3 Things All Benefits Plan Administrators Need to Do
By: Benefits by Design | Tuesday January 15, 2019Updated : Friday September 18, 2020
As the benefits Plan Administrator at your organization, you carry additional responsibilities. In addition to acting as the liaison with your employee benefits company, you are also responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of your company’s plan.
A new year is a perfect opportunity to spend some time getting reacquainted with your role and responsibilities. Here are three things you can do to kick off the new year right!
#1. Review Your Benefits Plan with Employees
The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to host an information session about the benefits plan! Allow employees to ask questions and take the time to familiarize themselves with what and what isn’t covered. This is especially important if you’ve hired new employees recently, as this may be the first time they hear about the plan.
Here are some tips for a good session:
- Keep it simple. If people don’t understand your plan or their coverage, they can’t use it effectively.
- Encourage participation – the best way to learn is by doing! Encourage employees to ask questions or share their experiences if they’re willing.
- Keep it short and informal – let’s face it: benefits aren’t exactly the most thrilling of topics. Try and keep the session short (no more than an hour) and wrap up letting employees know they can come to you if they have questions.
One final note on communicating your benefits plan: consistency is key.
Hosting an information session at the beginning of the year is a great start, but ensuring that the information is retained and stays top of mind requires you to talk about the plan regularly.
#2. Review and Update Employee Information
While it’s ideal to be doing this on an ongoing basis, sometimes things inevitably slip through the cracks. The beginning of a new year is an excellent time to review employee information to ensure everything is up to date.
Here are some common things to keep an eye out for:
- Employee salaries. If anyone’s salary changed last year, it’s important to update it. Not only to ensure records are accurate but some benefit payouts, such as Long Term Disability (LTD) Insurance, are based on an employee’s salary.
- Beneficiaries. When a family structure changes, an employee may not think to update their information with you. If appropriate, take a moment to speak with the employee, remind them about the currently named beneficiaries, and make changes as needed.
- Legal names. If anyone on your team got married last year and changed their legal name (or needs to for another reason), it will need to be updated using the Employee Change Form.
- Dependents. There are a few common reasons for changes to dependents, including the birth of a new baby, a dependent child becoming ineligible for coverage (typically by turning the age of 21, or 25 if in College or University), or the breakdown of a marriage. Keep an eye out for any of these changes.
All of the forms necessary to change any of the above information are available on your Plan Administrator portal.
#3: Familiarize Yourself with Your Plan Administrator Portal
Most employee benefits companies provide Plan Administrators with a portal to fulfill their role. Through these portals, you can:
- Add new employees to the plan.
- Maintain employee information so that records are accurate.
- Download electronic copies of your benefits booklet and provide resources to employees about their coverage, including marketing material.
- View invoices and pay the benefits plan premiums.
By completing these three to-dos, you can keep your benefits plan in tip-top shape.