Colonial Life, The BeneChoice Companies, Stacia Robinson, insurance, education, community, contribution, employer, employee, benefit, benefits, benefit administration, benefit administrator, life, health, accident, long term disability, workers compensation, planning, The BeneChoice Companies, workplace, employees, turnover, benefits, insurance, turnover, Stacia Robinson, Montgomery, AL, Colonial, accidental, voluntary, communicate

Benefits: 10 Key Take Aways

Over the last several weeks we went over the no or low-cost ways to make your company a great place to work. We went over many tips on what you can do right as far as offering benefits to your staff to make them want to work with you and your company. 

We talked about:

  • Why you need to look after your employees
  • Good leadership
  • Creating the right environment
  • Challenges, training and development
  • Employee perks
  • Company benefits
  • Choosing the right benefits
  • Communicating benefits correctly
  • Ways to get benefits wrong

In a nutshell, here are 10 most popular takeaways from this series on benefits.

  1. It pays to make your company a great place to work. Although base pay is still vitally important, it is not the only thing talented employees are looking for.
  2. Good leadership is vital. 27% of people who don’t trust their managers, don’t plan to stick around.
  3. Workplace culture starts at the top. To created a culture of communication, collaboration, fun and respect, the boss has to lead by example.
  4. Millennials rank training and progression opportunities as a top reason to stay in their job.
  5. Flexible working is a popular perk and could improve your employees’ productivity.
  6. Voluntary benefits enable you to offer attractive benefits at no or low cost.
  7. The benefits employees want are dependent on their circumstances and their outlook – so flexibility is key.
  8. Company-offered benefits such as accident insurance and hospital indemnity insurance can fill in the gaps in health care coverage.
  9. With paid time off plans and incentives to reduce unscheduled leave, offering paid leave can be a cheaper and more realistic option for small businesses.
  10. By effectively communicating benefits to your employees you help them understand the value of offering, which helps them get the most out of it. Voluntary benefits providers can help with this.

 

Highest regards,

 

 

Stacia

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Colonial Life, The BeneChoice Companies, Stacia Robinson, insurance, education, community, contribution, employer, employee, benefit, benefits, benefit administration, benefit administrator, life, health, accident, long term disability, workers compensation, planning, The BeneChoice Companies, workplace, employees, turnover, benefits, insurance, turnover, Stacia Robinson, Montgomery, AL, Colonial

Know What Coverage Options Benefit You and Your Team Most

When choosing coverage for your company, there are many factors that you need to keep in mind.

Colonial Life, The BeneChoice Companies, Stacia Robinson, insurance, education, community, contribution, employer, employee, benefit, benefits, benefit administration, benefit administrator, life, health, accident, long term disability, workers compensation, planning, The BeneChoice Companies, workplace, employees, turnover, benefits, insurance, turnover, Stacia Robinson, Montgomery, AL, Colonial

  • Should your coverage include families?
  • Should your benefits be offered to part-time workers?
  • What demographic works best for you and your team (Millenials, Baby Boomers and Generation X)?

 

It is always important to think about how the benefits you want to offer will fit with factor such as the key objectives of your business, what competitors are offering to their employees, the budget you have to work with (are you going to fully fund these coverages, share the cost with your employees, or make your employees solely responsible to fund them), and the wants of your employees. Most employee demographics today span a wide range of generations.

 

Another important thing to consider is what millenials are looking for in coverage as opposed to Generation X.

 

To explain this further, Millenials have a lot of the same values as the older generation, along with benefits that will help with the balance of work and other aspects of their lives.

 

Some of these coverages include, paid leave, retirement plans and parental leave.

 

On the other side of the spectrum, Generation X looks for an employer who will fill the gaps in regular coverages they already have.

 

They ask themselves about the “what ifs” in life, things that will require immediate attention; not later in life like Millennials. Coverages they look for include, hospital indemnity insurance, life insurance, accidental insurance, and disability insurance.

 

Once you know the coverage options you want to offer, it is important that you consider the legal matters, large mistakes can result in large penalties and greatly affect your ability to offer benefits to your employees.

 

Follow these rules, and you will come up with the perfect package to not only benefit you, but your employees and their families as well.

 

Warm regards,

 

Stacia

Yoga Can Help Restore Your Health

We all want to jump right back in after an injury but sometimes the body has other plans.

