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President’s Forum 148 – NRLN’s Position on Pension Plan De-risking


Michael Calabrese, NRLN Senior Policy Advisor, who researched and wrote the NRLN/AREF white paper on Pension Plan ‘De-Risking’: Strengthening Fiduciary Duties to Protect Retirees testified on July 18 before the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Advisory Council.

Michael told the Council members that NRLN’s surveys of its members shows that threats to their income security from a pension plan termination, or from a de-risking transaction that transfers a sub-group of participants from their pension plan to an insurance company, is one of their greatest fears. 

These fears are rising in light of the rapidly growing volume of de-risking transactions, as well as major changes in the insurance and annuity industry. 

He noted that one of ERISA’s core principles is its anti-cutback rule. No pension risk transfer should make a retiree or other participant worse off. Throughout workers’ lives they believed that the guaranteed monthly income they earned would be there for them as retirees and they had the additional value of a Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) guarantee and other ERISA protections. 

“A fiduciary standard based on ERISA Section 404(a) should more explicitly require single employer plan fiduciaries to negotiate annuity contract provisions that reasonably replicate ERISA protections in the event of the insolvency of the primary annuity provider,” Calabrese said. “Foremost among the protections that should be incorporated in a distributed annuity contract is full reinsurance of the monthly benefit itself.  

Bill Kadereit, President
National Retiree Legislative Network

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NRLN’s Upcoming Advocacy on Capitol Hill During September 2023 Fly-In

Representatives from four retiree associations and three chapters will participate in the NRLN’s September 25-27 Fly-In to Washington, DC to advocate key retirement issues on Capitol Hill. 

The associations are Alliance of DTE Energy Retirees, AT&T/Ameritech/SBC Retirees (AASBCR), National Chrysler Retirement Organization, and TelCo Retirees Association. The NRLN chapters include Arizona Chapter, Lucent/Nokia Retirees Chapter and Utah Chapter.

The NRLN Board will meet from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Monday, September 25 at the Holiday Inn Washington Capitol Hotel. Monday afternoon will be devoted to a briefing session on lobbying issues. Tuesday and Wednesday (until time to depart of airport or train) will be devoted to appointments on Capitol Hill to advocate issues important to retirees.  The issues include:

  • Protect Retirees in Pension Plan De-risking: When “de-risking” occurs with the purchase of an insurance annuity pension, plan participants lose the protection of the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The NRLN’s proposal is to protect beneficiaries by requiring a secondary insurance policy in case the initial insurer defaults. Requests will be made to introduce a bill with the NRLN’s proposed statutory amendments to  ERISA that will provide protection for pension plan participants whose pension is converted to an annuity.


Medigap Plans NOW available for selection on the Medicare.gov website. Learn How to Choose!

NRLN urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to post prices by zip code for Medigap plans. Now that CMS has made Medigap prices available view our video to see how to navigate the CMS website to select a Medigap plan.

Click here to access Choosing a Medigap Policy.

Congress Needs to Strengthen Funding for Social Security and Medicare

Social Security and Medicare programs both continue to face significant financing issues according to the annual Social Security and Medicare Trustees’ report issued March 31, 2023.

Based on the Trustees’ best estimates, this year’s reports show that:

  • The Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund will be able to pay 100 percent of total scheduled benefits until 2033, one year earlier than reported last year. At that time, the fund’s reserves will become depleted and continuing program income will be sufficient to pay 77 percent of scheduled benefits.
  • The Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund is projected to be able to pay 100 percent of total scheduled benefits through at least 2097, the last year of this report’s projection period. By comparison, last year’s report projected that the DI Trust Fund would be able to pay scheduled benefits through at least 2096, the last year of that report’s projection period.

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This bill would create a covered benefit for multi-cancer early detection screening tests to ensure Medicare beneficiaries have access to these tests.

In the News

The articles and opinion pieces below are for information and are not necessarily a reflection of the NRLN’s position on issues.

The NRLN is nonpartisan and its positions on retirement issues are presented in its Legislative Agenda and white papers that can be accessed from under the Legislative Agenda tab on the website main menu.

