Choosing your benefits administration software: What features to look for


In a recent survey, 83% of employers changed their benefits strategy over the past three years. It is apparent that businesses are reevaluating their processes, given major changes in benefits structures, regulation, and compliance initiatives.

If your business has not reviewed your benefits administration software recently, it may be due for a revisit. If you feel you haven’t been using it to its fullest or it is, in fact, missing features, it may be helpful to review the following as a guide to making your decision:

An ESS Portal

In today’s business, your benefits administration software would best be served by having an employee self-service portal (ESSP) available. This simply increases efficiency and saves valuable time for both employee participants and the employees administering the system. Company employees will be able to register during open enrollment on their own.

This automatically saves HR time and any risk involved with incorrectly inputting information if it were completed on paper documents. Additionally, employees can quickly login anytime and anywhere to submit changes to qualifying life events for HR to review and approve.

Ensure it’s an all-in-one platform

The goal of any new system is to create efficiencies in time or task. Choosing a platform that is a single sign-on, able to digitally manage every aspect of open enrollment and benefits administration and includes secure storage and retention of information is key. The system should also be able to streamline the approval process in keeping with both company and regulatory compliance requirements. This way, only those with permission to access relevant information to their managerial level will be set.

Deductions should be automatic

This depends on how you are processing your payroll. If it is possible, you will definitely want to look into benefits software that has the ability to handle automatic payroll deductions for your employees. This would mean no longer having to import your spreadsheets into payroll and making manual changes each time your employees update their plans. This would ensure savings over time on HR labor and eliminate the risk of incorrect manual changes being made.

Carrier connections

Company connections to benefit carries at times would take months through the EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) in order to set up their health insurance. Today, most benefits administration platforms are able to integrate and share data with a variety of carriers and vendors. Months turn into minutes as finding a product that will allow for benefit carrier connections can transfer the appropriate employee data and pay information quickly, easily, and securely.

Keep the interface simple

Your HR team will be the ones spending most of the time on the platform, so it is good to ensure their involvement so that the software meets their needs as much as possible. Since the majority of company employees will access the benefits software about once a year on average, it is critical that the interface is intuitive enough for first-time users and those who are not as computer literate. Your goal is to nor need to train the company’s employees each year when open enrollment is running.

Last Thought

Keep in mind the features noted above when it comes time to vet your preferred list of benefits administration software. It is essential first to assess your current system if you have one already to see if any of the newer features can be integrated or if it is time to plan for an upgrade or replacement in the new budget year.