 

More health professionals would tell you this is simply your body telling you to slow down, take it easy or move into your new state of health slower.

 

Yoga might be an option and a great therapy to consider.

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There are many kinds of yoga from hot yoga, restorative yoga, senior yoga, etc.

 

I have a friend that swears by restorative yoga as a tool to slow down, relax, reduce cortisol, slow the heart rate and increase conditions for healing. Most yoga practioners will also tell you that yoga also improves your mental state of being.

 

You don’t even have to venture out in public with your yoga pants and yoga mat. You can easily do yoga at home. All you need are some towels, blanket and pillows. So far, I like the sound of this.

 

Start easy and warm up your body. If you can take a quick 10-30 minute walk, start with this. Say you are in a busy life where you don’t get to move much, your mind is probably always on the go regardless. The less anxious you are, the better you will feel. Unwinding with a quick walk can help.

 

Now it is time to strike a pose. Not for the camera though, we are now talking yoga. Try these:

 

Legs Up the Wall Pose

  • Sit with a hip about a foot from a wall. Pivot to face the wall, and lie back.
  • Lift your legs, so your heels rest on the wall. Scoot your buttocks far enough from the wall to feel a slight opening in the back of the legs. If you’re recovering from a leg injury, instead bend your knees and rest your lower legs on a bed, couch or chair.
  • Stay for 1 to 5 minutes.

Specific benefit: Opens the hamstrings (less so with bent knees and lowered legs) and relieves weary legs. Improves circulation because turning upside down helps return blood to the heart.

Supported Forward Bend

  • Sit with your back against a wall, legs ahead. Place pillows or folded blankets or towels under your knees (lots if you’ve had a hamstring or glute injury) – enough to allow the back of your thighs to relax. Place several more on your front thighs and shins.
  • Sit up straight and encourage the natural curve of your spine (back of hips, shoulders and head all against wall, with space to slide your hand between your lower back and wall).
  • Hinge forward from your hips without rounding your lower back, and then rest your belly and chest on the padding over your front thighs. Rest your forehead, and drop your arms down.
  • Stay for 1 to 5 minutes.

I hope you’ll love restoring your body with yoga.

 

Highest regards,

 

Stacia

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Telemedicine is the Answer

Have you heard the term “telemedicine” before this article? If not, you have probably used it. Dictionary.com defines telemedicine as “the diagnosis and treatment of patients in remote areas using medical information, as x-rays or television pictures, transmitted over long distances.

 

Take a step back and think about things for a moment: we live in a world where instant access in the new normal. You can select next-day shipping for your online purchases. You can binge watch any show for several seasons. Any type of music is a quick swipe away from hearing. If you want an answer to any question, just ask your phone.

 

With all of this information just click away, why should immediate access to medical care be a long wait? Telemedicine is changing the way we look at healthcare. It’s more about getting the correct answer quickly and less about making an appointment and waiting to be seen.

 

Telemedicine is not a new concept but it is a growing option for employers to add to their health care packages. Ultimately, this helps to cut costs for health care and improve access for all employees. Now, 80 percent of employers offer a telehealth benefit to their employees. This may be access through apps on their phones, access to ask a nurse a question 24/7 through a phone line/internet service, and many more.

 

For many employers and employees, this may mean the difference between taking time off to visit a physician or being able to make quick inquiry and access to pick up a prescription at a local pharmacy quickly. This saves time for employers, employees, and licensed physicians. It’s predicted that this could save companies more than $6 billion a year in health care costs. With the savings of time and money, it is no surprise that employers and employees are flocking to the idea of telemedicine as a solution to give more access to everyone for healthcare options!

Highest regards,

Stacia


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Aging “Side Effects” that Need Medical Attention

We all know that getting old means having more memories and our bodies start to wear down year by year. But when is a “side effect” of getting old not just a side effect but a warning of something more serious? We have gathered a few of the common side effects of getting old and why you should check with your doctor rather than chalking it up to age.

 

1.) Being Tired

Often people equate getting older with a desire to take naps more frequently because they are constantly tired. In reality, fatigue and weakness are not common signs of getting older. These are signs that something is wrong and a medical evaluation should be scheduled. Fatigue can be a side effect from various health concerns that can easily be remedied. Sometimes a simple diet change will be in order or supplements. Your medical professional will probably run blood tests to determine what to initially rule out and/or where to begin. Often times fatigue can be a result of blood pressure issues, sleep problems, pain and gastrointestinal reflux, an small infection that simply needs an antibiotic, arthritis related, or related to a thyroid issue.

