Press releases

May 24, 2017

Legislative and regulatory action on health care reform likely to give states more authority, says president of American Benefits Council at Sun Life Summit

SLPC 28408 5/17 (Exp 5/22)

Wellesley, MA – (May 24, 2017) – The 5th annual Sun Life Summit featured experts in health care policy, workforce demographics, and technology, discussing the disruptors coming to the benefits industry. “Mastering the Benefits Disruptors: Politics, People, Technology”, examined the theme of disruption in health care policy, workforce communications, and benefits technology.

James Klein, president of the American Benefits Council, a Washington, D.C. based employer benefits advocacy group, discussed the potential futures of the Affordable Care Act and the American Health Care Act in the keynote session, “Buckle Up: Riding the ACA Roller Coaster”.

“Whether the bill stalls, or whether it does go through, we are going to see an effort both in the regulatory arena as well as the legislative arena, to devolve more authority to the states,” said Mr. Klein.

Mr. Klein mentioned the Patient Freedom Act, (which would give states autonomy to structure their own health coverage system) as a potential model for how the final Congressional legislation may look. Democrats may also favor the Act, as it would allow “blue” states to retain the ACA. Looking long-term, if the ACA is repealed and its replacement is not successful, Democrats may advocate not for a return of the ACA – but for a single payer model.

In his discussion with moderator, James Slotnick, on employee benefits and forthcoming comprehensive tax reform, Mr. Klein continued, “There is an awareness that employers and workers are no longer looking at health and retirement in separate silos, and more as total rewards. Therefore we do have an opportunity, as tax reform moves forward, to do some things that help address the totality of the types of benefits that individuals need in order to have a sense of personal financial security—like disability or long term care.”

In the panel “How to Reach an Ever-More Diverse Workforce”, panelists discussed the nuances of employee communication and engagement. David Daskal of Jellyvision, Jacki Bassani of Willis Towers Watson, and Jason Averbook of LeapGen agreed that the concept and understanding of “personas” will lead HR professionals to produce tailored, effective benefits communications, and better employee communications in general.

The final panel, “When Will Employee Benefits Become Uber-ized”, focused on various aspects of technology, including big data, predictive analytics, and AI. The panel featured Jeff Yaniga of Maestro Health, Scott Millson of MillsonJames, and Jeff Goldberg of Novarica. They discussed AI and predictive analytics as still young in insurance, but starting to grow, and rapidly. Currently mostly used for things like pricing or risk assessment, there is opportunity to look at claims data and outcomes, and drive things like service, product design, and employer interactions.

The 5th annual Sun Life Summit was held on May 16, 2017, and is now available for viewing online at www.sunlifesummit.com. Past summit themes include private exchanges, disability, and impacts of the Affordable Care Act.

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individuals and corporate Clients. Sun Life Financial has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of March 31, 2017, Sun Life Financial had total assets under management of C$927 billion. For more information please visit www.sunlife.com.

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

In the United States, Sun Life Financial is one of the largest group benefits providers, serving more than 60,000 employers in small, medium, and large workplaces across the country. Sun Life’s broad portfolio of products and services in the U.S. includes Disability and Absence Management, Life, Dental and Vision, Voluntary, and Stop-Loss insurance. This includes the acquisition of Assurant Employee Benefits in Q1 2016. For more information, please visit www.sunlife.com/us.

Contacts:

Devon Fernald, 
Sun Life Financial U.S., 
781-416-7151
devon.portney.fernald@sunlife.com