Health benefits are one of those things. To me, it’s sort of like that universal remote control you got as a gift for your birthday that you just don’t want to open because it’s going to take time for you to figure out and you’re going to have to read the instructions but you don’t want to read the instructions because everything in life should be simple enough to just figure out and if you have to read the instructions you probably can get by without it anyway. Yeah, it’s sort of like that. But you know, the deal is, sometimes we all have to get into it and figure it out. It happened to me today.Intel has decided to get ahead of the upcoming changes required by the Federal government regarding healthcare. One change will require companies to provide healthcare coverage for dependents up to age 26, regardless of whether or not they’re a student or married. Previously, dependents would not be covered after age 21. Well, I have a son turning 21 next week, so it was time to figure it out. Turns out that the process was pretty simple and I didn’t actually need to extend his coverage – he is a full-time student and so was already covered by existing regulations. Had my son just graduated college (if only), he actually would have fallen off my health insurance until next January. Anyway, I thought it was pretty nice that Intel decided to act now to extend coverage for these young adults rather than wait until January 2011 when the law went into effect. Someone in the Benefits department was thinking ahead. In fact, our focus on health benefits and wellness here at Intel are quite solid. I read that a group in Washington D.C., called the National Business Group on Health recently recognized 66 U.S. companies as “Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles” – and Intel was among them. Okay, not to brag, but they gave platinum, gold, and silver awards and Intel was one of the 16 named to the platinum list. Hmmm, that did sound a bit like bragging. If you haven’t figured out yet that Intel culture is pretty achievement-oriented, keep reading blog posts here and you’ll see how we roll. The other aspect to this topic is that it cost Intel money to extend this health coverage before it was required. And it costs money to maintain workout rooms at our sites and provide on-site clinics and, frankly, to fund the wide variety of the programs that it takes to be on the platinum list. Intel does it because it’s a core value for us to partner with our employees in health and wellness, and we try to do it without requiring a big instruction booklet. Good thing, since I kind of have a problem with that sort of thing. My universal remote control is still gathering dust in a corner.