HUMAN RESOURCES ❖
Health Care Options — What’s Best For You Remember balloon boy? Of one of the organization’s human course you do! It wasn’t that long resources (HR) professionals can ago that we were all glued to our help define the possibilities and computer screens, televisions, or clear up confusion. Depending on other media to watch the drama the type and extent of additional unfold. Unfortunately, it all coverage needed, the HR person turned out to be just one big pubcan outline various options and licity stunt by a wannabe actor discuss details of each, as well as craving his own reality show. Alproviding information/forms for though the entire world is happy implementing such coverage. that the youngster was safe and Local insurance and benefits planner, Paul Sheldon, Jr., CLU, sound at home throughout the ordeal, it is sad that someone would ChFC, confirms many options go to those lengths to ensure their are available when it comes to “15 minutes of fame.” By Holly Culhane, SPHR choosing a plan that is right for So what do we learn from this? you, including, “Health Savings Well, it’s said you should carefully consider every Accounts (HSAs), Health Reimbursement Aroption available and the possible consequences rangements (HRAs), Flexible Spending Accounts before choosing a course of action, especially (FSAs), and Medical Expense Reimbursement when dealing with significant issues. Plans (MERPS).” Although not every employer Health care is one of those significant issues offers every one of these choices, these are a which we all face—and it is vital that each person sampling of what may be available to you. consider all available options and tailor the covMost importantly, each individual needs to erage to suit his/her individual needs. Definitely, feel comfortable with the health coverage they one size does not fit all. Think about it—every choose. Not surprisingly, what you perceive as person, his/her family, and their situation is “adequate” health care can positively impact unique, so why would you pick the first generic your “peace of mind.” This fact, as documented health care coverage off the shelf and automati- in the HR News article “Why Employee Wellcally assume it’s what you need? Most people Being Matters to Your Bottom Line,” by Amy are covered by an employer-sponsored health Neftzger and Shannon Walker, is significant as plan, and this will most likely remain the norm. studies continue to reinforce the notion that our In fact, earlier this year, a SHRM Health Care mental attitudes directly correlate with our actual Reform publication (www.shrm.org/Advocacy/ physical well-being, which in turn affects our Issues/HealthCare) reported that investigations performance on the job. revealed “despite several years of significant cost This intensive study revealed presenteeism increases, the majority of employers continue (employees physically present on the job who to offer health coverage to their workforce for experience reduced productivity due to external recruitment and retention purposes.” factors, such as poor health) often reported health Additionally, according to a September article issues for their poor performance. However, the in HR News titled “Health Care Reform—A report uncovered a number of additional factors Threat to Employer Health Plans?” by George contributing to the actual reported health issues, Pantos, evidence shows that “employers have such as job overload, financial stress, personal been at the forefront of adopting market-based problems, depression/anxiety, issues with supercost-saving innovations, such as programs for visors/co-workers, care-giving responsibilities, wellness, disease management, and pharmacy technology issues, etc. These factors simply management.” By engaging employees in their reinforce the idea that an employee’s total wellown health care, these programs “can address being is crucial to his/her physical, mental, and the nation’s growing ‘disease burdens’ (obesity, emotional health. And while this may seem insmoking, etc.), which add billions of dollars to trusive for the workplace, it does, in fact, directly health care costs.” impact productivity and is an important factor in This information confirms that health care employer-employee relations. is a dynamic system—constantly changing to So, what can you do about this sometimes reflect current trends, attitudes, and employee seemingly overwhelming issue? First and foreneeds. Although you may feel “locked in” by most—stay informed. Pay careful attention to your employer-sponsored plan, options are information being issued from your company’s always available, either through your employer human resources office. If you’re unsure of or through external vendors. Companies need something, ask questions! And above all, to regularly update employees on upcoming consider all the options, as well as the conse“open-enrollment” periods for such things as quences, and then make solid, informed decicafeteria plans, short- and/or long-term dis- sions based on your research and what is best for ability insurance, cancer insurance, etc. These you and your family. Remember—peace of mind are optional plans that employees may wish to is an intrinsic part of your overall health, so utilize in order to supplement their health care don’t forget to take a deep breath and enjoy life! coverage. If a person has concerns on which is the most desirable coverage for their own Contact Holly Culhane of PAS Associates for unique personal situation, an appointment with your human resource needs, (661) 631-2165.
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