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Benefits Column

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The Next Step in PB Management
Pharmacy benefit management is expanding beyond the focus on higher co-payments and moving employees to generic prescription drugs. Several new-to-market vendors are bringing fresh perspectives and solutions to the business.
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In the Aftermath of Sandy Hook
The recent tragedy in Newtown, Conn., has stimulated a broad discussion of gun-control laws and the inadequacy of mental-health treatment in the United States. But we'd be remiss were we not to also consider the workplace implications -- and the need to provide employees with a safe place to work.
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Offering Preventive Health Screenings
HR executives face myriad challenges when research questions the validity of employers' preventive screening practices. Bob Merberg from Paychex Inc. explores this topic in a back-and-forth exchange with the author.
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Telework is Good for Business
Superstorm Sandy brought devastation to many East Coast-based organizations. Employers with telework programs, however, weathered the storm better than most.
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Should We Be More Like the French?
While the French model for national healthcare may have its flaws, the benefits to Americans -- including better diets, more walking and more social interaction -- could survive a transatlantic translation.
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Creating an Unlimited Paid-Time-Off Policy
When crafting an unlimited paid-time-off policy, HR leaders need to assess important variables including how workers use and carry over their paid-time-off, and the size of their long-term staff.
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The Bias of Optimism
A reliance on standard practices may not be limited to healthcare and may indeed extend to human resources and employee benefits. So is it time for HR to take a look at its standard practices, question them and study the issues with a rigor that relies more on experimental design than case studies and surveys?
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The Things We Think and Do Not Say
Unguarded debate and an honest discussion of successes and failures in the world of benefits have never been the norm. Far too often, there's been a tendency to manipulate how results are measured to justify the investment. But a new day is dawning.
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Playing Games at Work
HR leaders who want to add "gamification" techniques to their programs need to begin by focusing on their objectives, which are usually based on company goals. One key to using it effectively is to put layers on top of what already exists.
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Is Beer In the Workplace an Employee Benefit?
Providing beer to employees is one of the more atypical employee benefits, but it does say something about the company's culture and the employees who will thrive there. Some HR leaders discuss their benefits philosophies.
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A "Good" Strategy for Long-Term-Care Benefits
Long-term-care coverage offers some difficult challenges for employers -- and for insurance companies as well. Even though LTC plan designs are sorely in need of an overhaul, HR leaders must find a way to give their workers access to a benefit that can offer the financial assistance many employees will require.
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Trends in Employee-Benefits Design
The benefits offered to new employees now pale in comparison to what was standard in the past. But, as HR leaders balance rising costs against the need to attract and retain employees, some are beginning to think about meeting employee desires for a broader array of benefits that may help workers simplify their lives.
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A New Look at Pet Insurance
People love their pets, and some organizations are adding pet insurance to their benefits packages. But is it something that belongs in your benefits toolkit? I've long been doubtful, but I'm now rethinking my skepticism.
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Caring for the Caregivers
As sporadic caregiving tasks transition into heavy responsibilities, employees could use some help from their employers. Here are three lessons for HR leaders to help their workers balance caring for loved ones with their productivity at work.
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Creating an Employee Benefits Framework
In a back-and-forth conversation, Harvard Medical School's Ron Kessler and Carol Harnett discuss some healthcare-plan design and ROI strategies for HR leaders, including the impact of recurring or chronic health conditions on accident and injury prevention.
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Outsiders May Revolutionize Employee Benefits
A look back at some benefits issues in 2011 offer a glimpse into possible innovations in the healthcare field that could positively impact employers and employees alike.
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When the Lights Go Out
Most organizations are prepared to respond to problems at the company's physical plant or data-storage facilities. Fewer have thought through what actions to take when it is their employees who are struggling -- such as during the lengthy power outages following this fall's early snowstorm.
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The Four Things I Know For Sure
The statistics are daunting -- with failure the norm -- but employers should still strive to help their workers live healthier lives. And incorporating emotion and fun into the mix are big parts of it.
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