Managing Benefit Plans Part 1

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Required to Earn



Part of

GBA Designation

(Updated January 2023)

A purpose-driven benefits plan is a critical success factor in a total compensation strategy aimed at recruiting and retaining employees in today's global and mobile talent market as benefits can be a compelling differentiator in meeting workforce expectations for security, choice and personalization. Effective benefits plan management is increasingly important. There is no single approach. The structure of the plan management function will reflect the plan sponsor's unique context, considering its business strategy, specific talent needs and competition and broader compensation practices. The scope of related benefit plan management activities needed will also reflect benefit-plan specific factors such as group size, coverage comprehensiveness and complexity, whether benefits are insured, legislative requirements and the service providers engaged by the plan sponsor. However, there are key concepts, principles, and processes to apply.

GBA 1 provides a framework of concepts, principles and processes that is transferable to varying types of plan sponsor contexts. It offers a strategic approach for evaluating benefit needs and selecting an appropriate mix of life and health benefits from the continuum of options available. Financial and premium rate setting considerations essential to managing plan sponsor financial risk and factors impacting bets fit administration decisions are covered. Roles of insurers and other specialized service providers, such as third-party administrators and employee assistance professionals, in supporting effective benefits plan management are explored. Text-based reading is supported with tax guidance and industry-based practice guidelines regarding coordination of benefits, as well as insurer sales guidelines and advisor disclosure guidelines intended to protect the plan sponsor in the marketing process. Applications are illustrated in numerous case studies. 

Topics Covered:

  • Managing Risk in Benefit Plans
  • Leveraging the Benefits Plan Management Function
  • Applying Functional Analysis to Benefit Plans
  • Designing Benefit Plans
  • Funding Benefit Plans
  • Administering Benefit Plans
  • Processing Benefit Plan Claims
  • Initial Pricing of Group Insurance Products
  • Establishing Renewal Rates for Group Insurance
  • Marketing a Group Insurance Plan
  • Learning the Benefits Management Ropes—From Funding to Admin to Marketing

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Please note: If you are enrolling in a Canadian course, you must purchase your course study guide and textbook(s) through Books for Business. The exam and online study group are purchased through the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

Resources For GBA 1


Successful completion of comprehensive exam 


GBA 1 Study Guide, including online access to the modules and practice exam, 2nd Edition

* Readings Updates


Group Benefits Plan Management, 3rd Edition
Ann O'Neill, editor, Advocis, 2022
ISBN 978-1-895477-78-8
(Note: This text is also used in GBA 2.)


Online Study Group With Instructor Support 
12-week sessions in fall, spring and summer


Success Package - Save 20%

Save 20% when you purchase the Online Study Group and GBA 1 Exam.