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39th Annual Symposium
August 23-26, 2020
San Diego, California

2019 Program Brochure

2019 Educational Agenda

Monday | day at a glance | full session descriptions
Tuesday | day at a glance | full session descriptions
Wednesday | day at a glance | full session descriptions

Sunday, September 8

12:00-2:30 p.m.
First-Time Attendee Luncheon

2:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Consulting Practice Owners Forum

5:00 p.m.
CEBS Conferment Ceremony and Reception

Monday, September 9

8:00 a.m.


8:15-9:15 a.m.
Keynote: What’s Next for the Global Economy?
Speaker: Donald E. Drummond, M.A., Adjunct Professor and Stauffer-Dunning Fellow, Queen's University School of Policy Studies, Kingston, Ontario

What’s next for the world economy? How will economic trends as well as long-term disruptions like changing demographics, AI, fluctuating global trade, Brexit and automation impact business and employee benefits? This session will explore these topics and more and will discuss the economic factors, opportunities and challenges in the U.S. and Canada.

9:30-10:30 a.m.

U.S. Legislative Update
Speaker: James Klein, President, American Benefits Council, Washington, D.C.

Although the 2018 midterm elections shifted the division of power in Congress, health care and retirement issues remain at the legislative forefront. Get an insightful analysis of recently enacted and proposed legislation and regulations, as well as what the agenda for 2019 and beyond could mean for your benefit plans, as we look ahead to the 2020 election.

Canada Legal/Legislative Update
Speaker: Lisa Chamzuk, Partner, Lawson Lundell, Vancouver, British Columbia

This session gets 2½ days of Canadian content underway with an overview of legislative and regulatory activity and legal decisions at the federal and provincial level. Get an insightful analysis of what it means for group, pension and other benefit plans against the backdrop of the upcoming federal election.

11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon
Health and Welfare Compliance Traps: Are You Ready?
Speaker: Lisa C. Allen, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, Relph Benefit
Advisors, Fairport, New York

Health and welfare plan sponsors often focus on providing the best benefits and plans possible, but allowing plan compliance to slip through the cracks can be financially devastating. This session discusses several compliance pitfalls to be aware of to reduce the chances of being audited and incurring significant fines, along with relevant details and requirements to ensure your plan’s compliance.

  • What is coming and when to be ready to comply
  • The major questions to answer and where the data will come from
  • Key mandates to avoid penalties

Regulatory Outlook for Retirement Plans
Speaker: Steven Grieb, CEBS, Director of Regulatory Services, Empower Retirement, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Get an update on proposed or final IRS and DOL guidance or legislation applicable to qualified retirement plans, including plan corrections, changes to hardship rules, new opportunities for multiple employer plans, lost or missing participants, determination letter opportunities or issues relating to lifetime
income payments from retirement plans.

  • Compliance pointers to comply with the new hardship distribution rules
  • Guidance for appropriately correcting retirement plan errors under the EPCRS
  • Tips for navigating required retirement plan document restatements

Health Care Ate My 401(k) Contributions
Speakers: Rocke Blair, CEBS, Managing Partner, Fiduciary Analytics LLC, West Chester, Ohio
Peggy West, CEBS, Director of Benefits and Compensation, Formica Corporation, Cincinnati, Ohio

The significance that health care plays in the adequate funding of retirement plans is overlooked. Employer health care costs consume an ever-increasing portion of employers’ wage and benefit spend. This continuing shift of resources to medical and prescription drug benefits reduces 401(k) and HSA contributions for retirement readiness. This session highlights one employer’s approach to aligning its benefit and organizational strategy using data analytics for sight lines to isolate root cause cost drivers and to personalize benefits for employees for maximum impact.

  • The economics of a healthy workplace
  • How to optimize retirement readiness to the employee’s unique needs
  • Solutions to impact key cost drivers to maximize employee retirement readiness and shareholder return

Work Like a Start-Up! Using Innovation Principles to Improve Your Benefits Projects
Speaker: Michelle Oram, CEBS, Product Owner, Guidance and Advice, Manulife, Kitchener, Ontario

Innovation. Agile. Design thinking. Start-up methodology. We hear these words a lot these days, but what do they mean to us as benefit professionals? Can established companies work and think like start-ups? These are more than just the latest buzzwords. Innovation is a process that can help us deliver solutions that better meet the needs of our plan members. Using a realworld example, learn what innovation is and, more importantly, what it isn’t. Walk away with an overview of the innovation process and some simple tools and techniques to implement today to start working like a start-up.

  • Innovation—What it is and what it isn’t
  • Six steps in the innovation process
  • Simple tools to help you get started

12:00 noon-1:30 p.m.
Lunch and Roundtable Discussions
Informal discussions around a shared professional interest or benefit topic. No advance sign-up needed, just find an open seat at a topic table that interests you and get ready for a lively discussion!

