Sessions and Speakers
The 2014 sessions and speakers will be announced in early spring 2014. Below are the sessions from the 2013 Symposium held September 22-25. These sessions represent the caliber of education offered at the Symposium.
2013 Educational Agenda
Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Sunday Afternoon Workshops (no additional fee to attend)
2:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Employer Open Discussion or Consulting Practice Owners Forum
Monday, September 23, 2013
Are Employee Benefits Forever?
Speaker: Ron Leopold, M.D., Senior Vice President, National Practice Leader in Health and Productivity, Wells Fargo Insurance Services, Atlanta, Georgia
Demographic and economic shifts are challenging employee benefits professionals as never before. What role will employee benefits play in the future? How will companies compete for talent? Will a shift to defined contribution in health care cause a seismic shift in focus to workforce health and productivity? This thought-provoking keynote session will explore the key employee benefits challenges facing employers around the world today and show the powerful—and universal—role that benefits leaders can play in helping their organizations successfully address them.
U.S. Legislative Update
Speaker: James Klein, President, American Benefits Council, Washington, D.C.
This always-popular session promises an insightful analysis of U.S. legislative and regulatory activities and their possible impact on programs such as Social Security and Medicare as well as employer sponsored health and retirement plans. It will also delve into other employee benefit policy initiatives impacting the employer sponsorship of health plans.
Canadian Legislative Update
Speaker: Mitch Frazer, Partner, Torys LLP, Toronto, Ontario
Another perennial favorite, this session will provide an overview and analysis of legislative activity and regulations at the federal and provincial level. Attend this session to learn more about the latest legislative and regulatory changes, the potential impact on your group and retirement plans, and making sure your plans are compliant, as well as other benefit issues across Canada.
11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon Transitioning From Health Care Volume to Value: Better Quality, Better Cost, Better Patient Experience
Speaker: Dick Salmon, M.D., Ph.D.,
Vice President and National Medical Director, Performance Measurement and Improvement, Cigna, Hartford, Connecticut
Transitioning health care professionals from rewards for volume to rewards for value is essential to achievement of the “triple aim,” better health, better patient experience, better cost. The presentation will review the landscape of activity in this area including programs such as accountable care organization initiatives designed for larger physician groups or integrated delivery systems, and programs such as episode payments designed for specialty groups. A review of known outcomes for both programs that reward process and those that reward outcomes will be presented.Takeaways:
• Understanding the landscape
• Learn what programs apply to different segments of health care professionals.
• Learn the value of treating the whole patient.
Closing the Retirement Expectations “Gap”: Variations in Demographics, Sources of (Mis)Information and the Implications of a “Bad” Guess
Speaker: Jack VanDerhei, Ph.D., CEBS
, Research Director, EBRI, Washington, D.C.
The continuing evolution of employer-sponsored retirement plans from defined benefit to defined contribution combined with the likely need for significant modifications to Social Security retirement benefits within the next 25 years have made the worker’s retirement planning even more important than before. This presentation will make use of results from the 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey to document the amounts workers think they will need to have saved by the time they retire. These amounts will be compared with research EBRI is currently undertaking with its Retirement Security Projection Model® for the Senate HELP Committee.Takeaways:
• The gaps between what workers believe they need and what is likely to actually be required
• How these gaps vary with a variety of factors
• Which sources of information appear to provide workers with the most accurate assessment of their retirement needs—and why.
Gaining Corporatewide Support to Develop and Implement a Five-Year Strategy, Dramatically Shifting Culture and Benefits
Speakers: Elizabeth Borton
, President, Write On Target, Centerville, OhioNoreen Cleary, CEBS
, AVP Total Compensation, Integrys Group, Chicago, Illinois
In 2010, Integrys Group, a public utility, faced several major changes to their health and retirement plans which would impact its benefits and culture, including transitioning from a defined benefit to a defined contribution retirement plan, reducing the number of active health care plans and shifting to a self-service, self-responsibility culture. With the help of a long-term benefits advisory task force and implementation team, a five-year strategic plan was developed to transition the company. Throughout 2012, the team successfully rolled out HR branding reflecting the company’s commitment, a comprehensive communications campaign, retirement readiness workshops and announcement of the transition to one health plan by 2015, a high-deductible health plan with a health savings account and wellness incentives. Learn how this complex strategic plan was developed and implemented so you can guide your organization through major benefit and cultural changes.Takeaways:
• How to gain senior leadership participation and support in developing a five-year strategic benefits plan.
