Employee Benefits


To stave off double-digit increases in the cost of employee health plans, small and midsize companies cut benefits in 2003, according to a survey and analysis by Mercer Human Resource Consulting and Marsh Inc. ( www.marsh.com ). This held costs to an average of $6,130 per worker, up 9.8% since 2002. Companies with fewer than 50 employees limited their per capita costs to $5,795 by instituting provisions discouraging dependent coverage and imposing high deductibles. But businesses with 1,000 to 1,999 employees spent considerably more—$6,472—per worker, reflecting the challenge of competing for labor with larger employers that have greater purchasing power. The findings are based on responses from 1,904 employers.

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Excel walk-through: Sparklines

Want to liven up your spreadsheets with some color and graphical elements? Kelly L. Williams, CPA, Ph.D., shows how to use Excel sparklines, which illustrate data trends and patterns via small charts that fit in a single Excel cell.