1:30-2:30 p.m.

Individual Policy HRAs: 2020 and Beyond
Speakers: Brian Gilmore, Lead Benefits Counsel, Vice President, ABD Insurance & Financial Services, Inc., San Mateo, California
Elizabeth Loh, Director, Trucker Huss, APC, San Francisco, California

The new proposed regulations to permit employers to offer HRAs designed to reimburse employees’ individual health insurance policy premiums are scheduled to take effect in 2020. The conditions that apply are fairly complex and present a new challenge in plan strategy and design. Numerous efforts to inject DC-style elements into traditional plans, such as cafeteria plans with flex credits and private exchanges, have largely failed to make a significant impact. These new proposed regulations are the first step to make true DC health benefits a reality by relying on the individual market.


  • How employers can utilize the individual market (beginning in 2020) through HRAs as an alternative to their traditional major medical group health plan
  • Why the individual market represents an important frontier for employers
  • What the future could look like for traditional major medical group health plans

 Behavioral Economics Communications for Employees’ Benefit
Speakers: Sherida Ferguson, CEBS, Advocacy Board Member, Gus A. Stavros Center for Free Enterprise and Economic Education, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
Deborah Kozdras, Instructor, Chief Creative Officer, University of South Florida Gus A. Stavros Center for Free Enterprise and Economic Education, Tampa, Florida

Communication is a challenge for humans, with biases shaping how we see, say or hear something. As benefits professionals, the objective is to design a message that will override biases of diverse employee populations. Behavioral economics can combine competing needs of employees who are divided by generation and focused on different financial goals. This session will provide ideas and tools to identify common areas for the multigenerational workforce and encourage positive responses as they select benefits and manage the current personal cost of those benefits.
  • Behavioral economic techniques to encourage employees to select the best solution to achieve personal financial goals
  • Messages to guide each employee to the best solution for his or her economic circumstances
  • Digital tools to reach the diverse experiences of a multigenerational workforce

 Best Practices to Engage Employees in Voluntary Benefits
Speaker: Greg Killilea, CEBS, Vice President, Moreton & Co., Salt Lake City, Utah

While surveys indicate that employees value voluntary benefits and would like their employer to offer a wider array, engaging them in a voluntary benefits program requires a well-thoughtout and well-implemented plan of action. Things to assess include employees’ financial literacy and demographics, medical claims and absenteeism, and other data that will help shape how the benefits are communicated and their role in your organizational culture.
•     Trends in voluntary benefits
•     How to determine what benefits to offer
•     Success stories and pitfalls to avoid

2:45-3:45 p.m.

Using Actionable Insights From Survey Data
Speakers: Janis Koltun, CEBS, Principal, Mercer, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Elizabeth Nelson, R.N., Principal Total Health Management, Mercer, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Get highlights from more than 2,400 participating employers, with perspective through the lens of both practitioner and clinician. A deep dive into the data provides insight to the menu of opportunity available for employers, including impact analysis from both financial and clinical perspectives, and addresses the full range of strategies employers are using to manage cost.


  • Identify key and emerging trends.
  • Introduce opportunities to make an impact.
  • Share case studies/impact analysis from employers that have implemented identified strategies


 Challenges of Retirement in the Future Economy
Speaker: Jack VanDerhei, Ph.D., CEBS, Research Director, Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington, D.C.

The workforce and the labor economy have changed significantly in recent years. With the advent of contingent and non-traditional workers and increasing automation, the employment deal of the future is different from what we have seen in the past. This presentation will contain analysis of the impact of several public policy topics and their likely impact on retirement income adequacy and what factors will play a role.

  • The potential impact of the gig-only economy on national retirement income adequacy
  • The impact of expanding coverage for employer-sponsored plans
  • How do open MEPs affect reduction in retirement deficits?
The Logic of Effective Employee Communication
Speaker: James Hanley, CEBS, President, EeComm., Inc., Muskegon, Michigan
In the boardroom, a decision to change benefits has just been made. After a silent pause, one of the directors sums up the concern they all share: “For this to work, make sure employees understand this change!” When that rolls downhill to you and your team, will you proceed with confidence? Yes!—with a solid understanding of the steps that lead to an effective employee communication strategy. Learn how to set appropriate expectations among senior leaders, then meet or exceed them with a logical approach to creating and implementing an appropriate employee communication strategy.



  • The effective value of your benefits program is no more than the value your employees ascribe to it.
  • Effective and efficient communications done right
  • Takeaway tools to assemble an appropriate employee communication strategy
 Cybersecurity and Data Protection in Canada
Speaker: Kim Ozubko, Partner, Miller Thomson, Toronto, Ontario

This session will explore cybersecurity and data protection and its application to pension and benefit plan sponsors, administrators and third-party service providers in Canada. Topics discussed will include cybersecurity and data protection legislation and best practices in Canada; duties of pension and benefit plan sponsors and administrators in protecting member and beneficiary data; and steps to protect member and beneficiary data and reduce plan sponsor and administrator liability.

