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When most people talk about defined contribution in a benefits context they think of either a healthcare spending account or a flexible benefits plan that permits the allocation of flex credits to fund various employee-selected benefits. Both represent a form of defined contribution—repositioning the benefit promise as a dollar amount versus a promise of specific benefits the cost of which is variable.

  • June 9, 2014 September 13, 2019
  • 11:11

I have been in this business a long time—more than a few years. And since Day 1, benefits cost management has been the No. 1 issue facing benefits plan sponsors. I am tired of the conversation in large part because benefits plan sponsors have done relatively little to manage their benefits plan costs over the years. In absolute terms, benefits plan costs represent a relatively small percentage of an organization’s total compensation spend. And, bottom line, I don’t think benefits cost management is the right conversation.

  • February 24, 2014 September 13, 2019
  • 10:58

I have been asked by several people for my views on the benefits of the future. In this article, I suggest that the benefits currently being sold within the voluntary benefits market are not necessarily the ones that employees want. Benefits such as critical illness and AD&D have their place in a more consumer-driven marketplace. However I do not see the market for these benefits to be as robust as it is in the United States.

  • November 18, 2013 September 13, 2019
  • 10:23

I recently presented at an employee benefits conference in the United States. As you would expect, much of the discussion was focused on Obamacare, however, there was a considerable amount of attention on worksite marketing and voluntary benefits.

  • October 18, 2013 September 13, 2019
  • 10:39

I’m frequently asked what I believe to be the most significant issue impacting employee benefit plans today. Most people are expecting my response to be rising costs, particularly drug plan costs. They are therefore surprised when I say changing employee demographics. I absolutely believe that the changing profile of the workforce is the most significant issue impacting employee benefit programs today. And yet, it’s not an issue that is particularly well understood by many plan sponsors.

  • August 30, 2013 September 13, 2019
  • 09:47

As mentioned in my last article, Do all insurers pay claims the same?, Mercer recently completed a survey of the Canadian group insurance market on technology. This was a followup to a similar survey completed approximately 18 months ago. And despite our frustrations in getting detailed responses to our questions on claims adjudication specifics, the […]

  • July 24, 2013 September 13, 2019
  • 08:46

Do all insurers pay claims the same? To find out, Mercer conducted a survey of insurers to drill down into claims adjudication capabilities and differentiators. The survey turned up some surprises.

  • June 20, 2013 September 13, 2019
  • 16:14

Much has been written about elite organizations and great leaders, and what makes them stand out from the rest. Common to both is a thirst for innovation and a desire to challenge the status quo. Great organizations and great leaders live by the credo “there is always a better way.”

  • March 26, 2013 September 13, 2019
  • 07:11

I recently read a fictional book in which the focus of the story was on genetic engineering and the race to discover the scientific equivalent of the fountain of youth. At the end of the book, the author asked, are immortals living amongst us? He presented a credible argument based on advances in medical science—more specifically genetic research—that children born today have an excellent chance of living forever.

  • January 7, 2013 September 13, 2019
  • 07:00

Workplace wellness has gained a considerable amount of momentum in the Canadian marketplace. A lot of organizations have already implemented programs to promote employee health with many more are developing strategies. Still, there are those employers that continue to resist in this area, on the basis that the return on investment is not clear.

  • October 25, 2012 September 13, 2019
  • 10:45