 

2.) Memory Loss

Some memory loss is to be expected, but this should be a gradual process. Consult your medical professional if your thinking becomes suddenly cloudy, unreliable, you are dizzy, and / or your balance is off. Additionally, if you find yourself tossing and turning at night then quickly needing to go to the bathroom, this is not just a side effect of old age. Speak with your physician sooner rather than later to identify the problem at hand.

 

3.) Appetite Loss

Loss of appetite with an unhealthy amount of weight loss is a large concern of older adults. Between 15 and 30 percent of older adults have what is known as “anorexia of aging.” There are several possible contributing factors for appetite loss that may be from aging such as a loss of vision, taste, and smell. Additionally, a decrease of saliva production, constipation, depression, social isolation, or dental problems may all contribute. Some medications may cause appetite loss as well.

 

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these concerns, seek medical attention to determine what could be the root cause as these are not simply side effects of getting old and can be resolved to have a healthier quality of life.

 

Kind regards,

 

Stacia

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Minimize 3 Foods & Increase 3 Others for Healthy Eating

Limiting certain foods and eating more of others is the actual key to healthy eating for your heart, experts say.

To help keep the right things at a minimum, read the list below for helpful tips.

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Minimum Consumption of Sugar, Salt and Saturated Fat

Empty Sugar Calories

For a sweetener, use local, raw honey instead. Raw honey from your local area will build up your allergy defenses as well. Look at unrefined coconut sugar because it also has low levels of micronutrients. Limit added sugar to 6 teaspoons daily for women and 8 teaspoons for men, per the American Heart Association. Sugar is in many unexpected areas such as marinara sauce, salad dressing, and some pickles. Read the ingredients on items you purchase; you will be shocked at how often sugar is added unexpectedly.

 

High Salt Equals High Blood Pressure

Keep daily salt consumption under 2,400 milligrams a day, under 1,500 would be ideal. Dropping your salt intake to these levels may be difficult at first, but start with an easy step of eliminating 1,000 milligrams a day for a week. Each week eliminate 1,000 milligrams and getting under 1,500 milligrams will be obtainable. For comparison, 1 teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg. Avoiding processed foods will help as these are very high in sodium typically.

 

Saturated Fats

Fatty meat and trans-fat like hydrogenated oils increase your risk of developing coronary artery disease. Avoid these all together if you can.

 

Higher Consumption of Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables and Good Fats

Whole Grains

Not only are fiber and nutrients in whole grains, they play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health. Whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, farro, millet and amaranth are all great options.

 

Fruits and Vegetables

Vitamins, fiber, and great nutrients are found in fruits and vegetables. Each color of fruit and vegetable offers a different array of health benefits. Substances in plants may help prevent cardiovascular disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.

 

Good Fats Decrease Inflammation

Add Omega-3 fatty acids to your daily consumption. Examples would be canola oil, walnuts, ground flaxseed and fatty fish such as salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids decrease inflammation in the body, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease.

 

Increasing your consumption of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 acids while lowering your intake of saturated fat, salt, and sugar will be actions that your heart will thank you for long term.

Highest regards,

Stacia

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Learn How Yoga Can Help You In The Workplace

When people think of yoga, they often think of yoga mats, complicated positions and retreats in the mountains requiring days of silence. However, I am here to tell you that if you can breath, you are in luck with yoga. Yoga is something you can even do at work without anyone knowing you are doing it.

This practice is about using our innate tools to quickly rid our own suffering. Now you may be thinking, “Stacia, I am not suffering” but we all suffer more than we’d like to admit.

 

Such things like negative thoughts, boredom, frustration and even anger are triggers letting you know there is some kind of suffering going on.  So how does simple yoga help this? It all starts with breathing. When we breathe with intention and attention, we are present to the very moment.

 

It doesn’t matter if you wear a three-piece suit, medical scrubs, a uniform or construction boots and a hard hat to work.

 

Remember if you can breathe, you can do do yoga at work. Try this right now, inhale and notice what happens to your body’s toros. Exhale, and notice again what happens to your body. Repeat this 15 times while counting to 1, 2, 3 each time you inhale and exhale.

