What's New - March 2017



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[3/31/17] USA Today: “Small businesses boost benefits, tout quality of life to lure job hunters

[3/31/17] Healthcare Trends Institute: “Employers Expanding Wellness Definition and Program Opportunities

[3/31/17] Guardian Life Insurance Company of America: The 2017 Guardian Absence Management Activity Index and Study -- Raising the Bar on Employee Leave Practices and Outcomes [Note: The full study can be downloaded at the website.]

[3/31/17] Gallup: “Employees At Home: Less Engaged

[3/31/17] Pension Research Council: Putting the Pension Back in 401(k) Plans: Optimal versus Default Longevity Income Annuities [Note: The full working paper can be downloaded at the website.]

[3/31/17] Rocaton Investment Advisors, LLC: Conservative Options in Defined Contribution Plans

[3/31/17] Cammack Retirement Group: “The Skinny on State-Run Auto-IRAs

[3/31/17] University of Michigan Retirement Research Center: Occupational Transitions at Older Ages: What Moves are People Making? [Working Paper]

[3/30/17] International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans: A Closer Look: What’s Working in Workplace Financial Education [2016-2017]

[3/30/17] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College Brief: “Is Home Equity an Underutilized Retirement Asset?” [Note: The full brief can be downloaded at the website.]

[3/30/17] NAPA Net: “Determining the Best Retirement Age

[3/30/17] CFO.com: “Health Care: Whatever Happens, Most Companies Will Stand Pat

[3/30/17] American Enterprise Institute: Affordable and Targeted: How Paid Parental Leave in the US Could Work

[3/28/17] U.S. Department of Labor: Report to Congress: Annual Report on Self-Insured Group Health Plans [March 2017]

[3/28/17] U.S. Census Bureau: “Majority of U.S. Counties See Uninsured Rate for the Under Age 65 Population Drop from 2014 to 2015, Census Bureau Reports

[3/28/17] 401(k) Specialist: “Technology Priorities: What Will 401k Plan Sponsors Value? Retirement industry late adopter of technology

[3/28/17] Fidelity Investments Points of View: “Efficient and Effective Retirement Plan Design for Higher Education” [White Paper]

[3/27/17] PlanAdviser: “2017 PLANADVISER Micro Plan Survey -- Small plans are big business.

[3/27/17] 401(k) Specialist: “Why Restricting 401k Loans Lead To Better Participant Outcomes -- Americans spend too much with almost nothing in savings

[3/27/17] 401kTV: “What’s Ahead for Behavioral Finance in 401k Plans

[3/27/17] Journal of Accountancy: “What role should your house have in retirement planning?

[3/27/17] Healthcare Trends Institute: “Health Care Cost Challenges Require Employer Innovation

[3/27/17] Wolters Kluwer Law & Business: “Study connects the dots between essential health care and paid sick leave

[3/27/17] Willis Towers Watson: “U.S. Employers Act to Improve Quality and Access to Behavioral Health Programs -- With growing need for services, nearly nine in 10 employers cite behavioral health as an important priority in Willis Towers Watson survey

[3/27/17] Human Resource Executive Online [Blog]: “The End of Telecommuting?

[3/24/17] Pew Research Center: Americans Widely Support Paid Family and Medical Leave, but Differ Over Specific Policies

[3/24/17] State Health Access Data Assistance Center [Blog]: “More Employees Chose High-Deductible Plans in 2015

[3/24/17] Investor’s Business Daily: “Self-Insured Companies Help Push Health Care Innovations

[3/24/17] Health Fitness Corporation: “Research: 70 Percent of Medical Cost Savings Comes from Employees Using Health Coaches

[3/24/17] PlanSponsor: “Bulk of Target-Date Funds in Retirement Accounts -- Eighty-eight percent of target-date mutual fund assets were held through defined contribution (DC) plans, ICI finds.

[3/24/17] PlanAdviser: “Few Employees Report Being on Track for Retirement -- However, Financial Finesse found repeat usage of employer financial wellness programs and running retirement projections incrementally improves retirement preparedness.

[3/23/17] Investment Company Institute: “Retirement Assets Total $25.3 Trillion in Fourth Quarter 2016

[3/23/17] National Center for Employee Ownership: “A Statistical Profile of Employee Ownership: Count of ESOPs and Participants / Plan Asset Value” [Updated November 2016]

[3/23/17] J.P. Morgan Asset Management: “Three Things To Know About DC Plan Participants Under 30

[3/23/17] Financial Finesse: 2016 Year In Review

[3/23/17] TIAA Institute and Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC): The TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index: A New Measure of Financial Literacy

[3/23/17] The Commonwealth Fund: “Aiming Higher: Results from The Commonwealth Fund Scorecard on State Health System Performance” [2017 Edition]

[3/23/17] Independent Institute [Blog]: “Where Does Your Health Insurance Premium Go?

