Objectivity matters. Today, more than ever. With no agenda, other than getting it right, Milliman’s Critical Point podcast takes a deep dive into subject matter that affects the health and well-being of people across the globe, from healthcare to retirement security, flood insurance to autonomous vehicles. Through a team of professionals ranging from actuaries to clinicians, technology specialists to economists, Critical Point examines the inherent challenges – and innovative solutions – that Milliman consultants encounter through their daily work around healthcare, employee benefits, risk management, technology, investment consulting, insurance, and financial services.
- SECURE 2.0, Part 2: How the new retirement law affects single-employer defined benefit plansIn this companion episode to our look at SECURE 2.0 and defined contribution (DC) plans, Milliman employee benefits expert Nina Lantz explores how the new retirement law affects single-employer pensions. She talks with Milliman Consulting Actuary William Strange about what it means for retirement that life expectancy is rising more slowly, how companies can incentivize long-term employees, and why a reduction in insurance premiums could make corporate pension plan sponsorship appealing again. You can read the episode transcript on our website .
- SECURE 2.0, Part 1: Tips for DC plans navigating contribution changesWhen the SECURE 2.0 Act passed in late 2022, it introduced 92 provisions affecting retirement plans—and created a long to-do list for plan professionals. In this episode of Critical Point, Milliman employee benefits expert Nina Lantz talks with Brandy Cross, our director of defined contribution (DC) plan compliance, about how DC plans are coping. Learn which provisions plan sponsors are addressing first, and why it’s OK to wait before making plan changes. Plus, don’t miss Nina’s companion episode on SECURE 2.0’s impact on defined benefit plans.You can read the episode transcript on our website .
- The COVID-19 emergencies are ending. What does that mean for health plans?More than three years after the coronavirus shut down the world, the Biden administration announced in early 2023 the end of the U.S. National Emergency and the Public Health Emergency, two declarations that had mandated health insurance coverage of COVID-19 tests and vaccines, among other requirements. As these regulations are now rolled back, what does that mean for employer-sponsored health plans? In this episode of Critical Point, Milliman health experts discuss the implications, from whether to continue paying for at-home COVID-19 tests and when to phase out standalone telehealth benefits, to how to communicate any changes with plan members at this significant moment in the pandemic. You can read the episode transcript on our website.
- Rising sea levels, rising rents: How climate change will displace communitiesAs climate change causes more storms and floods, residents of coastal areas are being forced to move inland—driving up rents and displacing current residents of those regions. Milliman recently studied this issue in a paper called “Climate Displacement in New York City: Making Space for Our Neighbors,” published with Rebuild by Design, a nonprofit that helps communities build resilience. On this episode of Critical Point, two of the study authors discuss the groups most at risk, designing Manhattan to be more like Hong Kong, and how 40% of New Yorkers may be displaced without proactive city planning. You can read the episode transcript on our website.
- Milliman at 75 – An interview with the firm’s first female principalHear from Milliman’s first female principal, Peggy Pearson, about her path from homemaker (and home economics major) to actuarial leader, all while breaking through the cultural barriers of the time. In honor of Milliman’s 75th anniversary, Peggy sits down with current Milliman principals Angela Bolduc and Kim Guerriero to discuss how she “got into actuarial work on a dare,” her experience as a female leader in a primarily male-dominated field, and what has changed – and still needs to change – for women in the workplace.
- Church retirement plans: A look at the Diocese of Fort WorthChurch retirement plan sponsors face unique considerations. While helping to position their clergy and other plan members for a secure future, they also must stay competitive across the wider benefits landscape to recruit and retain lay employees. For a look at how one diocese manages these pressures, Milliman actuaries Jake Pringle and Delbert Zamora sat down with Gary Patton, HR director for the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas.
- From AI to astronauts’ insurance: A look at the latest insurtech trendsInsurtech never stops evolving. In this episode of Critical Point, Milliman actuaries Sheri Scott and Robert Eaton discuss recent trends they’ve seen and opportunities on the horizon--everything from new motion data and technology for improving the customer experience, to coverage for emerging risks including autonomous trucks, cryptocurrency, and even space travel.
- VM-20 for principle-based reserving: Tales from the front officeThe VM-20 requirement is no longer hypothetical—it’s here, and it’s had a big impact on principle-based reserving for the life insurance industry. In this episode of Critical Point, we hear how experts are coping. Michael McCarty from Legal & General America shares the direct carrier’s side, while Laiping Wong-Stewart from RGA brings the reinsurer’s perspective. They are joined by Milliman actuaries Uri Sobel and Paul Fedchak in a conversation about the challenges and successes surrounding assumption setting, governance processes, and other changes created with the new regulation.
- Surprises and obstacles SECURE 2.0 could present for plan sponsors and HR professionalsLearn how SECURE 2.0 could derail or reduce participant contributions, and what plan sponsors and HR professionals need to know about this potential regulation. In this episode of Critical Point, Milliman’s Jason Brantley sits down with Charles Clark and Karina Guerrero to talk about surprises in SECURE 2.0 and some of the details below the headlines. They’ll discuss the impact to required minimum distributions (RMDs), catchup contributions, and what this means for companies with non-full-time employees.