• The value of using an interdepartmental implementation team to deliver an integrated communications plan
• The importance of cascading, segmenting and timing messages to ensure support and consistency
Organizational Impact of Mental Health Issues
Speaker: Joseph Ricciuti,
Principal, MH Inc., Toronto, Ontario
The National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace is intended to guide organizations in identifying hazards and mitigating risk to psychological health. Learn more about the organizational impact of mental health issues. The session will focus on practical and relevant approaches to managing these issues, the cost of unmet mental health issues, as well as obligations, responsibilities and resources.Takeaways:
• The inclusion of mental health in workers’ compensation
• How to identify and manage employees who may experience mental health issues.
• How to minimize risks to psychological safety in the workplace.
12:00 noon-1:30 p.m.
Lunch and Roundtable Discussions --Sponsor - Milliman
Lunch is another opportunity to keep the conversation going—Some of the lunch tables will be reserved to discuss specific benefit topics. Click here for details
Specialty Pharmacy: Examine, Optimize and Manage
Speakers: Kathryn Canaday
, Chief Clinical Officer, Pharmaceutical Strategies Group, Plano, TexasJane Lyons
, Practice Leader, Employers, Pharmaceutical Strategies Group, Plano, Texas
Escalating pharmacy spend, particularly focused on specialty medications, is driving plan sponsors’ need to evaluate options and develop comprehensive strategies for controlling costs. This presentation will provide an overview and educate you on specialty pharmacy benefits. Considering specialty costs are trending as the fastest growing line item of health care spending at an annual rate of nearly 20%, learn what you can do to control these costs. Examine your own program to determine steps that you can take to reduce the trend for these drugs while enhancing overall health outcomes.Takeaways:
• Understand what a specialty drug is and how its costs can be controlled.
• Learn what can be done to evaluate the effectiveness of your current specialty pharmacy program.
• Understand current market support for managing specialty drug costs.
Retirement: For Better Outcomes, Start With a Better Design
Speakers: Marc Howell
, Vice President, Intellectual Capital, Retirement Plan Strategies, Prudential Retirement, Elverson, PennsylvaniaMichele Talka, CEBS
, Director, HR Operations, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida
Moffitt’s current retirement plan design had been in place for over 25 years and hadn’t kept up with the changes in the retirement landscape. Moffitt engaged Prudential Retirement’s team to collaboratively develop potential alternatives to meet the practical and legal issues of a retirement plan, using today’s most current thinking around retirement strategies and leveraging behavioral finance. This presentation will detail the steps to identify the key issues with the current plan and describe the process for identifying alternative plan designs for consideration, addressing legal/regulatory issues and the use of behavioral finance.Takeaways:
• The ability to identify if a plan needs to change
• How behavioral finance can be applied successfully to an existing retirement plan for better outcomes and reduced cost.
• An understanding of the next wave of retirement plan thinking
Health Care Reform in an Interconnected World: Decisions and Implications for Cross-Border Employers
Speakers: Allen Koski, CEBS
, Vice President, CIGNA Global Health Benefits, Wilmington, DelawareFrank Weltz, CEBS
, Assistant Vice President, CIGNA Global Health Benefits, Wilmington, Delaware
Although international plans were not contemplated in the drafting of PPACA, these plans (also known as expatriate plans and non U.S. plans with members in the United States) have nonetheless been swept into the law’s requirements. Applying PPACA to these plans is difficult and complex due to the plans’ global nature. This session provides timely suggestions for employer, insurer, broker/consultant and employee stakeholders on options. Especially before 2014, stakeholders need to be aware of the issues and find solutions. You will leave with a road map and checklist.
• Flow chart by expat, inpat, local groups
• Case studies of current approaches
• Proposed solution options
Determining a Wellness ROI
Speaker: Cherri Burdeyny, CEBS
, Manager, Information Management and Plan Administration, Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan, Edmonton, Alberta
Calculating the return on investment (ROI) is essential to determining the success of wellness activities, but few employers are doing so. A recent study by the Conference Board suggests about a third of employers measure program outcomes and only 1% perform a rigorous ROI calculation. This session will explore some real-life examples of calculating ROI, why it matters and to whom, and some of the pitfalls to avoid.
• Who realizes the majority of cost savings: the employer, or the province?
