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Benefits Column

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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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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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