Benefits

Employers Support Issues That May Be Affected by Election Outcome

Protecting the tax-favored status of employer-sponsored health and retirement plans is a key concern, a survey finds.

By Rebecca Moore editors@plansponsor.com | October 20, 2016

With the 2016 election right around the corner, employers are gearing up for proposed changes and taking a stance on different policy platforms.

The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ 2016 Election: Employee Benefit Issues survey report examines campaign issues greatly impacting U.S. workplaces. 

“Several important employee benefit issues have emerged as key issues during this year’s election,” says Julie Stich, associate vice president of content at the International Foundation. “Our survey results show employers support a varied mix of benefit issues being debated.”

In health care, the top issues employers support are:

  • More health care provider price transparency (96%);
  • Tax-favored status of employer-provided health coverage for employers (87%);
  • Small business health plans (a.k.a. association health plans) that allow small businesses and other groups to join together to offer benefits to their workers/members (85%);
  • Increased access to mental health care (84%); and
  • Tax-favored status of employer-provided health coverage for workers (82%).

For retirement plan benefits, the top issues employers support are:

  • Tax-favored status of employer-provided retirement savings for workers (91%);
  • Tax-favored status of employer-provided retirement savings for employers (88%); and
  • Consolidation of different types of retirement savings vehicles (60%).

Past budget and tax reform initiatives have proposed to limit the benefits of tax deferral on retirement plan contributions or cap the amount Americans can save in their 401(k)s, individual retirement accounts, and pensions—a big concern for the retirement plan industry.

“The world of benefits is constantly changing. Regardless of the election’s outcome, employee benefits will evolve,” says Stich. “To protect the financial future and health of their employees, employers will need to understand and accommodate changes to benefits. Fortunately, over the past many years, benefit professionals have shown they’re up to the task.”

Survey responses for the 2016 Election: Employee Benefit Issues report were received from 486 human resources and benefits professionals representing all sectors: public employers, corporate/single employers and multiemployer plans. The surveyed organizations represent a wide base of U.S. employers from nearly 20 different industries and range in size from fewer than 50 to more than 10,000 employees. Respondents answered survey questions from the perspective of their role as a plan sponsor/fiduciary.

View the full 2016 Election: Employee Benefit Issues survey report at www.ifebp.org/2016election.

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