1. More employers will send workers shopping in health insurance exchanges. 1. More employers will send workers shopping in health insurance exchanges.

According to the 2012 Employer Health Plan Study by J.D. Power and Associates, 47% of employers say they “definitely will” or “probably will” switch to defined contribution health care. Further, a July issue brief from the Employee Benefit Research Institute on health insurance exchanges states that “there are a number of potential advantages to both employers and workers in this structure,” including fixed costs for employers and greater choice and portability for employees. According to EBRI, “[health care reform] and employers’ need to control the cost of health benefits indicate this is a field that is likely to grow.”

2. Defined benefit plans are poised for a (mini) comeback. 2. Defined benefit plans are poised for a (mini) comeback.

In an "exit interview" with David Wray, who retired as President of the Profit Sharing Council of America in September, he told EBN: “My sense is that at some point in the future … that some employers will add considerably less generous defined benefit plans to complement their defined contribution program. And these will be liability-matching-funded so there will be no ups and downs in the funding and the benefits will be considerably less robust.”

3. Unemployment will fall to 7.5% by the end of 2013. 3. Unemployment will fall to 7.5% by the end of 2013.

In a report from NBCNews.com, The National Association for Business Economics predicted the nation’s fitful economic recovery will continue, with employment, housing and spending continuing to improve, albeit at a sluggish pace. The organization also forecasted that unemployment will tick downward, landing at 7.5% at the end of 2013.

4. Outcry over 401(k) fees will be passé. 4. Outcry over 401(k) fees will be passé.

In his interview with EBN, Wray also said the uproar over 401(k) fees eventually will die down. “My belief is we will see studies that show 401(k) fees are far lower than what retail investors pay anywhere in the world, certainly less than what people pay in IRAs.”

5. The nation will go over the fiscal cliff. 5. The nation will go over the fiscal cliff.

"I think the probability is we're going over the cliff," Erskine Bowles, a former co-chair of President Obama's debt commission, told reporters in November, saying that he thinks there’s just a one-third chance the lame-duck Congress acts before year’s end. See 4 benefits areas for practitioners to watch in case the nation goes over the fiscal cliff.

6. The nation will NOT go over the fiscal cliff. 6. The nation will NOT go over the fiscal cliff.

David Nelson, chief strategist at Belpointe Asset Management, wrote on his blog in October: “Going over the ‘fiscal cliff’ is the nuclear option that neither party [n]or our nation can afford. The resulting hit to gross domestic product and loss of jobs would halt what little recovery we have and force us to march backwards into recession. We may be stupid but not that stupid ... Money speaks louder than words.”

What do YOU think? What do YOU think?

What are your predictions for the new year? Join our discussion on LinkedIn to share your thoughts.


6 HR/benefits predictions for 2013 and beyond

After a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision and an aggressively contentious national election, those hoping next year will be calmer could be out of luck. Financial experts weigh in on what changes executives and benefits professionals can expect for 2013. (Images: Thinkstock)

1. More employers will send workers shopping in health insurance exchanges.

According to the 2012 Employer Health Plan Study by J.D. Power and Associates, 47% of employers say they “definitely will” or “probably will” switch to defined contribution health care. Further, a July issue brief from the Employee Benefit Research Institute on health insurance exchanges states that “there are a number of potential advantages to both employers and workers in this structure,” including fixed costs for employers and greater choice and portability for employees. According to EBRI, “[health care reform] and employers’ need to control the cost of health benefits indicate this is a field that is likely to grow.”





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