• What should be measured
• Benefits of wellness beyond measurable cost savings
Retiree Medical Solutions—The Case for Change
Speakers: Rich Fuerstenberg, FSA, MAAA, FCA
, Senior Partner, Employee Health and Benefits, Mercer, Princeton, New JerseySean O’Donnell, CEBS
, Director, Global Benefits and Medical Services, Cytec Industries, Woodland Park, New Jersey
In 2011, Cytec was challenged to reduce its retiree medical liability. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and a changing retiree medical marketplace created a new range of potential solutions including employer group waiver plans (EGWPs) for prescription drug coverage and retiree health exchanges. Determining how to align those solutions with the variety of retiree medical plans and contribution strategies at Cytec required some creative and flexible thinking. This session will describe Cytec’s decision-making process. With the new plans in place for over a year, the session will also look back at how actual results (e.g., savings, retiree reaction) compared to what was expected. The session will also include an overview of what retiree solutions are emerging as well as results from Mercer’s Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans.
• How employers can take advantage of the changing retiree medical marketplace to maximize savings with minimal retiree disruption.
• How employers can mix and match retiree medical solutions to address the needs of grandfathered groups of retirees.
• Understand how actual and expected results compare and can vary.
Financial Wellness—Financial Planning as an Employee Benefit
Speaker: Richard Ellington, CEBS
, Financial Planner, Trilogy Financial Services, Danvers, Massachusetts
This session will break down the walls and provide transparency on how the financial-planning industry works, how advisors get paid and how some expenses/fees are transparent and some hidden. Attendees will understand how valuable financial planning can be as an employee benefit as financial stress and uncertainty can impact work performance and productivity in a negative way.
• Pros/cons of different ways to offer financial planning as an employee benefit
• Red flags when considering offering financial planning as an employee benefit
• List of questions to ask when selecting a financial advisor/facilitator
The Power of Two: The Dual Savings Path of HSAs for Both Health Care and Retirement
Speaker: Christi Wise
, Senior Vice President, Health & Welfare, Fidelity Investments, Chicago, Illinois
Health savings accounts (HSAs) have now found broad appeal to a wide range of demographic and income levels. But, can you get your employees to save for both health care and retirement? Yes, it is possible. This session will share key findings on the evolving role of HSAs in retirement plan design and how HSAs are being utilized to bolster retirement readiness for a changing workforce where cost shifting and rising health care cost are rampant.
• Illustrate the positive correlation between HSA and 401(k) savings behaviors.
• Examine what plan sponsors are doing to encourage participants to use HSA dollars for expenses in retirement.
• Reveal key behavioral distinctions among three primary groups of HSA account holders: savers, hybrids and spenders.
The Journey From DB to DC: Strategies for Success
Speaker: Michelle Oram, CEBS
, Senior Product Marketing Consultant, Manulife Financial, Kitchener, Ontario
Low-interest rates, financial market volatility and regulatory changes are keeping some defined benefit pension plan sponsors up at night. Recent surveys show that up to 97% of Canadian defined benefit pension plans have a solvency deficiency. This session will look at some current statistics for defined benefit plans in Canada and the challenges facing DB plan sponsors as well as review the conversion options available to plan sponsors. The session will also include a case study of one plan sponsor’s experience successfully converting a DB plan to a DC arrangement.
• Five DB to DC conversion options
• Characteristics of a successful DC plan implementation
• Developing a strategy to educate and engage members during the conversion process
Health Care Reform Strategy: Your Next Move
Speaker: Tami Simon
, Managing Director, Knowledge Resources, Buck Consultants, Washington, D.C.
As the well-known health care reform compliance date of 2014 gets closer, employers are not only trying to keep up with the plethora of regulatory guidance but also thinking about broader strategic issues that could affect how they provide health and welfare benefits to their employee populations. This session will provide insights regarding the politics of health reform, review some key health care reform developments stemming from recent regulatory guidance, discuss health reform strategy and provide important reminders of upcoming obligations.
• Practical tips on complying with upcoming mandates
• Important questions necessary for any long-term strategic initiatives
• Resources and to-do lists
Benchmarking Target-Date Funds: Art or Science?
Speaker: Jeremy Stempien
, Director of Investments, Morningstar Investment Management, Chicago, Illinois
Immensely popular and equally diverse in nature, the exercise of benchmarking target-date funds has always been an important, yet difficult, task. As the industry has risen to the challenge of creating suitable benchmarks, the fundamental question still exists: “How do I know if this is the appropriate glide path for my participants?” This session will share best practices, new methods and real-world examples in selecting and evaluating benchmarks.
