Publications and Resources

Research and Policy Reports

The Council regularly publishes in-depth, scholarly research on the benefits world, often in partnership with other organizations, academics and thought leaders. These papers include survey research reports, economic studies and forward-looking public policy recommendations.

Friday, July 23, 2021
The Silver Linings Pandemic Playbook
Over the past 18 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a severe toll on families, businesses, and national economies. Against the backdrop of this tragedy were extraordinary efforts and achievements to overcome the crisis and keep us healthy. From the heroism of frontline workers to the ingenuity of vaccine developers and producers, to the durability of infrastructure supply chains, the pandemic has revealed strength, creativity and resilience.
Friday, April 30, 2021
Benefits Law Journal: Fee and Investment Litigation 2015-2020
Benefits Law Journal: Fee and Investment Litigation 2015-2020
Tuesday, March 9, 2021
401(k) Fast Facts
The American Benefits Council advocates for employer benefit plan sponsors and is dedicated to the achievement of best-in-class solutions that protect and encourage the retirement savings and financial well-being of workers, retirees and families. In our role as a resource on retirement policy issues, we have assembled this collection of data and research from reputable sources to demonstrate the strength and vitality of 401(k) plans and the employer-sponsored retirement system.
Monday, December 7, 2020
2020 ERISA Advisory Council Presentation on Diminished Mental Capacity and Top Hat Plans
The ERISA Advisory Council (EAC) presented an executive summary to the Secretary of Labor on December 4 regarding their previously selected 2019 topics: Considerations for Recognizing and Addressing Participants with Diminished Capacity and Examining Top Hat Plan Participation and Reporting.
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Telemedicine in the Post-COVID-19 World
Telemedicine in the Post-COVID-19 World
Thursday, February 27, 2020
GAO Report: Private Pensions: IRS and DOL Should Strengthen Oversight of Executive Retirement Plans
Executive retirement plans allow some executives to defer their pay and related income taxes to future years. The GAO looked at these plans and found: Benefits for executives--e.g., no limits on how much pay can be deferred Risks for executives--if companies go bankrupt, they may not receive deferred pay Little oversight information--oversight agencies don't have much data on who's participating Federal revenues--the effect of these plans on federal revenues is unknown Our recommendations to IRS and the Department of Labor are to improve information about these plans and strengthen oversight.
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Global Benefits Governance and Operations Study 2018/19
This American Benefits Institute/Aon plc study of over 200 multinational companies from around the world asked global compensation and benefits leaders for their views of on best practice in global benefits management. Key issues explored included what companies can do to improve alignment of benefits with organizational strategy and how they can better manage the costs and risks of global benefits.
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Key Findings from the 2018 Public Opinion Strategies Election Night Survey
A 2018 election night survey, conducted by nationally-renowned polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, underscores Americans' trust and satisfaction with the employer-provided health and retirement benefit system and demonstrates broad support for a bipartisan, federal approach to strengthening these programs.
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
American Benefits Legacy: The Unique Value of Employer Sponsorship
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "The American Benefits Council is proud to release American Benefits Legacy, a report that is both a thorough accounting of America's employer-sponsored health and retirement benefits system and a validation of the Council's mission to preserve it," Council President James A. Klein said today.
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
On the Front Lines: How Employers Are Working to Combat the Opioid Epidemic
Employers, whose health plans cover more than 178 million people nationwide, are on the front lines of the battle against opioid addiction. The American Benefits Council applauds Congressional efforts to combat the opioid epidemic and hopes to provide some additional perspective on the efforts of American employers to combat addiction and improve treatment.
Monday, March 12, 2018
Leading the Way: Employer Innovations in Health Coverage
In collaboration with Mercer, the American Benefits Council has composed a playbook of some of employers' most innovative health coverage strategies.
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
[Preview] Research Report: The Unique Value of Employer-Sponsored Benefits
The report examines the importance of employer-sponsored benefits and the advantages it presents to the American economy. To illustrate the unique and essential value of employer-provided benefits, it also considers what the world might be like without them. (The November preview of The Unique Value of Employer-Sponsored Benefits represents the summary of an extensive research project undertaken in collaboration with the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).)
