Upcoming Webinar: Emerging Models for Integrated Health Care

karen english spring consultingPlease join Spring Partner and Head of our Health & Productivity Team, Karen English for an upcoming webinar moderated by Employee Benefit News titled “Making the Connection: Integrating Employee Benefits to Improve Health Outcomes.”

This session will explore the dilemma employers face in balancing cost versus coverage when selecting health care plans and what they can do to make their employee benefit packages more attractive. Employers are quickly finding that, where ancillary employee benefits and voluntary products like pharmacy, dental, vision, disability, etc., used to be a want, they have now become a need in order to offset healthcare costs and build a benefits package that helps them attract/retain top talent.

English will be presenting along with representatives from Anthem, Jostens and SourceMedia. It will take place on October 22nd at 2pm ET.

For more information and to sign up for this webinar, please visit here.

Spring Managing Partner Recognized as One of the 25 Most Influential Women in Benefit Advising

Most Influential Women in Benefit Advising

Image courtesy Employee Benefit Advisor

It was announced this week that Spring’s Managing Partner, Karin Landry was named one of the 25 “Most Influential Women in Benefit Advising” by Employee Benefit Adviser Magazine.

This special honor, which is awarded annually, recognizes “women making a difference in the field” and are “taking the field to unprecedented heights.” It is comes in a year in which Spring has been honored with a number of prestigious awards recognizing our hard work, leadership and creativity. In addition to this most recent distinction, Spring has also won Risk & Insurance Magazine’s “Power Broker” award and Captive Review’s “Employee Benefits Specialist of the Year” in 2015.

More information about “The Most Influential Women in Benefit Advising” list can be found here.

Spring Recognized as Top Employee Benefits Firm in Captive Insurance Industry

employee benefits captiveIt was announced last night that Spring has been awarded the “Employee Benefits Specialist of the Year” U.S. Captive Service Award for 2015.

The U.S. Captive Service Awards are awarded annually, by the industry publication Captive Review, to recognize “excellence in the delivery and management of captive insurance and celebrate innovation, commitment and expertise in the captive insurance field.”

Spring has been leading the charge in the emerging employee benefit captive market for over a decade and our involvement and leadership in this space was never on display more than over the past year. With the Department of Labor’s sunsetting of the Expedited Process (EXPRO) for obtaining an ERISA prohibited transaction exemption (PTE) in 2012, there was a great deal of concern and uncertainty among the U.S. captive community. Spring lead the way in blazing a trail that would culminate in the reinstatement of EXPRO earlier this year.

Spring’s successful PTE approval for our client, Intel, to write their life and accidental death and dismemberment coverage in their existing captive in May of 2014, was one of the two cases the DOL based the eventual return of EXPRO on.

Further, Spring client Sealed Air Corp was one of the first companies to successfully utilize the new EXPRO process earlier this year and is now permitted to write their life and accidental death and dismemberment coverage in their P&C captive.

Finally, in April 2014, Spring was awarded with our 8th US patent for employee benefit funding strategies. This most recent patent outlines Spring’s process for funding retiree benefits including pensions, defined contributions and other retirement programs through a partially, wholly or non-owned captive insurance company. The patent also outlines the process for terminating a pension plan, funding additional employee benefits through a captive and also the reinvestment of captive assets to generate additional assets.

“It was a banner year for our employee benefits team and we are very enthusiastic about what we were able to accomplish,” commented Karin Landry, Spring’s Managing Partner and head of the captive consulting teams. “We are grateful to Captive Review for this gracious recognition of the team’s hard work.”

The award was handed out at a gala last night, kicking off this week’s annual convention of the Vermont Captive Insurance Industry Association’s (VCIA) annual conference in Burlington, Vermont. More information about the U.S. Captive Service Awards can be found here.

Spring Partners to Speak About Absence Management at Regional Employee Benefits Event

teri weber spring consulting groupkaren english spring consultingWe are proud to announce that Spring’s Managing Partners and Absence Management Consultants Karen English and Teri Weber, have been asked to present at an upcoming New England Employee Benefits Council (NEEBC) event.

English and Weber will be presenting with Ruth Galvin and Cynthia Leven from Staples and Michael Soltis from Jackson Lewis P.C. The title of their presentation will be: Trends in Absence Management: FMLA, ADA, Paid Sick Leave and Beyond.