- Regulatory reviews around principle-based valuationsHear real-life experiences and get an “inside the company” look at the regulatory examination of principles-based reserve valuations for life insurers. PBR is a new method of determining U.S. statutory reserves in life insurance that better quantifies product risks. Milliman’s Karen Rudolph sits down with Catherine Murphy from John Hancock and Sarah Theis from WoodmenLife, qualified actuaries who will share firsthand experiences around the regulatory review of PBR valuations within their respective companies.
- Global benefits in 2022 – A conversation with Microsoft’s Vicky NevinIn this one-on-one conversation with Vicky Nevin, Microsoft’s head of international compensation and benefits, learn how a leading multinational organization is approaching its compensation and benefits strategy and overcoming global challenges. Vicky speaks with Milliman / MBWL global EB leader John-Paul Augeri to share perspectives and priorities for benefits leaders during this time of global change.
- The workplace has changed, how will the supplemental benefits market change with it?Learn about five trends and creative approaches heading into 2022 for supplemental health benefits. Strategy consultant Christin Kuretich fuses Milliman market intel with a broader lens on society and the shifting nature of the workplace, to make some educated predictions on what we will see change and evolve in the voluntary benefits market. From mental health benefits to pet insurance and product design disruption, Christin gives a high-level overview on emerging approaches to supplemental products. Stay tuned for future episodes in this series, which will take a deeper dive into product design.
- Pension risk hibernation – an alternative to annuity buyoutsFor corporate financial officers who are considering a pension annuity buyout, there’s an opportunity cost to 100% risk transfer, as Milliman’s Zorast Wadia and Bret Linton discuss on this episode of Critical Point. With the passage of the COVID-19 stimulus, many CFOs and plan sponsors likely see the second half of 2021 as an opportune time to de-risk their company’s pension liabilities; but pension risk transfer via an annuity buyout creates the potential to leave money on the table. This episode dives into the differences between pension risk mitigation and transfer, and some of the benefits of plan hibernation over annuity buyouts.
- Why did the flu disappear in 2020?In fall 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the looming flu season, public health experts feared the possibility of a “twindemic”—a one-two punch of Coronavirus plus influenza. But that year, flu cases hit historic lows. The so-called twindemic never happened. Milliman health care expert Ellyn Russo discusses why the volume of flu cases decreased, and what health care systems can learn from this phenomenon.
- Understanding IRS guidance Notice 2021-48 under the American Rescue PlanIn late July, the IRS provided additional guidance on changes to single-employer defined benefit pension plan cash contribution rules under the American Rescue Plan. In this episode of Critical Point, Milliman pension consultants Charlie Clark and Casey Baldwin break down the guidance and what it means for pension plans and their plan sponsors. Baldwin and Clark discuss the implications for interest rate relief, amortization rates, prefunding balances, and written elections, among other things. They also share pitfalls to be aware of under this guidance.
- Long-term care insurance and the benefits and challenges of aging-in-placeWhen it comes to long-term care, what are some of the benefits and challenges of aging-in-place services, and how can these work hand-in-hand with long term care insurance? In this episode of Critical Point, Milliman’s Robert Eaton and Missy Gordon are joined by Char Hu, founder and CEO of The Helper Bees, a healthcare insurtech company that offers care concierge services for LTCI carriers and health plans. The three experts discuss trends in the LTCI market, the rise of virtual care, and how aging-in-place services can improve experience for both policyholders and insurers. They also dive into how predictive analytics plays an important role in understanding aging-in-place needs and long-term care insurance.
- How the American Rescue Plan Act can impact single and multiemployer pension plansMilliman pension experts Charlie Clark, Vanessa Vaag, and Grant Camp discuss how the American Rescue Plan Act may impact single and multiemployer pension plans, and why pension funding has been integrated into the bill. The conversation ranges from the $86 billion special financial assistance for multiemployer plans, good faith compliance, and what plan sponsors should to consider when taking potential action as a result of ARPA.
- Understanding the impact of flooding on mortgage riskFlooding stands out among other natural catastrophes because of the risk it poses to the financial health of the average U.S. homeowner. In this episode, Milliman flood risk experts Dave Evans and Cody Webb are joined by Andrew Netter from Milliman’s mortgage group and Brand Katz from KatRisk to discuss the relationship between flood insurance and mortgage risk, and how that risk can impact financial instruments designed to cover mortgage default exposure.
- How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected mental health in America?The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred—and aggravated—a range of mental health and substance use issues in the United States. In this episode, Milliman’s Stoddard Davenport talks with host Lesley Pink about how different populations are faring on the mental health front, how the rising demand for mental health services is being met, and how recent statistics reveal the depth of the problem in this country.
- Telehealth in the time of COVIDCOVID-19 has dramatically increased the use of telehealth services across the U.S. In this episode, Milliman’s Susan Philip sits down with Mei Kwong, executive director of the Center for Connected Health Policy, to discuss some of the biggest changes to telehealth in 2020, including regulatory changes around reimbursement and access, provider usage, and ways in which the service has been an integral part of healthcare during the global pandemic.