• Best practices in benchmarking target-date funds
• New methods to benchmarking
• Case studies
The Current State of the Long-Term Care Insurance Industry
Speakers: Tucker Maxwell
, Account Executive, LTC Solutions, Inc., Redmond, WashingtonChristine McCullugh
, President, LTC Solutions, Inc., Redmond, Washington
Recently, the long-term care (LTC) insurance marketplace has seen significant changes. This, coupled with an aging baby boomer population, makes understanding long-term care insurance more important than ever. As life expectancy continues to increase, who will care for our aging population? And where will the money to pay for the care come from? This session will provide an update and overview of the current LTC marketplace, including current and proposed legislation, state partnership plans, tax incentives, Medicaid and the “future” of CLASS Act, as well as marketplace changes—carrier exits and rate increases.
• Why is the need for LTC increasing? Aging population, medical advances, family dispersion
• How has the market been impacted? Product evolution and rate changes
• What caused insurance risk underfunding? Low interest rates, adverse selection, very low attrition
Biologics, Biosimilars and Reimbursement
Speaker: Suzanne Lepage,
Private Health Plan Strategist, Kitchener, Ontario
Biologics are the fastest growing specialty drug classification on the market. As the population ages and the popularity of biologics increases, employers need to understand the impact these highly successful yet costly drugs can have on benefit plans.Takeaways•
Biologics versus traditional drug therapies
• How the market for biologics and subsequent entry biologics is likely to develop.
• Issues plan sponsors should consider when planning coverage for biologic therapies.
Welcome Reception, Sponsor: Buck Consultants
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
U.S. Legal Update: Spotlight on Disability Cases Sponsor, Fidelity Investments
Speaker: Katherine Hesse, CEBS, Partner, Murphy Hesse Toomey & Lehane, Boston, Massachusetts
With 2013 marking the 20th anniversary of FMLA, this popular session will focus on recent court decisions on disability and leaves-of-absence issues. A variety of cases will be covered, with a focus on best practices, developing effective and compliant policies, coverage and eligibility issues, key areas to scrutinize and avoiding common pitfalls.
Canadian Legal Update
Speaker: Mitch Frazer
After the court’s ruling, the outcome is known, but the next steps for plan sponsors are sometimes unclear. Another attendee favorite, this session will provide an insightful analysis and overview of federal and provincial court decisions, their impact on group and pension plans in Canada and what plan sponsors should learn from these cases.
Early Insights From the First National Multicarrier Corporate Exchange
Speaker: Ken Sperling, CEBS
, National Health Exchange Strategy Leader, Aon Hewitt, Norwalk, Connecticut
In 2012, Aon Hewitt was the first company to launch a national multicarrier corporate exchange, bringing together several large national and regional insurance companies to compete in offering employees a choice of fully insured group plans. The model merges the best of all worlds: group coverage pricing with the individual choice and cost control that come from free-market competition. This presentation will discuss insights and lessons learned from the corporate exchange model, including real-world insights gained from consumer behavior, satisfaction and enrollment data, and the differences among exchange models.
• How does the corporate exchange work?
• Insights from Aon Hewitt’s corporate exchange and the impact on employers and consumers
• What the future holds for the corporate exchange
Latest Developments in Retirement Income Solutions
Speaker: Lori Lucas
, Defined Contribution Practice Leader, Callan Associates, Chicago, Illinois
Solutions to help DC participants manage income in retirement are developing at a breakneck speed. Hear the latest on what solutions are available, how they are being used by plan sponsors and how well they help DC participants enjoy a financially successful retirement. This session will also touch on the current regulatory environment surrounding retirement income solutions.
• Understanding the universe of retirement income solutions
• How to determine which retirement income solution is right for your plan.
• Participant behavior and retirement income solutions
How Boomer Caregiving Impacts Employer Health Costs and Ruins Wellness Efforts and Employee Productivity
Speaker: Kevin Sypniewski
, President and CEO, AGIS Network, San Ramon, California
Many of today’s workforce are members of the sandwich generation— caring for both their children and parents. The reality of this dual role causes employees’ health and wellness to rapidly deteriorate and continues for an average of 4.5 years. A recent study found caregiving employees’ health problems cost U.S. companies $13.4 billion, in addition to more than $33 billion in lost productivity each year. Traditionally, employers have focused on programs like EAPs and long-term care insurance to address these problems. But have they helped? This session will provide a comprehensive discussion of those issues.