  • Potential risks of poor data protection and cybersecurity
  • Best practices in cybersecurity and data protection
  • Steps to reduce liability

4:00-5:00 p.m.

 Using Decision Support Tools to Support HDHP
Speaker: Paula Stop, CEBS, Director of Total Rewards, The Fresh Market,
Greensboro, North Carolina

Employee education about HDHP is an ongoing concern that can be supported by employee decision support tools. Learn how one plan sponsor used two different decision support tools to educate its workforce and assist in plan enrollment decisions, resulting in a 20% increase in the HDHP enrollment. Each tool provided different features, pros and cons. Get an overview of the tool selection process, implementation, enrollment results and lessons learned.
• How to select a decision support tool
• Communication best practices for employee engagement with the tool
• How to evaluate results

 Using Passive Strategies for Investment Consulting
Speaker: Brian Schroeder, Founding Partner, Investment Change Evaluations, LLC, Salt Lake City, Utah

Institutional investors have long enjoyed the benefits of passive investing, i.e., use of index funds. Passive, or rules-based, investing is used to invest in stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, etc. Besides lower fees and the simplicity of “buying the market,” passive investing removes potential conflicts of interest and emotion-based decisions from the process. The passive strategies can be applied no matter the investment structure in place. Whether it is a nondiscretionary 3(21) or fully discretionary  (38) investment consultant, adoption of a more passive approach will benefit future outcomes.
• Determine if an active investment consultant approach is adding value.
• Incorporate a passive approach to asset allocation, manager selection and rebalancing.
• Use multiasset class managers to increase passivity at the investment consultant level.

 Identifying and Responding to a Ransomware Attack According to HIPAA Best Practices
Speakers: Tara Silver-Malyska, CEBS, Director, Willis Towers Watson, Dallas, Texas
Jason Sheffield, Director, Willis Towers Watson, La Jolla, California

Of the never-ending onslaught of malware attacks on information security systems, perhaps most prolific and most dangerous is ransomware, which attempts to deny access to a user’s own data, usually by encrypting the data, until a ransom is paid (usually in a cryptocurrency) in order to receive a decryption key. However, hackers may deploy ransomware that also destroys or exfiltrates data. In this timely program, learn best practices for HIPAA security defense while exploring the intricacies of a HIPAA response to a ransomware attack and the Office for Civil Rights’ Quick Response Checklist for HIPAA Security Attacks.
• Review HIPAA privacy, security, breach notification and enforcement rules.
• Learn to detect ransomware attacks.
• Review a case study in a ransomware attack.

How to Prevent a Lawsuit on Mental Health Claims
Speaker: Marg Romanow, CEBS, Benefits Officer, Saskatchewan Union of Nurses, Regina, Saskatchewan

This session provides a checklist for a mental health claims process, which includes understanding mental health behaviors; the importance of outreach, regular communication with all parties, and clear and specific correspondence; and using experienced mental health claims adjudicators. Examples and case law references will illustrate these steps.
• Disability staff and adjudicators must have education and understanding of mental health issues.
• Do not readily dismiss claims due to noncompliance; it may be the effects of the mental illness.
• Provide extra due diligence in the adjudication process.
6:00-7:30 p.m.

Welcome Reception

Tuesday, September 10
7:45-8:30 a.m.

Hall of Fame Award | President’s Report

8:30-9:30 a.m.

U.S. Legal Update
Speaker: Katherine Hesse, CEBS, Partner, Murphy Hesse Toomey & Lehane, Boston, Massachusetts

A perennial favorite, this session curates and summarizes recent significant court decisions affecting employee benefits. Get valuable insights, tips and checklists to help you assess and mitigate your plan’s legal risk.

Practical Lessons in Pension Governance
Speaker: Jana Steele, Partner, Pensions and Benefits, Osler, Hoskin &
Harcourt LLP, Toronto, Ontario

After a brief primer on pension governance (law, common law, regulatory policies, etc.), get ready to dive into an advanced discussion of pension governance, with a focus on case law and case studies, examining practical examples of pension governance issues and solutions.
• Increased regulation of pension governance
• Effective tools and strategies
• Poor governance can have serious consequences.

10:00-11:00 a.m.

