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a newsletter for members of the New England Employee Benefits Council

Summer 2015
In This Issue
Upcoming Programs
NEEBC's Membership Video
In the News...
Resource Directory
Follow NEEBC Online
Scholarship Program
Quick Links
New at NEEBC
NEEBC Celebrates Board Members
Cigna White Paper: Why Good Dental Care is Important
Premier Announces Employer Savings Program
Discounts for NEEBC Members
Member Briefs
Upcoming Programs
 NEEBC's Membership Video on YouTube
View the video here and see why your friends and colleagues value their NEEBC membership.
Thanks to our Annual Corporate Partners 





In The News...
The U.S. Treasury Department's New Retirement myRA Savings Option

The U.S. Department of Treasury has developed myRA (my Retirement Account), a new retirement savings option that can help people start saving for their future.  If you have employees who do not have access to a retirement savings plan, you can help them save for their future by introducing them to myRA.

How Does This Help Your Employees?

Half of all U.S. households have zero retirement savings and half of all workers don't have access to a retirement savings plan at work.  myRA was developed to provide access and remove common barriers that keep people from saving.  It's simple, safe and affordable.
  • No cost or fees to open and maintain account
  • myRA carries no risk of losing money
  • Employees choose the amount they can afford to contribute
  • The investment is backed by the U.S. Treasury
  • If an employee changes jobs, the account stays with them
  • Employees can withdraw the money they put in without tax and penalty

Visit or email at  

Resource Directory
NEEBC's Benefits Resource Directory  is an easy-to-use guide to regional benefits products and services, providing numerous categorical listings. Please consider directory advertisers when purchasing products or services. Sign up today.
Follow NEEBC Online
Follow NEEBC's new
LinkedIn Company Page
for all the latest information

Follow us on Twitter

 Like us on Facebook 
Scholarship Program
Established in 1990, NEEBC has awarded 51 scholarships for the advancement of professionals in the employee benefits field, totaling $165,500.

This year's Russell A. Gaudreau, Jr. Scholarship Award Winner is Danielle Ring. 

Danielle Ring, from Champlain College, is a second-time winner and recently completed her undergraduate studies while working full time in the benefits field.  She is now pursuing her MBA at Champlain and has earned her PHR and will sit for her SHRM exams this summer.

This year's Michael P. Zingg Memorial Scholarship Award Winner is Scott Riordan.

Scott Riordan is employed at Sentinel Benefits and Financial Group where he is Director of the Health and Welfare Services Division.  He is also a member of the NEEBC Mentor Program and is currently pursuing his MBA at Babson College.
Scott Riordan

Scholarship applications are available online, and part-time and full-time students are eligible.  We especially encourage NEEBC members to apply.
Quick Links
Member Briefs - Kudos to All
Peter Stoner, President & CEO, STONER & Co.,
volunteers as Board President for the John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club of Newton.  Peter is pictured below with Josh Kraft, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Boston, to honor the "Youth of the Year" award winner. 

Philip Swayze, Director of Health & Performance for the New England Region, HUB International
, brings a wealth of industry knowledge and hands-on expertise to HUB's growing benefits practice.  Philip will provide strategic wellness consulting to all HUB clients looking to improve the health and performance of their employees while helping reduce health related costs.

Debra Wein, CEO of Wellness Workdays, and co-chair of the NEEBC Wellness Planning Committee, has been appointed to the Steering Committee of the President's Council of Cornell Women (PCCW) and named Director of Alumnae Engagement.  PCCW is a group of highly accomplished alumnae working to enhance the involvement of women students, faculty, staff, and alumnae as leaders within the Cornell University and its many communities.  Debra joins noted alumni Janet Reno, Gabrielle Giffords, Jane E. Brody, Mae Jemison and Irene Rosenfeld.

Wendy Rue Williams, Director of Health Management for the New England Region, Marsh & McLennan Agency, will oversee the integration of wellness solutions for MMA's private exchange, MMA MarketLink.  Wendy will play a pivotal role in building the future of wellness for MMA and the exchange platform.  Her dual responsibilities will oversee data analysis and the High Performing Health Plan assessment process, as well as managing a team that provides strategic data-driven consultation; coupled with her new role of helping to weave these wellness concepts into MMA MarketLink.   


