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How to choose a benefits administrator

Compliance • January 5, 2024 at 9:35 AM • Written by: Elizabeth Walker

If your organization offers employee benefits, using an accurate benefits administration tool can help you stay on top of compliance requirements. Benefits administrators make it easy for employees to enroll in their perks by giving your organization the training and resources it needs to keep its benefits running smoothly.

A benefits administrator is a human resources professional, third-party administrator, or employee benefits administration software that assists in keeping workers and business owners 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 decide not to use their benefit plans, affecting employee engagement and turnover.

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

Takeaways from this blog post:

  • Choosing the right benefits administrator or software solution is crucial for promoting a good employee experience and ensuring compliance with federal regulations.
  • Benefits administration systems provide easy access to employee perks and can save time and money compared to self-administration.
  • When choosing a benefits software program, it’s crucial to pick a platform with automated compliance, analytics, reliability, and ease of use.

Setting up your first HRA? Get our HRA compliance toolkit for beginner's tips.

What are the responsibilities of benefits administrators?

Benefits administrators have many responsibilities, from evaluating your organization’s current benefits offerings to managing its perks.

Responsibilities can include:

  • Educating employees on the benefits you offer
  • Helping employees enroll in their perks
  • Reviewing and updating benefits information and compliance documents

A benefits administrator needs good analytical skills and must stay on top of compliance requirements and changes. If your administrator has a lot on their plate or you don’t have one yet, software can help.

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 company benefits packages can help you save time and money compared to self-administering them or hiring a benefits administrator.

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

Technology considerations

When choosing an administrator for competitive 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 top considerations.

This section will cover the areas you must consider before selecting a benefits software program.

Automated compliance

Federal law and IRS codes 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).

An HRA is an IRS-approved, employer-sponsored health benefit that allows participants to receive reimbursements for various out-of-pocket healthcare expenses and certain health insurance premiums. Depending on how you design your benefit and which type of HRA you offer, you can reimburse employees for all items outlined in IRS Publication 502 and the CARES Act.

For example, an HRA administration software should have features like:

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 common 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 or benefit renewals.

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 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
  • Cloud-based document storage

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

HRA administration features

Many tools and resources can help when offering an HRA to your employees.

HRA software features can include the following:

  • Resources to help employees decide which individual health insurance policy to purchase
  • Health savings account (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 process claims and reimbursement decisions to employees
  • Online, automatic annual renewal
  • Benefit training and customer service
  • Attestation through SMS

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 an HRA service provider with the knowledge, organizational skills, and expertise to help guide you through offering your benefit. With PeopleKeep, our documentation review specialists approve requests for reimbursement from your employees to ensure compliance.

While an HRA is less wieldy to administer than traditional group health insurance, it’s not without a 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 a wide variety of perk categories, such as wellness programs, pet care, 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 method for employees to make reimbursement requests or submit expenses
  • A way for employees to track their benefits claims, reimbursements, or spending
  • 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
  • Benefit training and customer service

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

Software training and support

When selecting a reliable benefits 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 in navigating the platform.

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

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


The right benefits administrator or software 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 current benefits, consider PeopleKeep. Our personalized benefits administration platforms make setting up and managing HRAs in minutes each month easy.

This blog article was originally published on April 19, 2017. It was last updated on January 5, 2024.

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Elizabeth Walker

Elizabeth Walker is a content marketing specialist at PeopleKeep. She has worked for the company since April 2021. Elizabeth has been a writer for more than 20 years and has written several poems and short stories, in addition to publishing two children’s books in 2019 and 2021. Her background as a musician and love of the arts continues to inspire her writing and strengthens her ability to be creative.