Convergence of Benefits Changing Retirement Planning at Work


Healthcare, especially with the passage of the ACA, is usually top of mind for HR professionals but retirement is climbing as a concern with an aging workforce, many of whom are unable to retire. It turns out that there’s a real convergence of health, voluntary, insurance and retirement benefits which companies and their workers struggle to manage.

401kTV looks for innovative solutions for all types of issues facing companies sponsoring a defined contribution (DC) plan like 401(k)s and 403(b)s and the convergence of benefits seems to be a growing issue based on comments from plan sponsors at over 65 TPSU (The Plan Sponsor University) programs in 2015. MassMutual’s EVP of Retirement and Worksite Insurance division, Elaine Sarsynski explains why the convergence of benefits is happening now and what plan sponsors, employees and advisors can do about it.

The ACA spawned numerous public as well as over 150 private exchanges. In addition, with the rising costs of healthcare, employers are moving to high deductible plans pushing more of the costs to employees similar to the shift from DB (defined benefit/pension) plans to DC plans. As a result, employees have to manage their entire benefits budget which can range from difficult to impossible causing stress and what Sarsynki calls disengagement.

Employers, in turn, have to better manage and integrate their vendors through the help of their advisor but also through technology. Sarsynski explains how MassMutual is helping through a private exchange which offers access to all benefits including healthcare and retirement including products from outside providers as well as tools to help employees manage their benefits budget.

As more costs and responsibilities are shifted to employees, it only makes sense for employers to help them manage their choices and budgets especially as the workforces continues to age with more workers unable to retire.

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