• Caregiving impact to health and wellness programs
• How to help employees recognize caregiving challenges early.
• Keys to minimizing negative health outcomes, and does long-term care coverage help?
The New Drug Pooling Arrangement
Speaker: Shirley Leong
, Executive Director, Canadian Drug Insurance Pooling Corporation, Toronto, Ontario
To help mitigate the increasing drug costs (driven in part by increasing demand for biologics and an aging population), in 2013 the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) introduced a drug pooling agreement by which insurers can share these costs. Drug cost pooling effectively shields employers from any disproportionate impact from high cost drug claims, giving them access to more competitively priced drug coverage.
• Risks and advantages of pooling
• What options are available for ASO or insured refund plans?
• Short- and long-term effect on drug costs
11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Health Care Reform Action Steps at the 11th Hour: Are You Ready?
Speaker: Mary Andersen, CEBS
, President, ERISADiagnostics, Inc., Exton, Pennsylvania
This presentation will review the Affordable Care Act provisions (“Health Care Reform”) that will be effective in 2014. ACA is a triagency statute (IRS, DOL, HHS) with guidance issued by all three agencies. The amount of guidance is staggering. This session will discuss major aspects of the guidance in bite-size understandable pieces. Each guidance summary will contain action steps for the plan sponsor as well as available reference material resources. Attendees will leave the session knowing the looming issues for 2014 and beyond.
• ACA time line—2013 and beyond
• ACA readiness self-assessment
• List of available resources
Understand “Auditor-Ese” and Save Yourself a Headache
Speaker: Darlene Finzer
, Principal, Rea & Associates, Inc., New Philadelphia, Ohio
Throughout the plan audit process, you receive what seems like countless requests from various benefit plan auditors for various types of information. You’re just trying to run your business, comply with thousands of regulations and now you have to juggle more menacing requests. But there is a reason these reports, documents and agreements are being requested. If you’re asked for a participant detail report, do you know that the auditor is looking for information by investment for each participant? This session will help you get inside the mind of a benefit plan auditor, and you’ll receive a checklist of some of the most common requests an auditor will make along with a description of what that documentation is in layman’s terms and why the information is needed.
• Understanding exactly what an auditor is looking for when a request is sent
• Why your timely response matters.
• How working hand-in-hand with auditors may benefit your business.
It’s a Mobile World: How Smartphones and Tablets Impact Your HR Efforts
Speakers: Chris Costello
, Principal and Founder, CBG Benefits, Woburn, MassachusettsJason Pinto
, Director of Marketing, CBG Benefits, Woburn, Massachusetts
As the number of smartphone and tablet owners continues to increase, there is no doubt that mobile devices are changing the way people communicate and consume information. This session will provide practical guidelines and strategies to help companies adapt to the growing mobile world.
• Best practices for developing a policy that covers mobile devices that are brought into work from home
• Utilizing mobile technology
• How mobile apps for smartphones and tablets can be used for wellness programs.
Lunch: Fellowship Recognition, Sponsor--CIGNA
The luncheon presentation will showcase the ISCEBS fellowship status and recognize the fellows in attendance. All Symposium attendees are invited to attend.
The Medical Home: The Cure for What’s Ailing Health Care
Speaker: Erika Bliss, MD, President, Qliance Medical Group, Seattle, Washington
While the Affordable Care Act is trying to manage health insurance as well as mandating coverage, a number of projects around the country are trying to manage the underlying cost of health care. By bringing back the concept of a true primary care physician, these programs are bending the curve of health care cost trends. The session will discuss how to increase patient health, which includes the patient having an active role in understanding their condition, their treatment options and self-care strategies.
• Medical home models
• Medical homes under self-funded plans
• How to promote medical homes for all
Fee Leveling in DC Plans: Disclosure Is Just the Beginning
Speaker: Doug Conkel
, Principal, Milliman, Dallas, Texas
In the context of heightened disclosures and scrutiny of fees and revenue sharing in participant-directed retirement plans, how well do you (and your participants) understand the allocation of fees in your retirement plan? Join us for a discussion of various fee allocation strategies, the incorporation of revenue sharing in your plan’s fee assessment methodology (fee leveling and the fiduciary considerations therein.