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Poll Positions: Americans' Views on Employee Benefits
Results from the Council's National Poll, November 5-9, 2017, released in conjunction with the Council's 50th Anniversary Symposium
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Taxing Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits: Myths and Realities
This paper describes the economic foundation for the successful employer-sponsored health benefit system and identifies six pervasive misperceptions often used to justify a cap on the health tax exclusion.
Monday, February 6, 2017
Key Findings from 2017 Nationwide Public Opinion Survey on Capping the Health Care Tax Exclusion
A nationwide poll of voters confirms that Congress would be making a huge mistake – as a matter of both policy and politics – if they replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with a plan that taxes employer-sponsored health coverage,” American Benefits Council president James A. Klein said.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
2015-16 Global Benefits Governance and Operations Study
A new report from the American Benefits Institute (the research affiliate of the American Benefits Council), in partnership with Aon Hewitt (the global talent, retirement and health solutions business of Aon plc and a benefits policy advocacy organization) reveals these mounting challenges are continuing to drive the centralization of global benefits management.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Magnifying A 2020 Vision: A Closer Look at Selected Proposals to Strengthen Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits
Magnifying A 2020 Vision: A Closer Look at Selected Proposals to Strengthen Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
A 2020 Vision: Flexibility and the Future of Employee Benefits
This long-term public policy strategic plan sets forth conditions that should be in place by 2020 to enable Americans to achieve personal health and financial well-being, while also specifying 46 legislative and regulatory policy recommendations for reaching our goals.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Further PBGC Premium Increases Pose Greatest Threat to Pension System
Despite the current soundness of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) single employer program, proposals to increase PBGC premiums are under consideration. These increases are not only unnecessary, but they also threaten the long-term viability of both the defined benefit (or DB) pension system and the PBGC’s plan termination insurance program by further driving away employers that present no risk to the system.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Verisight-McGladrey/American Benefits Institute Compensation, Retirement and Benefits Trends Survey
The annual Compensation, Retirement and Benefits Trends Survey is designed to reveal key trends across a full range of compensation, retirement, health and welfare benefits and employee rewards programs. The result is a comprehensive view of firms’ total employee rewards programs that is rarely available from a single source.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Our Strong Retirement System: An American Success Story
This report brings to bear the most recent statistical data and the results of rigorous academic research to clearly illustrate that the current retirement savings system is fostering economic security in retirement for Americans across all income levels.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
American Benefits Institute/WorldatWork Survey Report: Trends in 401(k) Plans 2013
The 2013 Trends in 401(k) Plans and Retirement Rewards survey of 476 American Benefits Council and WorldatWork member companies provides a snapshot of defined contribution plan activity at major American companies. The report summarizes findings on participation and contribution rates, plan design and withdrawal activity.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Attitudes of Employee Benefits Decision Makers Toward Retirement Plan Tax Proposals
This report presents the results of an online survey conducted by Mathew Greenwald & Associates, Inc., on behalf of the American Benefits Institute to access employer reactions to three proposals for modifying the income tax exclusion of defined contribution (DC) plan contributions: the 20/20 proposal, a 25% tax credit, and a tax exclusion limitation.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Verisight-McGladrey/American Benefits Institute 2011/2012 Compensation, Retirement and Benefits Trends Survey
Conducted online in August-October 2012, the survey polled more than 958 organizations drawn from a national sample. The majority of respondents are mid-sized companies; however, small and large firms are also represented. Respondents reflect a wide range of industry types including finance/banking, healthcare, manufacturing, distribution, construction, not-for-profit and services.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Aon Hewitt/American Benefits Institute 2012 Corporate Governance of Global Employee Benefits Study
The Aon Hewitt 2012 Corporate Governance of Global Employee Benefits Study, conducted in partnership with the American Benefits Institute (the research and education affiliate of the American Benefits Council),finds that multinational companies are aiming to significantly increase the corporate control and oversight of their employee benefit programs worldwide with the intention of countering rising costs and financial risks.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Assessing the Coverage and Budgetary Implications of Legislation Modifying the Deductibility of Retiree Drug Spending Eligible for Subsidies