 Disrupting Health Care Through High-Value Providers
Speaker: Sara Hames, CEBS, Vice President, Hays Companies, Inc., Milwaukee, Wisconsin

A medical procedure’s cost in any marketplace can range widely, often leading to consumers unknowingly making expensive choices. Using data to identify the prevalent conditions and cost drivers can lead to high-value providers who can deliver high-quality care at vastly reduced costs. This presentation will focus on how to disrupt health care through a combination of self-funding, direct contracts, bundled pricing, medical tourism, telemedicine, Medicare-based pricing, care navigators and onsite clinics to offer a health plan that’s attractive and sustainable. Learn how a school district went from fully insured to reducing its costs by 37% in just one year.
• The root problems with our current health care delivery system
• Strategies to disrupt health care to better serve employers and members
• How to engage members to make them better, happier consumers

 Plan Errors: Correction and Prevention
Speaker: Mary Komornicka, CEBS, Attorney, Larkin Hoffman, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Retirement plans are complex, with many moving parts and many players with interlocking responsibilities. As a result, errors often happen. Whether small or major, they need to be corrected. While we have IRS guidance on how to correct some errors, these rules are not simple to follow, and not all situations are covered. This session will explore the different errors that can occur and the proper process for correcting them, using several real-world examples, and will provide tips for plan sponsors and service providers.
• Key provisions of the IRS EPCRS
• Proper ways to correct various errors under the self-correction and the VCP processes
• Best practices to prevent or mitigate errors

 Challenges and Effective Solutions for Small Groups of Non-U.S. Employees
Speakers: Albert Phelps, CEBS, Area Vice President, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Chicago, Illinois
Catherine Honey, Vice President, SafeGuard World International, Boston, Massachusetts

Companies expanding beyond the U.S. or managing small employee populations globally face many challenges to find costeffective and competitive ways to staff local operations and provide benefits. This session will cover alternative solutions to setting up a legal entity in each country when time is of the essence and employee size is expected to remain limited; the promises to avoid in making job offers, especially related to benefits that can create significant challenges; and alternatives that multinational companies use to provide competitive benefits that are scalable as the business grows or changes.
• Alternatives to employment via legal entity set-up
• Barriers and challenges in providing competitive benefits to small groups or individual employees
• Alternatives that provide competitive, valued and cost-effective benefits

 The ABCs of Employee Benefits Technology: Thinking Beyond the Portal
Speakers: Karen DeBortoli, Director, Knowledge Resource Centre, Buck Consultants, Toronto, Ontario
Lizann Reitmeier, CEBS, Canadian Health Practice Leader, Buck Consultants, Toronto, Ontario

Learn about the range of new and emerging technology options to facilitate pension and benefit plan enrollment and management. In addition to portals, there are (a) apps, (b) bots and (c) customized technology—including AI—to manage pension and benefit plans, drive employee engagement, maximize benefit plan dollars, improve employee well-being and optimize HR. Get an overview of the latest in technological innovations in the benefits space, a demo of some solutions that are being used by employers and plan sponsors of all sizes, and a glimpse of what’s next in benefits technology.
• The changing tools modernizing benefit and pension plans
• How to make technology work for your organization
• How to assess and choose the right tools

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
 Employer-Led National Hospital Price Transparency Initiative
Speaker: Gloria Sachdev, President and CEO, Employers’ Forum of Indiana, Carmel, Indiana

In 2017, the nation’s first hospital price transparency study was conducted to publicly report hospital prices relative to what Medicare paid for the same services. The study included 225,000 covered lives, $700 million in annual spend and the hospitals’ corresponding relative total, inpatient and outpatient prices. The results are astonishing with some hospitals paid 600% of what Medicare pays. Round two of this study, published in April 2019, includes employers and business coalitions from across the country. The presentation will focus on the findings and the reaction of employers, benefits consultants and hospitals with an emphasis on strategies to move to value-based hospital payment models.
• An evidence-based place to develop value-based payment/ benefit design models
• As commercial prices are incredibly high and nonsustainable, we must demand better.
• Three strategies to align best quality with best price

 Retirement Planning in Four Parts
Speaker: Valerie McGee, CEBS, Director Benefits and Wellness, American Medical Association, Washington, D.C.

Historically, retirement planning from the employer perspective has involved education seminars on “turning savings into income.” However, there’s more to retirement than money. Recognizing that employees aren’t looking at the big picture when planning for retirement, the American Medical Association (AMA) in 2018 offered its employees a four-part retirement planning series: Income Planning for Retirement, Retirement Considerations, Medicare 101 and Strategies for Taking Social Security. The series had successful participant attendance and feedback. This session will provide an overview of the four-part series and how employers can implement a similar program for their workforce.
• What information employees need to prepare for retirement
• How to provide timely and relevant information
• Resources to help employees prepare for retirement

 The Intersection of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Total Rewards
Speakers: Patricia Jesperson, CCO, EmployeeEXP, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Amy Tolbert, CEO, ECCO International, Arden Hills, Minnesota