[3/23/17] Aflac: 2016 Aflac WorkForces Report [Executive Summary]

[3/22/17] Workforce: “Sector Report: Workplace Wellness Programs Continue Healthy Ascent

[3/22/17] Health Affairs [Blog]: “Taming Health Care Spending: Could State Rate Setting Work?

[3/22/17] WealthManagement.com: “HSAs Over 401(k)s for Retirement Readiness?

[3/22/17] ForUsAll: “Active management vs. passive asset management in 401(k) accounts

[3/22/17] PlanAdviser: “ForUsAll Releases 401(k) Cost Estimator -- The new tool helps employers compare expenses such as administrative and fund-lineup fees against that of three major recordkeepers.

[3/22/17] Bankrate, LLC: “Americans are feeling better about saving! (But are still bad at it)

[3/22/17] Gallup: “How Engaged Is Your Remote Workforce?

[3/22/17] American Enterprise Institute: “Paid family leave: Looking to the states

[3/21/17] Strategic Benefit Services: “Is It Time to Refresh Your Voluntary Benefits?

[3/21/17] PlanSponsor: “Research Finds Micro 401(k) Plan Sponsors More Generous -- The research also found participation levels and investment offerings for most plans were good.

[3/21/17] Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies®: Seventeen Facts About Women’s Retirement Outlook: Select Findings from the 17th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey of American Workers

[3/21/17] Chelko Center for Benefits Management: “Survey Reveals Employer Attitudes Regarding Private Exchanges

[3/20/17] Liazon: Liazon 2017 Employee Survey Report: Health Care Consumerism in a Marketplace Environment

[3/20/17] Bloomberg BNA’s Pension and Benefits Blog: “How Will the Proposed AHCA Be Different from the ACA for Employers?

[3/20/17] CFO.com: “TrumpCare Could Cause Cost Shift To Employers, Experts Warn

[3/20/17] AARP Public Policy Institute’s Insight on the Issues: “Experience Has Taught Us That High-Risk Pools Do Not Serve Consumers Well

[3/20/17] CNN.com: “How health care works around the world

[3/20/17] Chief Investment Officer: “For Large Employers, Pension Costs Will Continue to Mount in 2017

[3/20/17] Compensation.BLR.com: “Most Employer Pension Sponsors Show Interest in Transferring Plan Risk, Survey Reveals

[3/20/17] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College’s Squared Away Blog: “A Modest Victory in Financial Education

[3/17/17] Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: “Employer and Employee Opinions About Workplace Health Promotion (Wellness) Programs: Results of the 2015 Harris Poll Nielsen Survey

[3/17/17] Grooms Benefit Solutions: “Putting Telehealth To Work

[3/17/17] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College’s Squared Away Blog: “1 in 3 Can Barely Afford Medical Care

[3/17/17] Urban Institute: Public Pension Simulator [“As state and local governments begin to discuss pension reforms, the public pension simulator provides an easy way to compare the nation’s largest public pension plans under existing benefit rules and various reform alternatives.”]

[3/17/17] USA Today: “How much do you need to fund retirement? More than you think

[3/17/17] AARP: 2017 Financial Security National Survey of Private Sector Employed Adults Ages 18-64 [Note: The full report can be downloaded at the website.]

[3/16/17] Healthcare Trends Institute: “Five Reasons Why Private Exchanges Will Thrive in a Post-ACA World

[3/16/17] Healthcare Financial Management Association: “Some Types of Telehealth Spur Spending: Study

[3/16/17] Northeast Business Group on Health: The Caregiving Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities for Employers

[3/16/17] TIAA: 2017 TIAA IRA Survey [Executive Summary]

[3/15/17] Congressional Budget Office: American Health Care Act [“CBO and JCT estimate that enacting the American Health Care Act would reduce federal deficits by $337 billion over the coming decade and increase the number of people who are uninsured by 24 million in 2026 relative to current law.”] - [Note: CBO’s Cost Estimate can be downloaded at the website.]

[3/15/17] Deloitte: “ACA repeal and replace: The proposed American Health Care Act and its potential impact on employers

[3/15/17] Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: 2015 Data Tables [PBGC’s Single-Employer & Multiemployer Programs]

[3/15/17] National Association of State Retirement Administrators: “Public Pension Assets: Quarterly Update (Q4 2016)

[3/15/17] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College Brief: “How Has the Shift to 401(k) Plans Affected Retirement Income?” [Note: The full brief can be downloaded at the website.]

[3/15/17] PlanSponsor: “Providers, Plan Sponsors Focusing on Retirement Income -- The expanding flexibility for retirement income solutions is a key trend in the DC plan space for 2017, Cerulli says.

