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How to choose a benefits administrator

Written by: Chase Charaba
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Published on December 13, 2022.

If your organization is offering employee benefits, it’s essential that you use a benefits administration tool that helps you stay on top of compliance obligations. Benefits administrators can make it easy for employees to enroll in their perks, and they give your organization the training and resources it needs to keep its benefits running smoothly.

A benefits administrator is a human resources professional or an employee benefits administration software that assists in keeping workers and employers informed about their employee benefit programs.

Choosing the right benefits plan administrator for your organization’s needs is essential for a good employee experience. Otherwise, your employees may choose not to use their benefit plans, which can affect employee engagement and turnover.

This article will cover everything you need to consider as you look for a benefits administrator or software solution.

Want to offer perks your employees love? Our guide to fringe benefits can help you determine which perks are best for your organization

Why choose benefits administration software?

The benefits administration industry has been moving into the software space for years. Administration software gives you and your employees more access to your perks wherever you are, promoting a better employee experience.

Choosing an automated system for your benefits packages can help you save time and money compared to self-administering them.

Software for employee benefits programs allows you to be more efficient by having quick access to employee records and data. It also allows employees to see information about their perks at a glance. Best of all, reliable administrators will help you comply with current regulations.

Technology considerations

When choosing an administrator for your benefits, you’ll likely consider a software solution for ease of use and accessibility. With so many HR tech platforms available, the features and usability of the software have become a top consideration.

This section will cover the areas you need to consider before selecting a benefits software.

Automated compliance

Federal law and IRS code can impose strict regulations on employers depending on the type of perks you want to offer. This is especially true for retirement plans and health benefits like health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).

For example, an HRA administration software would require features like:

  • Creation of a written legal plan and summary plan description (SPD)
  • A way to collect and store employees’ electronic signatures
  • Privacy features to ensure protected health information (PHI) is kept secure
  • Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) compliance
  • Documentation for appeal requirements, notifications, and procedures
  • Continued coverage of dependent children up to age 26
  • Automated notice requirements for employees’ eligibility and annual allowances

Without the required features to ensure compliance with federal laws, your company could run afoul of tax rules and be subject to hefty penalties. Fortunately, the right automatic software takes the guesswork out of managing employee benefits.

Updates and reliability

When choosing a benefits platform, you’ll need to consider the reliability of the software. While this information may not be immediately available, reviews from other organizations can help you determine if the platform can handle high transaction volumes during peak seasons, such as open enrollment periods.

Ease of use

As an employer or HR professional, you likely have dozens of tasks on your to-do list at any given moment. The last thing you want to deal with is complex software.

When choosing a software vendor, you’ll also want to consider the platform's usability. You can usually gauge this from reviews and software demos. Your employees will expect software that’s intuitive, easy to navigate and understand, and that doesn’t include a ton of jargon or terminology that isn’t adequately defined.

Tools, features, and resources

Whether you’re looking for a benefits administrator or administration software, your administration tool should also include resources and tools that help your employees use and manage their perks.

Employee features and resources to look for include:

  • An employee welcome letter and other communications
  • Online access for eligible employees to check their perks and allowances

Depending on the employee benefits you want to offer, there might be additional features and resources you need.

HRA administration features

When offering an HRA to your employees, there are many tools and resources that can help you and your employees.

HRA software features can include the following:

  • Resources to help employees decide which individual health insurance policy to purchase
  • HSA compatibility
  • A simple way for employees to make reimbursement requests and upload required documentation, such as receipts
  • A way for employees to track reimbursements over time
  • Cloud-based account access for employers and employees
  • Real-time access to accounting information for employers
  • A way to send an automatic notice of reimbursement decisions to employees
  • Online, automatic annual renewal
  • Training and support

Because the entire purpose of offering an HRA is to provide employees with flexible, personalized health benefits, you want to make it easy for them to take advantage of their perks. With the right HRA administration software, your employees will know where to choose a policy and how to request reimbursements.

You’ll also want to choose a vendor with the knowledge, skills, and expertise to help guide you through offering your HRA. With PeopleKeep, our documentation review specialists approve requests for reimbursement from your employees to ensure compliance.

While an HRA is less wieldy to administer compared to traditional group health insurance, it’s not without its own learning curve. A good administrative tool will give your plan administrator the training and ongoing support needed to keep your HRA compliant and functioning smoothly.

Employee stipend administration features

Suppose you plan to offer employee stipends for various perk categories, such as wellness or commuter benefits. In that case, you’ll need a software solution to customize your monthly allowances and reimbursement procedures.

Stipend and perk administration features can include:

  • A simple way for employees to make reimbursement requests or submit expenses
  • A way for employees to track reimbursements or spend over time
  • Cloud-based account access for employers and employees
  • Real-time access to accounting information for employers
  • A way for employees to see their available monthly allowance and benefit options
  • Customizable expense categories
  • Training and support

While employee stipends are easier to administer than other types of perks, they can be confusing for employees to use without the proper features.

Software training and support

When selecting a reliable administrator, ask how much training or support you and your employees will receive for the software platform. See if the administrator can provide software demos, videos, or other materials to assist your HR professionals and employees navigate the platform.

Additionally, see if your plan includes ongoing support if you run into any challenges while using the software.

Choosing an admin that provides training and support throughout the process will make your employees more likely to use their benefits. This allows your organization to retain employees better and improve worker satisfaction.

Conclusion

The right benefits administration platform for your organization will save you time and stress while making the process easy for employees. With the right tool, administering your perks can be a breeze.

For a simple and compliant way to administer your benefits, consider PeopleKeep. Our personalized benefits administration software makes it easy to set up and manage HRAs and employee stipends in minutes each month.

Schedule a call with a personalized benefits advisor to learn more about our benefits administration solutions

This blog article was originally published on April 19, 2017. It was last updated on December 13, 2022.

Originally published on December 13, 2022. Last updated December 13, 2022.
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