As a native to the D.C. area, I've gotten a daily dose of patriotism my whole life from having so many of the nation's premier museums and monuments almost literally in my own backyard.

From kindergarten through high school, I went on a field trip every year to the White House. Although the Blue Room never (ever) changed, the annual tour went a long way to instilling in me that it truly is "the people's house."

So, as a product of the D.C. area who runs a D.C.-based publication, I'd like to think of EBN as the "people's magazine"- and like the design of our government, I want it to be of benefits pros, by benefits pros and for benefits pros.

First, it's very important to the staff and me that EBN always be of or about you - your stories, your concerns, your struggles and successes, your employees. To that end, we seek to bring you organizational profiles and case studies through EBN's Success Stories section, and have added a special focus on wellness in 2011 through the BeneFIT Success series.

The year-long series kicks off this month with a page 1 profile of Luann Watkins, an employee at Heffernan Insurance Brokers in California. Read along as Watkins takes us all on her wellness journey - one step, meal and pound at a time. I know you'll find her as inspiring as I do.

Second, I hope the magazine over the years has reflected my desire to have it be by you - by people who do what you do or help you do what you do every day. In keeping with that commitment, I'm happy to introduce you this month to EBN's new Contributing Editors:

* Mary Nell Billings (Retirement Planning, page 49)

* Kate Bongiovanni (Laws & Regs, page 54)

* Ed Bray (Employee Consumer, page 18)

* Cindy Bucher (Health Care, page 40)

* Leanne Fosbre (Editor's Pages, page 10)

* Robert Lawton (Retirement Planning, page 50)

* Laurie Miller (Benefits Corner Office, page 12)

* Shana Sweeney (Editor's Pages, page 10)

* Andrew Sykes (Health Care, page 41)

* Christy Yaccarino (Health Care, page 42)

This talented and experienced group of benefits practitioners, advisers and attorneys join the ranks of EBN's veteran CEs Nancy Bolton, Emily Chardac, Betty Long and Frank Palmieri to make sure the voice of actual benefits pros is always maintained throughout EBN's pages.

In addition to the CEs' contributions, we're also using EBN's annual "Preparing for Open Enrollment" series to affirm the "by the professionals" commitment. This year, we're coming to you for your tips on ways to improve the open enrollment process.

What have you done to make open enrollment easier for yourself, your staff and your employees? Have you found ways to better communicate various benefit offerings or boost enrollment in your programs, especially voluntary benefits or retirement plans? Are you tapping vendors or brokers for help or online tools? Have you found ways to reduce open enrollment costs?

Tell us your story in 500 words or less. We're looking for submissions in three areas:

1. Employee communications (can be general or specific to a particular benefit)

2. Voluntary benefits (selection, enrollment and management)

3. Wellness programs (design, introduction, ongoing promotion, incentives)

We'll publish readers' advice and best practices in EBN May, June 1 and June 15 and on our website. You may submit an article on any or all of these topics. Please e-mail your write-up or write-ups to by Friday, March 18. Include your name, title, your organization's name, your city and state, and the number of employees you serve.

Broker/advisers and benefits providers are welcome to send along best practices they've observed as well. If we receive articles with the same advice, the earliest submission will be used.

If you have questions, contact Senior Editor Lynn Gresham at Thank you for your help, and we're looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Lastly, in keeping EBN a magazine for benefits professionals, this month's features touch on three of your greatest concerns: health care reform (page 1), retirement planning (page 25) and disability management (page 33). I hope you find all three reports valuable as you continue plotting your benefits strategy in those areas.

And as always, please send me your feedback about how we can improve the "people's magazine." Unlike the White House Blue Room, we can change it to suit your needs and tastes.

Send letters, queries and story ideas to Editor-in-Chief Kelley Butler at


In the article "PBM pendulum swing" (EBN February), comments by David Kwasny, president of Restat Analysis, should have read that by using alternative pharmacy network programs, an employer with 5,000 to 6,500 employees could save up to $2 million a year. A corrected version of the article is available online at We regret the error.

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