How a federal government shutdown may affect Social Security and Medicare By Lorie Konish, CNBC – September 26, 2023

Will My Disability Benefits Change When I Turn 65? By Elaine K. Howley, U.S. News – September 22, 2023

6 Reasons You’re Getting a Smaller Social Security Check By Kate Stalter, U.S. News – September 22, 2023

PBGC Approves SFA Application for Paper Handlers-Publishers Plan Press Release – September 22, 2023

Florida nurse practitioner convicted in $200 million Medicare fraud scheme By Spencer Kimball, CNBC – September 21, 2023

Medicare Enrollment Deadlines You Shouldn’t Miss By Joanne Kaldy, U.S. News – September 21, 2023

New Covid vaccine rollout hampered by canceled appointments, insurance issues NBC News – September 21, 2023

Understanding Medicare Eligibility for Individuals Under 65 With Disabilities By Elaine K. Howley, U.S. News – September 20, 2023

Social Security Overpays Billions to People, Many on Disability. Then It Demands the Money Back. By KFF Health News – September. 20, 2023

Free Covid tests will be available to order from government again starting next week By Berkeley Lovelace Jr., NBC News – September 20, 2023

Consuming large amounts of ultraprocessed foods may be linked to depression, research published Wednesday found. By Kaitlin Sullivan – September 20, 2023

Study Debunks Notion That Antidepressant Might Ease COVID Symptoms By Cara Murez, HealthDay – September 18, 2023

Federal court hears first oral arguments in legal battle over Medicare negotiation By Joseph Choi, The Hill – September 15, 2023

PBGC Approves SFA Application for Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 94 Fund Press Release – September 12, 2023

Night owls may be at greater risk of diabetes than early birds  By Linda Carroll, NBC News – September 11, 2023

House lawmakers unveil bipartisan legislation tackling health care cost and price transparency By Joseph Choi, The Hill – September 8, 2023

Demand for at-home Covid-19 tests is high, but don’t expect a shortage anytime soon By Amanda Musa, CNN – September 8, 2023

Senators take up looming insurance crisis as policy issuers flee Florida and California By Chelsey Cox, CNBC – September 7, 2023

State lawmakers find America’s medical debt problem ‘can no longer be ignored’ By Dan Goldbert, Politico – September 7, 2023

PBGC Approves SFA Application for IBT Local 863 Plan Press Release – September 7, 2023

FDA could greenlight new Covid boosters as early as Friday By Berkeley Lovelace Jr. and Monica Alba, NBC News – September 6, 2023

All signs point to a rise in Covid By Sara G. Miller, Marina Kopf and Akshay Syal, M.D., NBC News – September 5, 2023

Online pharmacy programs can save patients millions in prescription drug costs, study finds By Berkeley Lovelace Jr., NBC News – September 4, 2023

Flesh-eating bacteria lurk in post-hurricane floodwaters. Here’s how to stay safe. y Erika Edwards, CNBC – September 2, 2023

Biden Administration Proposes New Standards to Boost Nursing Home Staffing By Jordan Rau, KFF Health News – September 1, 2023

PBGC Approves SFA Application for Ironworkers Local 16 Plan Press Release – August 30, 2023

Medicare names first 10 drugs up for price negotiations with the government By Berkley Lovelace, Jr., NBC News – August 29, 2023

PBGC Approves SFA Application for United Furniture Workers Plan Press Release – August 29, 2023

PBGC Approves SFA Application for Local 917 Plan Press Release – August 29, 2023

PBGC Approves SFA Application for Southern California Glaziers Plan Press Release – August 29, 2023

Chairman Arrington, Rep. Burgess Launch Budget Committee Health Care Task Force Press Release – August 25, 2023

COVID summer surge: Should you get a booster now or wait? By Alix Martichoux, The Hill – August 26, 2023

Updated Covid-19 vaccines are coming mid-September, officials say By Brenda Goodman, CNN – August 25, 2023

75% of people age 50 and up worry Social Security will run out of money in their lifetimes, survey finds By Lorie Konish, CNBC – August 24, 2023 

Kaiser Permanente unions will vote on strike authorization By Taylor Giorno, The Hill – August 24, 2023

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