Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
July 15th, 2015
Benefits & Administration
HSAs Woefully Underutilized, HelloWallet Finds
Given that there is little information on how health savings account (HSA) participants make use of these savings vehicles, HelloWallet studied more than 400,000 accounts held by UMB Bank, one of the largest HSA recordkeepers in the U.S., and found these plans are grossly underutilized.Read more >
The average health savings account (HSA) balance increased 37% in 2014, from $1,408 to $1,933, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). For those under the age of 25, balances averaged $655, and for those age 65 or older, they were $5,016. Today, 17 million policyholders and their dependents are covered in 13.8 million accounts holding $24.2 billion in assets as of year-end 2014.Read more >
In light of the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing same-gender marriage, Mercer surveyed HR and business professionals about their intentions regarding domestic partner coverage. Employers that offer domestic partner coverage to same-gender couples only are more likely to drop it than those offering it to all couples, Mercer found. Of those plan sponsors that offer domestic partner coverage to same-gender partners only, 8% have already dropped it in states that legalized same-gender marriage before the ruling. Another 23% say they will drop it for this year’s open-enrollment period, and another 23% will consider dropping it in two to three years.Read more >
Products, Deals & People
Measuring Plan Health Can Boost Retirement Readiness
MassMutual Financial Services has published an electronic book for plan sponsors and advisers to help them improve retirement plan outcomes titled “Precisely, Driving Greater Retirement Readiness through MassMutual’s PlanALYTICS.” A MassMutual analysis found that participants at employers who participated in the PlanALYTICS program increased their deferral savings rates by 17.1% compared to 1.1% of those not enrolled in the program.Read more >
EARN Act Clears Senate Finance Committee
2021 Recordkeeping Survey
Plaintiffs Rebuffed by Appeals Court in Active Management Lawsuit
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: How Many States Are in More Than One Time Zone?
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
Mercer has hired Jean Moore as North America Health and Benefits Specialty Practice Leader. In this role, Moore will be responsible for leading growth and driving differentiated intellectual capital across a broad set of Mercer’s specialty practices as well as supporting intellectual capital development for Mercer’s Health and Benefits Business overall.Read more >
Independent registered investment adviser (RIA) Financial Engines said in a statement it would incorporate the Social Security Administration’s newly announced Social Security data file in its Financial Engines Social Security planner. The data file program was announced during Monday’s White House Conference on Aging.Read more >
Sponsored message from MassMutual
Eric Weitsma, SVP of Retirement Services, Sales and Worksite Education with MassMutual discusses Plan Health, Financial Wellness and the Convergence of Benefits with Alison Cooke Mintzer, Editor-in-Chief of PLANSPONSOR.Read more >
Economic Events

The U.S. Census Bureau announced that the combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments for May, adjusted for seasonal and trading-day differences but not for price changes, was estimated at $1,323.6 billion, up 0.4% from April, but down 2.2% from May 2014. Manufacturers’ and trade inventories, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $1,797.8 billion, up 0.3% from April and up 2.4% from May 2014.

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for June, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $442.0 billion, a decrease of 0.3% from the previous month, but an increase of 1.4% from June 2014. Total sales for the April through June period were up 1.7% from the same period a year ago.

Market Mirror

The Dow was up 75.90 points (0.42%) at 18,053.58, the NASDAQ rose 33.38 points (0.66%) to 5,104.89, and the S&P 500 gained 9.35 points (0.45%) to finish at 2,108.95. The Russell 2000 rose 7.98 points (0.63%) to 1,273.33, and the Wilshire 5000 closed 106.01 points (0.48%) higher at 22,300.63.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares traded, and on the NASDAQ, 2.9 billion shares changed hands, with a 1.7 to 1 ratio of advancers to decliners on both exchanges.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note increased 14/32, bringing its yield down to 2.404%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond climbed 25/32, decreasing its yield to 3.195%.

IRS Provides Summary of Form 5500 Changes
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a reminder that the deadline for calendar year-end retirement plans is looming, and has posted on its website a summary of changes to this year’s form. The Form 5500 filing deadline is July 31 for calendar year-end retirement plans.Read more >
Guidance Coming About State-Run Retirement Plans
At the White House Conference on Aging, President Obama noted that, in every budget since taking office, he has put forth proposals to provide access for 30 million Americans to workplace-based retirement savings by requiring employers not currently offering a retirement plan to automatically enroll their workers in an IRA.Read more >
ERISA Plans Not Safe from Government-Owed Restitution
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina has ruled that neither the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s (ERISA’s) anti-alienation provision nor the anti-alienation provision in the Internal Revenue Code provides a bar to the garnishment of government-owed restitution from a qualified pension plan.Read more >
Small Talk
While the vast majority of workers (94%) feel their office is a secure place to work, nearly one-quarter (23%) say they would not know what to do to protect themselves if there was an emergency in their office that posed a physical threat, according to a survey from CareerBuilder. When asked about their feelings of security in regards to specific forms of threat, three in ten employees (30%) do not feel their workplace is well-protected from a physical threat from another person, and the same percentage (30%) feel their workplace is not well-protected from a digital hacking threat.Read more >

ON THIS DATE:  In 1876, George Washington Bradley of St. Louis pitched the first no-hitter in baseball in a 2–0 win over Hartford. In 1916, in Seattle, Washington, Pacific Aero Products was incorporated by William Boeing. The company was later renamed Boeing Co. In 1922, the duck-billed platypus arrived in America, direct from Australia. It was exhibited at the Bronx Zoo in New York City. In 1965, the spacecraft Mariner IV sent back the first close-up pictures of the planet Mars. In 1973, Nolan Ryan (California Angels) became the first pitcher in two decades to win two no-hitters in a season. In 1985, baseball players voted to strike on August 6th if no contract was reached with baseball owners. The strike turned out to be just a one-day interruption. In 2006, the social networking service Twitter was launched. 


WEDNESDAY WISDOM: “Just remember, once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed.”—Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher and author

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Copyright © Asset International, Inc., 2015.

All rights reserved.  No reproduction without prior authorization.

Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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