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

2020 Program Brochure

2020 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, August 23

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, August 24

8:00 a.m.


8:15-9:15 a.m.
The Future of Work and Learning Is Here—Are You Ready?
Speaker: Simon Chan, VP Talent, Academy & Future of Work, Communitech,
Kitchener, Ontario

Technological advancements, longer lifespans and generational shifts are redefining careers and workplaces. More than half of employees will need fundamentally new skills by 2022, and 35% of these skills will require more than six months of training. This is clearly an issue that no organization, academic institution or government can tackle alone. This session will discuss the large trends impacting the workplace, what these trends mean to companies of all sizes and considerations for our industry, and possible benefit and retirement savings solutions to meet the needs of this changing workforce.

9:30-10:30 a.m.

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

Benefits legislation and regulation continue to impact plan sponsors, particularly in an election year. Who wins in November and their actions will shape benefits in 2021 and beyond. This session provides an informative and comprehensive analysis on recent, pending or upcoming legislation activities that will continue to shape your plan decisions.

Canada Legal and Legislative Update
Invited Speaker To Be Announced.

This session tees up 2½ days of Canadian benefits sessions with a overview and analysis of legislative, regulatory activity and relevant legal cases at the federal and provincial level. Find out what these activities mean for your group, pension and other benefit plans.

11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon
ICHRA in Year One: Has the Health Plan 401(k) Arrived?
Speaker: Brian Gilmore, Vice President, Lead Benefits Counsel, ABD Financial
Services, San Mateo, California
There are two primary employer advantages of the ICHRA approach as an alternative to the traditional group health plan: (1) simplified administration and (2) reduced cost. This session will be a practical compliance guide to employers interested in implementing ICHRAs, and it will provide a broader view of
how the ICHRA alternative may move the health industry to a defined contribution model in the coming years.


  • Real-world challenges to establishing ICHRAs by early adopter employers
  • The trade-offs available to employers in satisfying the affordability rules for ICHRAs by simplifying administration or reducing costs
  • How ICHRAs have the potential to drive a DC health plan revolution

401(k) Litigation Is Moving to Smaller Plans: Learn Best Practices to Avoid Being the Next Target
Speaker: Patricia Beaty, CEBS, Partner, Taft Law, Indianapolis, Indiana

The topic will discuss the issues raised in the 401(k) litigation and how they all come down to fiduciary governance as well as what went wrong in the governance of the plans at issue. This session will give examples of real-life matters discussed in retirement plan committee meetings and the appropriate way to address those issues. Get specific actions to protect the interest of your plan and its fiduciaries as well as an update on the newest trend of plaintiff lawyers starting to bring the same claims against self-insured group health plans.
  • What does proper fiduciary governance of retirement plans really require?
  • What process should be followed to ensure proper fiduciary governance of retirement plans?
  • What steps can a company take and what documents should they use to demonstrate proper fiduciary governance? 

 Moneyball: Strategic Framework for Compensation and Benefits
Speakers: David Atkinson, Vice President Human Resources Strategy, Atrium Health, Charlotte, North Carolina
Christian Moreno, VP Health Risk Solutions, Lockton, Dallas, Texas

Utilizing specific and real-world case studies, learn about the “zero-sum game” we are all playing with compensation/benefits. In effect, we are playing “Moneyball” with recruiting and retaining talent/labor—no matter the industry we operate in. This session is a deep dive into the design, rollout and communication of tailored total rewards strategic initiatives that drive organizational change and human capital retention and how to build executive/management consensus and buy-in.


  • Learn the key tenets of a successful and well-communicated total rewards program
  • How to use the “whole benefits offering” to meet members where they are—Depending on stage of life and employment
  • The process for facilitating executive participation—And defining victory for each stakeholder

Deeper Dive Into Mental Health Disability Claims
Speaker: Marg Romanow, CEBS, Benefits Officer, Saskatchewan Union of Nurses, Regina, Saskatchewan

This session explores new initiatives to address mental health disability claims. Members with mental health claims often are not well enough to attend appointments, seek and/or follow treatment. Initiatives such as a member-appointed advocate, a tool kit listing available community resources, government services, other benefit plans, documents and checklists, and appeal options such as face-to-face meetings and mediation can be implemented to assist plan members with disability claims.


  • An advocate can help the plan member follow expectations to have a disability claim accepted.
  • What to include in mental health disability tool kit
  • Other options for disability appeals that are time- and cost effective


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.

