The estimated buyout cost for retirees in a work pension plan was 109 percent of the accounting liability in April, according to the Mercer US Pension Buyout Index.

This compares to an estimated long-term economic cost of retaining the plan of 108.5 percent of the accounting liability.

This cost includes an allowance for future retention costs, like administrative, PBGC premiums and asset-related costs, as well as a reserve for future improvements in mortality. These additional costs and reserves are not included in the accounting liabilities published by plan sponsors, but do represent future costs that should be reflected in any risk transfer comparisons and evaluations, according to Mercer.

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