 

When you focus on breathing this intently, your mind isn’t wandering to anything else, putting a quick halt to any pain and suffering going on in your world, body, life. You calmed your nervous system and unknowingly to you, you decrease your cortisol, the stress hormone. If you are depressed or sad, this same breathing techniques is known to help.

 

There is no required number of rounds for breath-work, but the longer you can do each, the more you’ll feel the effects. Believe it or not, you are practicing yoga.

 

Warmest regards,

Stacia

 

Why Dental Coverage Helps Employers As Much As Employees

These days, everyone is moving towards eating a balanced diet and squeezing in a healthy workout. But to truly be healthy, you have to focus on more than just diet and exercise. Many people often overlook their oral health.

Oral health and cardiovascular health have been linked in the health community for a while; however, there is new evidence that provides the link between periodontitis, also known as gum disease, to stroke and heart attacks. Studies have shown that treating gum disease with a topical remedy greatly reduced vascular inflammation, which lessens risk of hypertension, heart attack, and stroke.

Cardiovascular disease is a serious problem, in the US: one of four people will die due to these complications if left untreated. It is also a huge expense for Americans, including employees and employers who sponsor their health plans. Heart disease is racking up a daily one billion dollars in lost productivity and medical care.

Gum disease can also affect more than just heart. It is actually a risk for expectant mothers, as it can affect unborn babies. The bacteria caused by the periodontitis get into the bloodstream of the pregnant woman and attack the fetus, often leading to premature birth and low birth weight. This puts newborns at risk for issues in their early life, as well as developmental issues later on, in addition to being very expensive for the family. A premature baby can cost around $49,000 in expense its first year, compared to $4,551 for an infant who has no complications. A report from the March of Dimes states the pre-term birth costs more that $12 billion in extra healthcare costs.

Oral health is also important for diabetics. In addition to being at risk for issues with their feet, eyes, kidneys, and heart, they also are more prone to periodontitis. A higher risk of gum disease can make it more difficult to regulate blood glucose, in addition to causing infections in the bones that hold teeth in place, making chewing more difficult.

It is vital for employers and employees to understand how oral health plays a part in overall health. Simple, inexpensive treatment can save businesses and plan participants thousands of dollars and countless hours of pain.

Analyzing claims data is a great indication of how oral health affects employees. The highest number of claims come from cardiovascular, maternity, diabetes, and musculoskeletal claims, all of which can be worsened by periodontitis.

Dental health has been given a back seat in health plans, wellness initiatives, and employee education. Most initiatives focused on preventing heart disease covered diet and exercise, but overlooked dental care. Many health plans do not include dental coverage, which is a minimal expense compared to other program costs and costs of potential complications. Often, employees will disregard dental care because they have never had a history of cavities. But dental coverage and employee education can help them understand the risks and therefore take their dental health into their own hands.

It is highly important that employers work closely with insurance brokers to understand dental coverage and what the associated costs are. They will likely see that medical claims are much higher than dental claims. They can work together with benefit consultants to create affordable dental plans. Bridging the gap between dental and medical coverage for those at higher risk of dental issues can truly get the treatment they need.

Employees with good dental hygiene will decrease employer’s medical costs. Proper dental coverage is vital for this win-win.


Highest regards,

Stacia

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86% of Employees Participate In A Particular Wellness Program

There are varying views on whether wellness programs assist with people cutting those unwanted pounds. Critics have even gone so far as to claim that these programs are actually counter-productive because they shame employees about their weight.

A survey released from HealthMine (a wellness company) points out the potential of such programs besides weight-loss.

According to the poll of 501 people with a heart disease, 43% said their condition was identified through a wellness program. In addition, the poll found that 68% participate in a wellness program that includes a disease management program, and most (86%) participate in that particular program.

“Heart disease strikes someone in the U.S. once about every 43 seconds. But, we have the power to lessen the impact,” said Bryce Williams, CEO of HealthMine. “Through personal clinical engagement, we can help people find out sooner, learn what they need to do and motivate them to do it.”

79% of respondents noted that their wellness plan helped them manage their health care costs. 42% said it actually helped them quite a bit.

Wellness programs have scored a number of legal and political victories over the past year.

Not only has the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission proposed a rule allowing companies to issue financial incentives up to 30 percent of the cost of its health insurance, but the EEOC’s own suit against a company that required employees to partake in biometric screenings to be eligible for company health care was rejected by a federal judge in December.

Highest regards,

Stacia

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