Hurry Up and Wait for Value-Based Care
Speaker: Robert Anthony Brice, CEBS, Senior Managing Consultant, BRG Prism Healthcare Partners, Bluffton, South Carolina

This session outlines the challenges associated with employer sponsored health plans’ pursuit of value-based care as a cost saving solution. It will focus on the obstacles created by the hospitals and healthcare providers themselves in delivering on the promise of value-based care and will present tactics and solutions that employer-sponsored health plans can use to overcome those obstacles.


  • Hospitals and health systems cannot meet the demand todeliver an effective value-based care solution.
  • By working together, employer-sponsored health plans and hospitals can reduce health care costs and reap the long term benefits of value-based care.
  • Employers must be prepared for a new patient-provider experience.

Statutory and Regulatory Outlook for Retirement Plans
Speaker: Steven Grieb, CEBS, Director of Regulatory Services, Empower Retirement, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The presentation will provide an overview of provisions in the SECURE Act—the most significant piece of retirement legislation in over a decade. It will also cover IRS and DOL guidance applicable to qualified retirement plans. Regulatory topics will include DOL-proposed regulations on electronic disclosures to participants; IRS-proposed regulations changing the required minimum distribution (RMD) rules; new developments (or lack thereof) relating to student debt payment contributions; as well as any additional statutory, regulatory or other developments from the IRS, DOL and PBGC.
  • Analysis of the SECURE Act provisions
  • Compliance pointers for the new RMD rules
  • Guidance for appropriately using electronic disclosures to participants
Defensive Data Security and Risk Management in Today’s Cyber World
Speakers: Rocky Joyner, Senior Vice President, Public Sector Retirement Practice Leader, Segal, Atlanta, Georgia
Amy Timmons, Vice President and Senior Consultant, Segal, Tempe, Arizona
Barbarians at the gate, ransomware, hacking, criminal infiltration— Which threat keeps you up at night? In reality, they all should. Cyberattacks are becoming bolder. City services held for ransom, data breaches and other malicious happenings are becoming more commonplace. What are you doing to protect your entity and the employees and participants in your plans? Cyber insurance can help, but proper preparation is also needed. System reviews and employee training are important cogs in the fight for internet security. It is time to review your castle defenses and perhaps deepen your moat.


  • Important steps and best practices to prepare for the almos inevitable attack
  • Vendor management and indemnification for data maintained by plan service providers.
  • How do you deal with the aftermath of an attack?

2:45-3:45 p.m.

 Getting It Right: How Contracting Directly With Health Care Providers Impacts Your Employees’ Well-Being
Speaker: Cheryl Nienhuis, CEBS, Director, Complex Care Program, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Providing tools and programs that promote well-being can be incredibly helpful for a culture of health and for being free from medical worries. But when employees develop serious or complex health issues, it’s hard to get them the care they deserve, and it’s expensive. Direct contracting with high-quality (and cost-effective!) providers can be a simple and powerful way to save your organization money on high-spend treatments like transplants, cancer, unnecessary spine surgeries, misdiagnoses and heart conditions. After this session, you will have the tools and confidence you need to minimize costs while giving your employees exactly the care they need.


  • How you can help your employees get back to being well once a serious medical need arises
  • How other organizations are contracting directly with the nation’s top hospitals and physicians to care for these employees
  • Ways you can move your organization toward better care for employees that will get them back to their lives

The Mainstreaming of ESG Investing
Speakers: Julian Regan, Senior Vice President, Public Sector Market Leader, Segal Marco Advisors, Boston, Massachusetts
Maureen O’Brien, Vice President, Segal Marco Advisors, Chicago, Illinois
Although ESG is viewed as an emerging concept— and challenges persist with full adoption of ESG investing—retirement plans, investment managers and consultants are moving toward implementation across asset classes, investment strategies and plan types through an array of tools and processes. This session will review a range of implementation tools investors may employ under a pragmatic approach to ESG, including investment policy provisions, investment strategies and investment consultant due diligence, as well as shareholder engagement and proxy voting initiatives to maximize risk-adjusted returns, while advancing environmental, social and governance goals.

  • Understand how investment policy, manager selection and proxy voting processes may be implemented.
  • Take a prudent, thoughtful approach to evaluating ESG investing within the plan’s fiduciary framework.
  • Many investors have long-evaluated the quality of a company’s or asset’s governance in making investment decisions.
 Seize the Upside of Disruption
Speaker: Brad Mandacina, CEBS, Vice President, Director, Lockton Companies, Lees Summit, Missouri
Advancements in technology are changing who employers hire and the way in which they’re hired. Employees expect the tech they use at work to mirror the tech they use at home, and this dichotomy presents an opportunity for most employers. This session will cover how changes in technology (like machine learning, autonomous vehicles and the Internet of Things) will impact every employer.


