Why It’s Time for Paperless Benefits

Andrew Brickman

Paperless Benefits Administration Streamlines Efficiencies | Andrew Brickman | Corporate Synergies
Employee Benefit News Badge

As Seen In

Paperless benefits administration takes the dread out of open enrollment… and the fear of missing an employee notification compliance deadline. If you’ve already automated your health and welfare benefits, you would be surprised how many organizations still use paper to process benefit enrollments. If you’re still relying on paper, consider the hidden costs:

  • Studies show that up to 8% of dependents enrolled in an employer’s medical plan are ineligible to receive benefits1. For a $2,000,000 benefit spend, that could add up to $160,000 a year!
  • Workers typically spend around 28% of their time doing purely administrative tasks2. For benefits enrollment, this means manually entering information and maintaining paper-based files.
  • Simply storing paper documents is costly. Think of how many filing cabinets hold benefits documents that must be retained, plus the cost of paper, printer ink, maintenance—these numbers vary by company but can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars in costs each year.

Even the best of us make mistakes. In school, a score of 99 out of 100 is a really good grade. With benefits, if you miss 1%, several hundred thousand dollars can suddenly disappear. Health and welfare benefits are just too expensive and too complicated to leave to chance. Instead, there are many employee benefits administration platforms that can cost-effectively automate annual and ongoing functions to eliminate error, save time and, bottom line, save your business money.

  • Automated enrollment eliminates paper and streamlines workflow. Most systems have a rules-based enrollment engine. This means your employees only see the benefits they are eligible for and the appropriate rates for each line of coverage.
  • Enrollment systems are intuitive and very user friendly. In the world of apps and mobile devices, employees are accustomed to information at their fingertips. Presenting targeted communications while the enrollment transaction is happening is an excellent way to reinforce important benefit reminders and ensure your employees have all of the right information to make the right decision.
  • Decision support tools and benefits technology in general are getting more sophisticated. Employees answer a few simple questions and automatically view plan options that best meet their needs. These features help to put an end to mistakes during the decision process—mistakes that can have serious implications for the employee when they put their health plan into use.

Benefits technology can also help with compliance. Giving access to important employee benefits compliance information online can be a huge benefit. While there are regulations that require the distribution of hard copies to employees, you can house your plan documents, summary plan descriptions and summary of material modifications on a benefits administration platform.

Studies show that up to 8% of dependents enrolled in an employer’s medical plan are ineligible to receive benefits. For a $2,000,000 benefit spend, that could add up to $160,000 a year!

Removing paper from the enrollment process also has a huge advantage with COBRA processing. COBRA rules are error-prone and, if not handled properly, could create a lot of unnecessary compliance exposure for the employer. With COBRA, timing is key. By automating the communication to the COBRA vendor, plan administrators can ensure the required COBRA communications happen on time and correctly.

Benefits technology platforms can also help you track medical insurance waivers and enrollments so you can properly complete your 1094-C and 1095-C ACA Information Reporting requirement. If your medical plan is self-funded, you have an automated and easy way to access dependent information for Part III of the 1095-C form.

Aside from the cost savings, the biggest advantage of benefits technology is the time savings for the benefits administrator. Administrators can easily view, monitor and approve routine benefit transactions, such as life events and new-hire enrollments. Electronic data feeds update carriers and third-party vendors without the need to reenter data into numerous portals. Most benefits administration platforms are flexible enough to handle employee demographic imports from third-party payroll systems and produce deduction exports for accurate payroll processing.

With paperless benefits administration, billing and reconciliation is a much easier process. For lines of coverage that are self-bill, simple reports can be created showing who should be covered with the appropriate level of benefit. Attach a check and payment is complete.

For lines of coverage where an invoice is received, reconciliation reports can be used to ensure the carrier is billing the appropriate amount. It is not uncommon for carriers to miss a term or incorrectly recognize a tier level. By having accurate enrollment and eligibility tracked in a system, carrier invoices can be seamlessly reviewed and corrected, ensuing your organization isn’t overpaying.

As you can see, paperless benefits administration does more than reduce workflow and save time. It’s key to ensuring compliant practices and can drive huge dollar savings with better reporting and a more accurate accounting of benefit costs. Your employees will have access to benefit information at their fingertips, creating a more educated and engaged benefit consumer.

If you are the benefits administrator for your employer, the time savings produced by automation could mean you’ll actually have time to take the vacation you’ve been longing for.

Be sure to send a postcard.

1 Consova, “Dependent Eligibility Audit
2 Adobe, “Addressing the Document Disconnect: Hidden Opportunity, Big Payoff


©2016 Corporate Synergies Group, LLC. No part of this material may be republished or distributed without prior written consent.

Download PDF