• Obligations of fiduciaries for the proper allocation of revenue sharing
• Obligations of fiduciaries to disclose information about revenuesharing allocations in these plans
• “Best-practice” approaches to fee leveling in participant-directed plans
The ACA in 2020 Vision: One Take on How Health Care Coverage May Look in the Year 2020
Speaker: Edward A. Kaplan, Senior Vice President, National Health Practice Leader, The Segal Group, New York, NY
This session will explore how key features of the Affordable Care Act are expected to change the health insurance market by the year 2020. Among the questions the speaker will investigate are included: How much of the employer-based system will remain intact? Will we see the evolution of a different type of two-tiered health care coverage? How will coverage through the public exchanges compare to today’s typical employer group plan? How will we re-evaluate group vs. individual health coverage? What changes can we expect to see in access, wait times and premiums? The speaker will discuss these and more questions in order to outline considerations for employers when planning their future benefits strategies.
• Review a number of key ACA provisions and identify possible long-term outcomes
• Discuss future trends in benefit plan design
• Explore how attendees can open discussion about planning in their organizations
Case Study: How the Shoemaker’s Children “Fit” Into Retirement Planning
Speaker: James Abbott, CEBS
, Director, Retirement and Savings Programs, Sun Life Financial, Waterloo, Ontario
Using a case study approach, this session will outline the results to a new education strategy Sun Life Financial has taken with respect to their own employees in Canada and how this has impacted employee participation levels in the company-sponsored pension and stock ownership plans. The session will reveal learnings (including before-and-after data) on various employee segments with an emphasis on new employees.
• How to get new employees engaged in retirement planning.
• Before-and-after pension plan participation levels
• Innovative communication approaches with new employees
Navigate the Stormy Seas Ahead—A Case Study of a Creative Funding Vehicle for the New Health Care Reality
Speakers: John Cassell
, Senior Partner, Spring Consulting Group, Boston, MassachusettsGary Gustafson, CEBS
, Consultant, Spring Consulting Group, Boston, Massachusetts
Without a doubt, health care reform will increase the cost of health insurance over the next several years and employers will be forced to make some tough decisions on how to respond. There are several funding options employers may not have considered to help mitigate costs and calm the troubled waters, including the establishment of the benefit captive for their organization or a coalition of organizations. In this session, we will describe a case study outlining how a group of Massachusetts employers is creating a health captive solution.
• An understanding of the cost-saving potential of a benefit captive
• A greater understanding of the pros and cons of setting up a benefit captive
• The ability to determine if a captive is right for an organization
Optimizing 401(k) Plan Performance and Management of Fiduciary Liability
Speaker: Brian Lakkides
, Managing Director, Fiduciary Firewall Consulting, Inc., Waterford, Michigan
Most business owners and senior management have a fiduciary blind spot and fail to apply the same analytical and decision-making processes to decisions regarding employee benefits than they do to all other operations of their business, resulting in fee structures that are 20-60% higher than necessary. This presentation provides a pragmatic level of knowledge, insight and technical understanding regarding fiduciary duty and plan operations, as well as functional tools and information to properly manage fiduciary risk.
• Understanding fiduciary roles, responsibilities and technical requirements (fiduciary self-assessment scorecard)
• Controlling plan fees
• How to mitigate plan sponsor’s and trustee’s fiduciary risk.
Benefits and HR in Mergers and Acquisitions
Speaker: Kelly Karger
, Senior Retirement Consultant, Towers Watson, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Significant benefits issues can arise when a company acquires one or more other firms. These include cultural challenges, talent and reward management, benefits/HR functional considerations and workforce communications/change management. The session will discuss the role of benefits and HR in a merger/acquisition process.
• Best practices
• Role of benefits, HR and employees
• Keeping it seamless
New Pension Standards in Western Canada
Speaker: Aaron Walker-Duncan
, Director, Policy Branch, Pension Corporation of British Columbia, Victoria, British Columbia
The Employment Pension Plans Act in Alberta, along with its British Columbia counterpart the Pension Benefits Standards Act, are intended to update and harmonize the pension standards legislation of the two provinces, while providing greater flexibility and affordability for private sector pension plans. Features include the introduction of new pension plan designs; more flexibility in funding by employers; greater clarity in plan governance requirements; increased focus on member disclosure; changes in minimum standards, including immediate vesting of member benefits and locking-in based on minimum dollar amounts rather than years of service; and enhanced regulatory oversight.