  • How to prepare for advancements in technology and the impact to every employer
  • Intentional tech investments to seize the upside of disruption and stay an employer of choice
  • Macro and trends in the HR tech space
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Investing in Pension Plans
Invited Speaker To Be Announced.
With the advent of the public’s awareness of human activity on the environment, there is an increasing need to consider evaluating pension plan investments on how to address ESG issues. Learn about the concepts of ESG investing, what it means for your plan, how you can start evaluating your plan’s investments and how to consider ESG factors in the investment selection process.
  • The investment case for ESG and the “how to” of ESG integration
  • Recent market developments in Canada and abroad
  • Climate change–related investment risks

4:00-5:00 p.m.

A Legal Perspective on PBM Contracting
Speaker: Paul Holmes, Partner, Nixon Peabody LLP, Chicago, Illinois

PBM contracting is critical because these contracts cover more than traditional plan vendor administrative services—They determine which drugs will be purchased and the purchase price. Gain insight around the important items that plan sponsors need to know when negotiating a PBM services agreement.


  • Why counsel with specialized PBM experience is critical
  • Key legal documents needed
  • Plan design and contracting issues

 Retirement Plans for Small Businesses
Speaker: Mary Komornicka, CEBS, Attorney, Larkin Hoffman, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Small businesses (less than 100 employees) represent a large portion of our economy and over 50% of the jobs, but despite Congressional action and marketplace focus, they still struggle to provide retirement plans for their employees. This session will look at the unique aspects of small businesses: their culture, the legal challenges and the unique plans that we benefits professionals must understand to be able to successfully service these clients.


  • Knowledge of the unique plans and their requirements that are available to small businesses
  • Understanding of controlled group rules and how they affect retirement plan structures
  • Insight into the business culture of these entities and how retirement plans are used by these businesses

 Health Care Ate My 401(k) Contribution
Speakers: Rocke Blair, CEBS, Managing Director, Sheridan Road Advisors, a HUB International Company, Cincinnati, Ohio
Peggy West, CEBS, Director, Compensation & Benefits, Formica Corporation, Cincinnati, Ohio
What employers and employees pay toward premiums continues to rise more quickly than wages and inflation over time. The inability of many American workers to “choose their day” is causing them to work beyond normal retirement age, adding
increased cost pressure to employer-sponsored health insurance. Follow one employer’s approach of using data and analytics to create economic mutuality for its employees so they can retire on time—by addressing waste, fraud and abuse in its health program and by right-sizing their 401(k) through smart plan design to create a “win” for all stakeholders.


  • When solving for savings, how to address spending and debt for budget-neutral solutions
  • How the use of data and analytics viewed through different lenses can mitigate an employer’s human capital risk budget
  • How to “right-size” a 401(k) plan through “smart plan design” to reduce the cost of health care

A New Vision for Retirement Ages and Annuities
Speaker: Jason Vary, President, Actuarial Solutions, Inc., Oakville, Ontario

In Canada, people are living longer than ever, and many are working longer as well.
These adjustments to retirement ages are leading to changes in workplace benefits and in government retirement programs. Governments in Canada have been responding with various decumulation initiatives such as two new annuity products variable payment life annuity (VPLA) and advanced life deferred annuities (ALDA) and the ability to allow variable payments from DC pension plans. The Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) has also released a public position on the need for later retirement ages in today’s society.

  • Considerations for plan sponsors before offering VPLAs, ALDAs and variable benefits from DC pension plans
  • Insights on the potential implications of later retirement as proposed by the CIA, and how various stakeholders can help support Canadians in deferring their retirement
  • An opportunity for audience members to provide their views and experiences on effective decumulation strategies/commuted value standard
6:00-7:30 p.m.

Welcome Reception

Tuesday, August 25
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

This annual favorite provides a guide to navigating benefitsrelated legal decisions including important and interesting developments and deference to agency decisions, ACA challenges and corporate governance; guiding principles and cases which illustrate their necessity; and a spotlight on recent Supreme Court case decisions that most impact the employee benefits field.

