Understanding the Top 5 Group Employee Benefit Trends for 2015.

    /John  /Garnerspeaker of compliance global
    Speaker: John Garner
    Duration: 60 Minutes
    Product Code: 700107
    Level: Intermediate
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This webinar will discuss the top five group benefit trends for 2015, most of which are inter-related and not mutually exclusive. The top 5 group benefit trends in 2015 are defined contribution health plans, private exchanges, consumer-driven health plans, voluntary benefits and self-funding. As employers continue to strategize how to deal with health care reform facts, one approach gaining in popularity is defined contribution health plans, which often use private exchanges, in which employees often choose consumer-driven health plans, which create greater needs for voluntary benefits. Self-funding of health plans can take place in a defined contribution environment or can be an alternative to private exchange, which are often fully insured. In many ways these current trends are not new and have been around for many years, often under other names. For example, defined contribution health plans are similar in concept to flexible benefit plans, also known as cafeteria plans. Similarly, single-carrier private exchanges have been around for many years, they just did not have a name.

why should you attend

The environment related to group benefit plans is constantly changing. Attendees will benefit from this webinar by gaining a greater understanding of the top trends in employee benefits, why they are popular, how they can be used and the situations where they may or may not fit an employer's strategy. It is not unusual for a CEO or other high ranking official in a company to read an article about one of these trends and come to human resources or finance and demand to know why no one told him about this alternative. Therefore, personnel with responsibility for group benefits need to stay current on the latest developments. At a minimum, you need to be able to respond intelligently when the CEO wants to know more about a particular trend. If your CEO wants to know about one of these topics, you need to know what it is that he or she is talking about. Saying “I don’t know, I will look into it” just makes you look stupid. Better yet, you should be the one taking proactive steps to make sure management knows about what is going on in the field of group benefits and why you do or do not think a particular hot topic is right for your organization.

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Areas Covered

This webinar will begin by introducing the attendees to the concept of defined contribution health plans and comparing and contrasting them to flexible benefit plans (also known as cafeteria plans) that were a hot trend in the 1980s. This webinar will describe the choices that are available within defined contribution health plans, including health maintenance organizations, exclusive provider organizations, preferred provider organizations, high deductible health plans and high deductible health plans paired with either a health reimbursement arrangement or a best health savings account. The webinar will also discuss the SHOP for small employers. The webinar will describe the importance of educating employees who are asked to participate in a defined contribution. The webinar will also discuss the latest guidance related to employer payments for individual private health insurance policies for both active employees and retirees. Defined contribution health plans work well with private exchanges, which will be introduced next. There are two basic structures for private exchanges: single-carrier exchanges and multi-carrier exchanges, both of which will be described and discussed. Consumer-driven health plans can fit within both defined contribution health plans and private exchanges. This webinar will described high deductible health plans, health reimbursement arrangements, health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts for unreimbursed health care. Consumer-driven health plans often create a need or desire for ways to fill the gap in coverage created by high deductible health plans, which creates demand for voluntary benefits, particularly accident plans, critical illness plans and hospital indemnity plans. This webinar will also discuss other voluntary benefit plans. This webinar will conclude with a discussion of self-funding, including the advantages, disadvantages and what is new. Self-funding is not new; however, health care reform imposes a new health insurance tax on fully insured plans, making self-funding more attractive than ever. Furthermore, self-funded plans are exempt from a number of the requirements under health care reform.

Learning Objectives

•  To understand defined contribution health plans
•  To understand private exchanges
•  To understand consumer-driven health plans
•  To understand voluntary benefits
•  To understand self-funding


Any employer that sponsors a group benefits and any vendor that acts on behalf of health plans. Some of these titles include:
•  Vice Presidents of Human Resources
•  Directors of Compensation and Benefits
•  Benefit Managers
•  Benefit Specialists
•  Insurance Agents
•  Insurance Brokers
•  Employee Benefits Consultants
•  Group Insurance Representatives


Mr. Garner is Chief Compliance Officer at Bolton & Company. John Garner is literally "the guy who wrote the book". As the author of the Health Insurance Answer Book, he is one of the most respected benefit consultants in the country. Mr. Garner began his career in employee benefits in 1971. Before joining Bolton, he was the founding principal of Garner Consulting in Pasadena, California. Prior to founding Garner Consulting, he was a principal in the Los Angeles office of Towers Perrin, where he worked for over ten years. Prior to that he managed a group claim office for Lincoln National Life.

Previously he supervised a claim office for Prudential, where he also served as an underwriter. Mr. Garner serves as the national legislative and government affairs advisor for the Disability Management Employer Coalition. He is a past chair of the CEBS Committee for the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (the committee with academic oversight on the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist program). He is a past member of the Governing Council of the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists and is a past president of the Los Angeles Chapter. Mr. Garner is also a past president of the Employee Benefit Planning Association of Southern California, the Los Angeles Life and Accident Claim Association and the Western Claim Conference. He is on the Board of Directors of the Western Claim Conference and the Los Angeles Chapter of the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists.

Mr. Garner is a past member of the Governing Council of the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists. He is the author of the Health Insurance Answer Book, co-author of the Medical/Disability Claims Handbook and articles that have appeared in numerous publications, including an award-winning article that appeared in the Journal of Financial Service Professionals. His articles have also appeared in Benefits Magazine, Benefits & Compensation Digest, Managed Care Quarterly and many others. He is a frequent speaker; among the groups he has addressed are the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists and various Bar Associations. Mr. Garner received his B.A. degree from Occidental College in 1971 (where he was a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the Honor Society in Economics).

He is a Chartered Life Underwriter, a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist, a Group Benefit Associate, Retirement Plans Associate, a Certified Management Consultant, and a Certified Flexible Compensation Instructor. He is a Fellow of the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists and a member of the Los Angeles Association of Health Underwriters, the California Association of Health Underwriters, the National Association of Health Underwriters, the Society of Financial Service Professionals and the Institute of Management Consultants. He is past chairman of the community health education committee for the Greater Los Angeles division of the March of Dimes. He is a past member of the Occidental College Alumni Association Board of Governors. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and many other publications.

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