With a continually shrinking and diversifying talent market, now is the time for midmarket organizations to make intentional efforts to create inclusive cultures that appeal to attracting, retaining and engaging top talent. The reality is that these organizations are often not competitively positioned to compete for the same talent as Fortune 500 organizations, which for decades have been engaged in creating inclusive cultures to meet the needs of an ever-increasingly diverse workforce and marketplace. With a more savvy and demanding workforce, organizations of any size must rethink and redevelop culture strategies.
• Overcome the limited-resources hurdle
• What it takes to create a talent-attracting and inclusive culture
• What integrative practices look like

 Achieving Effective Plan Design and Communicating Change
Speaker: Alyssa Hodder, Senior Communications Consultant, Eckler Ltd., Toronto, Ontario

This session draws on a real-world example and offers lessons on benefit design, cost management and communication. The presenter will share insights about the unique features of the Canadian benefits landscape and how to effectively manage and communicate change.
• The challenges of making benefits changes and key lessons learned
• Developing a multimedia communication strategy to achieve desired objectives
• Best practices for effectively managing plan design changes to ensure the best outcomes

12:15-1:30 p.m.

Lunch: Fellowship Recognition

 This luncheon honors the Society members who hold the Fellowship status. All attendees are invited to attend.

1:30-2:30 p.m.

 Mindfulness in the Workplace
Speaker: Darren Steeves, President, Vendura Wellness, Adjunct Professor, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Mindfulness can lead to reduced stress, improved mental health and resilience, and many plan sponsors are considering bringing mindfulness into their wellness program. Learn what mindfulness is, what the research says about its benefits, and how they can align with your existing wellness program’s or organizational goals. The session will explore best practices in designing, implementing and championing a successful mindfulness program, along with simple mindfulness techniques anyone can use throughout the day.
• The connection between stress at work, mental health and health benefit costs
• How mindfulness builds resilience
• How to introduce mindfulness at your organization

 The $2.5T Retirement Readiness Problem No One Is Talking About: Until Now
Speakers: George White, CEBS, Executive Vice President, Custodia Financial, Dallas, Texas
Bruce Ashton, Partner, Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, Los Angeles, California

While loans are a common feature in most DC plans, loan defaults are not as well understood, and the true cost of defaults and the fiduciary requirements to address them have not been a focus area. But now loan defaults are on the radar of regulators with a provision to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and a change to Form 1099-R. What is the fiduciary risk for plan sponsors? Is this the next frontier for 401(k) plan litigation? This session provides steps to stay ahead of this coming storm.
• The impact of loan defaults
• Your fiduciary obligations to monitor loans and prevent defaults
• Actionable solutions to assess your plan and address the problem

 Staying Out of the CEO’s Line of Fire: Reducing Employee Benefits Project Risks
Speaker: Hudson Peters, CEBS, Director, Health and Benefits, Willis Towers Watson, Bloomington, Minnesota

Employee benefits projects large and small contain inherent risks of failure—small or large. Consequences are costly, harmful and potentially career-limiting. The use of a simple technique known as a project premortem (PPM) can greatly reduce employee benefits project risk by using a unique process to help identify risks before they occur. A PPM is easy to conduct, can involve multiple stakeholders and senior leadership, and can potentially impact project risks as much as 20-40% or more.
• How employee benefits project risks occur and their implications
• What is a project premortem (PPM) technique, and how can it be easily deployed with little cost?
• Risk management mitigation principles and models

2:45-3:45 p.m.

 Partnering for Health Outcomes— How the Prescription Pass-Through Model Facilitates Saving Money
Speakers: Elizabeth Sennett, CEBS, Managing Director, Krauter & Co., San Francisco, California
Dustin Conrad, Head of Sales, SmithRx, San Francisco, California
Dean Martin, Financial Controller, Certified Public Accountant, A.L. Gilbert Co., Oakdale, California

For a self-insured employer, it is only a matter of time until one or multiple employees get very sick. While always a priority, it can be very difficult to balance providing the best treatment with managing pharmacy benefit spend. This session will share real life case studies about how the pass-through PBM model and a close partnership can lead to outsized health outcomes while containing costs.
• Transparency gives you options.
• Focusing on health outcomes helps contain cost.
• Leverage technology to empower communication.

 Handling Government Audits of Retirement Plans
Speaker: Kelsey Mayo, Lead Employee Benefits Partner, Poyner Spruill LLP, Charlotte, North Carolina

There is nothing that makes a benefits professional’s heart skip a beat quite like “the government is coming.” In the world of retirement plans, there are at least three different agencies—IRS, DOL and PBGC—that might come to the door. This session will provide attendees a roadmap to handling any government audit, including what to expect and how to avoid common pitfalls.
• Be prepared if your plan (or a client’s plan) is selected for audit.
• Know what to expect from an audit.
• Avoid common pitfalls to create a more favorable audit outcome.