The Future of Pensions
Speaker: Jana Steele, Partner, Pensions and Benefits, Osler Hoskin and Harcourt LLP, Toronto, Ontario
This session will look at a brief comparison of pension law in a few other jurisdictions (Australia, UK and Netherlands), then consider issues/trends impacting the industry. The session will next discuss what would be desirable versus what we are seeing, and lastly, will speculate on the future of pensions in Canada.


  • The pension industry in Canada is undergoing considerable change.
  • We are seeing some desirable change in the pension industry but some inertia on key issues.
  • Private sector pensions in Canada will continue; however, they may not look the same as they do now.

10:00-11:00 a.m.

 Workplace Well-Being Update
Speaker: Jason Sheffield, Director, Willis Towers Watson, La Jolla, California

Despite the highest rates of alcohol, drug and suicide-related deaths since 1999, a majority of employers surveyed have no plans to focus on opioid abuse and suicide prevention, and many do not plan to address the mental health stigma or lack of accessibility to related services, according to 2019 WTW survey data. Behavioral health issues such as depression, substance abuse, anxiety, stress and disrupted sleep are far too common in the workplace and contribute to substantial direct and indirect costs for employers. Creating a behavioral health strategy and understanding the associated legal landscape is a top priority.

• Learn about the requirements of MHPAEA and how to avoid agency enforcement.
• How to address the opioid crisis under the current FMLA and HIPAA rules
• What ADA implications are impacted by the opioid crisis

 Proving Prudence and Participant Loyalty: A Plan Committee Defends Itself
Speakers: Diane Gallagher, Vice President, Retirement Committee Chair, American Century Investments, Kansas City, Missouri
Jennie Clarke, Vice President, Associate General Counsel, American Century Investments, Kansas City, Missouri

Employer-sponsored retirement plans have faced litigation over purported breaches of fiduciary duties. Nearly all the cases have been class-action suits that led to monetary settlements outside of court. However, when confronted with its own case, American Century Investments opted to take the case to trial. Learn how the committee successfully defended itself by vowing to do what was right versus easy.

  • Best practices in documenting process and decisions from a case that was successfully defended
  • The ins and outs of the discovery and trial experience of an actual retirement plan litigation
  • The importance of solid retirement plan committee members and operations of a functional committee of fiduciaries

 Integrating STD/Absence Programs With State PFML Requirements
Speaker: David Setzkorn, National Practice Leader, Standard Insurance, Peoria, Arizona

With at least eight states that have or are in the process of implementing paid family and medical leave statutory programs, employers are struggling with how to create benefit programs that balance the needs of STD, absence, LTD, PTO and state PFML programs. This session will look at factors employers need to consider when looking at creating a program that will address these separate programs, especially if they are operating in multiple states that may have different PFML programs to consider.

  • Understanding how STD, LTD, PTO and PFML work in conjunction with one another
  • Discussing whether an employer should or should not get rid of STD in a PFML State
  • How do employers balance programs in multiple states with multiple requirements?

 Reducing the Risks of Legal Liability in Plan Communications
Speaker: Kim Ozubko, Partner, Miller Thomson, Toronto, Ontario

Clear and fulsome communication is an essential element in the administration of any pension or benefit plan. When mistakes happen and communications are inaccurate or incomplete, employers that sponsor and administer pension and benefit plans may find themselves at risk of legal liability. This session will review legal decisions where employers have been found liable for communication errors and will provide recommendations on how to reduce that liability.

• Risks of poor plan communications
• Best practices in plan communications
• Steps to reduce liability

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
  Evaluating the Benefits of a Pharmacogenomics-Guided Medication
Therapy Management Program | CASE STUDY
Speaker: Jeffrey Shaman, Chief Science Officer, Coriell Life Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Pharmacogenomics testing represents a potentially powerful enhancement to current wellness and medication risk management programs. However, challenges must be addressed to successfully implement these programs especially in large employee and retiree populations where the members and their prescribing physicians are naïve to the utilization of genetics for personalized prescribing. A case study will be shared, with lessons learned, considerations for different employee and retiree populations, and the financial and public health impacts realized by the payer, patients and health care providers.

  • Demonstrate the basics of pharmacogenomics and how it affects patients, caregivers and health care systems.
  • Evaluate PGx-guided medication risk management programs.
  • Formulate goals, metrics and plans for implementing a PGx-guided medication risk management program.

