Aon Hewitt: 401(k) Participation Rate Rises

More workers at large U.S. employers who are eligible to participate in 401(k) plans are participating.

Aon Hewitt, Lincolnshire, Ill., a unit of Aon Corp., Chicago (NYSE:AON), has published that finding in a summary of results from an analysis of 401(k) plans it managed for 120 large employers.

The plan participation rate for eligible employees increased to 75.8% in 2010, from 73.7% in 2009, Aon Hewitt says.

The increase appears to be in part to employer adoption of 401(k) plan automatic enrollment programs, the company says. The percentage of large employers with auto enrollment features increased to about 60% in 2010, from 24% in 2006.

The plan participation rate averages about 85% at plans with auto enrollment features and about 67% at plans without auto enrollment features.

Aon Hewitt also found that about 28% of plan participants ended 2010 with a plan outstanding, and 6.9% took a withdrawal from a defined contribution plan in 2010.

The average employee plan balance was $76,020, but the median balance was just $24,680.

- Allison Bell

Other auto enrollment coverage from National Underwriter Life & Health:

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