Last week I had the pleasure of attending the New England Employee Benefits Council (NEEBC)’s Annual Summit. It was great seeing so many familiar faces and reconnecting with industry leaders I haven’t seen in over 2 years! When walking around the exhibitor trade show, it was fantastic to see people connecting and developing potential partnerships. As for the presentations, we saw a variety of topics spotlighted, some of which included:

 

  1. Mental Health

As May was Mental Health Awareness Month, it was only fitting that mental health was again a leading topic discussed during NEEBC. As many workers have moved towards remote and hybrid work, there has been an increased demand for remote mental health services amongst employees. During a session on strategies employers can adapt to de-stigmatize behavioral health and increase access, Lisa Bertola and Sara Gunderson from Segal explained how employers must adopt data-driven strategies to improve mental health resources and access.

  1. The Great Resignation

As many know, The Great Resignation phenomenon has been front and center within the benefits industry for over a year. The Great Resignation has affected countless employers nationally and organizations are battling to retain and attract talent through strong benefit packages and inclusive workplace environments.

a)  The Great Disconnect

The ideology of The Great Disconnect arose from The Great Resignation and represents the disconnect between what employees want and what employers think employees want. COVID-19 and the shift towards hybrid/remote work changed what many employees value from their benefits. Offerings such as mental heath resources, tele-medicine and financial wellness resources became popular, and are slowly becoming the new standard in the industry. Michal Alter from visit.org explained this in detail during his session on The Great Disconnect, where he explored how employee benefits data analyses can better help employers engage and retain employees.

b)  Tech

When it comes to deciding what benefits to implement, employers now have greater access to digital tools that can help identify the benefits employees actually want. In a session with Corestream CEO, Neil Vaswani, and Salary Finance’s CDO, Anita Ward, they explored the current state of innovative HR technology and how it is being used to measure performance and employee happiness. They further explained how these technologies can better illustrate the needs of employees and help employers develop benefits packages in response that are competitive in the war for talent.

c)  Burnout

Recognizing burnout is the first step in identifying which employees are at risk of finding other employment opportunities. In a keynote address by Dr. Neha Sangwan, titled The Burnout Awareness Prescription, she spotlighted the significance of integrating “human software” into organizations. She laid out the importance of focusing on your employee’s health and well-being by keeping up to date with their passions and making sure their work successes can help them meet their personal goals. Assuring employees are feeling fulfilled both inside and outside of work is crucial when reducing workplace burnout and retaining top-tier talent.

  1. Prescription Drug Costs

As the US is one of the countries paying the most for prescription drugs, strategizing around the costs for Rx drugs was a hot button topic this year. In a session comprised of a lineup of experts from Upside Health Advisors, ICER, Imagine360 and Point32Health, they tackled the issue many employers face when setting up medical insurance plans…prescription drug costs. They looked at different Rx payment methods, including referenced-based pricing, and walked through case studies to highlight the pros and cons of alternative Rx options. They closed by clarifying how employers of any size can manage drug costs by evaluating different Rx pricing options.

 

As a member of the Board of Directors at NEEBC, it was great to see another successful Annual Summit come to life! Beyond networking, I enjoyed learning how different industry leaders are tackling some of our biggest issues head-on.

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Teri Weber

Teri Weber

Partner at Spring Consulting Group, LLC
Teri Weber, ACI is a Senior Vice President with Spring Consulting Group. She has over 10 years of experience in health and welfare plan strategy, design, pricing, and implementation. She also works with absence management programs, including disability, family medical leave and leave of absence tracking. Her areas of expertise have allowed her to work with diverse employers and vendors to streamline processes and programs to meet the needs of insurers, administrators, employers and employees. Teri is on the Board for the New England Employee Benefits Council (NEEBC) and recently served as lead editor for the Disability Management Employer Coalition’s (DMEC) Return to Work Program Manual. Prior to joining Spring, Teri worked with Watson Wyatt, Buck Consultants and AON Consulting. In addition she was an Account Manager with Health Direct, Inc. Teri earned a BS at the University of Connecticut and a MBA at the University of Massachusetts. She holds an ACI designation and is a licensed broker in the states of MA and CT.