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Benefits Column

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Rethinking Your Approach to Voluntary Benefits
It appears employers have moved in droves to include voluntary product offerings as part of their overall employee-benefits strategies. Here are a few things to consider as you evaluate the many and varied options out there.
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The Other Side of Melanoma
Looking back five years after a cancer diagnosis, our benefits columnist uses her own experience to remind employers of the importance of disability insurance.
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Getting 'The Benefits Story' Right
As open-enrollment season approaches, employers might want to reflect on whether their efforts are taking into account the life stories of employees.
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Employee Benefits Forecast
While the spring HR-related conferences showed there's still a heavy employer focus on the Affordable Care Act and employee health, companies are starting to bridge the gap that's existed between mental and physical -- and even financial -- health.
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Private Exchange Designs Continue to Morph
There is a long consideration list to review before making the move to a private exchange. If you don't like the current blueprint for exchanges, express your opinion and wait. Things may shift again soon.
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'Survival Entails a Price'
Thirty years after its creation, critical-illness insurance can still play an important role in protecting employees when a medical disaster strikes.
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Mindfulness Comes to Work
Mindful living is one of the top 10 trends for 2014 and beyond -- and perhaps for good reason. New research has shown that mindfulness-based and therapeutic yoga programs can be effective interventions to target employees' high stress levels, sleep quality and stress response. So should HR professionals consider adding such programs to their employee-benefits mix?
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Navigating the Benefits Landscape
In preparation for her closing-session presentation at HRE's Health & Benefits Leadership Conference in March, our benefits columnist invited colleague and program chair Jen Benz to review the employee-benefits highlights of the past year and project what lies ahead in 2014.
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Disability Can Instruct
Almost all of us will encounter disability at some point in our lives. And, while each of us will cope with it differently, there's a common lesson to be learned from the experience.
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Vision Benefit Breaks Out of Its Silo
At least one benefit provider is now giving vision practitioners access to its patients' pertinent medical histories and, in turn, sharing the vision-related caregivers' results with the larger healthcare system.
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Staying Above the Fray
In an age of incivility, here are some pointers HR and benefit leaders should keep in mind as they attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff as far as benefits, health and wellness are concerned.
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Stress, Envy and Mental Health in the Workplace
HR leaders are key to creating and sustaining functional, psychologically healthy workplaces.
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Civil Disobedience Comes to Wellness
If HR leaders look closely enough, they should find some valuable lessons in a Penn State professor's call for action.
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A Different Point of View
While ROI can often be elusive when it comes to wellness programs, such initiatives still can create tangible shareholder value.
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Is the Time Right for Private Exchanges?
There is so much to consider and address before moving your health insurance--and potentially other benefits--to a private exchange. A whole host of deciding factors includes whether a defined-contribution health or benefits plan makes sense for your organization, whether ancillary benefits should be included, and much, much more.
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Brilliant Mistakes
Does sound HR leadership have a greater impact on employee health, absence and performance than wellness programs? If the unexpected results of a particular research project is any indication, the answer is an unequivocal "Yes."
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Employee Benefits Lessons from My Mother
There are several practical things HR leaders can do to help employees reflect on life's death and dying phases -- both their own and the lives of those they love.
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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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