 Mergers and Acquisitions in Retirement Plans
Speaker: Robert Massa, CEBS, Managing Director, Qualified Plan Advisors, Houston, Texas

Mergers, acquisitions and divestitures are common. But what impact do such transactions have on your retirement plans? In this session we’ll talk about stock and asset purchase transactions, how they affect your retirement plans and what options you have when these transactions occur. We’ll also review what effect partial plan terminations and controlled groups of employers can have on these transactions. Finally, we’ll review some case studies to help place these transactions into practical terms.

  • What is a stock purchase vs. an asset purchase?
  • What are the various ways to deal with M&A transactions in regards to your retirement plans?
  • How do controlled groups affect these transactions?

 The More You Buy, the More You Save: Using Behavioral Economics to Understand Why People Make Illogical Benefits Decisions
Speaker: Robin Schwartz, Communications Consultant, Foster & Foster, San Luis Obispol, California

Many times, benefits are explained with the assumption that people will make logical decisions. The problem is that people often don’t make logical decisions when it comes to health care, life insurance, retirement and other complex financial topics. Benefits communications that assume people will be logical often fail because they don’t address the motivators that cause people to make illogical choices: fear, optimism/pessimism, familiarity and others. This session will explore reasons why people make illogical benefits decisions and will present strategies to counter those reasons.

• Understand underlying beliefs that go into making benefits decisions.
• Understand how those beliefs may lead to illogical benefits decisions.
• Learn techniques to address those underlying beliefs.

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.


Nonpharmacologic Approaches to Managing Chronic Pain
Speaker: Lisa Schmidt, CEBS, Consultant, Mindful Benefits, Scottsdale, Arizona

Millions struggle with chronic pain every day, with pain that persists and lingers following an injury that has healed, or with symptoms that are elusive, persisting and resisting in spite of conventional treatment approaches. Medicalized approaches for pain management are a huge employee benefit cost driver, with little to no evidence that long-term prescription medication is helpful to the sufferer. What is missing from traditional treatment approaches is the personal contribution—the responses employees bring to their own healing process. This presentation will explore the stress response and its impact on chronic pain.


  • Ways to handle chronic pain without medication, including lower back pain
  • How to mine your employee benefit data to project pain program outcomes
  • Sample evidence-based pain management tools that promote nonpharmacologic effective pain management
 From Accumulation to Distribution
Speaker: Stewart Kaplan, CEBS, TSP Training & Liaison Specialist, Federal Reserve Thrift Board, Washington, DC

Determining how much to save and how to take income from defined contribution (DC) plans in retirement can be complicated. Employers provide education to employees about saving, but they may stop short of helping employees understand how much they need to save and how to efficiently manage their savings after they retire. Unfortunately, most of the information to determine a drawdown strategy is unknowable and can vary a great deal. Learn more about recent research on educating employees to make realistic plans for retirement that will sustain their desired standard of living.

  • The financial risks of distributions during retirement differ from those during the accumulation phase.
  • Without adequate information, employees begin retirement woefully underprepared.
  • Employers can help by providing quality education and significantly improve retirement outcomes.

  Breaking Into the Zoo: Transforming Benefits Communications | CASE STUDY
Speaker: John Eshleman, CEBS, Director, Benefits, Memorial Hermann Health System, Houston, Texas

Learn about the journey of benefits communications at Memorial Hermann Health System from very traditional to “not so much.” It included major changes in the look, voice and feel as well as the channels and distribution of annual enrollment and other benefits communications. Hear about how and what they measured to understand effectiveness; how the tactics led to improved employee engagement and perception of the suite of employee benefits offered, using an approach that was slightly disruptive and certainly different; and how the approach has led to several industry awards.

• Emphasis on making communications fun
• Using metrics to be effective
• Understanding your population

2:45-3:45 p.m.

 HSA 2.0
Speakers: Scott Borden, Strategic Benefits Advisor, Lewer Benefits Group, Kansas City, Missouri
Mark Galvin, President and CEO, My Medical Shopper, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Are health savings accounts (HSA) relevant today? Do HSA qualified high deductible health plan (HDHP) minimums make HSAs incompatible with the current, disruptive cost-saving strategies such as direct contracting, RBP, incentivized price transparency tools, etc.? Many benefits professionals are no longer including the consumerism advantages only available through HSAs, denying financially savvy employees a significant tax savings opportunity. Most of these strategies will coexist with HSAs if implemented properly and will help protect HSA balances, allowing them to be saved for future medical and/or retirement expenses. HSAs provide the “why” to save money. What’s been missing is the “how.” Until now.

