Managing your benefit plan’s multiple moving parts

Andrew Brickman

Anyone in an HR department who is responsible for administrating group employee benefits knows that a plan’s complexity and changes are difficult to navigate, understand and act upon. With HR overwhelmed by the demands of routine plan administration and the added pressures of regulatory compliance, employers are looking for ways to relieve the administrative workload. Increasingly, they are turning to third parties for assistance with the tactical processing of benefits.

Third party group employee benefits administration is an effective way to offload non-strategic processes, including:

  • Annual enrollment
  • New hire enrollment
  • Eligibility additions
  • Terminations
  • Life event changes
  • Premium billing and reconciliation
  • Difficult-to-generate benefit reports

With a third party group employee benefits administration solution, HR also has access to employee advocacy resources. Privacy is a key support area that a comprehensive third party solution addresses. Employees requiring assistance may be reluctant to share confidential health information with HR, and HR may not want to be involved in these sensitive matters. This leaves a support vacuum. A comprehensive third party employee benefits administration solution provides direct access to employee advocates who can handle sensitive information and deliver both answers and assistance.

Today’s benefit plans offer more consumer-driven options. Therefore, education and engagement support is necessary to help employees realize the value of their benefits while driving smarter utilization. With only so many internal people available to assist plan participants, a third party provides essential support in the form of dedicated employee advocates and targeted employee education and communication strategies.

The need to hold down cost is another pressure. Too many employers are overpaying for benefits by not properly tracking enrollment and eligibility. Insurance carriers are notorious for including termed or ineligible employees on premium invoices. By leveraging the processing capability of an outsourced employee benefits administrator and the automated carrier feeds and reconciliation processes available via technology, you’ll get a true and accurate depiction of your benefit costs. Aside from the added efficiencies, outsourcing administrative tasks affords HR more time to work on corporate initiatives, like recruiting top talent, staff training and employee engagement.

Outsourcing seasonal and day-to-day tasks brings much-needed relief to people who manage group employee benefits. They are constantly pulled in different directions. There is always another fire to put out. Labor-intensive activities like open enrollment can’t wait, nor can ongoing requests for help from benefits program users. Meanwhile, compliance pressures are mounting and so are the complications. The Department of Labor plans to apply even more pressure by ramping up compliance audits for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, HIPAA and ERISA. As if HR departments didn’t have enough to worry about, compliance failures can lead to liability for excise taxes, civil monetary penalties, private legal actions and government audits.

With a group employee benefits administration partner, your organization will deal with fewer headaches, have more efficient and accurate benefit billing, better control over costs and smarter benefit consumption.


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