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Strengthening the Web of Financial and Retirement Security for Today's Working Americans

ROUNDTABLES-AT-A-GLANCE

  1. Securing Retirement Income for Life: Social Security and Defined Contribution Plans
  2. A New Era of State Action to Help Build Retirement Security
  3. Employer Responsibility or Social Insurance for Workers with Disabilities?
  4. The Baby Boom Generation Becomes Medicare Eligible: Examining Emerging Transitions Issues

To access roundtable PDF slides from the conference, click on the respective speaker's name below. 


1) Securing Retirement Income for Life: Social Security and Defined Contribution Plans

Americans are retiring in greater numbers than ever before. Increasing longevity, uncertain financial markets, rising health care costs, and the shift from employer-sponsored pensions to defined-contribution plans pose new risks in retirement planning.  Following the Great Recession and slow recovery, many baby boomers -- and those who follow – will retire with less retirement income and home equity than they had planned. In light of these challenges, how can Americans best secure their retirement income so it will last for life? This session examines opportunities that exist through both Social Security and employer-sponsored retirement plans to increase lifetime income security.

For most retirees, Social Security is the only source of income that will last for life and keep up with inflation. Social Security’s delayed retirement credit has gradually increased to 8% per year for delaying benefits beyond the full retirement age up to age 70. It is now fully in place for people reaching age 70 in 2013 and thereafter. This change strengthened the financial case for delaying Social Security. What kinds of messages will help older workers understand the advantages of delaying Social Security benefits if they can? What messages will help retirees understand that Social Security will still be there if they do delay? 

Defined contribution (DC) plans are becoming the main form of employer-sponsored retirement plans in the private sector. Most such plans pay benefits as lump sums and do not encourage employees to consider options that would ensure they have income for life.  How can DC accounts be used to generate more secure income throughout retirement?

Part 1: Setting the Stage: Why Lifetime Income is Important and Why Achieving It is a Challenge

  • Donald Fuerst, Senior Pension Fellow, American Academy of Actuaries
  • Anna Rappaport, Chair, Society of Actuaries Committee on Post-Retirement Needs and Risks

Part 2: Understanding the Case for Delaying Social Security

  • Virginia P. Reno, Vice President for Income Security Policy, National Academy of Social Insurance
  • Sita Nataraj Slavov, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
  • Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security, National Women’s Law Center

Part 3: Lifetime Income from Defined Contribution Retirement Plans

  • Steve Vernon, Research Fellow, Stanford Center on Longevity

Part 4: Panel Discussion and Q&A: Policy Influences and Making Change Happen

  • Moderator: Andrew Peterson, Staff Fellow, Society of Actuaries

This roundtable is co-sponsored by the American Academy of Actuaries and the Society of Actuaries. The session is also made possible with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

 

2) A New Era of State Action to Help Build Retirement Security‚Äč

Millions of private sector employees lack access to payroll deduction retirement savings plans or pensions. Simple ways to build retirement savings to supplement Social Security benefits can save many people from lower retirement incomes and even poverty. With no action on the horizon in Washington, individual states are seeking to help millions of workers by exploring the creation of retirement savings plans for small business employees.

Join us for a discussion that will update you on what’s currently happening in the states and explore the potential for state efforts to improve retirement security. This roundtable features State Senator Kevin de Leon, who has sponsored the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program. Other policy experts will expand on the question – how might other states set up their own retirement savings plans?

Speakers:

  • Spencer Cowan, Vice President, The Woodstock Institute: The Scope of Retirement Insecurity Among Illinois Workers
  • Nari Rhee, Manager of Research, National Institute on Retirement Security: California Workers Without Access to Retirement Savings Plans
  • John R. Burbank, Executive Director, Economic Opportunity Institute: Creating the “Save Toward a Retirement Today” (STaRT) retirement savings plan in Washington State
  • Debra Whitman, Executive Vice President, AARP: How the States Can Help to Build Retirement Security
  • State Sen. Kevin de Leon (invited), California State Senate: The California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program
  • Moderator: David John, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, AARP

This roundtable is underwritten by AARP.

 

3) Employer Responsibility or Social Insurance for Workers with Disabilities?

This session will explore a new role that employers might fill in assisting individuals to remain in the workforce when they acquire a work-limiting health problem. Motivated, at least in part, by a desire to curb the increase in spending for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI), some researchers have suggested requiring or encouraging employers to purchase private disability insurance and be responsible for a period (say two years) of wage replacement and return-to-work services before employees experiencing work incapacities become eligible for SSDI.

This approach draws on experience with employer-sponsored private long-term disability insurance (LTDI). Such policies now cover about 30% of private sector workers – with coverage more common among white-collar than among blue-collar workers. Many questions need to be addressed in considering the details of such a plan. What insights do private LTDI insurers have? What new issues would insurers face? Are employers that don’t offer LTDI able to take on this responsibility? What is the likely cost and impact of such a plan for employers? Would a model that works for highly skilled and educated workers be effective for people with lower educational attainment and skills? How would the plan work for people with more than one employer or several part-time jobs? What effect might this approach have on the hiring (or retention) of people with disabilities or chronic conditions? The roundtable will present perspectives on these questions from insurers, employers, researchers, and representatives from the disability community.

  • Discussant: Henry Claypool, Executive Vice President, American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
  • Winthrop Cashdollar,  Executive Director for Product Policy, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)
  • Lisa Ekman, Director of Federal Policy, Health & Disability Advocates
  • David R. Mann, Senior Health Researcher, Mathematica Policy Research
  • Moderator: Paul Van De Water, Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP)

 

4) The Baby Boom Generation Becomes Medicare Eligible: Examining Emerging Transition Issues

With 10,000 Baby Boomers becoming eligible for Medicare each day, it is imperative that federal and state policymakers develop systems to minimize gaps in health coverage, needless costs and confusion among older adults and people with disabilities transitioning to Medicare. The potential pitfalls of managing transitions to Medicare are complicated by more than a demographic surge.

People newly eligible to Medicare who are still working must learn complicated coordination of benefits rules. Additional difficulties confront newly eligible beneficiaries who have suffered an injury and are settling their worker's compensation, medical malpractice, product or liability cases. Americans covered under new insurance options made available by the Affordable Care Act, including Marketplace plans and expanded Medicaid, must navigate a still-emerging landscape when enrolling in Medicare. Low-income beneficiaries are most vulnerable during this transition, as some will lose access to Medicaid as a result of misaligned eligibility guidelines.

This roundtable will explore challenges for newly eligible beneficiaries transitioning to Medicare. Panelists will also identify needed policy changes, like standardized eligibility and assistance guidelines and enhanced education and outreach, to protect people new to Medicare from added health care costs and gaps in coverage.

Speakers:

  • Joe Baker, President, Medicare Rights Center
  • Rafael Gonzalez, Director of Medicare Compliance & Post Settlement Administration, Gould & Lamb
  • Kevin Prindiville, Executive Director, National Senior Citizens Law Center
  • Judith Stein, Executive Director, Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc.
  • Moderator: Lynda Flowers, AARP Public Policy Institute

This roundtable is underwritten by the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy.