Who we are
For 25 years, Group Benefits Strategies has helped clients realize significant savings on health insurance costs, without shifting the burden to employees and retirees. As consultants, GBS works on a fee-for-service basis, not commissions.
We make recommendations that are in the best interest of the client, presenting innovative ideas to drive down cost and risk, while improving quality care offerings to their employees.
GBS’ main goal is to help clients gain control of their group health care costs. GBS recognizes that because of the magnitude of this problem, traditional solutions are an inadequate line of defense.
Our clients know our strategies work and have contributed significantly towards their ability to gain control over group health care costs.
GBS has earned the trust of hundreds of different municipalities in New England. For more than twenty-five years, Group Benefits Strategies has been the leader in the employee benefits industry earning consistently high marks from our clients and strategic partners.
Health Providers have long sought out the experienced team of GBS professionals for support and deployment of new programs and services. Our long-standing relationship with regional carriers and vendors assists employers, employees and retirees, by allowing GBS to recommend benefit packages to fit any employer need.
GBS has developed group benefit plans for businesses ranging in size from 100 to 10,000. Our versatility in all areas of employees benefit programs makes us an industry leader.
GBS has assembled an outstanding team of group health benefits professionals to assist our clients. Our results-oriented team brings a variety of skills, training, and experience to help our clients with solutions to the challenges of escalating group health care costs.
Our consulting staff is experienced, educated, and trained in the health insurance industry, including legal aspects of the municipal sector, and claims and financial analyses. In addition to their credentials and experience, our employees are familiar with the types of decisions facing municipal officials and the environment in which these decisions are made.
Kate Sharry, President/Owner
As President and owner since 2012, Kate directs day to day operation of GBS to ensure maximum performance and client satisfaction. Kate maintains relationships with representatives from carriers, vendors, wellness companies, etc. to follow trends and explore new options for saving for clients.
Kate services several of GBS’ joint purchase groups, cities and towns, and focuses on legislative issues and requirements relative to the Affordable Care Act and state mandates for client compliance. She has also has extensive experience in the areas of central benefits administration, enrollment and eligibility and audits, COBRA administration, and Medicare Part D RDS administration.
Kate Sharry has been employed at GBS since 1994. She is on the Executive Board of Directors for the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, Worcester Business Development Corporation Board of Directors, Worcester Homeless Youth Task Force, Planting the Seed Foundation, and serves on various committees in the Central Mass area.
She attended Boston College, and Worcester State University. Kate is a Massachusetts Licensed Insurance Advisor (LIA).
Emmile Roach, Administrative Assistant
Emmilie has been with Group Benefits Strategies since March of 2016. As an administrative assistant, Emmilie dedicates her time to various responsibilities, including COBRA administration, annual audits, enrollment and eligibility. She provides support to all departments at GBS and is a valuable asset to the company.
Carol Cormier, MHA, LIA, Vice President
Carol Cormier has served as Vice President of Group Benefits Strategies since 1993. She is the consultant and program manager to five of Massachusetts’ municipal joint purchase groups covering more than 60,000 lives.
Carol was formerly the Executive Director of Worcester Area Systems for Affordable Health Care (WASAHC), a national demonstration project funded by a large grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The coalition produced the first Buyer’s Guide to health plans in Massachusetts and produced a guide to Medicare Supplement Plans for Medicare beneficiaries.
Carol also formerly held the position of Business Administrator for Bay State Health Care. One of her assignments in the position was to deal with strategic and legislative issues facing municipalities.
Carol has also served as consulting director to the Central Massachusetts Business Group on Health and as a former member of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Health Care Task Force. She has been an invited speaker at conferences on health benefits in Massachusetts and nationally. She has co-authored journal articles on health care cost containment.
Carol Cormier holds a Masters Degree in Health Administration from Clark University/University of Massachusetts Medical Center. She has worked in health benefits and health consulting since 1983. Carol is a Mass. Licensed Insurance Advisor (LIA). Carol also served two terms on the Town of Shrewsbury School Committee.
