Benefits administration technology (Ben Admin) is a web-based database for all employees who are eligible for employee benefits. It can allow you and employees to:
- enroll and decline benefit
- process enrollments to insurers
- prevent employees from staying on your plan (and you paying premiums) after they’ve left your company
- integrate with your payroll to automate payroll deductions
- provide data to, or integrate with, ACA tracking software
In general, it saves a boat load of HR time.
How important is Ben Admin
Most employers with at least 250 employees have a ben admin system. The tasks required for offering and administering benefits to that many eligible employees, regardless of how many enroll in benefits, is too complex and the risk of ACA and other compliance is too great to leave things to chance or manual processes.
What isn’t Ben Admin
First and foremost, ben admin isn’t the same as an ACA eligibility system. Many staffing firms are unfamiliar with ben admin technology and confuse it with an enrollment system or think it duplicates functions performed by payroll systems. In addition, most of the technologies in the temporary staffing space do not include ben admin features or they are not able to handle the degree of complexity needed to perform many functions, including on/off work assignments, breaks in service, and unusual benefit eligibility rules. Enrollment systems/platforms/portals only work to transmit enrollments and they serve to terminate someone’s coverage. They are often provided free by insurers and brokers selling their products.
What to look for in a Ben Admin system
When looking for a ben admin system consider first how much work you will be required to perform. This is where a SaaS based system can really help. Look for a vendor that knows staffing – particularly staffing firms of your size. Ask if they specialize in staffing and what kind of enhancements their “development team” has programmed to accommodate staffing. That will quickly separate those who claim to know staffing from those who actually do. Ask your broker for help and recommendations of ben admin firms that specialize in or have a niche in staffing.
Valuable Ben Admin Features
Here are some things ben admin technologies can do and automate:
- Communicate employee benefit options to new hires – every employee gets exactly the same message and information
- Better communicate your benefits to candidates and increase employee engagement by providing more, better and on-time benefits information
- Reduce employee questions about benefits by directing them to your online ben admin system
- Streamline sending employee communications including annual required notifications to employees
- Notify your COBRA administrator
- Manage open enrollment, eligibility, and re-enrollment into benefits due to breaks in service and status changes
- Manage benefits based on employee class(es), divisions, clients, etc.
- Process enrollment forms to insurance carriers
- Change insurance programs with ease
- Use the same technology to help manage all employees
- Manage deadlines for employees to enroll or decline coverage
- Offer coverage & capture elections/waivers while onboarding (before going on assignment)
- Provide employee self-service for benefit enrollment and changes life events
- Automatically terminate insurance coverage when employees don’t return
- Upload payroll deductions so you don’t have to manually enter them
- Automate and document offers of coverage with a digital record of 100% of eligible employees
- Reduce HR staff time working on benefits
- Simplify reconciliation and payment of employee benefit insurance/vendor invoices
- Automate notifications to insurers of employees who drop or terminate coverage
- Provide easy access to benefits data and census information
- Automate and track new hire’s waiting period and generate timely enrollment communications
- Reduce or eliminate errors like failing to enroll someone or enrolling them in the wrong plan(s)
It is important to explore a ben admin system with a knowledgeable vendor who understands the complex needs of the staffing industry. Even more importantly, as the ACA Good Faith Transition relief period ends, the cost of not having a ben admin system that helps you avoid penalties from incorrect reporting could be insurmountable.
Contact us to learn more about ben admin technologies and ways we can support your staffing firm’s goals.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John is a Senior Vice President at Assurance with over 30 years of professional insurance experience. He’s a leader in Assurance’s initiative to develop health insurance, administrative and compliance solutions for staffing companies under the ACA with a focus on controlling costs using advanced risk strategies. In fact, John’s had numerous speaking engagements on the ACA for staffing-specific associations and provided input to both the Obama and McCain campaigns during the 2008 Presidential election. John once owned a small staffing firm prior to his career in insurance, so he not only brings a wealth of employee benefits knowledge but, also understands the perspective of a small business owner. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Management from Webster University.