Previous Year

[3/9/15] Treasury & Risk: “Risk Management Solutions for Cash Balance Plans

[3/9/15] Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: Submission of Information Collection for OMB Review; Comment Request; Survey of Nonparticipating Single Premium Group Annuity Rates; Notice of request for extension of OMB approval [as published in the Federal Register on March 9, 2015 - Comments should be submitted by April 8, 2015.]

[3/9/15] U.S. Representative Mike Kelly [R-PA]: “Rep. Kelly Co-Founds Bipartisan House Retirement Security Caucus

[3/9/15] Devenir Research: 2014 Year-End Credit Union HSA Research Update

[3/9/15] Mercer: “Media Advisory: Mercer survey finds few employers in favor of disallowing ACA federal subsidies

[3/9/15] Congressional Research Service: Implementing the Affordable Care Act: Delays, Extensions, and Other Actions Taken by the Administration [Updated March 3, 2015]

[3/9/15] Congressional Research Service: Legislative Actions to Repeal, Defund, or Delay the Affordable Care Act [Updated March 2, 2015]

[3/9/15] Forbes: “How We Spend Our Health Care Dollars As We Age

[3/6/15] Sibson Consulting Spotlight: “How Do You Define ‘Success’ for Your Defined Contribution Plan?

[3/6/15] PIMCO DC Dialogue: “Just Another Day” [“In this PIMCO DC Dialogue, we speak with Cindy Cattin of Exelon Corporation about the full redesign of their defined contribution plan as they merged two plans.”]

[3/6/15] Milliman’s Retirement Town Hall: “Putting a stop to retirement plan leakage

[3/6/15] U.S. Department of Labor: “Workers with disability insurance plans: Percentage of private industry workers who participate in short- and long-term disability insurance programs, 1999-2014

[3/6/15] Towers Watson: “Employers Expect Changes to Employee Health Care Programs to Retain Competitiveness, According to New Towers Watson Survey

[3/6/15] Segal Consulting: Winter 2015 Data, “Multiemployer Health Benefits: Key Facts at a Glance”

[3/6/15] Plan Sponsor: “Pharmacy Benefits a Big Chunk of Employer Health Care Costs

[3/6/15] Buck Consultants’ FYI®: “COBRA Compliance Failures Cost Employers Millions

[3/6/15] Kaiser Health News: “Roberts, Kennedy Viewed as Pivotal to High Court’s Health Law Decision

[3/4/15] U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions: “Senate, House Leaders Introduce Bill to Provide Certainty to Employers Offering Innovative Employee Wellness Programs

[3/4/15] Towers Watson: “Capturing the Value of Health and Productivity Programs

[3/4/15] For the Record: “Three Benefits of eHealth in the Workplace

[3/4/15] Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker: “How much does the U.S. spend to treat different diseases?

[3/4/15] NAPA Net: “Try, Try Again: Retirement Bills Reintroduced in Congress

[3/4/15] Plan Sponsor: “Plan Design Is One Way to Stanch Outflows

[3/4/15] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College: “The Average Retirement Age -- An Update

[3/4/15] National Institute on Retirement Security: Retirement Security 2015: Roadmap for Policy Makers -- Americans’ Views of the Retirement Crisis

[3/4/15] Calamos Advisors LLC: Engaging the Next Generations in Retirement Savings

[3/4/15] NAPA Net: “The Trouble with Tibble

[3/3/15] Kaiser Health News: “Legal Challenges to Obamacare Subsidies Worries Consumers

[3/3/15] U.S. Senate Committee on Finance: “Hatch, Alexander, and Barrasso: We have a plan for fixing health care” [Press Release]

[3/3/15] Center for American Progress: The Great Cost Shift: Why Middle-Class Workers Do Not Feel the Health Care Spending Slowdown [Note: The full report may be downloaded at the website.]

[3/3/15] The Wall Street Journal: “The Diseases We Spend Our Health Dollars On

[3/3/15] MarketWatch: “A smarter way to budget for retirement health-care costs -- Some common costs are relatively predictable and stable

[3/3/15] Callan Investments Institute: 2015 Defined Contribution Trends [Executive Summary]

[3/3/15] The Boston Globe: “State to offer early retirement deals; layoffs may follow

[3/3/15] Buck Consultants’ FYI®: “DOL Extends FMLA Rights to Same-Sex Spouses

[3/2/15] NAPA Net: “Federal Budget Seeks to Support State-Based Auto IRAs

[3/2/15] Detroit Free Press: “Detroit retirees to see pension cuts starting Monday

[3/2/15] The Baltimore Sun: “Retirement insecurity

[3/2/15] Fox Business: “Annuities a Puzzle to Most Boomers

[3/2/15] USA Today: “Powell: Taming retiree health care

[3/2/15] Internal Revenue Service: Publication 5196: Affordable Care Act: Reporting Requirements for Applicable Large Employers [“To prepare for 2016, applicable large employers need to track information each month in 2015”]

[3/2/15] Kaiser Health News: “5 Things To Know About the Supreme Court Case Challenging the Health Law

[3/2/15] Forbes: “Embracing Less to Get More in Health Care

[2/27/15] Kaiser Health News: “High Court Arguments Set for Wednesday -- And the ACA’s Fate Could Hang in the Balance

[2/27/15] The Los Angeles Times: “Obamacare defense is tailored for key Supreme Court justices


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


March 2015 EBRI Issue Brief - "Financial Incentives and Workplace Wellness-Program Participation"

March 2015 EBRI Notes - "How Much Needs to be Saved for Retirement After Factoring In Post-Retirement Risks: Evidence from the EBRI Retirement Security Projection Model," and "Employer and Worker Contributions to Health Reimbursement Arrangements and Health Savings Accounts, 2006-2014"


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: Early Evidence Finds Premium Tax Credit Likely Contributed to Expanded Coverage, but Some Lack Access to Affordable Plans. GAO-15-312, March 23. Highlights.

Private Pensions: Participants Need Better Information When Offered Lump Sums That Replace Their Lifetime Benefits. GAO-15-74, January 27. 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 3/31/15