  • Health savings accounts are the intersection of health and wealth.
  • How to design a benefit package that incentivizes employees to utilize high-value preferred or direct contracted providers while remaining HSA compliant
  • How to maximize the triple-tax advantages of health savings accounts

 Retirement Life Planning: Beyond the Financials
Speakers: Rick Storms, CEBS, Client Services Manager, Alerus, Arden Hills, Minnesota
Alan Spector, Author/Researcher, Retirement Quest, St Louis, Missouri

This session explores how prospective and current retirees can prepare for and live the retirement they have worked so hard for by focusing on the nonfinancial aspects of retirement planning. Using benchmark data from qualitative and quantitative studies, learn about retirement challenges, myths and opportunities; gain an approach to making critical retirement decisions holistically; and discover how to help your participants create their personalized retirement life plan.

• Five myths of retirement
• Ten key elements of a fulfilling retirement
• How plan participants can “practice” retirement

Generations, Inclusion and Engagement: Benefits for a Modern Workforce
Speaker: Amanda Zoeller Newman, CEBS, Benefits Consultant, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., New York, New York

With five generations in the workplace, a lot of research has gone into how these different generations are accessing and viewing workplace benefits. Using case studies, this presentation takes the conversation to a deeper level: digging into the changing nature of work and how to use the best of each generation to create an inclusive benefits program for an engaged workforce. We will bust many of the myths surrounding the different generations and have a deep discussion around corporate culture and how to use specific benefits to attract and retain all levels of employees: from entry-level through retirement.

  • Case studies of specific, targeted benefits (some of which are newer to the market) used to provide a comprehensive benefits program that works for all employees
  • How to use value on investment (VOI) versus return on investment (ROI) to create a more engaged, inclusive workforce
  • What each generation brings to the workforce

4:00-5:00 p.m.
 Indiana’s Journey Back to Health: Fiscal and Physical | CASE STUDY
Speakers: Mary Delaney, President, Vital Incite, Indianapolis, Indiana
Susan Barnhart, Director of Health Analytics and Strategy, State of Indiana, Indianapolis, Indiana

As a government entity, the State of Indiana HR team must be well-prepared to demonstrate fiscal responsibility upon demand. This has led the strategic use of data derived from benefit programs such as online wellness initiatives, onsite and virtual health coaching, and cost sharing on pharmacy rebates. The state objectively monitors and evaluates each benefit program investment and modifies its benefit strategy when programs are shown not to be effective. As a result, since 2015 Indiana has demonstrated improved coordination of care, cost of care, and overall population health.

  • Learn how Indiana analyzes disparate data to discover trends and evaluate members’ needs.
  • How data analytics is used to critically examine programs and quantify short-term engagement, impact and intrinsic motivation
  • How a strategic approach to providing benefits drives innovation and compliance and measurably impacts health, wellness and costs

 Pension Plans With Adjustable Benefits
Speaker: Jay Egelberg, Consulting Actuary, First Actuarial Consulting Inc., New York, New York

Single-employer pension plans have been strongly impacted by the 2006 Pension Protection Act and created extreme volatility in the annual funding requirements for these plans. A new plan design offers the employer a relatively fixed contribution amount to a DB plan yet provides lifetime income for participants. In this session, we will review the problems of the traditional retirement plan models and explain how the Adjustable Pension Plan adapts to provide the employer with a fixed contribution rate. We will end with some stress testing of the traditional and adjustable plan designs to see how they each handle various economic scenarios.

  • Making participants own retirement-funding risk could end significant financial education.
  • Making plan sponsors own retirement-funding risk has caused them to veer away from the stability participants need.
  • Plan sponsors and participants sharing the risk could benefit all.

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 Canadian Benefits: Discussion Forum
This forum is an opportunity to discuss the benefit issues most relevant to you. Whether it’s questions or challenges you brought with you, or a thought sparked by an earlier session, you are invited to bring your insights, solutions, best practices and tips to share with other Canadian benefit professionals.

Wednesday, August 26

8:00-9:00 a.m.
Keynote: Mental Health as a Corporate Imperative
Speaker: Carin Knoop, Executive Director, Harvard Business School, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Learn about HBS’ research into how organizational leadership can understand the relationship between work life and mental well-being and position managers as the chief mental health officers of their teams. Areas for promoting mental wellness include reducing stress and stigma, building a safe climate for talking about mental health issues, recognizing at-risk employees, and embracing diversity and neurodiversity. The connection between mental and physical health outcomes is well-known, and mental health leaves have direct and indirect impacts on labor productivity and costs.

