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Employer Best Practices for Managing Employee Benefits 

March 24th, 2023 | 3 min. read

By Robbie Bryant

Group health insurance plans are an essential component of any comprehensive benefits package that employers offer to attract and retain top talent. These plans help employees manage their healthcare costs and ensure they receive the medical care they need. As an employer, managing your group health insurance plans requires attention to detail, proactive communication, and a commitment to keeping your employees healthy and happy. 

This post will discuss some best practices for employers to manage their group health insurance plans effectively. Some of these might be straightforward. Indeed, you may have even evaluated some for your own implementation -- but others you might not be as familiar with.

Evaluate your options for group health insurance

In today’s group health insurance environment, many insurance options are available to your organization. When receiving quotes for insurance, you will see acronyms such as HMO, PPO, POS, HDHP and so on. In determining the right options for your employees, you must first start with your employees. Understanding the demographic makeup of your employees, such as age, gender, number of dependents, past medical claims, etc., can help determine the right type of benefit overall for your organization. A vested insurance broker at Whirks Insurance can help take the guessing game of what plan will be most effective for your group.  

Easy to use enrollment systems 

Gone are the days of thick stacks of paper that require duplication of information to collect enrollment information. As we all know, a large percentage of employees have TERRIBLE handwriting. Not only does an employer have to submit each paper form, but they have to hope that the handwriting can be deciphered at the carrier. One wrong number in someone’s social security number or date of birth can cause a tremendous amount of headache for that employee when trying to be seen with at a provider . 

Having a user-friendly enrollment platform, preferably tied to your payroll system, is the most efficient way to handle employee enrollments. Allowing the employee to log into their self-service system and go through the enrollment process themselves helps ensure that the liability of incorrect information stays with the employee. Also, enrollment reports can be generated to send to the carrier for updating, which will help avoid any mis-keying of information unlike handwritten enrollment forms. Lastly, the enrollments will be tied directly to payroll so that the employee deductions will generate automatically without the employer having to go in and add deductions by hand.  

Compliance with the ACA and other laws and regulations

Managing a group health insurance plan requires compliance with a variety of laws and regulations. It is critical for employers to stay up to date on all relevant laws, such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), Section 125 reporting if offering benefit deductions pre-tax to employees. Failing to comply with these laws can result in significant penalties and legal liabilities.  

Depending on the size of your firm, various requirements apply throughout the year in terms of reporting, monitoring of hours worked, etc. It is extremely easy to miss important milestones throughout the year as well as the milestones that apply individually per employee. One example is the COBRA notice of rights as one is hired into an organization that is eligible for Benefits.   

Having a trusted advisor that keeps track of these requirements on an ongoing basis is crucial. Whirks Insurance can manage the day to day administration requirements while employers can focus on their business.  

Focusing more on wellness (Physical and Mental) 

Providing access to physical and mental wellness programs such as gym memberships, yoga classes, meditation sessions, nutrition classes, smoking cessation programs, health screenings, and employee assistance programs can help improve the lives of your employees as well as lower overall health insurance claims which can keep employer insurance costs lower. Focus on wellness serves as a function of preventative care as the healthier you are, the less you visit healthcare providers.  

Measure The Success Of Current Health Insurance Options 

It is important to measure the success of your current health insurance options. Some of the factors to measure include but are not limited to:  

  • Enrollment participation, both overall and per plan 
  • Employee satisfaction of the benefit plans offered to them 
  • The number of issues the employees have brought to your attention based on the insurance offered 

The Whirks Way 

In conclusion, effectively managing employee benefits is a full-time job. Many employers wear many hats out of necessity and due to their busy schedule, proactive benefits administration takes back seat to more immediate matters. Before you know it, compliance is in question, employees may not be fully satisfied with their benefits which is a concern as you are at risk of losing your key talent.  

Whirks offers a full-scale benefits solution which includes: 

  • Brokering the right benefits based on your organization 
  • Enrollment management within our payroll system to eliminate duplicate data entry  and automates the benefit deductions through payroll 
  • Compliance administration; COBRA, state continuation of coverage, ACA, Section 125, and more! 
  • Monthly invoice reconciliation to ensure that the carrier invoice is the true cost for health insurance as well as making sure that the deductions in payroll match the enrollment for each employee 
  • Monthly system benefit reviews to ensure that all required benefit information is accounted for in both carrier systems and isolved 
  • Employee benefits support to help answer any benefit questions they have 

While you're thinking about the best way to manage benefits for your business, check out our article How to Build the Ideal Small Business Benefits Package to explore the best offerings for your business.