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Benefits

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Healthier Wellness Communications
Employees aren't getting enough information about their employers' wellness programs and other benefits, a new survey shows. Experts share innovative ways to heal the employee disconnect.
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Employee Satisfaction with CDHPs Grows
Consumer-driven health plans are gaining popularity among workers. What's driving this trend?
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Post-DOMA Confusion Begins to Clear
A recent federal district court decision and new U.S. Treasury Department guidelines are helping to bring the post-DOMA world into sharper focus.
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One Size Does Not Fit All
An ever-changing demographic landscape creates both challenges and opportunities for employers that want to establish a healthy workplace culture that contributes to worker productivity, while keeping healthcare cost increases at bay.
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Taking Wellness to the Next Level
Whether a company is using a single vendor or multiple vendors, there's "a huge need" for them to integrate physical and mental well-being into its wellness offerings, experts say.
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Don't Forget Your PBM Contracts!
With healthcare reform looming, drug costs skyrocketing and pharmacy benefit managers trying to win customers in a consolidation flux, now's the time to look at your PBM contracts for some potentially significant savings.
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New Manual's Likely Impact on HR
Making accommodations for employees with mental disabilities has never been easy, and it's about to get more difficult with the release of the American Psychiatric Association's new manual of mental disorders.
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Surviving a 'Reformed' Open Enrollment
While the effects of healthcare reform will translate to extra work for organizations' HR functions, this year's open-enrollment period also offers employers a valuable opportunity to help employees make informed decisions best suited for both sides.
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Considering the Spousal Surcharge
One of the ways employers are looking to contain healthcare costs is by levying surcharges on spouses who opt for coverage through their partners' insurance policies. This strategy may be effective, but HR must carefully communicate the reasons for these changes and prepare for employee pushback.
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Are Employee Benefits Forever?
HR and benefit leaders gather in Las Vegas to explore their options as they chart a future course in healthcare and benefits.
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Health or Consequences
A recent Aon Hewitt survey finds many companies offering or planning to offer rewards -- and consequences -- for employee involvement in company health programs. Critics say this approach unfairly punishes some workers, but HR can play a key role in shaping employees' perception of -- and participation in -- incentive-rich programs.
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Who Uses Out-of-Office Benefits More?
Recent research shows men use flexible, out-of-office benefits more than women. Experts say this points to a need for employers to get rid of old stereotypes and do a better job meeting all workers' non-work needs.
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Get Fit . . .
Or Pay The Price
Some companies have turned to coercive or mandatory wellness programs to push employees toward better health. And some employee groups have pushed back. Experts suggest employers and HR leaders be careful to design programs that reward healthy behaviors rather than punish unhealthy ones.
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Is Brain Health the Next Big Thing?
Employers are just now starting to take notice of the merits of programs aimed at reducing employee stress -- and the costs associated with stress -- by training the brain to have a positive outlook.
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The Lowdown on FSA Spending Limits
New caps on employee contributions to flexible-spending accounts should affect certain employees more than others, experts say.
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A New Benefits Trend
Society's growing awareness and acceptance of transgendered people -- along with employee affinity groups petitioning their companies to offer them health benefits -- is helping to drive a new trend in benefits offerings.
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Balancing Benefits Communication
Recent research shows a majority of companies struggle with communicating benefits information to employees on a year-round basis. Experts urge HR leaders to incorporate the technology and tools at their disposal to make communication strategies more successful, and to document their efforts to ensure consistency.
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COLAs Vanishing from Pension Plans
Cost-of-living allowances, or COLAs, while never a prevalent feature of private-sector pension plans, have declined sharply since the 1990s, according to new research.
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Benefits Column

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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