A Genetic Test to Spot Health Risks

Scientists first mapped the human genome 14 years ago. Since then, they have learned a lot about genetics, and someday that wisdom may lead to a cure for many diseases. But we’re not there yet. There’s “a ton we don’t understand,” says Lawrence Brody, director of the genomics and society division at the National Human Genome Research Institute. Keep that in mind if you take advantage of the first “direct to consumer” genetic test for health risks. That test became available in the spring, when 23andMe, a DNA testing firm, was the first company to win approval from the Food and Drug Administration to sell directly to consumers–without a prescription–a genetic test that screens for certain health risks. Here’s how it works: You pay $199 to order a Health and Ancestry kit online from 23andMe.com. When it arrives, you spit into a tube and mail it back. Two months later, …

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Beyond Pay and Policing: 4 Things Your HR Department Should Be Doing This Year

Your human resources department is going to be busy in 2018, but busy doing what? Are you going to spend another year drafting policies and punishing rule-breakers? Or will 2018 be the year your HR department becomes a real force to be reckoned with in your organization? It’s time for HR to tackle bigger issues than just payroll and compliance. Here are some suggestions on where to start. Improving Safety The safety of the workforce should always be a priority for everyone within an organization, but this responsibility most often falls directly to HR. It will be HR that will deal with worker’s comp claims, rising insurance rates and any Occupational Safety and Health Act violations that arise from unsafe practices, so it would benefit HR to spend more time on safety training in the future. “The role HR can play is to promote safety as a core value of …

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Common Employee Misconceptions About Benefits

The only way your employees will get the most out of their benefits, and for you to ensure your organization is getting a good return on its investment, is if they fully understand them. But in the Open Enrollment Survey done by Aflac in 2012, only 16 percent of employees reported feeling confident they hadn’t made any mistakes during open enrollment, and almost a quarter felt they hadn’t picked the right coverage for their needs. Employees can get the wrong ideas about their benefits, and miscommunication, apathy or ignorance can perpetuate those misconceptions. The cost of ignorance is high: Employees may not have the coverage they need, and you may be paying for coverage they’re not using. This guide will help you understand four common misconceptions employees have about benefits offerings and what human resources leaders can do to educate them. How Much They Cost Experts say one of the …

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