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Eye on 65

Eye on 65 showcases creative ways for public sector plan sponsors to keep the promise of retiree health care

Health and Benefits|Retirement
N/A

March 1, 2019

Ask public sector employees why they chose their job, and many will note the expectation of a stable pension and retiree health benefits. But the percentage of public sector retirees who receive these benefits is shrinking, and retirement without health care isn’t very secure.

Five years ago, 73% of state and local governments provided retirees health care coverage; today it’s 68%. And retirement without health care isn’t very secure.

We’re helping public sector plan sponsors make sense of the options available when it comes to their retiree population’s health care benefits, from Group Medicare Advantage Plans to individual Medicare marketplaces—also known as Medicare exchanges—to health reimbursement arrangements, and how they can manage change and help retirees navigate choice. Tune in with Willis Towers Watson’s John Barkett and Marianne Steger to find out how public sector retiree health care promises can be kept.

Included in this series:

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Episode 1:
The Great Trade-Off

What makes working in the public sector unique and what’s at stake if retiree health care goes away

Hosts Marianne Steger and John Barkett kick off the series by talking about what makes public sector employees the strongest thread in the fabric of our communities. They also share how public sector employers can reduce their retiree health care liabilities.

Eye on 65 — Episode 1: The Great Trade-Off
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Episode 2:
Searching for Sustainability

Options available for maintaining retiree health benefits

In this episode, John and Marianne discuss common challenges and goals for public sector plan sponsors in preserving retiree health care. Tune in to hear how public sector plan sponsors can keep their commitment of providing retiree health care, while lowering costs and providing affordable health plan options for retirees.

Eye on 65 — Episode 2: Searching for Sustainability
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Episode 3:
How to Preserve Retiree Health Care

The individual Medicare marketplace – the best kept secret for delivering affordable retiree health care

What market dynamic allow individual Medicare marketplaces to offer better value than group plans and what does the transition to the individual Medicare marketplace really look like for both plan sponsors and their retirees? John and Marianne share their thoughts.

Eye on 65 — Episode 3: How to Preserve Retiree Health Care
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Episode 4:
Built to Last?

How to determine if your retiree health care program is future-proof

Providing retiree health care is more difficult than ever. As a result, the percentage of public sector employers who provide these benefits is shrinking. In this episode of Eye on 65, Marianne and John share the seven-question stress test that can be used to determine if your retiree health care program is built to last.

Eye on 65 — Episode 4: Built to Last?
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Episode 5:
How the City of Memphis Reduced its OPEB Liabilities

How can an innovative approach to retiree health care help solve a city’s financial liabilities? The City of Memphis’ CFO shares her lessons learned.

The City of Memphis was facing $1.3 billion in unfunded OPEB liabilities and needed a solution. Our guest, Chief Financial Officer Shirley Ford, shares how she helped the city and its retirees find a win-win solution using the Individual Medicare Marketplace.

Eye on 65 — Episode 5: How the City of Memphis Reduced its OPEB Liabilities
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Contact Us
About our hosts

Marianne Steger Headshot
Marianne Steger
Director of Public Sector Strategy, Willis Towers Watson

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Marianne Steger is on a mission to save retiree health care! She’s so devoted to the mission that she came out of retirement to become the director of public sector strategy for Willis Towers Watson. Previously, Marianne was the director of health care for the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS), where she ran the health care program for nearly a quarter of a million retirees and helped them transition from the OPERS group plan to the individual Medicare marketplace. With more than 35 years of experience in health plan strategy and design, employee benefits, labor relations, and public policy, Marianne works with public sector plan sponsors every day to help them preserve retiree health care benefits.


John Barkett
Senior Director of Policy Affairs, Willis Towers Watson

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John Barkett is Willis Towers Watson’s health care policy guru. As the senior director of policy affairs in Washington D.C., he keeps track of the regulatory and policy changes impacting retiree benefits strategies and helps plan sponsors adapt to these changes. John has a dozen years of experience operating Medicare plans and private Medicare marketplaces. He helped write the Affordable Care Act as a staffer on the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, and also worked in the Obama Administration implementing the ACA. In his current role, he meets with officials—from the White House to the Departments of Treasury, Labor and Health and Human Services—to gather information and provide technical assistance as the administration rolls out rules impacting plan sponsors.


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