• New pension plan designs and features
• New requirements for pension plan administrators
• Disclosure requirements
Ask the Expert Workshop
Speaker: John Garner, CEBS
, President, Garner Consulting, Pasadena, California
As the author of the Health Insurance Answer Book, John Garner literally “wrote the book.” This session will begin with some real-life examples of how health care reform is affecting employer-sponsored health plans, followed by questions from the audience. Audience members are invited to share their experiences.
• Open forum discussion
• Shared experiences
• Broader perspective
Correcting Plan Errors With the Employee Plan Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS)
Speaker: Steven Grieb, CEBS, Senior Counsel, Vice President, BMO Financial Group, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The IRS developed EPCRS to give plan sponsors an avenue to correct certain common plan failures to satisfy the plan qualification requirements without suffering the severe penalty of plan disqualification. Learn more about EPCRS and its three compliance programs.
• What common problems can be corrected
• The three levels of correction
• Updates to EPCRS in 2013
Impact of the DOMA Decision on Employee Benefit Plans
Speaker: Mary Komornicka, CEBS, Attorney, Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren Ltd., Minneapolis, Minnesota
On June 26, 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Windsor v. United States that found a critical section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional. As a result, all federal laws, including ERISA, must now recognize the married status of individuals who are legally married in the state where they reside. The impact on employee benefit plans is significant and complex. This session will explore the implications of the decision on various benefit plans including health plans, cafeteria plans, retirement plans and executive plans. The design implications and communication strategies for employee benefit plans also will be discussed. As this is a new and developing change in employee benefits, ample time will be given for discussion and questions.
• Understand the impact on benefit plans and alternatives that can be considered in plan design.
• Identify actions that need to occur and by when.
• Identify communication strategies and challenges.
Workshop: Tips for Paper-to-Electronic Records Transition
Speaker: Lew Jacobs, Manager, Software Solutions Architecture, Ricoh Canada, Inc., Toronto, Ontario
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Increase Employee Engagement With Games
Speakers: Carolyn Gordon, Director of Benefits, FUJIFILM Holdings America Corporation, Valhalla, New York
, CEO, H.Engage, Boston, Massachusetts
Dana Hurley, Senior Consultant, Towers Watson, New York, New York
Kathryn Yates, Global Practice Leader, Communication and Change Management, Towers Watson, Chicago, Illinois
By using games and collaborative techniques to add elements of fun and competition, organizations can create greater engagement among employees. This session will discuss internal gamification, how it’s being used effectively, and what communication and gaming principles should be considered. Examples of how organizations use gamification to better communicate and engage employees will be discussed, along with practical tips and best practices.
Consumers of Health Care vs. Sponsors of Health Care Plans— Are Perceptions Reality?
Speaker: David Cooke, CEBS
, Vice President, U.S. Health & Benefits, Aon Hewitt, Chicago, Illinois
This presentation will show the results of Aon Hewitt’s consumer mindset survey toward health care. This session will discuss how employees look at and interact with the health system (including their real views of wellness initiatives, rewards, CDHP accounts) and how it relates to the actual benefit programs and communication programs they put in place for their employees. The final part of the presentation will show a suggested strategy for engaging employees and their families in understanding the complexities of the health care system and becoming more effective consumers.
• Understanding the disjunction of employees’ view of health care and the current/changing health care system.
• Learning to equip employees with the right tools to engage with the health care system.
• Understanding how an effective strategy and benefit design can achieve targeted financial results.
Managing Risks in Defined Benefit Plans
Speaker: Tim Connor
, Consulting Actuary, Milliman, Woodland Park, New Jersey
The science and art of reducing the risks inherent in a defined benefit plan remains of keen interest to many financial executives and fiduciaries. This presentation will explore the current landscape of possible solutions and will take an objective and in-depth look at some of the major strategies of pension plan risk mitigation.
• Defined benefit risk awareness
• Risk mitigation techniques
• Difference in costs and methods of insurance
Crossing the Border: Temporary Employee Benefits
Speaker: Matthew Vuolo,
Partner, Nelson Levine de Luca & Hamilton, New York, New York
International assignments come with a host of questions and issues to address. What country’s health care system covers the employee? Is it a permanent, temporary or short-term assignment and what’s the difference? This session will delve into the issues, policies and approaches used to provide benefits to these groups of employees.
