What's New - May 2017

Index to All Months

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[5/19/17] PlanSponsor: “A Forgotten Part of Participant Financial Wellness: Loan Defaults

[5/19/17] Bloomberg BNA: “Managed Account Use Poised to Jump in 401(k) Plans

[5/19/17] Frenkel Benefits [Blog]: “And You Thought There Was Nothing New in Healthcare? Shifting from ‘Volume’ to ‘Value’

[5/19/17] Voya Financial (via PR Newswire): “Voya Financial Releases Findings on Americans’ Understanding of Health Care Costs in Retirement -- 81 percent of Americans surveyed have not estimated how much they will pay for health care during their retirement years” [Note: The full report, Playing the Long Game - Understanding How Health Care Costs Can Impact Your Retirement Readiness, can be viewed at the website.]

[5/18/17] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Employer Costs for Employee Compensation - December 2016

[5/18/17] National Center for Health Statistics: Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, 2016

[5/18/17] PlanAdviser: “Participants Investing in HSAs Not Cutting Back on 401(k)s -- Most participants are taking advantage of the combined benefits an HSA and 401(k) have to offer, but there is still a gap in knowledge of HSA basics among several participants.

[5/18/17] Financial Finesse: Special Report: Optimizing Financial Wellness Programs for a Diverse Workforce

[5/18/17] The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research Issue Brief: “The Impact of Intergenerational Wealth on Retirement

[5/18/17] Social Security Administration: Annual Statistical Supplement to the Social Security Bulletin, 2016 [Note: The Supplement includes more than 200 statistical tables that provide comprehensive data on Social Security and Supplemental Security Income. The data cover program details such as beneficiary counts, amounts of benefits, and the status of the trust funds.]

[5/17/17] Monthly Labor Review: “An analysis of private long-term disability insurance access, cost, and trends

[5/17/17] PlanSponsor: “Employers Anticipate More Scheduling Flexibility If ACA is Repealed -- Only 4% say they will drop health insurance coverage for some full-time employees if the employer mandate is repealed.

[5/17/17] Milliman Research Report: “2017 Milliman Medical Index: In 2017, the cost of healthcare for a typical American family of four covered by an average employer-sponsored preferred provider organization (PPO) plan is $26,944, according to the Milliman Medical Index (MMI).

[5/17/17] America’s Health Insurance Plans: 2016 Survey of Health Savings Account - High Deductible Health Plans [Note: The PDF can be downloaded at the website.]

[5/17/17] National Association of State Retirement Administrators: Spotlight on Retiree Health Care Benefits for State Employees in Fiscal Year 2015

[5/17/17] InsuranceNewsNet: “States Could Play A Bigger Role In Health Care

[5/17/17] PIMCO: “Take Action: Five Ideas for DC Plan Sponsors -- Active management has the potential to provide diversification, generate income and mitigate the risks of higher inflation and rising rates.

[5/17/17] Vanguard Commentary: “Perspective on Annuities for Accumulation in Defined Contribution Plans

[5/16/17] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College’s Squared Away Blog: “Retirement Ball’s in Employers’ Court

[5/16/17] NAPA Net: “Rollover Rationale: Consolidation, Convenience

[5/16/17] Congressional Research Service: The Growing Gap in Life Expectancy by Income: Recent Evidence and Implications for the Social Security Retirement Age

[5/16/17] United Income: Living Too Frugally? Economic Sentiment & Spending Among Older Americans

[5/16/17] Cowden Associates, Inc.: “Taxability of Wellness Program Rewards

[5/16/17] Health Affairs [Blog]: “CMS Announces Plans To Effectively End The SHOP Exchange

[5/15/17] Littler Mendelson, P.C.: The Littler® Annual Employer Survey 2017 [Note: The PDF can be downloaded at the website.]

[5/15/17] OneAmerica: “Survey: Most Americans Not Protecting Their Paychecks -- Just 34 percent have disability insurance, according to recent OneAmerica poll

[5/15/17] Willis Towers Watson: 2017 Global Medical Trends Survey Report [Note: The full report can be downloaded at the website.]

[5/15/17] Newsmax: “Average Retirement Balance Hits Record $95,500 on 401(k) ‘Autopilot’

[5/15/17] Social Security Administration: “Social Security Retirement Benefits and Private Annuities: A Comparative Analysis” [Issue Paper No. 2017-01]

[5/12/17] PlanSponsor: “Employer Usage of HSAs More Prevalent, but Enrollment Could Be Boosted -- Average HSA enrollment is 17% compared to a 24.6% prevalence rate, and the gap is more striking among large groups, UBA finds.

[5/12/17] Mercer/Signal: “Three Approaches to Controlling Rx Costs

[5/12/17] Gallup: “Healthcare Surges as Top Problem in US

[5/12/17] J.P. Morgan Asset Management: “Three Questions for Assessing a Target Date Fund’s Fixed Income Allocation

[5/12/17] Willis Towers Watson: “Managed Accounts: Today’s Service May Not Be Tomorrow’s Solution

[5/11/17] Benefitfocus [Blog]: “Voluntary Benefits Expanding Widely and Rapidly, Study Finds

[5/11/17] BlackRock® (via Pensions & Investments): Strengthening the Core: Preparing DC Menus for the Next Evolution

[5/11/17] PlanAdviser: “Managed Accounts Evolving in DC Space

[5/11/17] Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index: “Milliman Analysis: Funded status drops in April by $10 billion -- Discount rate decline lowers funded ratio to 84.9% despite investment gains

[5/10/17] The Commonwealth Fund: “Enrollment in a Health Plan with a Tiered Provider Network Decreased Medical Spending by 5 Percent

[5/10/17] America’s Health Insurance Plans Issue Brief: “The Health Insurance Tax: Raising Costs for Families, Seniors, Taxpayers, and States

[5/10/17] Urban Institute: Paid Family Leave in the United States -- Time for a New National Policy

[5/10/17] Morningstar: “Target-Date Fund Basics

[5/9/17] PlanSponsor: “Employers Taking Various Steps to Manage Health Care Costs -- From a high of 14.7% in 2002, the expected health care cost increase for 2017 is 5.0% after plan changes and 6.0% without.

