Written By Erin Ocheltree, CSFS, Benefits Service Manager
Did you know that the legal responsibility for properly and compliantly administering your benefits program falls to you, the employer, according to the Department of Labor? Who administers the benefits for your staff within your organization? Unless you have a Benefits Manager on staff, your company’s Human Resources department, Office Manager, or even Administrative Assistant probably bears the responsibility of administering the employee benefit package. These professionals are typically responsible for a wide-range of duties outside the realm of employee benefits, and this is simply an added duty, but it is not so simple…
No matter the size of the business, administering employee benefits can be rather complex and confusing. Improper handling of benefits can result in pricey fines and penalties for the employer. The acting benefits administrator for any organization takes on several responsibilities to ensure the benefit program runs smoothly and remains compliant. Some of these day-to-day administrative duties include:
- Acting as COBRA Administrator
- Confirming proper payroll deductions
- Compliance with government regulations in multiple areas (affordability, offering minimum essential coverage, pre/post taxed benefits handling, IRS reporting, ACA reporting, etc.)
- Timely distribution of all required annual notices
- Assure timely & accurate notifications/processing of enrollments, terminations and changes
- Monitor/verify monthly billings for accuracy
- Maintain benefit documentation- plan documents & policy information
- Timely and equitable offers of coverage to each eligible employee
- Ensuring practices are consistent with non-discrimination laws
- And more…
This is where your broker relationship becomes critical. Most brokers have resources to assist in navigating the intricacies of the benefits world, and professionals who help your company remain compliant while still offering a valuable benefits package to your team. A broker should not only shop around for the benefits that make the best sense for your organization, but also provide a support team to assist in the day-to-day administration. This may include an online tracking system for employees to elect and/or make changes to their benefits with easy-to-read reports for setting up payroll deductions, providing Open Enrollment support, teaching your acting benefits administrator in the best practices of benefits administration, educating you on and providing resources for completing government mandated reporting, providing billing audit support when something is inaccurate, and even assisting your individual employees with their benefits needs to take the pressure off of your administrator.
A benefits broker’s most critical role is to educate you and help your organization remain compliant with the various rules and regulations surrounding employee benefits. This is, of course, followed closely by partnering with you to provide an excellent benefits program unique to your business and employees.
Administering benefits is an excellent way to attract and retain top talent for your business. It is also a very tricky world to navigate without the right partner! There is a lot of responsibility when it comes to benefits, and your broker team should be right there by your side helping you though it all.