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» Simplify and Save: The Who, Why and When of Employee Benefits Administration Automation

March 30, 2019

Employee Benefits

Time is money and this couldn’t be truer as it relates to employee benefits administration and the ongoing management it requires. While manually tackling the process with familiar paper forms and spreadsheets seems the simpler and more effective route, the reality couldn’t be farther from the truth.

In fact, taking a hands-on approach may actually add complications and costs, states Presidio Human Resources Technology Specialist Max Witt. “The more hands involved, the higher chance there will be errors. By automating the vast majority of the work through benefits and human resources (HR) software solutions, mistakes are reduced in addition to the overall time invested.”

While companies may question the cost and commitment of utilizing human resources information systems (HRIS) software, the benefits become clear after getting to know the who, why and when of automated employee benefits administration.

Who Benefits?

The HRIS technology behind automating employee benefits administration is a reliable friend to both the employer and their employees. It not only reduces manual errors and mismanagement of employee benefits, but also improves cost savings and drives employee satisfaction and engagement.

“We offer several HRIS platforms, including Employee Navigator, bswift and EaseCentral—each is basically a one-stop shop for benefits management,” explains Witt, who points to Presidio’s partnership with Acrisure—one of the top 10 largest insurance brokers in the world—as key to providing each client the best automation service solutions. “From an enrollment standpoint, they can manage their entire population through the platform, saving time and making it much easier to gather all of their details in one spot.”

In addition to being an all-encompassing benefits management tool, HRIS technology often offers additional human resources-related functions, including a paid time off (PTO) module. “This helps simplify how our clients manage all of their PTO—quickly,” Witt says.

As a multi-channel communication tool, an HRIS platform is key to a well-organized system that consolidates tasks. For example, instead of an HR director or assistant manually entering employee information into a payroll system, an HR system and the health insurance system, the job is completed when the employee enters their details directly into the platform. The end result is a streamlined system that provides employees 24/7 access to the software for added convenience.

Not only does employee benefits automation technology allow for more efficiency, it’s also a valuable risk management strategy tool, explains Acrisure Employee Benefits Senior Vice President Brad Urhausen. “Employee benefits are a critical component to an employee’s financial security,” he states. “Incorporating technology into the enrollment process can help to ensure that an employee’s benefit elections are collected timely, documented fully and fulfilled properly. This protects both the employee and the employer.”

Why Automate?

While there are many reasons to automate employee benefits administration, an ongoing return on investment on time and money—in addition to decreased frustration— stands out, according to Witt.

“One of our clients is almost in a perpetual state of open enrollment due to frequent acquisitions,” he explains. “Approximately every month they hire 50 new employees, needing to set up each of their benefits. Thanks to HRIS technology it’s no longer the administrative nightmare it would have been before.”

If a typical enrollment event takes the processor an average of five minutes to complete, the numbers are compelling. “In 2017, the HRIS solution Employee Navigator and their newly built file creation and transmission tool EDI processed somewhere in the realm of 1.5 million transactions, saving millions of dollars in man hours,” states Witt. “With this being the infancy of Navigator EDI integration, I would expect these numbers to increase annually for the foreseeable future.”

On top of saving money, employers using automation technology can help ease their employees’ minds by increasing awareness about their overall benefits. According to a survey conducted by Harris Poll, 48 percent of employees report that making health insurance decisions is always “very stressful” for them; for those whose employers offer health insurance, 41 percent feel the open enrollment process is “extremely confusing.” Automated benefits administration system solutions often offer side-by-side comparisons of heath insurance options, in addition to online savings calculators to educate employees regarding the best plan for them.

When to Automate

For those companies—big, midsize and small—who offer group employee benefits, the decision to automate employee benefits administration should be a high priority. With employee benefit programs being one of the largest budget line items, automation not only helps reduce enrollment and ongoing management costs, but also the possibility of additional, unexpected costs from not meeting compliance requirements.

Every business, regardless of size, is faced with being up-to-date on changing Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations and reporting requirements. For those with 50 or more full-time equivalent (FTE) employees who do offer health insurance, each is required to prove every eligible employee is offered coverage and that the coverage meets ACA standards. For all employers (including smaller employers without certain ACA compliance considerations), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) imposes substantial compliance requirements to which an employer offering any group health and welfare plan must adhere. Employee benefits administration automation helps to proactively address these requirements and avoid future problems.

“We specialize in setting up HRIS solutions for each of our clients according to their needs, then turn it over to them. But, we’re always here to provide answers,” says Witt. “Our goal is to offer the best service possible and automating the administrative part is not only for our clients, but it also allows us to provide better service. When the big problems come up, we can dedicate more resources to those instead of the day-to-day issues now handled efficiently with automation.”

Have questions about how automating employee benefits administration can help you simplify and save? Ask us. Presidio’s innovative mix of intellectual strength is prepared to provide answers to meet your needs, challenges and expectations.

Posted by in Employee Benefits