As we enter the final stretch of 2016, HR departments scramble to prepare for benefits open enrollment periods. This is the transitional time when employers offer new or additional insurance benefits to their company. Employees determine whether to opt into a new plan or augment existing insurance during this brief window, or risk being shut out until the next open enrollment period.
While open enrollment spells opportunity for employees, HR departments prepare for mounds of extra paperwork and the headaches that accompany benefits administration.
Implementing an innovative HR solution can alleviate the stress and streamline open enrollment.
In the weeks leading up to the open enrollment period, it’s important to convey policy changes or new insurance that will be available to employees. Regular communication should also include pertinent dates and deadlines, and specifics around opting in and out of plans.
Using an HR platform, administrators can set up workflows and generate automated emails to all staff. Netchex gives you the opportunity to preset communications and queue up reminders, enrollment instructions, and pending information to complete before enrollment ends.
As benefits administration becomes more complex, it is necessary for employees to analyze every minutia of a plan to figure out where the value lies and which plan is right for the individual. And, it’s not uncommon for larger companies to offer multiple policies that not everyone will qualify for.
Implementing an HR system, such as NetBenefits, to handle administration lets employees log into a screen to see only the plans available to them. Plus, connected access offers the ability to review information at an employee’s convenience. By taking the time they need to view and compare insurance options, employees can select the right benefits coverage for the year.
A common error from manual processes can be attributed to payroll deductions. With changes or new benefits premiums being drawn directly from an employee’s pay check, it’s easy to see where the breakdown can occur. Any corrections or adjustments causes a delay in processing and could result in suspended coverage.
Exploring a complete HR solution can minimize the inaccuracies that occur during salary withdrawals from open enrollment. Netchex, for example, offers an integrated platform that feeds benefits and insurance information directly into your payroll system. This ensures that the appropriate deductions are drawn during each pay period, and coverage is guaranteed. In addition, the information is stored and readily available throughout the year, allowing employees to view deductions-to-date within their own user profiles.
From taxes to ACA, benefits administration is laced with components that require precision data tracking and analysis for systematic reporting. And, with the level of detail being required these days, manual processes just won’t do. Because of the intricacies involved with open enrollment, having even the slightest bit of information fall through the cracks, or worse – go unreported, can lead to steep fines, penalties, and time consuming audits.
During the open enrollment period, utilizing an innovative system with the technology to safeguard against missing form fields and required information will not only ensure that the data needed for reporting is readily available, but that an employee’s policy is approved in a timely manner. NetBenefits integrates with Netchex ACA Central dashboard and Analytics system. It feeds real-time data into all of Netchex’s solutions ensuring seamless alignment throughout HR Department services. No manual paperwork – no bottlenecks. It’s that simple.
As insurance premiums rise, and HMOs continue to change policies, it’s a company’s responsibility to make sure employees have timely information to opt in to new coverage as needed. Should they miss their opportunity to change providers or take advantage of insurance compensation, they may have to wait several months for the next open enrollment period.
While the opportunity to enroll in benefits through a company’s policy exists outside of this allotted time frame, it usually requires “special circumstances.” Typically, these situations include births or adoptions, death, loss of a job or new job status, marriage or divorce. Seldom do employees have the opportunity to campaign for enrollment outside of the conditions set forth by the insurance company.
With so few instances to opt into benefits outside of the enrollment period, and supplemental and independent policies costing more out of pocket, it is crucial that employees are prepared to make changes and companies are ready to accommodate their requests.
Netchex helps more businesses each year implement online services that streamline processes and make employees lives easier. Our comprehensive benefits administration portal, NetBenefits, couples powerful capabilities with user-friendly features that gets employees up and running with their chosen coverage in a matter of clicks. Contact us to learn how your company can start to implement Netchex solutions and benefit from cutting-edge technology that cuts the open enrollment workload in half.