Employee Benefit Research Institute

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Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)
Founded 1978
Type Independent research institute
Location
  • 1100 13th St. NW, Suite 878
    Washington, D.C. 20005
Key people
Dallas Salisbury (President)
Jack VanDerhei (Research Director)
Website ebri.org

Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research institute based in Washington, DC, that produces original research on health, savings, retirement, and economic security issues, including 401(k) and retirement plan coverage data,[1] post-retirement income adequacy,[2] health coverage and the uninsured,[3] and economic security of the elderly.[4][5]

EBRI is an independent institute, representing no particular special interest or ideological perspective.[6] Its membership[7] includes a broad range of benefit-related organizations that often have differing policy goals.

EBRI maintains the largest 401(k) microdatabase in the nation that tracks individual 401(k) participant investment activity.[8] EBRI researchers have been frequently asked to testify about their research before Congress on a variety of retirement, health, savings, and economic security issues.[9]

History[edit]

EBRI was founded in 1978 by a group of benefits-related companies following enactment of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the major federal law governing private-sector benefits. It is based on three principles: That employee benefit plans serve an essential function in the United States economy by providing citizens with opportunities to achieve financial security; an ongoing need exists for objective, unbiased information regarding the employee benefits system; and that its members’ common business interests will be furthered by having the Institute develop and disseminate such information.[10]

Publications[edit]

EBRI’s two monthly research periodicals are the EBRI Issue Brief and EBRI Notes. It also publishes two reference books, Fundamentals of Employee Benefit Programs[11] and the Databook on Employee Benefits.[12] In addition to its website, it publishes a variety of electronic products, such as a blog,[13] Twitter site and fact sheets.

Policy stance[edit]

EBRI does not take policy positions and does not lobby.

Policy research[edit]

EBRI has tracked the decline of traditional "defined benefit” pensions and the growth of defined contribution (401(k)-type) retirement plans,[14][15] trends in employment-base health benefits,[16] and conducted public opinion surveys related to retirement and health benefits.

EBRI publishes data on trends and characteristics of health insurance coverage and the uninsured,[17] and how the type of health plans offered to workers have been changing in the private sector.[18] It has also quantified the amount of money that single men, single women, and married couples will need to save to pay for out-of-pocket health care in retirement.[19]

In conjunction with the Investment Company Institute (ICI),[20] EBRI created and operates the EBRI/ICI 401(k) database,[8] the largest microdatabase of its kind in the nation tracking individual 401(k) participants.[21] EBRI also tracks the growing importance of individual-account retirement plans such as 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts (IRAs).[22]

Using its Retirement Security Projection Model, EBRI has published detailed analysis showing likely retirement income adequacy levels for Americans by age and income.[23] It has also reported likely results if deficit reduction efforts in Congress reduce or eliminate existing tax preferences for 401(k)s.[24]

EBRI’s Social Security modeling allows it to quantify the impact of various reform proposals. Its 1998 analysis was the first in-depth look at the many administrative issues involved with adding private accounts to Social Security,[25] at the time a major policy proposal.

Surveys[edit]

EBRI’s annual Retirement Confidence Survey,[26] which began in 1990, is the longest-running annual retirement survey of its kind in the nation. Its annual Health Confidence Survey asks similar questions on public attitudes on health issues.[27] The EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey provides national data on the growth of consumer-driven health plans and high-deductible health plans.[18][28]

Programs[edit]

Through its Education and Research Fund (ERF), EBRI operates the Choose to Save national public education and outreach campaign,[29] and the American Savings Education Council,[30] a national coalition of public- and private-sector organizations that promote saving.

As part of Choose to Save, EBRI developed the Ballpark E$timate,[31] a two-page worksheet that identifies a person’s general savings target for a comfortable retirement. It is used as the retirement calculator for federal employees on the Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Ballpark E$timate website[32] and also by the U.S. Thrift Savings Plan on its website.[33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ “Lessons From the Private Sector–Room for Debate,” New York Times, Feb. 28, 2011. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
  2. ^ “70 is not the new 65,” Chicago Tribune, Sept. 28, 2012. Retrieved Oct. 31, 2012.
  3. ^ “Employment-Based Health Coverage Is Waning,” Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2012. Retrieved Oct. 31, 2012
  4. ^ “Poor Old Americans,” Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2012. Retrieved Oct. 31, 2012.
  5. ^ “How Nursing Home Stays Ravage Finances,” U.S. News & World Report, June 16, 2012. Retrieved Oct. 31, 2012.
  6. ^ “EBRI turning 25,” Pensions&Investments, Aug. 13, 2003. Retrieved Oct. 31, 2012.
  7. ^ About EBRI – EBRI website. Retrieved Nov. 2, 2012.
  8. ^ a b “Younger Investors Aren’t Shy About Putting Stocks Into 401(k)s,” Bloomberg News, Dec. 21, 2011. Retrieved Nov. 2, 2012.
  9. ^ EBRI testimony – EBRI website. Retrieved Nov. 2, 2012.
  10. ^ About EBRI – EBRI Website. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.
  11. ^ Fundamentals of Employee Benefit Programs, 6th ed. – EBRI. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.
  12. ^ Databook on Employee Benefits – EBRI. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.
  13. ^ EBRI blog. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.
  14. ^ “Company Pensions Are as Passé as Gold Watches,” U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.
  15. ^ “ERISA at 30: The decline of Private-Sector Defined Benefit Promises and Annuity Payments? What Will It Mean?” EBRI Issue Brief, May 2004.
  16. ^ “Fewer Employers Offering Health Benefits, Study Says,” The Hill, April 24, 2012. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.
  17. ^ “Employment-Based Health Coverage Continues Decline; Uninsured Rate Shrinks as Public Coverage Grows,” InsuranceNews.net, Sept. 20, 2012. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.
  18. ^ a b “Satisfaction Levels Rising for CDHPs, Slipping for Traditional Plans,” WorldatWork Newsline, Aug. 31, 2012. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.
  19. ^ “Start Saving Now: Retiree Health Care Costs Heading Higher,” CBS News MoneyWatch, Dec. 1, 2010. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.
  20. ^ ICI website. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.
  21. ^ "Target Date Fund Use in 401(k) Plans Increasing". Financial Advisor. Dec 23, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  22. ^ “EBRI: DC Balances Account for More Financial Assets Despite Their Declines,” Pensions&Investments, Sept. 26, 2012. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.
  23. ^ “Making Your Retirement Assets Last,” Wall Street Journal, Sept. 5, 2012. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.
  24. ^ “Tax Reform Implications for Retirement Savings: Don’t Mess With My 401(k)!” Wall Street Journal, Nov. 15, 2011. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.
  25. ^ “Individual Social Security Accounts: Issues in Assessing Administrative Feasibility and Costs,” EBRI Issue Brief, November 1998. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.
  26. ^ “Workers Saving Too Little to Retire,” Wall Street Journal, March 19, 2013.
  27. ^ “EBRI: Consumers Still Confident About Health Care,” LifeHealthPro, Sept. 24, 2012. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.
  28. ^ “More Insured, Fewer Via Private Healthcare,” UPI, Oct. 2, 2012. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.
  29. ^ Choose to Save website. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.
  30. ^ American Savings Education Council – Choose to Save website. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.
  31. ^ “The Best In…Financing Your Future,” Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2012. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.
  32. ^ “Federal Ballpark E$timate,” - U.S. OPM, Retirement Information and Services. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.
  33. ^ “How Much Should I Save (Ballpark Estimate)?” - Thrift Savings Plan website. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2012.

External links[edit]