The event will take place on Thursday, August 13 at the headquarters of BJ’s Wholesale Club in Westborough, MA. More information about the event, including registration details, can be found here.

Of course, if you are interested in finding out more about our award-winning absence management consultation and research, please contact us and we can set up some time for you to chat with a member of our team.

Spring Partner to Present at Prestigious Disability Management Conference

As the summer heats up, our busy teams continue to fan out across the country and attend industry events. Next up, our Disability Management Team is heading to the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) Annual Conference.

This year’s DMEC conference will run from August 2-5 at Marriott Marquis in San Francisco, CA.

More details about the event, including registration information can be found here.

DMEC is widely considered to be one of the premier industry gatherings and this year, we are fortunate to have Spring Partner Teri Weber giving a presentation titled “The Opportunity is Now: Entering a New World of Employee Capabilities.”

More information on the presentation can be found here.

If you are heading to the DMEC conference, be sure to stop by our booth #402 and say hi. We will be handing out plenty of goodies throughout the day and you will not believe what we are giving away this year as a raffle prize!


Spring’s Captive Insurance Team is Vermont-Bound for VCIA!

The Summer is here and our team is out in full force attending a number of conferences and events over the next few months. For the 12th consecutive year, the Vermont Captive Industry Association (VCIA) annual conference is one of these events we will be very active at.

This year, the Spring VCIA contingent consists of Karin Landry, John Cassell, Peter Bandarenko and Stephen Bazzano. The event will be held at The Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in Burlington Vermont. VICA regularly attracts hundreds of industry professionals from across the globe.

Spring is proud to once again be a conference exhibitor. If you are heading to the conference, be sure to stop by our booth (#20) and say hi. We will be handing out plenty of goodies throughout the day and you will not believe what we are giving away this year as a raffle prize!

We are also very excited the Spring’s own Peter Bandarenko will be moderating a panel at this year’s VCIA event on the growing momentum of employee benefit captives and the evolving role the government is playing in regulating them.

VCIA runs from August 11-13. For more information on the VCIA conference can be found on their website.

Supreme Court Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage Nationwide: The Employer Impact

supreme court same sex marriage fmla

As you are likely aware, a short time ago, the United States Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry anywhere across the United States. Prior to the ruling, 36 states and Washington D.C. allowed same-sex marriages. Now, the 14 states that have bans will be forced to lift them.

You can read the full Obergefell v. Hodges decision here.

This ruling is game-changing on a number of different levels socially and politically, but we’d like to point out that many employers will be impacted by this decision as well and should be prepared.

The most notable change will be evaluating your spousal eligibility in all areas of employee benefits. In addition, leave policies including but not limited to FMLA compliance will need to be reviewed. Dust off those policies and start re-reading them to pinpoint what changes need to be made.

Photo by tedeytan

Supreme Court Upholds Federal Exchange Tax Subsidies

supreme court photo

The Supreme Court announced today, that they have decided to uphold tax subsidies for individuals purchasing their health insurance through the federal exchange.

Opponents of the subsidies argued in King v. Burwell that the millions of individuals enrolled in the federal health insurance exchange and receiving tax subsidies were ineligible because they resided in states that had not established a state-run exchange. The Supreme Court, in a 6-3 ruling, upheld the Obama Administration’s interpretation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and agreed that health care subsidies should not depend on where a person lives.

The entire King v. Burwell ruling can be found here.

This is the second major Supreme Court win for supporters of the PPACA, further strengthening the chances it remains in tact. So, what does this mean for employers, employees and the future of exchanges?

For employers, it doesn’t really have an immediate effect, as it is simply business as usual under the ACA.  The exchanges will continue to be a potential distribution vehicle via brokers for health and dental insurance with or without subsidies.

For employees, it signals an opportunity to once again look at the exchanges for alternatives to employer insurance offerings and investigate potential subsidies and savings.

While the PPACA is well underway in its implementation, one major component that still causes much anxiety among employers is the Cadillac Tax, which is slated to take effect in 2018. If you’d like more information about the implications of the Cadillac Tax, here is a helpful synopsis of what we do know about it currently and here is a very helpful Cadillac Tax calculator that Spring’s actuarial team developed for employers.

Of course, if you have any questions about the Affordable Care Act, let us know. Our team of compliance experts is ready to help your business navigate the rough waters of health care reform.

Photo by Jeff Kubina