[3/15/17] NAPA Net: “Roth Beats Traditional IRA -- Pretty Much Every Time

[3/15/17] Gallup: “America’s Coming Workplace: Home Alone

[3/13/17] Society for Human Resource Management: National Study of Employers [“The National Study of Employers is a comprehensive look at employer practices, policies, programs and benefits that address personal and family needs of employees. The survey of more than 900 U.S. employers with 50 or more employees was conducted by the Families and Work Institute and is released by SHRM as part of the When Work Works initiative.”] - [Note: The full survey findings and a summary of survey findings can be downloaded at the website.]

[3/13/17] State Health Access Data Assistance Center: State-Level Trends in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance (ESI), 2011-2015

[3/13/17] Business Roundtable: Health Benefits: Providing Value for Our Employees

[3/13/17] PlanSponsor: “Despite High Costs, HSAs See Increase in Enrollment -- More than 40% of those who own HSAs plan to use the funds for future medical costs.

[3/13/17] Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: “Outcome-based and Participation-based Wellness Incentives: Impacts on Program Participation and Achievement of Health Improvement Targets

[3/13/17] American Journal of Managed Care: “VBID Benefit Helps Patients Maintain Adherence After Switch to High-Deductible Plan

[3/13/17] America’s Health Insurance Plans: “Where Does Your Premium Dollar Go?

[3/13/17] Human Resource Executive Online: “Trends in Telecommuting -- While the concept of telecommuting has seen its ebbs and flows, experts say the benefits to both employers and employees remain steady. But research finds there is a price to be paid for the ability to work outside the office.

[3/13/17] PlanSponsor: “Retirement Fund Assets Grew 8% from 2014 to $19.1 Trillion in 2016 -- Across DB and DC plans, retirement assets total $19.1 trillion, according to data from a Federal Reserve report on DB and DC asset holdings and flows.

[3/13/17] Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index: “Milliman Analysis: February’s funded status declines after discount rate plunges below 4% -- Milliman 100 PFI funded ratio drops to 81.5%”

[3/13/17] GMO White Paper: Target Date Decisions, Decisions…Getting the Biggest Bang for the Buck

[3/13/17] 401(k) Specialist: “401k Plan Fees Continue to Crater -- 401k fees declined in all 16 market segments

[3/13/17] PlanAdviser: “Few Millennials Making Recommended 401(k) Contribution

[3/13/17] American Student Assistance®: American Student Assistance Young Workers and Student Debt Survey Report Methodology

[3/2/17] Benefitfocus [Blog]: “Pop Quiz: Is Your Benefits Program Future-Ready?

[3/2/17] PlanSponsor: “Pension Plan Sponsors Increasingly Implementing Buy-Outs -- Many of the sales came from smaller plans, LIMRA SRI finds.

[3/2/17] NAPA Net: “February Bounce Boosts 401(k)s

[3/2/17] BlackRock®: Inside the Minds of 401(k) Participants: The 2017 BlackRock DC Pulse Survey

[3/2/17] Scarborough Capital Management: The 401(k) Pulse: A nationwide survey of how Americans view and manage their 401(k)s [Note: The full report can be downloaded at the website.]

[3/2/17] AFS 401(k) Retirement Services: Beyond Retirement: An Examination of Financial Wellness for Employers [Note: The white paper can be downloaded at the website.]

[3/2/17] PlanSponsor: “Employers Expanding Strategies to Reduce Health Benefit Costs -- Employers are incorporating solutions like health savings accounts (HSAs), wellness incentives, price transparency tools and alternative care options to reduce costs.

[3/2/17] Kaiser Family Foundation Data Note: “Americans’ Challenges with Health Care Costs

[3/1/17] Humana: 2017 Humana Wellness Trends Report

[3/1/17] AcademyHealth [Blog]: “Insurance Market Stability: The High-Deductible Problem

[3/1/17] The Commonwealth Fund’s The Q&A: “Combating Overuse and Underuse in Health Care

[3/1/17] American Benefits Council: Taxing Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits: Myths and Realities

[3/1/17] PlanAdviser: “Households Value Choice in DC Plans

[3/1/17] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College Brief: “Do Households Have a Good Sense of Their Retirement Preparedness?” [Note: The full brief can be downloaded at the website.]


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)


March 23, 2017 EBRI Issue Brief - "Health Plan Switching: A Case Study--Implications for Private- and Public-Health-Insurance Exchanges and Increased Health Plan Choice"

March 21, 2017 EBRI Issue Brief - "The 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey: Many Workers Lack Retirement Confidence and Feel Stressed About Retirement Preparations"

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 3/31/17