The Cost of Reform: Offering Attractive Employee Benefits While Keeping Expenses in Check
Date: Thursday, August 14, 2014
Time: 10:30 A.M. ET
Duration: 1 hour
Sponsored by Empire BlueCross BlueShield
The Affordable Care Act is here to stay. Along with it, employers are evaluating their options for health insurance benefits: should fully-funded plans be offered? Is a self-insured plan the way to go? What are private exchanges? Which types of benefits will help the company attract and retain top talent?
Pressure to keep a tight rein on the rising costs of benefits has finance chiefs scrutinizing line items, especially when the item costs are so high—as in the case of health insurance. At the same time, according to Mercer’s 2013 National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, employers are reluctant to remove insurance coverage as an employee benefit. Ninety-four percent of large companies say they intend to offer employer-sponsored health plans for the next five years, and 77% of small companies anticipate the same.
With the average cost of health insurance valued at around $10,000 per employee, finance chiefs are pressed to learn their current options, keeping an eye on the company’s bottom line and minimizing the impact on employees.
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About the Panelists
Patrick J. O’Keefe, Vice President and General Manager, Downstate New York Commercial Markets, Empire BlueCross BlueShield
Patrick was named Vice President and General Manager of Downstate New York Commercial Markets for Empire BlueCross BlueShield in 2009. Empire is the state’s largest health care provider, serving nearly six million New Yorkers. A subsidiary of WellPoint, Inc., Empire offers health insurance plans and a variety of specialty products for groups and individuals.
An experienced health insurance leader, Patrick brings a strong combination of marketing and sales skills, as well as financial acumen, to his current position. His leadership roles prior to joining Empire include UnitedHealth Group, Digital Insurance, Bank of America / Fitzmaurice & Co. and Oxford Health Plans.
Patrick serves on The Board of Directors for Empire Health Assurance Company and Rayant Insurance Company of New York. He also serves as the WellPoint Executive Sponsor of Veterans of WellPoint, which is an internal organization built to support WellPoint associates who are veterans, whose family members are veterans or whose family members are actively deployed.
Joseph S. Kra, FSA, MMA, Partner, Health and Benefits, Mercer
Joseph Kra is a Partner with Mercer’s New York Health and Benefits practice. He has 14 years of experience consulting to midsize and large employers regarding active and retiree healthcare benefits. He currently advises employers representing the healthcare, financial service and sports industries.
Joe is a member of Mercer's actuarial leadership team and recently served as the interim Chief Actuary for Mercer's US Health and Benefits practice. In this role, he supports oversight of actuarial staff and consulting, including developing new capabilities, establishing firm-wide positions and policies, developing solutions for complex client challenges, recruiting, managing senior consultants and staffing.
Joe actively participates on Mercer's national healthcare reform leadership team, and is responsible for exploring new marketplace solutions as well as educating consultants and employers. He has worked on a wide range of projects for large employers since joining Mercer in 2000 as a full-time employee. His previous experience has included internships in compensation consulting and health benefits consulting with Mercer as well as retirement consulting with PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Michael S. Grant, Executive Managing Director, Employee Benefits Services, Crystal & Company
Michael S. Grant leads the Employee Benefits Services unit for Crystal & Company as Executive Managing Director. This department provides brokerage and consulting services in group benefits, executive benefits and retirement services, and HR operations support, working collaboratively with clients across all industries to provide customized solutions for business and human capital needs.
Grant is an accomplished executive and client-focused business leader with more than 25 years of industry experience. Before joining Crystal & Company, Grant was President, Employee Benefits for a national brokerage firm in New York, where he was accountable for all facets of insurance brokerage operations, including sales and client retention programs. Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President, Commercial Sales and Account Management for United HealthCare and MetraHealth, the combined Medical entity of MetLife and Travelers. In this role, he directed a team that served the full spectrum of clients from two to 10,000 employees, including many Fortune 500 and multi-site companies.
Grant serves as a board member and active supporter of various religious organizations, including St. Ignatius Retreat House, Sisters of Charity Halifax, Dominican Village, the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception and Tomorrow's Hope Foundation.
About the Moderator
Mary Beth Findlay, Editorial Director, Product Development, CFO Publishing
Mary Beth Findlay is editorial director of product development for CFO Publishing's custom-content division and oversees the development of editorial and custom content products, including eBooks and CFO Playbook Webcasts. Prior to joining the custom-content group, Mary Beth was associate director of research at CFO Research Services. She conducted research studies on a variety of finance topics, including banking and capital markets, business performance management, the use of financial and operating data, and professional development.
Before joining CFO, Mary Beth served as a research associate at Harvard Business School, writing case studies and background notes for second-year MBA courses. She is a graduate of Boston University School of Law, and she earned a bachelor's degree in communication from Boston College.
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