 Escape the Minefield: Navigating Paid Leave Impacts to Benefits Policies
Speaker: David Setzkorn, National Practice Leader, Absence Management, The Standard, Phoenix, Arizona

Today over 241 state leave laws are in place and growing, with additional implementation in three states coming soon. In the rush to understand the changing legislation related to paid family, medical and sick leave, it’s easy to overlook impacts to other benefits policies once these laws go into effect. This session will address the current statutory and municipal landscape—focusing on the potential implications to STD and LTD plans and paid time off policies—and outline key employer considerations regarding proposed legislation to help employers prepare.
• Current and pending paid leave legislation
• Impact of paid leaves on STD/LTD and paid-time-off policies
• How to design STD/LTD plans around SDI/TBD/DBL/PFML

 Retirement Reimagined: Retirement Lifestyle Planning
Speaker: Tammy Vigue, Group Retirement Consultant, Porchlight Financial, Vancouver, British Columbia

Although it may be tempting to think that by offering employees a generous group retirement savings program, you have fulfilled your role in preparing them for retirement; the reality is that employees want (and need) more. A recent Benefits Canada survey found that nearly half of group retirement plan members age 45 and over want advice on retirement lifestyle planning. Besides wondering “Do I have enough money to retire?” employees may also be struggling with “What am I retiring to?” Learn why there are compelling reasons to integrate this into your workplace wellness programs.
• Why retirement lifestyle planning is important
• How to integrate it into a workplace wellness program
• Three essential components of a successful retirement lifestyle planning program

4:00-5:00 p.m.

Telemedicine, On-Site Clinics and Other New Plan Options: Avoid the Traps for the Unwary
Speaker: Jay Kirschbaum, Vice President Compliance Services, Lockton, St. Louis, Missouri

Telemedicine, on-site clinics, second opinion services and other new plan design options offer greater breadth and flexibility to employer plans. These options make the plans more efficient and convenient for participants, assist in controlling costs and help make the entire package more attractive. Like all employee benefit options, they come with caveats. This session will discuss the caveats and how to negotiate the best practices for inclusion in employer-sponsored plans.
• What are employers including in their welfare benefit programs?
• How do the new benefit designs work, and what are the potential traps?
• What are the best practices to navigate the traps and get the greatest impact?

I Have to Worry About My DB Pension Plan Too?
Speakers: Todd Solomon, Partner, McDermott Will & Emery, Chicago, Illinois
Chad Keuneke, Principal, Alliance Pension Consultants, Chicago, Illinois

Recent class actions filed against large defined benefit (DB) plan sponsors allege that the actuarial assumptions (namely mortality assumptions) used to calculate benefits are outdated and lead to lesser benefits for participants. The new legal landscape, combined with the fact that many plan sponsors and their actuaries have reviewed actuarial equivalence assumptions as a “set it and forget it” type of decision, means that plan sponsors are vulnerable and must understand these cases and the best practices.
• Allegations made against DB pension plan sponsors and how they may impact your plan
• Best practices to determine actuarial equivalence under pension plans and how to minimize risks
• A to-do list to insulate the plan from potential lawsuits and liability

 Ethical Behavioral Finance: Not an Oxymoron for Retirement and Health Plans
Speaker: Rick Storms, CEBS, Client Services Manager, Alerus, Shoreview, Minnesota

Though it may be a buzzword, behavioral finances recognizes normal human biases that look at how emotional, social and cognitive factors influence everyday decisions, including financial and health decisions. This presentation will identify many of these biases and examine ways to effectively and ethically apply techniques to help plan participants appropriately frame their health and retirement considerations, actions and decisions from a business, insurance, retirement planning and wellness perspective.
• The human behavioral biases relevant to retirement (and other benefits) issues
• Apply these normal biases to help plan participants in their retirement (and other benefits) decisions.
• Take action in these areas in an ethical manner.

U.S. Legal Update: Followup and Discussion
Speaker: Katherine Hesse, CEBS
As a followup to the morning session, this is an opportunity to hear more of the legal caes that continue to shape the benefits space.

“Let’s Talk” Discussion Forums

These forums are an opportunity to discuss the benefit issues most relevant to you. Whether it’s questions or challenges you brought with you, or thoughts or ideas sparked from an earlier session, you are invited to bring your insights, solutions, best practices, and tips and prepare for a lively discussion!

Let’s Talk Health Care Benefits
Discusssion Leader: Sheree Hipwell, CEBS, Director, Human Resources, SEFCU, Albany, New York
Let’s Talk Retirement Benefits
Discusssion Leader: Sean Mahon, CEBS, Lead Senior Consultant, Sibson Consulting, Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Let’s Talk Benefit Challenges (for plan sponsors)
Discusssion Leader: Donna Pierson, CEBS, Director, Compensation, Benefits and Payroll, Milwaukee Center for Independence, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Let’s Talk Canadian Benefits
Discusssion Leader: Natasha Norbjerg, CEBS, Senior Client Representative, TRG Group, Vancouver, British Columbia

Wednesday, September 11

8:00-9:00 a.m.