  • Educating managers about mental health and building a culture that enables them to deploy this education yield a high return on investment
  • Mental health now is seen as a cost to be borne or risk to be managed—It should become a strategic corporate imperative
  • The good news is that we are ALL part of the problem—And we can be part of the solution

9:30-10:30 a.m.
 Reference-Based Pricing: Myths and Realities
Speaker: Donald Reiman, CEBS, President/Founder, Echelon Group, Boise, Idaho

Reference-based pricing (RBP) is one of the fastest growing and most controversial for self-funded plans. The program will provide a thorough explanation of RBP for anyone working with self-funded plans, while clarifying the myths, explaining the realities, and discussing best practices and the importance of identifying the correct employers, partner TPAs, repricing vendors, stop loss carriers, and the pitfalls and traps to avoid.

• Thorough understanding of reference based pricing
• Clarification of myths and realities of referenced base pricing
• Best practices for evaluating clients and whether to implement reference-based pricing

Financial Wellness: Are Your Hispanic Employees Engaging?
Speaker: Marco Melero, Multicultural Education Strategist, Qualifed Plan
Advisors, Dallas, Texas

As an employer, would you like to engage your employees and increase your company’s bottom line through financial wellness? Are you having trouble engaging your Hispanic or Spanishspeaking employees? This is an interactive and engaging conversation centered on financial wellness and how it can increase employee productivity, retention and attraction.
  • Calculate productivity loss of your organization and use financial wellness as tool to increase productivity to gain leadership support.
  • Apply culturally sensitive best practices to engage your Hispanic employees.
  • Implement best practices to take your financial wellness program to the next level.
Are You Considering an Unlimited Vacation Benefit? | CASE STUDY
Speaker: Kristine Karnath, U.S. Director of Benefits, Moog, East Aurora, New York
Learn how Moog, a global design and manufacturing company with 7,000 U.S. employees across multiple sites implemented a form of unlimited vacation known as flexible planned vacation. It represented a significant change from the multiple vacation plans in place for decades. Learn about the research, design and implementation of this unique form of alternate PTO; lessons learned; and what you need to know if you are considering this type of benefit.
• How unlimited vacation can work
• How to implement unlimited vacation
• The benefits of unlimited vacation

10:45-11:45 a.m.

Your Health Plan Says It Provides a Benefit, But Does It? Monitoring, Enforcing and Negotiating With Your Network Teams
Speakers: Ruth Marcott, Of Counsel, Kutak Rock LLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Cindy Davis, Partner, Kutak Rock LLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Plan sponsors intend their health plans to provide certain benefits or protections to their plans’ participants. In operation, insurers or administrators may be overly zealous in denying certain benefits claims or less than zealous in enforcing participant protections. Recent headline news includes plans routinely denying mental health claims or telehealth claims or imposing in-network criteria that is not readily accessible, contrary to the plan sponsor’s intent or plan terms. What can plan sponsors do to assure that claims are being correctly processed and that plan terms are being followed by their insurers or administrators?


  • Where health plans are experiencing broad benefits denials or breach of provider obligations
  • Monitoring or auditing to assure performance of a health plan according to its terms
  • Contract provisions and enforcement to assure provider operational compliance with the health plan’s terms

Retirement Plan Fraud: War Stories and Lessons Learned
Speaker: Kelsey Mayo, Partner, Poyner Spruill, Charlotte, North Carolina

Many individuals believe that, because of the various protections of a plan, fraud almost never (or at least is unlikely to) occur with a benefit plan—and they have difficulty imagining a scenario in which it could occur. Do you think fraud can almost never happen? Think again. This session will explore real ways in which fraud has occurred with employee benefits plans, discuss how the fraud was discovered, how it might have been discovered earlier and the internal controls a sponsor should review to identify potential risks for a plan.

• Understand how fraud could occur with an employee benefit plan.
• Identify key internal controls that help prevent fraud.
• Have a plan of action if something does occur.

How to Use Robotic Process Automation to Improve Your Benefits Effectiveness
Speaker: Lisa Villalobos, CEBS, Managing Consultant, CrossCountry Consulting, San Francisco, California

Imagine a world where your benefits staff are spending moretime counseling employees than reconciling monthly premiums, answering the same employee questions repeatedly or checking every document submitted for a dependent audit. Oh, and did we mention save money? Robotic process automation (RPA) can take your repetitive processes, even those using multiple systems, and accomplish them quickly, with better accuracy and without human intervention. RPA development does not require any special software coding background and is often created by the functional expert in the area. Your ROI includes better customer service and improved staff engagement once these repetitive tasks are streamlined.

