Troy, N.Y. - Corporate Benefits Solutions, a full-service firm in New York and Florida, offered the following strategies for saving on employee benefits without making across-the-board cuts:

* Offer voluntary benefits. Voluntary programs let employees purchase benefits at no cost to their employer, and at better rates than they could obtain on their own. Payments can be deducted through payroll, and employees can take their policies with them if they leave.

* Individual plans for a couple may cost less than a family plan. If a couple does not have children, it usually costs less in premiums to insure them on two individual health care plans than on a family plan.

* Generic drugs may cost less out of pocket than through a co-pay.

* High deductibles save on premiums. High/low insurance plans allow policyholders to select between a high deductible or a low deductible. A high deductible means the policyholder pays more money per doctor visit, but this can be cheaper in the long run.

* Dental insurance is not necessarily necessary. Most health insurance plans cover dental emergencies and oral surgery. Many people would spend less on out-of-pocket costs for routine dental work than they would on dental insurance premiums.


Menlo Park, Calif. - Sixty-eight percent of chief financial officers have taken steps to boost employee morale in the midst of the economic crisis, according to a new survey, but 26 percent haven't done anything.

The survey, by staffing company Accountemps, found that the most common attempt to raise workplace morale was through increased and improved communication, cited by 37 percent of the 1,400 respondents. Meanwhile, 18 percent of the CFOs said that their companies have offered their employees additional financial awards. Another 18 percent of the CFOs said that their companies provided additional professional development opportunities, and 18 percent said that their companies conducted additional team-building activities.

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