Keynote: Medical Cannabis in the U.S. and Canada: What’s New and What’s Next?
Speaker: Michael Sullivan, President, Cubic Health, Toronto, Ontario

Legalized medical and recreational cannabis is a reality in Canada and gaining traction across the U.S. With hundreds of global clinical trials underway studying the effectiveness of cannabis in treating dozens of conditions, including opioid addiction, medical cannabis will be an issue every plan sponsor will need to address. This session will focus on how plan sponsors can assess coverage options for safe and responsible use of medical cannabis within their benefits plan in a financially sustainable manner.

9:30-10:30 a.m.
 Is Wellness Worth It?
Speaker: Scott Mayer, Director of Data Analytics, AssuredPartners, Hunt Valley, Maryland

For nearly a decade, the wellness industry has promised employers the outcomes of better health, prevention of large claims, and lower insurance claims costs and trend. They have also touted higher productivity, higher morale and high employee satisfaction as “soft” outcomes. Yet who has actually taken the time to analyze the data and see if what wellness companies claim they can do is actually happening? This session takes an unbiased look at claims data, historical data and independent studies to pull back the curtain on what is myth and what is reality when trying to figure out the efficacy of traditional wellness plans.
• Do wellness plans actually reduce health care claims trends?
• What impacts do wellness plans have on a company’s population health profile?
• How to trust but verify the results that the wellness vendors are showing

Using Data to See Who Is Ready to Retire (or Not)
Speakers: Jonathan Price, Vice President and Retirement Practice Leader, Sibson Consulting, New York, New York
Doron Scharf, Senior Vice President and Actuary, Sibson Consulting, New York, New York

Organizations must take the “retirement pulse” of their employees, identifying employees who are not on track to retire, as well as those employees who are financially prepared and could decide to leave. The session will explore qualitative and quantitative analytic techniques that can identify workforce trends and issues that provide invaluable insights for organizational planning, particularly when coupled with data derived from an in-depth analysis of the organization’s defined contribution plan, payroll and HRIS. Understanding where potential workforce vulnerabilities exist will allow leaders to make informed decisions about succession planning and restructuring.
• Detailed analytics to assess retirement readiness throughout one’s career path
• Qualitative and analytic techniques that identify trends and insights
• How to use data analytics to personalize each situation and provide peer recognition
Is Unlimited Vacation Right for Your Company?
Speaker: Teresa Hess, GBA,Consultant, Hillsboro, Oregon

There are risks and challenges involved in deciding if an unlimited vacation policy is right for your organization. Learn how to determine if this is right for your company, what legal concerns to be aware of, how to build out the policy and how to implement it. Learn how McAfee successfully implemented unlimited vacation for its exempt population in 2018 in the U.S. (about 2,200 employees) using the parameters put into place to avoid compliance issues with FMLA or other leaves.
• Does unlimited vacation work for your organization?
• Compliance with state and federal laws
• How to implement

Collective Retirement Savings Arrangements: A Future for Retirement Savings?
Speaker: Robert Tangney, CEBS, Consultant, Mississauga, Ontario

This session will explore what has been set up to date in both the defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) arenas in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. and the expected benefits of these programs. These include CAAT, OPTrust, Saskatchewan Pension Plan among others in Canada; U.S. programs in Oregon and proposed in other states or cities; and in the U.K., the required DC program as well as the emerging master trusts combining DB schemes. The session will look at the plan designs, the options available and other features of these plans.
• Why this trend is growing
• The benefits for the plan members during accumulation and decumulation
• The benefit for the plan sponsor
10:45-11:45 a.m.

Proactive Fraud, Waste and Abuse Detection With Data Science and Machine Learning
Speakers: Jennifer Warren, Senior Healthcare Data Analyst, Pharmaceutical Strategies Group, Plano, Texas
Jeremy Weidner, Data Scientist, Pharmaceutical Strategies Group, Plano, Texas

Fraud, waste and abuse (FWA) accounts for approximately 1% of prescription drug spending—costing plan sponsors hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Yet detecting the next fraudulent scheme can be challenging. This session will present a real-world example of how machine learning and advanced analytics were leveraged to discover potential FWA before it became a million dollar problem. Get specific strategies to proactively address FWA to avoid unnecessary prescription drug cost and minimize member disruption.
• Follow shifts in suspicious billing over time.
• The ability of machine learning to identify potential bad actors in a network
• Proactive approaches can limit cost and minimize member disruption.

