Top Benefits Acronyms of 2014

​By: Ann Godsell, CEBS

Acronyms are plentiful in the world of employee benefits. With new ones popping up all the time, benefits pros need to be diligent to keep acronym decoding skills sharp. I thought it would be fun to look back on 2014 by asking the Word on Benefits​ blog authors what acronym stands out for each of them this year. Enjoy their picks below and share your benefits acronym of the year!​

12-22_Top-Acronyms (2).jpg

1. ACAjustin.jpg
“I choose ACA because I’ve been closely following health care reform since 2008 and it’s been a roller coaster ride! Whee!”
– ​Kelli Kolsrud, CEBS​

ACA Resources: ACA blog posts, ACA University, ACA Central

“MHPAEA (Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act) Even if you can’t pronounce it, you need to comply with it.”
Lois Mathis-Gleason, CEBS

MHPAEA Resources: Blog​, ​InfoQuick

justin.jpg3. MPRA“MPRA (Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014) could go down as one of the most significant employee benefits game changers of 2014 . . . but we may not know its full impact for years.” – Tom DeRoche

MPRA Resources: Blog​



“DOMA arigato, Mr. Roboto, DOMA! DOMA!”
Stacy Van Alstyne

DOMA Resources:
Survey, Benefit Bits Video



“COBRA—​only we ‘lifers’ remember what the letters stand for, and who doesn’t like the pun opportunities (e.g., COBRA strikes again, don’t let COBRA bite you)? On a more serious note, it’s been interesting to watch the interplay between COBRA and ACA.” – Julie Stich, CEBS

​COBRA Resource: E-learning Course

justin.jpg6. HIPAA
“HIPAA is my all-time favorite acronym. It’s one of my benchmarks for determining how knowledgeable an author is. Anyone who writes “HIPPA” drops a few pegs.” – Chris Vogel, CEBS

HIPAA Resources:
Blog, E-learning Course



“CAPSA (Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities), because these important pension guidelines establish best practices and are a cornerstone of a secure retirement for many Canadians.” – Bryan Zoran, CEBS

CAPSA Resource: E-learning Course

justin.jpg8. FMLA
“​According to our latest survey​, more than one third of organizations go beyond FMLA for parental/family leave benefits. We’re noticing a growing interest from employees and employers in work/life balance benefits.​” Justin Held, CEBS​

FMLA Resource: ​
E-learning Course

justin.jpg9. ERISA
“2014 marked 40 years of ERISA​ protecting the interests of employee benefit plan participants and their beneficiaries. The protection that ERISA provides is just as important today as it was when it was passed so many years ago.”​ – Jennie Maurer​

ERISA Resources: InfoQuick​, E-learning Course


10. ORPP

“ORPP (Ontario Retirement Pension Plan), because it was and continues to be fascinating to watch the politics around the proposal.” – Kathy Bergstrom, GBA

11. HSAneil.jpg
“I am a rare millennial​ that hates an HAS HSA… Every time I write about them Word AutoCorrects . . . ughh.” – Neil Mrkvicka​​​​​​​

HSA Resources: InfoQuick​, ​Legislative Tracker​​

12. HRA
“I think 2015 is the year to decide the winner of this acronym—Health Reimbursement Account/Arrangement or Health Risk Assessment?” – Tiffany Ulbing, CEBS

justin.jpg13. CEBS
“The debate still continues . . . Is it pronounced SEEBS or SEBS? Actually, the definitive winner is C-E-B-S! After all, you wouldn’t call the person who does your taxes a SEE-PA—​Would you?” – Linda Bielski, CEBS

CEBS Resources: Getting S​tarted U.S.​, Getting Started Canada​

14. Props
Not actually an acronym, and not benefits-related, but I’ll take this opportunity to give props (proper recognition​​​​) to theWord on Benefits​ blog team. The six months since we launched the International Foundation’s blog have been a great adventure. I’ve always been thankful for the talented and passionate group of peers that I get to work with at the International Foundation​, but the experience of working with our blog team takes the cake. Together, they have presented diverse stories and creative approaches to subject matter that is not always exciting (but always important!). I can’t wait to see what they come up with in 2015.

What is your benefits acronym of the year? Please share in the comments below!

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