• What is RPA and how can it be used in benefits administration?
• How RPA can create great productivity returns
• Keys to an effective RPA implementation

 Navigating Plan Amendments: Balancing Employee Education and Business Readiness | CASE STUDY
Speakers: Linda Bellon, CEBS, Service Delivery Manager, Buck, Toronto, Ontario
Maria Sands, CEBS, Senior Manager, Global Pension Delivery, Scotia Bank, Toronto, Ontario

In today’s environment, major DB plan changes or redesigns are common ways to manage risks while maintaining a retirement program as a cornerstone employee benefit. Follow one of Canada’s Big 5 banks as they made significant amendments to their principal $6 billion, 57,000 member DB plan with membership spanning Canada and internationally that impacted business streams well beyond the pension plan. We will look at the planning, the communications, and how Scotia Bank worked with its administration services provider to prepare for “Project Spike”—the potential large-scale exit of up to 6,000 plan members at one time and the successful partnership with its third party administrator.

  • Downstream business considerations of any significant plan change—Determine the level of investment required for the desired member experience outcome
  • Membership communication considerations beyond statutory requirements and how technology can assist
  • How to effectively partner with your service providers for success

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

Using Technology to Lower Health Benefit Cost and Drive Engagement in Effective Clinical Programs
Speakers: Eric Parmenter, CEBS, Vice President Health Advisory, League, Franklin, Tennessee
Mark Jones, Vice President National Sales, BenefitHub, Southport, North Carolina
New technologies in recent years present growing opportunities for plan sponsors to drive down health benefit costs by improving engagement in effective clinical programs. Apps, wearables, streaming video and other technologies combined with behavioral economics and social science are unlocking creative new ways for employers to manage their health plans. All of this is possible while improving employee satisfaction. Learn about what investments of over $20 billion in health tech in the last ten years has produced in the way of new opportunities for health plan sponsors and how to take advantage of technology that actually works.


• What are the main categories of health technology?
• How can technology drive engagement in effective clinical programs?
• What are the most effective tech-enabled clinical programs?

”New” Emergency Treatments for Financial Illnesses
Speaker: Jack Towarnicky, CEBS, Research, American Retirement Association, Arlington, Virginia

Most plan sponsors recognize the importance of financial wellness and retirement planning; however, gaps persist. If some of your participants are living payday-to-payday, cash-strapped, unbanked, underbanked and unable to cover unexpected expenses, you may be considering offering options such as an ondemand pay app, sidecar savings accounts or altering your plan loan requirements. Gain a thorough understanding of each and their impact on short- and long-term financial wellness.


  • Enable participants to break the payday to payday living cycle.
  • Prepare for emergencies by leveraging the provisions of a taxqualified retirement savings plan.
  • Dispel the myths surrounding plan loans.

Student Loan Repayment Program
Speaker: Adele D’Alessandro, GBA, Employee Benefits Manager, Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall, Newburgh, New York

Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall partnered with to provide a student loan repayment program to our nonunion employees for 2019, with a unique program that allows employees o convert accrued vacation/PTO to the equivalent dollar value and transfer that dollar amount to reduce their student or parent plus loan debt. Learn about how the program was designed, the organization’s challenges in rolling out the program, and educating employees on the program and the tax implications.

  • Addressing employee concerns of mounting student and/or parent plus loan debt
  • Tax implications of offering a student loan repayment program (SLRP)
  • Best practice in implementing an SLRP

Innovations in DC Decumulation Options: A Retiree-Focused Look
Speaker: Michelle Oram, CEBS, Product Owner, Guidance & Advice, Manulife, Kitchener, Ontario

The world of retirement income options can feel like alphabet soup—RRIF, LIF, RLIF, LRIF, PRIF. Throw in new proposed options like ALDA and VPLA, and it all adds up to a confusing landscape to navigate for plan members approaching retirement. With increased longevity, an aging population and more members headed into retirement, regulators have proposed new decumulation alternatives. This session will take a retiree-focused look at retirement payout options. What do retirees need and want from a retirement income solution? How are those needs served by the solutions that already exist, and what gaps do the new proposed options fill?


  • How existing and proposed decumulation options meet retiree needs
  • Advanced life deferred annuity (ALDA) and variable payment life annuity (VPLA)—How will they work, and how are they different from existing options?
  • Fiduciary considerations for employers supporting plan members in the transition to retirement



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