The link between benefits administration technology and cost control

Andrew Brickman


Controlling the cost of benefits is top of mind for most business leaders today. As a result, many employers are shifting additional cost burdens to their employees in the form of higher co-pays and deductibles. With an ever-tightening budgetary environment and the restrictions imposed by PPACA, there is only so much cost an organization can shift to participants.

One way to control expense is to increase benefits administration efficiencies through technology, which streamlines open enrollment and eligibility at both ends of the spectrum—for the administrator and the plan participant. The result: HR staffers spend less time juggling annual and day-to-day administrative tasks and employees quickly learn how to compare and select benefits best suited to their specific needs.

The most valuable benefits administration technologies automatically handle tasks such as tracking new hires, terminations, employees on leave, insurance company errors, etc. Benefits administrators who manually track these processes know how difficult they can be to manage.

Below are additional features that can help ease overall benefits administration:

  • Rules-based enrollment and eligibility engine (employees see only the plans they have access to and the benefits they are eligible for)
  • Correct plan cost calculations and accurate employee deductions
  • Electronic data feeds to carriers and third party vendors, easing billing reconciliation, delivering a true depiction of plan costs, and eliminating manual entry of enrollment data into carrier portals
  • Employee benefits compliance notifications, such as COBRA and HIPAA [a portal to house important compliance documents (plan documents, SPD’s, SBC’s, etc.)]

The most effective benefits administration platforms include decision-modeling calculators driven by real data to enable a rich, personalized experience for employees. The system should give users the ability to test various benefit enrollment choices. They will see first-hand how different selection options affect their paychecks and coverage.

Engagement and education are also critical to the employee’s entire benefit experience. A platform delivering education and communications through animated storyboards can be very effective in guiding users to make informed decisions. The educational component can also strengthen the perceived value of a benefits program. Employees will understand and better appreciate their total compensation package.

Technology helps in many ways. The systems that deliver the most value to employees also provide direct access to benefit advocates. Employee advocates can step in, answer questions and assist plan users with pressing and often complicated benefit issues. Overall, benefits administration technology can help reduce unnecessary costs by driving greater efficiencies and guiding smarter participant decisions. Employers will benefit from the support provided by an automated enrollment and eligibility system, and their employees will, too.