21 October 2006

A Benefits Meeting to Remember

If find that the older I get, not only does the hair in my ears get longer, but I break with established habits. My link between deviant behavior and toe nail length today is to talk about an aspect of my job on this blog. For professional, legal, and moral reasons, I generally keep silent about this part of my life. However, this week I was forced to attend an annual benefits meeting. I decided that if the company was going to suck three hours of my life away, I would get a blog out of it.

The meeting had all the typical trappings. We were provided with nice healthy snacks, including Diet Coke with Splenda and honey and oat power bars. (Why anyone would feed a group of sedentary people anything with oatmeal in it boggles me.)The presentation itself had a visually stunning Power Point presentation and the maximum number of acronyms allowed by law. For example: “If you go with the PPO plan 1C over the HSA with the FSA sub-option you’ll be SOL to the tune of X dollars a year. So QED your ATM will show you that you are FUBARed each payroll cycle.”

The other unique aspect of a meeting that deals with health insurance and retirement plans are the questions from the peanut gallery. People will announce things in these meetings that they would never talk about around the water cooler. Evidently, there are some that think their specific problems should be answered in this type of forum. For example: “I am a Mormon that has three wives. I know it is illegal, but the company has let me have all my wives on my insurance. I tried to claim the surgery that wife number 2 had after getting kicked in the head by a mule on my HMO plan 14C last year, and it was denied. But here’s my real question. What is the deductible I’ll have to meet this year, if she gets kicked int he head again?”

Of course this starts the repackaging of questions for those that have had similar problems. Half an hour is wasted discussing children’s orthodontic dilemmas, husband’s erectile dysfunctions, and the horror story of one’s third cousin getting cysts removed from their inner thigh. Nice.

The best part of the show was the cat from the investment house that sat through all of the shenanigans just for his 15 minutes of meeting fame. The biggest change to our retirement plans this year was the addition of targeted mutual funds to our 401Ks and other plans to “take care” of retirement. At this, I was perplexed by the number and varieties of funds available to us. I shall end this blog with some of the options presented to me.
  • Health plan option: Drink yourself to 64. Touted as the plan for those who wish to take the Leaving Las Vegas route out of retirement.
  • Extending your work life plan: Why retire at all? There are a number of post-30 year with the company career options open to those too addled to tie their shoes. Those interested could be trained in the following areas: Quality assurance on the production line of pig ears for dog treats, peep show token taker, tour guide to the World’s Largest Ball of String, or one of a thousand other options.
  • Target Fund option: A wide spectrum of risk fund based on the openings of Broadway musicals. The fund holder can pick each quarter on the musicals they wish to back. The risk takers in the lot might look at the off Broadway option. One hot prospect this quarter is the Ordinary People musical planning on opening of Spring 2007.
  • Bond fund: Church building funds. This bond fund will finance church expansion projects. Success of the fund will depend on the quality and quantity of dinner on the grounds and social function related to the expansion. Investors may chose from any of 32 different faiths and 182 different denominations. At this time the church of Tony Alamo is not included in the fund.
  • Whole life retirement plan: Living in the 3rd World. If you’re short on retirement funds, why not go to where your dollar stretches farther? Exotic locations await you like: Chad, Thailand, and Honduras. Why not make your golden years an adventure?

1 comment:

flashbna said...

What you don't find reading benefit information interesting....why I search the net for articles to provide my staff. I am crushed you weren't sitting on the edge of your seat the whole time in the meeting.