This past week, Gilbert “Gil” Manzano, CAO of ACI Specialty Benefits, was part of an expert panel to discuss “Healthy People, Healthy Bottom Line” at Employee Benefit News’ 24th Annual Benefits Forum & Expo in Dallas, Texas.
Along with fellow presenters Carol Klusek (Aetna) and Jeff Rubleski (Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Michigan), Gil’s panel presentation discussed the impact today’s tough economic climate has had on employee health, productivity, and general well-being. For example, money and financial issues were the leading cause of stress, according to a 2009 study by the American Psychological Association, and the #2 cause of stress for kids and teens. ACI has seen first-hand the impact financial stress has had on today’s employees and families, and has responded to a major spike in requests for financial consultation and counseling support over the past few years.
In 2007 alone, ACI experienced a 131% increase in requests for a combination of financial and mental health assistance. In 2008, that number further increased by another 21%, and in 2009, the jump accounted for another 80% increase in consultation cases. ACI’s EAP, wellness and work/life services have helped an incredible amount of people weather tough economic times.
“Getting the opportunity to join this esteemed panel of presenters and discuss the best practices and solutions in improving employee health was a great honor,” explains Gil Manzano. “Being able to share and discuss the biggest issues facing benefit professionals, and receive feedback from the brightest minds in the industry has been extremely valuable.”