New York, NY – Teamster Center Services will host its 27th annual Health & Benefits Expo on November 19, at the Sheraton New York Times Square, located at 53rd Street and Seventh Avenue.

Andy Johnson, Teamster Center Services Fund. 

LaborPress caught up with Andy Johnson, fund administrator for the Teamster Center Services Fund, to talk about the upcoming event and some of this year’s special features.

LP: What is Health & Benefits Expo and who should attend?

AJ: The Health & Benefits Expo is a morning-long educational and networking event that brings together all kinds of union-based benefit plans and connects them to the wide variety of service providers that those health plans need.  When you think about a typical health plan there are many moving parts; dental, vision, prescription drugs, stop-loss insurance and on and on.  In many ways our event is sort of an open market, where the purchasers of services can interact face-to-face with service providers.

LP: What is Teamster Center Services?

AJ: We are a Taft-Hartley trust fund that provides services to 20 Teamster unions and we offer employee assistance, behavioral health care management, and advice and referral. For the past 15 years or so, one of our biggest challenges has been oversight of inpatient substance abuse admissions due to the opioid epidemic after the Affordable Care Act brought health benefit coverage to 19 to 25-year olds and the Mental Health Parity And Addiction Equity Act removed many of the limits on behavioral health admissions. Our agency opened in 1962.  It was created by the Teamsters Joint Council 16 as a service to help their membership, and out of necessity, we are still here!

LP: How is this year’s event coming together?

AJ: Very well, after a major hiccup. Originally, the event was scheduled for November 5, at the Grand Hyatt. Early in July, the Grand Hyatt informed me that they would not be reopened in time, due to COVID-19. We were very fortunate to find an open date at the Sheraton New York. Once we got the word out about the new date and location things really picked up and we began to get contacted by companies all over the country.  The result is a sold-out exhibit hall filled with 58 exhibitors. And the excitement has continued with a great variety of companies, unions and benefit plans contacting us to attend.

LP: It what other ways has the pandemic affected your conference planning?

AJ: Because of the pandemic keeping the Hyatt closed, we had to reinvent the conference this summer. Another big issue is the NYC regulations requiring attendees at exhibitions to present proof of vaccination. Our hope is that the proof of vaccination requirement doesn’t cause too many people to not attend.

We are still expecting a solid attendance. Our attendees are union trustees, benefit plan administrators and their key staff, benefit plan consultants, Fund counsel, and anyone who works with labor-based benefit plans. 

We have a very full morning planned. There will be five educational workshops, a continental breakfast, lots of vendors giving away prizes and it concludes with a pizza party and more prize drawings– the grand prize is dinner at Becco and four tickets to Hamilton

People can register by filling our attendee brochure, and by going to our website and use the online registration and payment form. 


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