Karen Carpenter, Account Representative for Large Accounts
Karen Carpenter joined GBS as Account Representative for Large Accounts in January of 2008. Karen assists two Vice Presidents in all aspects of service to six municipal joint purchase groups, representing 135 municipal employers. She is the first line of contact for employers of the joint purchase groups. Karen also manages reinsurance reporting, creating an independent review of claims and reconciling information with brokers and carriers. In 2011 she assumed the primary role in the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP) management. Karen is in regular communication with Benefits Administrators responding to their questions or directing them to the appropriate resource. She also coordinates Joint Purchase Group Benefit Administrators meetings. Karen maintains four client websites. Before coming to GBS, Karen had 15 years experience in Employee Benefits. She attended Assumption College and completed an accounting program at N.E. School of Accounting.
Chris Nunnally, LIA, Account Executive
Christopher Nunnally is the newest member of the GBS team. Chris has been working in insurance and benefits his entire career. He was formerly the Director of Broker Sales for Teladoc. Before that he was a Sales Representative for Sun Life Financial and New York Life where he gained extensive knowledge of Employee Benefits and Stop Loss Insurance.
He earned his Associates Degree from Cape Cod Community College before moving to Northeastern University to study Accounting and Financial Management. He has worked in benefits and insurance since 2009.
Gretchen Grogan, COBRA and Accounting Manager
Gretchen has been a member of the GBS team since 1994. In managing the billing department, Gretchen oversees COBRA administration, and direct billing procedures. She also manages eligibility audits by ensuring all responses are complete and all deadlines are met.
Gretchen conducts client training seminars for COBRA administration and keeps clients informed of any changes in the federal law. Her outstanding customer service skills make Gretchen a key member of the GBS team.
Pam Smith, Financial Analyst
Pam began her employment with GBS in January 2011 serving as a Financial Analyst and Account Representative. Pam works directly with GBS’ clients that have their health insurance through Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association (MIIA), self-funded, premium and GIC. Pam also assists with monthly reporting, and annual reinsurance placement.
Pam has brought to GBS with her over 16 years’ experience working and dealing with municipal health insurance. She served the Norfolk County Treasurer’s office and Retirement services. She has been an Accounting instructor at Rhode Island College for 3 years for the Continuing Education Program. Her areas of expertise are benefits, payroll, and all aspects of Accounting.
She has an Associate’s Degree from Dean College in Criminal Justice.
Karen Quinlivan, Enrollment Specialist
Karen has been with GBS since 2010 as specialist for enrollment and billing. She works primarily on enrollment and eligibility for all of our joint purchase group business interacting with both our joint purchase clients as well as five different health carriers to process all enrollment changes.
Before coming to GBS, Karen began her career working for the Deputy Tax Collectors for the City of Worcester as an administrative assistant, and then then spent the next 18 years working for State Mutual/ Hanover Insurance in their retirement plans division with expertise in investment accounting and administration for qualified retirement plans.
Karen has a LOMA (Life Office Management) certificate
Karen attended the University of Massachusetts and Worcester State College majoring in Communications
Diane LaFlash, HIA, MHP, LIA, Account/Financial Manager
Diane Laflash is the manager of GBS’ financial department. She provides clients with monthly financial reports, monthly claims monitoring, and assists with benefit and plan design. She performs annual Group Insurance Commission comparisons for rates and benefits for each clients.
Diane has extensive background in customer service, benefits management and sales, and has worked with benefits administrators on a daily basis to help them administer their group insurance programs. Diane brings thirteen years of experience from Paul Revere Insurance Company in group insurance administration and account representation.
Diane has been employed by GBS for 20 years.
Diane is a graduate of Fisher Junior College and holds an Associate’s Degree from Quinsigamond Community College as well as the professional designation of Health Insurance Associate (HIA) and Managed Health Professional (MHP). Diane is a Mass. Licensed Insurance Advisor (LIA).
Ruth Lynch, Enrollment and Billing Manager
Ruth Lynch originally joined GBS in 1998 as Account Representative to the five Massachusetts municipal joint purchase groups to which Carol Cormier is the consultant. She was soon promoted to Manager, Enrollment/Billing. Before coming to GBS, Ruth worked for Small Business Service Bureau as the Enrollment Manager.
Ruth oversees enrollment and billing for the GBS Joint Purchase Groups. She works with our clients regarding enrollment eligibility, Mass General Laws 32B and the Retiree Drug Subsidy program.
Ruth Lynch has the Health Insurance Associate (HIA) professional designation from the Health Insurance Association of America.