More Benefits Articles:

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Lowdown on FSA Spending Limits
New caps on employee contributions to flexible-spending accounts should affect certain employees more than others, experts say.
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.
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.
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.
Another Argument for Prepaid Legal Plans
I just finished reading the Special Report: Benefits (June 2). I note that there is a suggestion (in "Filling in the Gaps") that employees do not need prepaid legal plans because they only use lawyers a couple of times in their lives.
Playing Games at Work
I love to play games -- something that started as a kid and continues to surprise my mom. She thought I outgrew this fascination.
Numbers Don't Bode Well for Blue-Collar Health
With a new report showing blue-collar workers are more prone to illness than other groups, experts say HR's challenge is to understand the unique aspects of their own workforces' well-being as well as the unique things they're going to have to do as an employer to address its workers' needs.
Legal Insurance Does, Indeed, Make Sense
A quick response to Mary Kesel's comments (in "Filling in the Gaps," June 2) about prepaid legal plans: ". . . people only need a lawyer a couple of times during their lives, so buying legal insurance is not a good use of hard-earned dollars."
On Target
With healthcare costs only going up, employers are getting aggressive about motivating unhealthy and chronically ill workers to get healthy.
Confusion Reigns Over ACA Implementation
With the 2014 deadline approaching for implementing major provisions under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, many employees covered through their employers are already receiving letters informing them of the ACA's "Medical Loss Ratio" requirement.
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Benefits Column

A conversation with employee-wellness expert Bob Merberg reveals that paid leave -- a topic President Obama brought up in his State of the Union in January as he pushed for passage of the Healthy Families Act -- is not only beneficial for workers and their families, but good for employers too.
A Matter of Dignity Jan 14, 2015