Slideshow 5 tips to vet benefit admin providers

Published
  • May 26 2015, 11:06am EDT
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An increase in Department of Labor audits and the evolution of mobile capabilities are just two of the factors driving growth in the benefits administration space. Now more than ever, brokers need to help their clients picking the right ben admin provider, says Jennifer Daniel, VP at Businessolver. Speaking at a recent conference, Daniel, a former broker, shared five ways to ensure your clients find the right platform.

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Provider capabilities

A broker should ensure a provider has the following capabilities, Daniel said:
*Is there a single sign-on portal? Does the employee want their employees to access the benefit administration through an Intranet site?
*Is there the ability to send a file to a carrier?
*How will billing work for part time or retroactively?
*Wellness is much bigger than it used to be. Can the provider track who went to a lunch and learn, a 5K run? “If your client is big on wellness, what kind of integration is there?” Daniel adds.

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Employee support

Employee support is another important facet, Daniel says, and brokers should find out if the ben admin provider has:
*Live online chat? “No one wants to talk on the phone,” she says
*Fulfillment: How are ACA notices pushed out? How are forms delivered?
*Can retirees and COBRA access the site?

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Company culture/history

This involves understanding the provider, since there are so many new companies in this space. It is important to ask, Daniel says:
*What is the leadership of the company?
*How long has it been in service?
*What support do you get as a broker?
*Visit the company on site to see their culture or ask for a video to “get a feel of what the company is all about,” Daniel explains.

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Security and risk

This is “so, so important. Don’t overlook it,” Daniel says. In 2013, there were 622 reported data breaches, of which 277 were in the health care industry. Daniel explains a client can no longer be in the mindset of “this won’t happen to me.” She points out: On the black market a social security number sells for $1, while a health record goes for $50.

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Implementation phase

During implementation, a broker should make sure the provider has:
*An accurate timeline and data on a go live date
*Sent test files to make sure data can move properly
*Project management: Know if there is a dedicated person to help

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