• Typical benefit programs offered to expatriates
• Factors impacting benefits for international transfers
• Issues, policies and options for welfare benefits, retirement and social security
Culture Wellness—Embedding Case Study Wellness Into Your Organization
Speaker: Crystal Hover, CEBS
, President, Kitchen Table Consulting, Los Angeles, California
Wellness. It’s come a long way, but the ability to sustain engagement remains relatively challenging for most employers. Join us for a case study that highlights best and innovative practices to creating and sustaining a successful approach to wellness.
• Best practices for creating a culture of wellness in your organization regardless of size
• How to effectively measure success year over year.
• How to integrate wellness into the benefits offering.
Generational Crossroads: Communicating With Today’s 401(k) Participants
Speaker: James Modelski
, Principal, DiMeo Schneider & Associates, LLC, Chicago, Illinois
We stand today at a crossroads of generational change among 401(k) plan participants. One challenge is to deliver content that each generation wants. Another challenge is how to deliver the content in a way that will resonate most with each generation whether it be interactive touch points, a holistic approach or one-on-one planning. This presentation explores methods on how to effectively communicate with different generations.Takeaways:
• What are the generational needs and challenges?
• How to effectively communicate to the generational issues and attitudes
• What “tools” make for an effective program that meets desired results? How States’ Conflicting Marriage and Domestic Partnership Laws Impact Employee Benefits
Speaker: Todd Solomon
, Partner, McDermott Will & Emery, Chicago, Illinois
The varying state and federal laws regarding marriage, domestic partnerships and civil unions can complicate the design and administration of an employee benefits plan. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on two landmark same-sex marriage cases has provided both answers and uncertainty. Learn more about the rulings' possible long-term impacts on the cost, administration and tax implications of employer-sponsored health and retirement plans.Takeaways:
• How employers should reconcile federal and state law when offering same-sex benefits.
• Administrative, compliance and beneficiary issues
• After the rulings: Next steps for employers and participants
Canada Bill 377—Financial Transparency or Undue Burden?
Speaker: Michael Mazzucca
, Partner, Koskie Minsky LLP, Toronto, Ontario
Bill C-377, a proposed amendment to the Income Tax Act, will require unions and other labour organizations in Canada to file annual public reports detailing their financial activities exceeding $5,000, such as officer salaries, conferences, training, investments and other activities. Its supporters say it will promote public trust by disclosing how its members’ dues, which are tax-deductible, are spent and bring Canada’s union financial disclosure laws in-line with those in other industrialized nations. Its critics maintain the bill is an unfair burden on unions, costly to implement, and an infringement of privacy and expression. This session will take a balanced look at this controversial measure and what it means to labour and management relations.
• What unions need to know
• What employers need to know
• How will labour relations and negotiations be affected?
11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
Daring to Reward Biometrics in the Public Sector
Speaker: Jennifer Miglietti
, Human Resources Specialist, City of Dublin, Dublin, Ohio
The city of Dublin, Ohio has created a holistic health management program that prioritizes health behavior change over health care cost containment by closely linking wellness and benefits in a municipal government environment. Learn how the city was able to contain benefits spend for the past two years.
• Incentive structure for biometric measures
• Next practice wellness programs
• Integrating benefits and wellness
Cross-Tested Plans—The New Comparability Approach
Speaker: Jim Van Iwaarden
, Consulting Actuary, Van Iwaarden & Associates, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Cross-tested plans continue to grow in popularity as more and more benefits professionals realize their value. Still, some plan sponsors have avoided this plan design, often because of its complexities. This session provides an overview of cross-tested plans to help you better understand how to calculate benefit rates, test a plan for nondiscrimination and design a cross-tested plan.
• How such plan designs can work with 401(k) plans
• Discussion on different plan designs
• What works and what to avoid
What Is the Future Role of a Benefits Professional?
Speaker: Kristen Alexander, Chief Operating Officer, Daily Access, Mobile, Alabama
Transformative change in employee benefits continues to accelerate, triggering possible changes in the role of the benefits professional. Will they be tasked with helping employees navigate an increasing self-service environment? Will benefits functions continue to be outsourced? Will the industry evolve from design and administration functions to roles focused more on strategy, innovation and long-term planning?
• Industry trends
• Vital skill sets
• Navigating your future