Now that I'm a more seasoned editor, I truly appreciate the infusion of energy, enthusiasm and fearlessness that new professionals bring to EBN.

This appreciation hit me full-force a few weeks ago, as I was on a call with EBN's newest associate editor, Lisa Gillespie. Lisa was pitching me stories for this month's issue, and among her ideas was to write a piece on the fallout and future benefits implications of the health care reform mandate for employers to cover the cost of contraception in their health plans.

At the time, you could turn on the evening news each night to hear at least one mention of this issue and the controversy that it's caused. Given that the topic is such a lightning rod, I asked Lisa, "Are you sure you want to go there?"

Displaying that new professional fearlessness I mentioned earlier, she replied, "Yes" without hesitation. Ten years ago, I likely would have said the same thing.

However, over the last decade, I've received everything from snarky notes to full-fledged hate mail in the wake of stories I've written. Seriously people, once a person wrote to me that I should place my children for adoption because I had no business being a mother if I couldn't write more intelligently.

Thus, although I've gained a much thicker skin, I've also grown much more discerning about when to go there.

Lisa - God bless her - has no such caution yet, only passion, excitement and bring-it-on-ness. And it's one of the (many) things that make her a joy to work with.

So, I gave Lisa the green light to go there on the contraception mandate, and invited you to join her. Thank you to all who posted comments on the issue to EBN's blog, Employee Benefit Views. Lisa was able to include some of them in her story Jagged little pill: Employers grapple with different views. And for more of our coverage on the suject, be sure to visit our website, ebn.benefitnews.com, keyword: contraception.

Please continue to share your thoughts about the contraception mandate and what you think the rule means for employers, employees, health plan costs and religious freedoms by emailing me at kelley.butler@sourcemedia.com.

Send letters, queries and story ideas to Editor-in-Chief Kelley M. Butler at kelley.butler@sourcemedia.com.

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