[5/9/17] Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO): Wearables in Wellness: Employer Case Studies on Use of Wearable Tracking Devices in Wellness Programs

[5/9/17] Brookings: “Allowing States to Define ‘Essential Health Benefits’ Could Weaken ACA Protections Against Catastrophic Costs for People With Employer Coverage Nationwide

[5/9/17] Milliman: Multiemployer Pension Funding Study: Spring 2017

[5/9/17] Prudential Financial: The Power of Plan Wellness

[5/9/17] NAPA Net: “Catching Up on Catch-Up Contributions

[5/9/17] Gallup: “Most U.S. Employed Adults Plan to Work Past Retirement Age

[5/9/17] Center for Retirement Research at Boston College Brief: “How Will More Retirees Affect Investment Returns?” [Note: The full brief can be downloaded at the website.]

[5/5/17] Society of Actuaries: Financial Wellness Essay Collection [“This collection of essays provides a thought-provoking array of views and perspectives related to financial wellness. Financial wellness concepts and programs have become an increasingly important area for both employers and employees to consider as greater responsibility for financial planning and retirement security has been shifted to individuals. This essay collection was sponsored by the Society of Actuaries’ Committee on Post-Retirement Needs and Risks (CPRNR) and is part of an ongoing essay series exploring different topics related to managing post-retirement risks.”]

[5/5/17] PlanSponsor: “Employers Say They Will Keep Key ACA Provisions -- On the left and right of the political spectrum there is a lot of enthusiasm for protecting certain key provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

[5/5/17] Human Resource Executive Online: “Digital Diabetes Solutions -- With employers footing a major part of the nation’s massive diabetes-driven $300 billion medical bill, new digitally based workplace programs are showing progress in managing those costs and improving employees’ lives.

[5/5/17] Congressional Research Service: Frequently Asked Questions About Prescription Drug Pricing and Policy

[5/5/17] Social Security Bulletin: “The Importance of Social Security Benefits to the Income of the Aged Population

[5/4/17] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics The Economics Daily: “Three quarters of state and local government workers were in defined benefit pension plans in 2016

[5/4/17] Gallup: “401(k) Regaining Importance as Future Income Source

[5/4/17] Human Resource Executive Online: “Giving Employees Access to 5-Star Care -- Offering workers and their families the ability to go to medical centers of excellence for complicated health situations can reap huge rewards for both the employee and the employer.

[5/4/17] Bryan, Pendleton, Swats & McAllister, LLC: “Disability--the Underappreciated Risk

[5/3/17] PlanAdviser: “Unreliable Financial News Making Investing, Retirement Decisions Harder

[5/3/17] Social Security Bulletin: “Contributory Retirement Savings Plans: Differences Across Earnings Groups and Implications for Retirement Security

[5/3/17] NAPA Net: “Boomers Start Taking RMDs

[5/3/17] WorldatWork: Survey of Paid Parental Leave in the United States [A Report by WorldatWork, Underwritten by Mercer]

[5/3/17] Levy Economics Institute of Bard College: “Falling Labor Force Participation: Demographics or Lack of Jobs?

[5/3/17] Blue Cross Blue Shield Association: “Rising costs for patented drugs drives growth of pharmaceutical spending in the U.S.” [Executive Summary] - [Note: The full report can be downloaded at the website.]

[5/2/17] Axios: “Prescription drug costs break through the partisan logjam

[5/2/17] Benefits Quarterly: “Attention Turns to Specialty Pharmacy

[5/2/17] Human Resource Executive Online: “Getting Financially Fit -- New research finds employers are stepping up to help workers become more financially savvy as they embrace the role they can play in helping to improve their workers’ financial well-being.

[5/2/17] National Public Pension Coalition: Why Pensions Matter: The History of Defined Benefit Pension Plans in the United States of America

[5/2/17] Milliman’s Retirement Town Hall: “Infographic: Five ways to motivate Millennials through employee communication

[5/2/17] Gallup: “More US Nonretirees Expect Comfortable Retirement
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What's new at EBRI this month:

EBRI 2017 Spring Policy Forum: "Retirement 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)

Publications:

May 16, 2017 EBRI Notes - "Importance of Individual Account Retirement Plans and Home Equity in Family Total Wealth"

April 27, 2017 EBRI Notes - "Consumer Engagement in Health Care and Choice of Health Plan: Differences Among Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Generation X Have Implications for Plan Sponsors"

April 18, 2017 EBRI Notes - "Value of Workplace Benefits: Findings from the 2016 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey"

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"

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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:

Reports
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.  

If your computer does not already have the free Adobe Acrobat viewer software to read PDF files, click here for the one-time download necessary to read PDF publications.

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Updated 5/19/17