The cost of maintaining a pension plan or purchasing annuities from an insurer increased in December, according to the latest Mercer U.S. Pension Buyout Index.

The Index tracks the relationship between the accounting liability for retirees of a hypothetical defined benefit plan and the estimated cost of transferring the pension liabilities or retaining the obligations on the balance sheet.

In December, the cost of purchasing annuities from an insurer increased from 108.4 percent to 108.5 percent of the balance sheet liability. The cost of maintaining the pension rose from 108.2 percent to 108.6 percent, in large part because of Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation premium increases for plan sponsors.

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