From emerging employee benefit technologies to the ongoing pay-or-play debate, speakers at the 2014 Workplace Benefits Renaissance — held Feb. 24-26 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J — will address a range of timely topics. In addition to the informative break-out sessions at the conference, among the impressive lineup of keynote speakers is Peter Marathas, partner in the Boston and New York offices of law firm Proskauer's Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation & ERISA Litigation Practice Center.

EBA spoke with Marathas about what attendees can expect from his keynote, Pay-To-Play Will Be Back This Year – Are You Ready?, taking place at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 25.

What are the key topics you will be addressing during your session at the Workplace Benefits Renaissance?

The main focus will be a list of to-do items we have been discussing with our insurance broker clients. We’ve identified a handful of issues under the Affordable Care Act that we think should be part of the ongoing discussions a good broker is having with his/her clients. This includes focusing on whether “playing” is necessarily a good idea for all employees, considering an employer’s demographics and identifying employee classification concerns that might lead to unexpected and unintended penalties under the ACA.

What action items or lessons learned do you hope attendees will take away from your session?

My hope is that attendees who are out there and focused on ACA with their clients will first, be validated in their approach with respect to some of the issues they are discussing and, second, learn about some other issue or concern that they might not be focused on. Of course, for brokers who have not been engaged with their clients, my hope is that they will see that they need to be, because their clients want them to be engaged in strategic discussions around the ACA and to give them some good issues to work on with those clients. I always like to [remind] brokers that compliance can be a good distinguishing factor to retain and attract new clients, but also like to remind them not to go too far overboard that they end up practicing law.

 What are you hoping to gain from your time at the Workplace Benefits Renaissance?

I learn from these presentations as much as I teach. Brokers are the ones on the front line, so I’m looking forward to the brokers’ questions and observations, as these help me to better understand and appreciate approaches taken with respect to these issues across the country. I also always look forward to making new friends in the business.

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