  Patty Houpt 

A message from Patty Houpt,

Executive Director

Sunny Days


We have had a most exciting spring at NEEBC with 20 very successful programs, including a new series on International Benefits and a Special Pharmacy program.  The Annual Employee Benefits Summit on June 12th was particularly energizing and the planning committee did an amazing job of identifying dynamic speakers.  I want to share with you one particular comment we received from Jean Young, Senior Research Analyst, Vanguard Center for Retirement Research:  "Congratulations on a great conference!  As you might imagine, I attend many conferences.  Your conference program was very interesting to me, and your general session speakers were all first class.  I follow the health care reform dialog, as health care costs are certainly a factor in retirement.  Dr. Sand's views were quite intriguing, and the panel discussion was fascinating with a range of views.  Lindsey Pollak's presentation was thought provoking as well."   


For those of you who have not yet joined, we are again offering our popular summer Membership Special.  Please take a moment to  Learn more about Membership and we hope you will take advantage of the current Membership Special - $89. Please take a look at the "Discounts for NEEBC Members" below to see some of the many benefits of membership. 


I wish for each of you time this summer to rest, relax and re-charge, and we look forward to seeing you soon at another NEEBC program!  

New at NEEBC

Welcome to the 106 New Members
who have joined NEEBC in the past 3 months. 

Welcome to the 7 New Organizations who have recently joined: Financial Engines, HealthFitness, Interleukin, MCPHS University, Standex International Corporation, Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Virgin Pulse.
NEEBC offers a powerful Career Center.  Ten (10) featured jobs are listed in the new scroll bar on our home page.
NEEBC Celebrates Board Members

NEEBC thanks Linda Vacovec, Operations Manager, Preventive Services, Optum,  for her years of service on the Board of Directors, and inspirational leadership as Chair of the Wellness Program Committee.  Initially, our Wellness programs were small seminars, and they now regularly attract more than 70 participants.  Best wishes to Linda on her next adventures!

NEEBC Welcomes Two New Board Members

Amy O'Neill, AVP & Director, Health and Welfare Programs/Corporate Benefits, Liberty Mutual Insurance
Amy is a health and welfare benefits practitioner with nearly 15 years professional experience in a variety of industries.  Amy is currently responsible for driving health and wellness benefits strategy for Liberty Mutual's over 80,000 active and retiree members.  Previous work experience includes policy analysis with the Congressional Budget Office, public sector consulting with Deloitte, and nearly six years working in Liberty's government affairs group prior to joining Corporate Benefits in 2011.

Amy pursued her J.D. from Suffolk University and a Master's in Public Administration from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, with a focus on health policy.  Amy received her B.A. from the University of Rochester, with majors in economics and political science.

Eric Swain, Vice President of Sales & Account Management, New England, UnitedHealthcare
 With more than two decades of national and local employee benefits experience, Eric Swain is one of UnitedHealthcare of New England's senior leaders responsible for driving market innovation; improving quality and affordability for employers and members; and fulfilling UnitedHealthcare's mission of helping people in New England live healthier lives.


Since joining UnitedHealthcare in 2005, Eric and his team have delivered a variety of benefit plans and educational tools to successfully meet customer needs throughout New England. During his time at UnitedHealthcare, Eric has led the successful implementation of several innovative pilot plans designed to improve the quality of care and make healthcare more affordable for employers and members. Eric has pushed to modernize healthcare in the local markets in the areas of consumerism, wellness, value based plan designs and provider cost and quality focused plans.


Before coming to UnitedHealthcare, Eric was Director of National Sales at Private Healthcare Systems, Inc. (PHCS) in Waltham, Massachusetts. Prior to that, he managed the Boston office for New York Life.


Eric serves as the executive sponsor for March of Dimes charity events, and is a trustee for several industry and economic-related organizations. Additionally, Eric has been a healthcare contributor appearing as a guest on ABC and FOX affiliates, as well as a variety of various print, radio and online outlets throughout New England.


