HR Support on Employee Benefits Administration

Editor's Note: Effective benefits administration meets the needs of both the employee and the employer.

Tracy MorleyOverview: Benefits administration involves establishing, maintaining and managing the full spectrum of employee benefit programs for an organization. More than just ensuring compliance, benefits administration is also concerned with making sure employees understand how their benefits work and what requirements must be satisfied in order to be eligible to participate.

From an operational standpoint, some major functions of benefits administration include: (i) ensuring the legal compliance and overall effectiveness of an organization's benefits program including health, welfare and retirement plans; (ii) negotiating with vendors and recommending benefit plans that align with organizational goals; (iii) communicating benefit plan options to both new and existing employees; (iv) processing additions and terminations to benefit plans in a timely manner; (v) verifying bills and making accurate and timely payments to insurance providers; (vi) making sure payroll deductions are in place for employee contributions to benefit plans; and (vii) ensuring employer contributions are done in a timely manner.

Benefits administration involves balancing the needs of both the employee and the employer. It is important to have programs in place that support the employee that are in line with what an employer can afford.

Trends: The newer requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Health Care Reform or Obamacare, in addition to the repeal of section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and the legalization of same-sex marriage in numerous states, will challenge HR professionals in both the short- and long-term as they monitor developments and adjust benefit strategies accordingly.

Author: Tracy Morley, SPHR, Legal Editor

Latest items in Benefits Administration

  • Employee Wellness Program Waiver Form

    Type:
    Policies and Documents

    An employer should use this waiver when it offers employees the opportunity to participate in voluntary wellness program activities.

  • Managing Employees in Special Situations

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Federal employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to Managing Employees in Special Situations

  • EEOC Proposed Rules on ADA, ACA and Wellness Programs in the Works

    Date:
    31 March 2015
    Type:
    News

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) voted on March 20 to send a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the interplay of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with respect to employer-sponsored wellness programs to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval.

  • Same-Sex Marriages and Domestic Partnerships Handbook Statement: California

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    California employers seeking to indicate that they are compliant with legal requirements regarding same-sex couples and domestic partnerships and to provide a point of contact for employees in these relationships who have benefits-related questions should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Health Information and Privacy (HIPAA)

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects health insurance coverage for employees and their dependents that lose coverage or change jobs. This section reviews HIPAA's limitations on pre-existing condition exclusions, along with HIPAA's Privacy Rule for safeguarding protected health information (PHI) and Security Rule for protecting electronic PHI (ePHI).

  • FMLA Same-Sex Spouse Benefits Rule on Hold

    Date:
    27 March 2015
    Type:
    News

    A federal district court has granted a request by the State of Texas to temporarily block implementation of a final Department of Labor (DOL) regulation requiring Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits to be extended to same-sex couples legally married in a state that recognizes such marriages, even if they live in a state that does not recognize such marriages. The final regulation would have gone into effect today if not for the stay granted by the court.

  • ACA Causing Few Employers to Downsize or Reduce Hours for Part-Time Workers, SHRM Survey Finds

    Date:
    24 March 2015
    Type:
    News

    The vast majority of employers are neither reducing the number of employees nor reducing the number of hours employees work as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to a new survey released today by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

  • HIPAA Excepted Benefits Final Rules Issued

    Date:
    23 March 2015
    Type:
    News

    The federal Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Treasury finalized regulations amending the current definition of excepted benefits to include certain types of limited wraparound coverage. In addition, the final rules also establish two pilot programs for limited wraparound coverage.

  • Taxation of Employee Benefits: Alabama

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Alabama employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to taxation of employee benefits.

  • Tax Treatment of Same-Sex Couple Benefits by State

    Type:
    Quick Reference

    Despite the DOMA decision handed down by the Supreme Court in Windsor, state laws still vary greatly regarding both the recognition of same-sex marriage and the taxation of benefits provided to an employee's same-sex spouse by an employer. This Quick Reference chart summarizes federal and state law regarding whether same-sex marriages, civil unions and/or domestic partnerships are recognized, and whether the value of benefits provided by an employer to an employee's same-sex spouse or civil union or domestic partner is taxable. This chart will be updated when any changes in these laws occur.