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Feb. 14, 2019: 4 wellness priorities for employers in 2019

By Seth Serxner

In my meetings with benefit managers and consultants over the past few months, they have emphasized several wellness themes again and again. Making progress on these issues, they told me, will be among their top priorities for 2019. Here’s an overview of those priorities. Read More

Student loan help or vacation days? One company letting employees choose

By Rebecca Greenfield

Starting next year, U.S. employees at insurance company Unum Group will have a choice: The company will put money toward their student loans, if the worker gives up five paid vacation days. The new perk is a creative twist on an increasingly popular benefit. Confronted by a tight labor market and ever more indebted applicants, about 4 percent of big companies surveyed by the Society for Human Resources Management say they’re helping their employees repay their loans with cash payments of up to $250 a month. Read More

Ways and Means hearing on retirement reforms sets bipartisan course

By Nick Thornton

A four-hour hearing on retirement income security before the full House Ways and Means Committee broadly focused on options for making Social Security actuarially sound, expanding savings vehicles in the private sector retirement system, and rescuing the roughly 130 collectively bargained multiemployer pension plans that face impending insolvency. Read More

Millennials face greater risk of obesity-related cancer than Boomers

By Marlene Satter

Six out of 12 cancers related to obesity present nearly double the risk to millennials than they did to Boomers at the same age. So says a study appearing in The Lancet Public Health, which also looked at 18 cancers not tied to obesity; just two of those presented rising rates in millennials. Thanks to the obesity epidemic occurring over the past four decades, younger generations are exposed for an earlier and longer-lasting exposure to the carcinogen of excess weight than were earlier generations. That likely means that they were also exposed to that elevated risk during early life and “crucial developmental periods.” Read More

Why single-payer may be closer than you think (and what to do about it)

By Paul Wilson

Government-controlled health care has been on the minds of benefits advisors for years now, looming as a distant threat, but often pushed aside for more pressing concerns. But during the opening keynote of the recent NextGen Growth & Leadership Summit in Nashville, Nelson Griswold warned that the benefits industry underestimates the threat of single-payer at its own peril. Read More

Sleuths scour for frozen coins in crypto drama

By Olga Kharif and Doug Alexander

The death of a crypto executive trapped C$190 million on a Canadian exchange. Or did it? Ever since Quadriga CX revealed last month that founder Gerald Cotten, who died in India in December, was the only person able to access the exchange’s digital ledgers, scores of blockchain analysts, research companies and amateur sleuths have been arguing over whether some of the money has been moving between accounts since he died and even if the coins existed at all. Read More

Study: ACA did not cause employers to drop coverage

By Scott Wooldridge

One of the biggest fears about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has not come true, according to a new study: employers have not dropped health care coverage of employees as a result of the health reform law. The new study, conducted by the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and published in the Journal of Health Economics and Management, looked at how the ACA affected employer-based health insurance. When the ACA went into effect in 2014, it supplemented the existing employer-based system with ACA insurance exchanges that individuals could buy into, and expanded Medicaid coverage in states that chose to participate. Read More

10 best states for a financially comfortable retirement

By Marlene Satter

If you have the luxury to choose the state in which you’ll retire, you might also be looking for a place where you can be financially comfortable on the least amount of money. The difference in cost to retire varies widely across states, says 24/7 Wall St., with a retired couple able to get by comfortably on just $36,000 a year in one state while in another the same standard of living costs as much as $56,000. Depending on the cash you’ve got to see you through retirement, location can make a vast difference. Do you have a pension? Or are you going to be relying on Social Security, whatever you’ve got stashed in a 401(k), or some other source of money? Do you have investments? A state’s tax structure will also determine whether they’ll take a bite out of whatever you do have, and that can add up to a lot over the years. Read More

Jeff Sopko