Friday, September 29, 2006

Consumer-Driven Health Plans

We all hear so much about consumer-driven health plans. The following is the low-down on HSAs and HRAs:
Health Savings Accounts (HSA)
A Health Savings Account works like an IRA, except the money is used to pay health care costs. Participants must enroll in a high deductible insurance plan. Then, a tax deductible savings account is opened to cover current and future medical expenses. The money deposited, as well as the earnings, is tax-deferred. The money can then be withdrawn to cover qualified expenses tax-free. HSAs are an expansion of Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs). The employer, employee or combination of both can fund HSAs within the same calendar year.
The pros: Unused money can be rolled over and used in subsequent years.
The cons: The plan can only be used in conjunction with a high-deductible insurance plan. The first few months may be difficult for many employees until they get a chance to accumulate savings in their accounts.
Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA)
A health reimbursement arrangement is an employer-funded account that reimburses employees for qualified medical expenses. These plans can only be established by an employer for the employee.
The pros: Employers can utilize program to soften the blow of rising insurance plans.
The cons: Employees will forfeit any unused funds if they leave the company or die.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Want To Be A Leader: Read On

What differentiates truly outstanding leaders from average or competent leaders? It always results in a great conversation. While everyone has their own experiences and perspectives, some very strong themes have emerged. Accoridng to Mark Hinderliter, president of Abel Group, six themes have emerged as the “differentiators.”
1. Acts With Courage.
“Don’t be afraid to tell people the truth. A culture of candor accelerates everything we do.”
2. Models Integrity.
“There are no substitutes for telling the truth and keeping commitments for creating trust.”
3. Works With Passion.
-“The great leaders I’ve seen turn what their organizations do into a cause or a crusade and inspires people to want to be a part of it.”
4. Serves Those They Lead.
“Our most successful managers understand that they work for the people they lead—the ones taking care of our customers.”
5. Engages Others.“My 90-year-old dad taught me my greatest leadership lesson; to be authentic and be interested in people and connect with them at a personal level.”
“If you want people to just punch the clock, tell them what to do. If you want to do great things, fully engage their hearts, minds, and talents.”
6. Creates Clarity.
“In a world of unrelenting time pressures, lean organizations and unlimited information, clarity is power. It’s the leader’s job to create that clarity.”