This report illustrates how a proposed revenue provision of the Affordable Care Act will threaten existing retiree health programs. The provision, contained in both the House of Representatives and Senate health care bills, reverses a carefully negotiated element of the Medicare Modernization Act by reducing allowable deductions for the 28 percent subsidy that employers receive for providing drug coverage for retirees. Congress enacted the policy in 2003 to allow employers to maintain such coverage and to save the government money on Medicare expenditures.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Jobs in Peril: Assessing the Impact of Increases in Defined Benefit Plan Funding Obligations on Employment During an Economic Recession
(prepared for the Council by Optimal Benefit Strategies, LLC) the report clearly demonstrates an inverse relationship between pension funding obligations and revenue available for labor and capital expenditures. "Requiring employers to increase their funding to defined benefit plans during a recession leads to layoffs, bankruptcies, and the freezing of defined benefit plans, suggesting that the pension funding obligations could fundamentally alter the distribution of jobs in the economy," the report reads.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
American Benefits Council/Miller & Chevalier 2009 Corporate Health Care Policy Forecast
The second annual Miller & Chevalier/American Benefits Council Corporate Health Care Policy Forecast Survey was designed to measure the perspectives and attitudes of leading corporate benefits executives on the direction of health care policy in the coming months. This survey includes respondents from a broad cross-section of large U.S.-based companies, 57% of which are Fortune 500 and/or Global 100 businesses.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
American Benefits Institute/WorldatWork Survey Report: Trends in 401(k) Plans
A survey of employers released by WorldatWork and the American Benefits Council, "Trends in 401(k) Plans," finds that the financial crisis has not significantly discouraged 401(k) contributions or participation. A full 74 percent of employers reported no change in the employer matching contribution; 15 percent have either increased or are considering increasing the employer match; eight percent have either decreased or are considering decreasing the 401(k) match, and three percent reported eliminating the match.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Condition Critical: Ten Prescriptions for Reforming Health Care Quality, Cost and Coverage
Each of these prescriptions for health care reform is aimed at achieving a stronger, more sustainable health care system to serve the needs of all Americans. Our prescriptions build on the solid foundation of the employer-based health care system that now serves as the primary source of coverage for most Americans. We also offer concrete proposals to ensure that those who are outside of employment-based health coverage are able to obtain meaningful, affordable coverage through the individual insurance market or other sources.
Monday, September 15, 2008
American Benefits Council/Miller & Chevalier 2008 Corporate Health Care Policy Forecast
Miller & Chevalier Chartered and the American Benefits Council published the results of their 2008 Corporate Health Care Policy Forecast Survey, measuring the current perspectives and attitudes of leading corporate benefit professionals on the direction of health care policy in the coming year.
Monday, June 2, 2008
Revenue Estimates and Retirement Policy: The Need to Consider Present-Value Estimates of Changes in Tax Policy
This report explores the problem with cash-flow accounting for estimating the revenue costs of retirement savings proposals and shows how a present-value analysis similar to what is used to evaluate federal credit programs and in the president’s budget for the preparation of tax expenditure estimates might provide a more accurate estimate of the long-term revenue effect of deferral proposals.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Promises to Keep: The True Nature of the Risks to the Defined Benefit Pension System
(prepared for the Council by Mary Schmitt and John O'Hare of Optimal Benefit Strategies, LLC) In this report, we address three fundamental questions: (1) Just how bad is the PBGC’s current funding situation? (2) Why should workers care? (3) What legislative proposals are critical to the long-term survival of the defined benefit system?
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Funding our Future: A Safe and Sound Approach to Defined Benefit Pension Plan Funding Reform
This paper outlines the Council's proposals for reform of single-employer defined benefit pension plans.
Wednesday, June 9, 2004
Safe and Sound: A Ten-Year Plan for Promoting Personal Financial Security
The American Benefits Council has examined the trends that threaten the current employee benefits system and has devised a long-term strategic plan, detailed in this document, to present its vision of what the employee benefits system should look like over the next decade and how the benefits system can help workers build and protect personal financial security.
