15 Feb Benefits Update
January 17, 2012
WHEN AGE COUNTS
New poll results suggest that employers would be well served by tailoring their retirement plan communications to specific age groups. However, most employers don’t follow through, according to the survey by Northern Trust. The study found that only 4 percent of retirement plans had created “specific goals for engaging younger workers in their defined contribution plans.” Only 24 percent targeted specific age groups.
The Medicare “doughnut hole” — the prescription coverage gap that exists under Part D — is shrinking, according to a new government analysis. Medicare’s Office of the Actuary estimates that the average American who falls into the coverage gap would have paid about $900 on prescriptions this year, down from the original estimate of $1,504. A bulk of the drop can be attributed to a 50 percent discount from drug companies on brand-name drugs, which generated an average savings of $581.
More first-time mothers have access to paid maternity leave than ever before, according to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau. A report by the agency in November found that more than half of women who gave birth for the first time between 2006 and 2008 received some sort of paid leave, up from 42 percent in 1996-2000. Not all women received similar benefits, however. Lower-educated mothers are nearly four times as likely as college graduates to be refused paid maternity leave by their employers — the widest gap in the past 50 years.
The average American receives 14 days of paid vacation but generally uses only 12 of them, according to a survey by Expedia. Add up the time and labor costs associated with those extra two days, and it equals about $34.3 billion, based on figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workers said the top reason for skipping vacation is that they don’t have enough money to travel, according to the Expedia report.
The number of reported health information data breaches climbed 32 percent since 2010, according to a report by the Ponemon Institute. The report found that 41 percent of those breaches could be attributed to employee mistakes, while 49 percent resulted from theft of computers or devices.