Why tech is vital for benefits admin

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There’s no question HR professionals are busy: They are responsible for hiring, onboarding and firing, as well as facilitating PTO, employee benefits administration, payroll and employee engagement. With these tasks, as well as with an increasingly diverse workforce, it’s evident there’s a need for human capital management technology that embodies scalability, stability and flexibility.

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Businesses today understand the value of technology and applications to operate their business and drive productivity, and their sight is not lost on the role that human capital and employee benefits management systems play in fueling growth and profitability.

That said, each unique employee type, status, location and compensation governs eligibility for specific benefits, plans and employer-contributions as employers design their benefits plans and package their benefits products. Additionally, this nexus of employee data must be recorded, maintained, verified, aggregated and reformatted to meet federal compliance and reporting requirements, which is even more critical for employers now that the GOP’s healthcare plan has been pulled from the dockets. ACA reporting requirements still exist today and will inevitability remain.

It is an employer’s market of benefits products, and in order to deliver ample benefits packages and concurrently obtain competitive rates, employers must contract with multiple insurance carriers. Additional third parties and applications are required to facilitate wellness programs and employee assistance programs. Plus, the employee benefits gestalt is topped off with rewards and perks such as tuition reimbursement and even pet insurance. Developing a talented workforce takes time and effort and employers want to keep top talent by offering comprehensive employee benefits.

If employers are going to invest in their human capital, they want to ensure employees are educated on their benefits options and what each entails so they are able to make informed health and financial decisions. Implementing an employee benefits administration system that integrates online enrollment and HR benefits management successfully empowers employers to deliver value-added benefits and optimizes employee participation.

For example, an online enrollment self-service provides employees an intuitive, meaningful experience as eligibility drives what employees can or cannot see and what benefits they are able to enroll in. Plus, a total compensation statement at the end of the enrollment process truly expresses the value of what employers offer. All employee data, transactions, dependent and beneficiary information, communications, and documentation, such as evidence of insurability, lives in “real-time” and is sustained in one system for which HR administrators are able to streamline and automate employee benefits administration.

Full-service employee benefits administration firms offer flexibility in customization and develop innovative accommodations for employers’ unique benefits configurations. Through one-on-one, personalized service, these firms learn about each clients’ benefits plans, employee classifications and other desired eligibility determinants such as gender, tobacco-use, age, location or responses to other knock-out enrollment questions.

Employers may gain subsidies or discounts if many of their employees are found to be non-smokers.

Likewise, employees who answer, “No,” to the tobacco-use question may be eligible to enroll in a health savings account. The contingent variances in eligibility for an already diverse employee population create challenges for HR without a robust, multi-functional technological solution. Employers and HR professionals who shop for an enrollment and benefits administration solution must be savvy in their search as just as no two employers are alike, no two benefits administration technologies are alike and many are not equipped to handle employers’ day-to-day benefits transactions.

HR administrators may be doing more manual work than even before implementing a benefits technology when total automation only applies to standard medical and dental plans, but does not include the ability to configure a variety of voluntary products, such as life, short-term disability, long-term disability, critical illness and accident insurance.

In order to gain an ROI, employee benefits administration technology must be easy-to-use, intuitive and functional for the end-user: an HR professional or employee. The self-service enrollment interface enables employees to enroll online at their leisure while receiving support for educated decision making. HR administrators acquire equally relevant and practical applications through the use of management tools and integrations with carrier, payroll and other third parties. Plus, call center support and telephonic enrollment opportunities offer HR the ability to extend their human resources capabilities. Lastly, any technology implemented today must be easily deployed and flexible to scale to employers’ changing needs, revenue and workforce.

Bringing technology to the table with human resources administrators, carriers, payroll and other third-party facilitators is necessary if employers are to do more than just represent a fictional employee and her unique story. Implementing innovative, robust employee benefits administration solutions preserves employers’ focus on affordability, marketability and automation of employee benefits, as well as employees’ demand for benefits packages that add value to their total compensation.

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