Eric earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and lives with his wife and three children in Boxford, Massachusetts.   


Eric said, "I am honored to join the board of NEEBC and look forward to contributing to enhancing knowledge around employees benefits, particularly health benefits as we strive to improve the health of individuals and our communities." 

 Cigna White Paper:  Why Good Dental Care is Important

Research continues to associate oral health with overall health. Gum disease may have a potentially significant impact on systemic health, and the implications for cost of care and quality of life can be staggering. For example, did you know that when a dentist diagnoses periodontal (gum) disease, other serious health problems may also be lurking? If oral disease is left unchecked, it may result in health complications that take a real toll on quality of life for an affected employee. Those problems can also be a drain on your and your employees' health dollars. The good news is that treating oral diseases like gum disease may improve overall health and lessen complications with other medical conditions. Regular routine oral care helps address minor problems before they become major, and more expensive to treat.  It's good for your employees' health, and good for your company's bottom line to develop and deliver solutions that include highly effective dental coverage.


Read the entire article. 

 Premier Announces Employer Savings Program
Premier, the leading provider of ultrasound services in MA, has created an employer savings program aimed to help companies lower their healthcare costs. Premier works with companies to provide employees with high quality ultrasounds at up to 70% less than the hospital costs.

With ultrasound being the second most utilized form of diagnostic imaging, after x-ray, Premier can work with companies of any size to help save thousands of dollars on healthcare costs.


"As the cost of health care continues to rise for employers and more responsibility is placed on employees through high deductible health plans, we feel it is a perfect time to be in this market of trying to contain health care costs," says President and CEO Bill McCurdy.


Read the entire article.
Discounts for NEEBC Members
Member Briefs - Kudos to All
Keri Abramowicz, Benefits Administrator for Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., is honored to be part of an organization whose core values coincide with hers.  She is responsible for processing, auditing invoices, assisting employees and retirees with their benefits plans, investigating pension issues, and coordinating with 3rd party administrators. 
BJ's Wholesale Club and Wellness Workdays are working with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in a national research study to evaluate the effectiveness of worksite wellness programs on employee health, productivity and ROI.  The group has already been awarded over $1M in funding from organizations affiliated with Harvard University and MIT.

Katie Catlender, Chief Customer Officer, Neighborhood Health Plan   
Katie Catlender has been appointed Chief Customer Officer by Neighborhood Health Plan.  The CCO position was created to drive continuous improvement in member and customer experience across the entire range of interactions with NHP. 

Zach Florin, Associate Director of Business Development, is welcomed by Abacus Health Solutions in his new position. 

David Guadagnoli and Amy Sheridan, Partners at Sullivan & Worcester, were recently named "Leaders in their Field" in the area of Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation by Chambers USA 2015:  America's Lawyers for Business.  They were also recognized by The Legal 500 United States as leaders in their field defined by technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial awareness/astuteness, diligence and commitment. 
David Guadagnoli
Amy Sheridan
Harvard Pilgrim Ranks #4 in Best Places to Work.  In  June, the Boston Business Journal named Harvard Pilgrim to its list of 2015 Best Places to Work, ranking it among the top 10 companies in the program's extra large employer category.  Harvard Pilgrim is the only company to be named to the BBJ's annual regional awards program for the 13th year in a row.

HealthFitness Wins 2015 Wellness by Design Gold Award for their strong commitment to creating a healthy workplace for their associates.


Jane Holland is now a Certified Wellness Program Manager, from the Chapman Institute.


Charles G. Humphrey has been named to a three-year term as Chair of the American Bar Association Subcommittee on Multiple Employer Plans, PEOs and Controlled and Affiliated Service Groups.  His book, A Guide to ERISA Fiduciary Responsibilities - For Plan Advisors and Sponsors of 401(k), 403(b), and Profit Sharing Plans is now available electronically (referred to as The Fiduciary Responsibility eSource). 

Josie Martinez, EBS Capstone,  won Partner of the Year through the United Benefits Advisors.  The Boston Business Journal voted EBS Capstone one of the Best Places to Work Boston 2015.