Managing benefits is tough for anyone and can be time-consuming and even confusing at times. Perhaps the most time and effort spent administering benefits comes from the different changes that can take place throughout the year. There are four types of benefit changes companies need to manage and be aware of:
When a company renews benefit plans or changes plans with their carriers, this is known as open enrollment. While this can happen throughout the year, for a lot of companies this typically happens between October and December in preparation for coverage beginning on January 1st. However, policies and coverage can start on the first day of any month. Open enrollment will usually be the month or two prior and can last a week or more. Even though open enrollment is only open for a limited period, the company must notify their employees of any changes or additions, educate them on benefit plan offerings, and give them enough time to enroll for coverage.
Companies typically have guidelines in place for an employee to become eligible for benefit coverage. This generally happens when companies hire a new employee or have an employee move from part-time to full-time status. Because these benefit enrollments happen outside of the open enrollment period at any time during the year, they are referred to as new enrollments.
Life Change Events
There are certain times throughout the year when benefit plans can be changed at any time, known as life change events. Think about it. What if someone gets married or has a child? This person would need to change their insurance coverage to include their dependents. These types of events that can happen allow you to make changes to your benefits. Alternatively, these can not only include additions to coverage, but also drops in coverage as well, which can result from dependents aging out of plans, divorces that occur, the death of a dependent, etc.
In situations where an employee is terminated or leaves their employer on their own accord, benefit coverage can be terminated by the company at the end of the month. Terminations can be costly for employers because the benefit plans can be cancelled at any time throughout the year, so if a company fails to fully terminate coverage they will continue to pay for the benefit premium. With an average premium cost of about $750 per month per employee that can be a very costly mistake, especially if the company doesn’t realize that it hasn’t terminated those benefits!
Manually controlling and delivering all this information can be tedious and troublesome, but there are benefit management solutions that can help companies track all these types of changes. While it is nice having the ability to track these changes, that data may just reside in the company’s software program until the individual administering benefits notices it.
Once changes are recognized, companies will still potentially need to fill out paper forms, fax forms to carriers, maintain spreadsheets to send to brokers, and/or head to different carrier sites to report benefits changes.
Why isn’t there a better way to handle all these benefits administration tasks?
Well, it turns out there is. Carrier connection and benefits administration software can save you time, money, and paper, too. Enrollment data or benefits changes can be tracked, monitored, and securely delivered to insurance carriers, automatically. Setting up a connection with your current Payroll, HCM, HR, or benefits software should be simple, effortless, and possible for companies of all sizes.