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Pensions at the Precipice: The Multiple Threats Facing our Nation's Defined Benefit Pension System
The Council prepared this paper to (1) provide background on defined benefit plans and our defined benefit system, (2) articulate the unique and unprecedented confluence of threats to this system, and (3) set forth the policy solutions that will alleviate these threats and allow us to back away from eroding the retirement futures of millions of Americans.
Monday, March 11, 2002
A Flexible Workforce: The Changing Face and the Changing Face of Today's Worker — An Employer Perspective
Policymakers should allow flexible work arrangements to continue to develop in their own ways, based on market values, with minimal interference. Mandating employer-provided health and retirement plan coverage for flexible workers would have unintended and unwanted effects on American businesses, workers, and the economy as a whole. Instead, policymakers should focus on increasing opportunities for flexible workers to have individual access to health and retirement benefits.
Monday, February 26, 2001
Taking Stock in Employee Benefits: The Democratization of Broad-Based Stock Plans — An Employer Perspective
This report outlines the major types of stock ownership programs offered by employers today, the tax treatment of stock benefits, and the growth and prevalence of such plans. Public policy issues related to stock ownership programs are discussed in detail, and the report concludes with the recommendations of the American Benefits Council.
Thursday, April 6, 2000
Looking to the Future: A New Perspective on the Social Security Problem
Social Security is a massive program that has developed over decades. Today’s long-term financing problems present a series of difficult policy trade-offs. As a result, proposals to modify the system necessarily require the careful consideration of a host of issues. The recommendations made herein focus on those critical issues where our experience can assist policy makers in making wise decisions in devising a national retirement policy.
Monday, August 30, 1999
Stretching the Pension Dollar: Improving U.S. Retirement Security and National Saving by Enhancing Employer-Based Pension Plans
(Prepared by Watson Wyatt Worldwide for APPWP and the American Council for Capital Formation) If the twin problems of low savings rates and retirement income security for the baby boom generation are of concern, it is time that employer-based retirement programs were allowed to do an even more effective job of dealing with both of them. To this end, we offer several helpful policy proposals.
Tuesday, October 31, 1995
Excess Pension Asset Transfers and Retirement Income Security
In response to proposals by lawmakers that would permit sponsors of defined benefit pension plans to transfer excess assets to those plans, this paper commissioned by the Association of Private Pension and Welfare Plans (APPWP) sought to assuage concerns by confirming that such pension plans would remain well-funded.
Tuesday, December 15, 1992
Changing the Way Business Thinks About Health Care Reform: An Integrated Approach
In this paper, developed and adopted in 1992, prior to President Clinton's health care reform initiative, suggests a unique approach to reforming the health insurance system, most notably advocating for a requirement that all employers provide and pay for a portion of the health care costs for their employees -- a position that the Council would ultimately reconsider prior to the development of the Affordable Care Act.
Monday, September 30, 1991
Return on Investment: Pensions Are How America Saves
The employer-sponsored system provides a return on investment that would stagger any money manager. In this paper, we find that pensions are how America saves and that the employer-sponsored retirement system has proven its worth.
Friday, September 20, 1991
Gridlock Revisited: On the Road Toward Pension Simplification
In this report, APPWP evaluates legislative proposals to simplify pension plan administration based on the principles established by its prior publication, Gridlock: Pension Law in Crisis and the Road to Simplification.
Thursday, January 31, 1991
Second Opinion: Employers Can Make Managed Care Work
APPWP presents this discussion of managed care to answer those who want to resist it or oppose it and all other incremental changes to our system. Employers are anxious to see costs contained systemwide in private and public plans alike, because the debate on America's health care system must begin with its costs.
Wednesday, May 30, 1990
Benefits Bargain: Why We Should Not Tax Employee Benefits
The objective of this report is to review the framework in which tax incentives for employee benefits have been evaluated in the past, and to provide a documented analysis of the relationship between tax preferences and the income security role played by the employee benefits programs that tax incentives have encouraged.
Friday, September 1, 1989
Gridlock: Pension Law in Crisis and the Road to Simplification
The rules governing private employer-sponsored retirement plans must be simplified. In this paper, APPWP calls for a complete overhaul and simplification of the rules governing the private retirement system.