How to Properly Conduct an RFP
Speaker: Jose Jara, Partner, CKR Law, LLP, New York, New York

With the continued wave of ERISA fee class action lawsuits, it is critical that plan sponsors and fiduciaries properly select—and monitor—their service providers. One way to ensure this is by periodically taking the plans out to bid. The session will go over critical questions and issues to address during the RFP process, as well as recent court case examples in which the plaintiffs argued that the RFP process was flawed, leading to excessive fees paid by the plan. Get best practices and know the traps for fiduciaries to avoid.
• A thorough understanding of fiduciary duties related to contracting with service providers
• How to effectively conduct an RFP
• How to negotiate a favorable contract for the plan

One Employer’s Journey to Implementing a Student Loan Repayment Benefit
Speakers: Carolyn Speenburgh, Principal Specialist, Benefits Strategy, National Grid, Brooklyn, New York
Mike Kerber, Partner Success Manager,, Santa Monica, California

Addressing student loan debt is a growing concern of organizations across the U.S., and many are exploring repayment programs. The presentation will outline working through the idea phase; implementing the program; tracking success through data analytics; working with a new vendor; addressing cyber security concerns; collaborating with internal teams; deciding what the payment structure would be; evaluating the cost, communications and rollout; using the data to evaluate financial success for the employees (e.g. increase to employee 401(k) contributions or HSA contributions); and ultimately determining employee attraction and retention.
• Success includes the right partner, a strong project plan and multichannel communication.
• Program customization is key.
• Using data analytics to track the program’s goals

Virtual Health Care: Your Benefits Reality
Speaker: Art Babcock, CEBS, Consultant, Calgary, Alberta

Our Canadian health care system is overburdened. Surveys indicate that long wait times, difficulty booking appointments and other barriers caused 68% of Canadians to avoid seeing a doctor or skip a medical appointment, and that almost 40,000 Canadians visit the emergency room every year for prescription refills and typically wait over four hours to see a physician. Virtual health care (VH) can make more efficient use of our resources. Learn how it works, who provides it, the benefits it can bring to your group health care program and why it is “the next thing” in benefits offerings.
• Learn how VH can help your company’s bottom line
• What’s the ROI on VH?
• Is VH right for your organization?

12:00 noon-1:00 p.m.

Using Genetics to Improve Health Outcomes for Members With Chronic Conditions
Speaker: Jeff Shaman, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer, Coriell Life Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This session will offer perspectives into the strategic reduction of health care costs by educating and engaging employees in a Medication Therapy Management (MTM) program that incorporates genetics. An individual’s genetics impacts his or her specific response to medications, and prescribing the wrong medications puts patients at risk for persistent conditions, deteriorating health and costly health care events. A comprehensive MTM with genetics program has been shown to improve medication adherence, appropriateness and adversity including in chronic conditions. Learn how to strategically and efficiently evaluate and incorporate genetic technology into your existing wellness and engagement programs.
• Apply population-based, genetic analytics to your existing claims data to better understand long-term health risks.
• How other organizations used PGx-based testing programs for better health outcomes and lower cost
• Understand the results associated with PGx testing-based medication therapy management programs.

Money Matters and the Millennial Mindset
Speaker: Robin Loos, CEBS, Senior Benefits Consultant, Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, Texas

Get an overview of plan design strategies based on the younger generation in today’s workforce, including data trends on Millennial savings and spending and employer expectations that could help drive plan designs for future retirement outcomes.
• Financial trends of younger generations
• Plan design strategies that will benefit all working generations
• Impact of new design implementation

Transforming the Total Rewards Function
Speaker: Andre Rooks, Principal, Mercer, Chicago, Illinois

Technology today knows you intimately—what movies you like, when you’re running low on milk and when you’ve been sitting too long—and makes suggestions accordingly. So why do
compensation and benefits managers robotically enroll you in the same plans as everyone else? Look into the lens of the future to gain insight into the total rewards, compensation and benefits function in the new digital era and learn how industrial-era practices are likely to evolve and be disrupted over the mid- and long-term.
• Strategies to evaluate, customize and modernize total rewards
• The research on what employees value from total rewards
• Trends impacting employers’ approach to total rewards

Benefits-as-a-Service: Who Wants to Go BAAS Fishing?
Speaker: Michael McClenahan, GBA, Managing Partner, Benefits by Design Inc., Port Coquitlam, British Columbia

There are many examples—such as Netflix, Uber or Amazon web services—illustrating a transition from selling products to selling services/solutions. In the insurance industry, examples include ASO instead of fully insured product; defined contribution instead of fully insured product; formulary management services independent of the insurer; telemedicine and central dispensing pharmacy, which bring service to individuals; proactive LTD management (service instead of just a reimbursable expense); proactive wellness services; and integration of payroll and HR services. How will BAAS evolve the employee benefits industry, and what must industry stakeholders do to prepare?
• How BAAS could transform employee benefits
• Threats and opportunities of this transformation
• What advisors, consultants and other stakeholders need to know about this evolution



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